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This review first appeared in the July 2014 issue of hi-end hifi magazine of Germany. You can also read this review of AMG
in its original German version. We publish its English translation in a mutual syndication arrangement with the publishers. As is customary for our own reviews, the writer's signature at review's end shows an e-mail address should you have questions or wish to send feedback. All images contained in this review are the property of fairaudio or AMG - Ed.

Reviewer: Frank Hakopians
Sources: Digital - Bladelius Gondul M, Ensemble Dirondo; analogue - Horstmann & Petter Ulysses table, Audiocraft AC 4400 and Horstmann & Petter Iason arms, Dynavector XV-1S, Denon DL 103 Volpe and Steinmusic Aventurin 6 pickups
Amplification: Einstein The Turntables Choice phono stage; Accustic Arts TubePreamp II Mk.2;
Tenor Audio 75 Wi monos and Audionet Amp; Devialet D-Premier
Loudspeakers: A Capella La Campanella, Tocaro 40b
Power delivery: Isolation transformers by Steinmusic and Moll-Audio, AHP-Klangmodule, Furutech-power outlets
Review component retail: €12’800 with arm, €9’800 without, €3’900 for just the arm, €1’490 surcharge for solid-wood plinth, €1’990 surcharge for piano-gloss plinth

Black Beauty. AMG’s Viella 12 really is a hit in the round. And no, that’s not a prematurely delivered test result. It’s apparent even upon the most casual inspection of industrial design and form factor. Granted, following a record’s curves isn’t unusual for turntables. It would in fact seem inherent to the task at hand. Here it simply takes that farther than is often the case and does so with such a clever sense for proportion that even diehard design junkies might grant an exception. And yes, the plinth is oval, not round. But check out how perfectly it follows the platter’s diameter. Here one assumes that AMG’s curves also serve resonance minimization.

Who exactly built this piece of audio art? The Analog Manufaktur Germany or AMG for short. It’s a smaller outfit based out of Kelheim in Bavaria. For them experience in the sector is solid. For many years their team manufactured for another well-known turntable brand. Departed company founder Werner Röschlau was an old-school perfectionist who believed that only making things oneself retains full control. This conviction remains behind AMG’s extreme vertical integration today. With a sufficiently endowed machine park including the most modern of CNC routers, only the anodizing of their special aircraft-grade aluminium occurs out of house. As a source of honour and pride, everything else is produced in-house.

Young AMG boss Julian Lorenzi hasn’t merely inherited from his father a passion for all things analogue and uncompromised quality. He’s involved himself from the very beginning. It was he who insisted that the Viella’s motor be developed as a horizontally running affair. Ear close to the platter, at 33.3RPM this runs quieter than anything else I’d inspected thus far. Perhaps that’s because the motor axle bearing is a shrunk version of the actual platter bearing.

That too is an AMG development and perhaps the Viella’s mechanical heart. It’s a zero-maintenance affair whose 16mm stainless steel axle is fully sleeved in an oil film like a hydrodynamic plain bearing whilst running on a hard mirror race. This axle terminates in an aluminium sub platter which supports a massive 12kg turned aluminium main platter. Run-out times of a few minutes after power down suggests extremely minimized friction coefficients. Questions about the reliability of their bearing AMG usually answer as exceeding the life expectancy of most their owners.

The synergistic partner to their Viella deck is the 12J2 arm. Should a client disagree, the rotating arm base will take nearly all globally popular tone arms between 9 and 12 inches. Customization of suitable mounting plates is just a request away. Graham and SME arm plates are kept in inventory. The contact surface of the platter is covered in the same polyvinylchloride or PVC as records are made from. This is believed to create the sonically most benign mechanical coupling. Personal attempts to outdo AMG’s solution with a J.C. Verdier platter mat or ring mat duly failed. Included in the delivery is AMG’s superbly finished threaded record clamp. One slips a small flat ring atop the axle, then tightens the record over it with the clamp. The resultant just slightly convex profile counters typical height differentials. It’s a proven principle that simply works.