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Part of this review first appeared in Issue 4 of Inner World Audio where it can be read in its original Finnish version. The writer translated it personally and we feature it here for the benefit of our English-speaking audience. Kari Nevalainen also contributes to 6moons directly and it gives us great pleasure to return the favor and offer samples of his Finnish work to a broader readership - Ed.

Reviewer: Kari Nevalainen
Financial Interests: click here
Analogue Source: La Nouvelle Verdier with Ortofon RMG-309
Cartridges: Ortofon SPUs, Denon DL-103 etc.
Digital Source: Audiomeca Kreature transport, Sentec DiAna DAC
Preamp: Shindo Aurieges, Dynaco PAS (heavily modified)
Power Amp: Shindo Montille, 6V6 custom design, Sony integrated
Speakers: PHY/Fostex based widebander speakers, Altec 904-8
Cables: PHY, Kimber, Belden, Supra plus various mid-fi cables
Power Cords: Generic
Accessories: Sound Organization rack, Gregitek equipment platforms, different isolator pads
Mains treatment: None
Room Size: 4.5 m wide by 5m long by 2.8 m high
Review component retail: €4.000 platter sheet, ca. $400 for ring, €200 for head shell

Does anybody know somebody who loves his CD player irrespective of how luxurious and expensive it might be? I doubt that such an individual exist but hey, different folks, different strokes. On the other hand there is nothing perverse if a man declares his love for his turntable just as, without confusion or contradiction, he may express his love for the 1954 Norton or the 1974 Alfa Romeo in the garage.

Why this double standard? Presumably because, unlike digital devices and not unlike vintage motor bikes or sport cars, turntables need care and attention. They need to be nursed and lubricated and their settings need constant checking to function properly and deliver best performance. Want your dog’s hair shine? Feed, wash and walk it regularly. That's common sense.

Because of their sensitive nature, turntables are ideal subjects for modification and tweaking. And since turntables are inherent collections of imperfections without automated error correction mechanisms, all mistakes are readily heard and good deeds rewarded. That’s why tweaking a turntable is both exciting and fun. By comparison, tweaking a CD player is not even on the same page.

Turntables can be doped electronically (by upgrading the power supply, rewiring the tonearm, replacing connectors, matching impedance and capacitance). Turntables are however essentially mechanical devices and therefore the best tweaks have more to do with mechancial than electrical solutions.

In what follows, I deal with three mechanical addresses that at least in principle allow a turntable owner to improve the sound from his turntable. The first is Rudolf A. Bruil’s The Universal Record Stabilizing Ring (URSR); the second is the Audio Replas TS OPT300 HR Turntable Mat or rather platter sheet; and the third the Oyaide HS-CF head shell. The test bench was my Verdier Le Petit with Ortofon RMG 309 tonearm and Denon DL-103 cart. Thereafter the remainder of the system was the usual. As is well known, the sound of a turntable is not so much a function of which tonearm, cartridge, platter, plinth etc. are in use but rather, how these components interact. In the case of the URSR and the AR mat, the question is how the LP and the platter interact; as to the Oyaide head shell, the question is how the cartridge and tonearm react. The beauty of this game is that even micro-level changes can be significant.