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This break wasn’t really necessary. I don’t know how it was achieved but the Scheu Analog turned out to perform with such a classy refined sound as though it were the absolute epitome and pinnacle of precision engineering and advanced material technology. That’s perhaps what struck me the most at the beginning – how a generally DIY approach and maverick execution by one lone individual (and perhaps other influences I failed to grasp) could produce such a mature sound.

I can say from the very beginning that this German turntable defined the term analog as it’s been used not only for turntables but also other elements of a hifi system in the overriding sense of a strong, full, slightly warm, deep and absolutely unobtrusive relaxing sound. First I’ll touch on the consequences of it which won’t be to everyone’s liking. The way the sound is built up, the shaping of timbre vs dynamics is different from what we know from Transrotor, Avid or SME. I will even say it differs from Rega or Linn although the Premier Mk2’s timbre is somewhat similar to those two. Bottom line, the Scheu Analog sounds so beautifull that there’s no place for any bite, sharpened attacks or recorded mayhem. As I hear it this results directly from the chosen materials and is further related to Thomas’ preferences. But this doesn’t telegraph as a flaw. Everything has logical resolution which anchors in other sonic elements as a cohesive whole, albeit with a different outcome than more open lit-up tables.

The sound of this system (turntable + tone arm) has a lot of depth. Each record undergoes the same strong/full treatment but doesn’t push the sound towards us. Instead it all occurs on a three-dimensional solid fully saturated stage where a fluid connects all individual events into one whole. Here it’s mostly irrelevant what record one plays. Whilst their characters remain reasonably well defined and their timbre differentiated, all will share a similarly shaped tonal balance and cohesiveness as the overriding milieu.

This was the case for the original releases of Reggatta de Blanc [The Police], Electric [The Cult] and digital remasters like Innuendo [Queen]. I deliberately begin this discussion with Rock since I wanted to see how the upper midrange withdrawal and its slight softening as a continuation of a warm midband would influence more aggressive strongly rhythmic material.

It did have an influence. It calmed down the sound a bit, homogenized it a bit to mimic mainly the feel of the Jazz records I also played. This however turned out to not be a function of overall damping. That’s one of the signs of a gifted constructor. He’ll juggle various sonic aspects to reach results that would usually be mutually exclusive. That’s what's been accomplished here.

The sound was full yet slightly withdrawn to create full-comfort listening with pressings that really shouldn’t have sounded this good. I’ll go further still to say that such pressings sounded more satisfactory than over many other mass loaders. I deliberately replaced ‘better’ with ‘more satisfactory’ as it’s hard for me to determine which is ultimately superior – straining everything to the max to conform with the garbage-in/garbage-out rule; or to shape the sound to become more palatable. Scheu deals with this decision clearly in the second manner.

Comfort here is the operative term. The German table places a comfortable pillow under your back after you've already parked yourself in a cozy chair, then murmurs something into your ears. Importantly this won’t put you to sleep, just soothe frazzled nerves. Records retain well-differentiated temperatures and the encoded emotional energies transmit well. In each case those energies extracted resonated with my own to create additional value which made the playback a true event.