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The Amadeus ships with a decent set of accessories including a digital stylus pressure gauge, finger lift for the tone arm, strobe speed disc, bearing oil, silicone fluid and an extra belt. An optional cueing device is available for CDN$239 as is a clear acrylic cover for CDN$499. While my sample did not come with the cueing device, I really didn’t need it. I intuitively lifted and lowered the tone arm near its rear with my hand resting on the plinth. It turned out this is the method recommended by WTL. There’s even a video showing this.

I can’t tell you how easy or difficult the Amadeus is to set up.I picked up my review sample fully assembled. However, the instruction manual seemed quite straightforward and certainly easier to understand than others I have seen. Bernard Li of Charisma Audio, Canadian distributor of WTL, sent along some photos of the packing material as well as some of the options available to Amadeus customers.

The Amadeus was easy to operate and adjustments were a breeze. I didn’t spot anything finicky or cheesy. Build quality was excellent. Initially I was concerned about the silicone fluid potentially leaking or evaporating. Upon closer examination I realized its consistency more resembled a thick gel to where I can’t see this ever becoming an issue. When you think about it, what should a turntable provide? It should provide a solid stable noise-free environment in which the listener can hear as much of their cherished records as possible. If so I’d say Amadeus succeeds wonderfully in those areas.

The most immediately noticeable sonic trait was an exceptionally quiet jet-black background no doubt due to the deck’s almost complete absence of extraneous noise. Provided I used a clean quiet pressing, this allowed me to hear deep into recordings and observe all manner of subtle musical details. To further flog an already well-beaten reviewer cliché, it was like hearing my records for the first time.

André Cluytens’s Ravel [Speakers Corner/EMI SAX 2476-9] sounded amazing. The noise levels were so low that the decay of notes seemed to go on forever. Dynamic peaks were clean, spatial placement was stable while tone and presence were about the best I’ve yet heard in my system. In works such as "Rapsodie espagnole" and "Alborado del gracioso", Ravel’s deliciously exotic Basque and Spanish folk rhythms, explosively vibrant tonal colors and deft transformations of texture were clearly delineated and wonderfully visceral.

The Amadeus excelled in getting out of the way of uptempo music. Listening to any of my jazz and pop LPs, bass whether acoustic or electric had a good sense of timbral rightness with nice long decays which did not slow down or obscure the musical flow. The precision and impact of transients of Chris Mars drumming on The Replacements’ Pleased to Meet Me [Sire 92-55571] gave the music an urgency and pile-driver whack that was far closer to live music than a recording. Even slower more introspective tracks such as "Skyway" or "Nightclub Jitters" had me leaning forward in my seat in anticipation not to mention that the string bass on the latter was bigger and woodier than I recall ever hearing.

Ella Fitzgerald’s vocals on the Rogers and Hart Songbook [Speakers Corner/Verve MGVS 6009/10] were intoxicating. I must have played this set a dozen times while the Amadeus was in my crib. I admit that record sounded pretty darn good on my $1,000 Pro-Ject already but the Amadeus just brought me much more closer to the performance. It was impossible to be distracted or perform some other activity while the Amadeus was spinning tunes.