Tech & Gaming
Sound + Image

Sound + Image

November - December 2020

SOUND + IMAGE magazine offers a comprehensive package focused on lifestyle home electronic entertainment. It provides easy-to-read information about audio and video equipment and how ordinary consumers can assemble extraordinary systems that look and sound fantastic.

Future Publishing Ltd
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8 Issues

in this issue

9 min.
audio-technica at-lp120xusb

The majority of turntables in our group this issue are belt-driven, but this Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB is direct-drive, where the motor is an integral part of the platter, so there are no belts and no pulleys involved. DJs favour direct drive, most famously in Technics’ SL-1200 (the MkII version of which is pictured below for comparison purposes), which ruled the scene until 2010, when Panasonic announced it was ceasing manufacture of all Technics products. It has more recently reversed that decision, but in the inter-vacillation period, Audio-Technica and Pioneer (along with several other less well-known brands) began selling turntables that were near clones of that model. One of these was the AT-LP120, here reviewed in its ‘XUSB’ version, and still more recently released (see panel) in a version which adds the…

3 min.
sony ps-hx500

Sony’s higher-level turntable is impressively understated — low, black, no massive logo on the mat, an exercise in restraint. But what about this high-res audio logo on the right side of the plinth? This is vinyl — analogue, not digital; how is it ‘high-res’ exactly? The answer is that Sony’s $799 turntable, in addition to being an analogue source with its moving-magnet cartridge playing at phono-level, also has an electronics section within. This includes its own phono stage, so you can flick a switch to deliver line-level output instead. But there’s more — as with the lesser Sony and Audio-Technica’s AT-LP120xUSB, there is also a USB-B socket, with a cable provided to link to your computer. Sony goes another level here in including its own software for PC or Mac, and…

3 min.
pro-ject x1

We reviewed this turntable in full two issues back, but it deserves its place in this round-up, showing what Pro-Ject can do as you move up its ranges. Indeed the X1 is a direct descendant of the company’s first-ever turntable, the P1, but of course, “iimproved in every aspect,” says Pro-Ject’s Heinz Lichtenegger, “thanks to modern materials and new production methods”. One key to the success of the P1 was its simplicity, and Pro-Ject has maintained that here. Changing platter speed from 33? to 45rpm is just a push of a button. (The third speed, the rarer inclusion of 78rpm, requires you to remove the platter and move the rubber drive belt.) So clearly the Pro-Ject X1 is a belt-drive design, the drive pulley directly attached to the drive motor shaft,…

7 min.
mo-fi electronics studiodeck+

Back when music came on shellac, it was de rigeur for record labels also to produce record players. RCA Victor begat the Victor Talking Machine Company, the Columbia Phonograph Company (software) begat the Columbia Graphophone Company (hardware), and so on. In more recent times the trend has gone the other way, with hi-fi companies starting their own record labels, sometimes as ‘vanity’ projects, or simply to have a chance to control music through the whole chain from creation to reproduction. So the announcement a few years back by highly respected audiophile recording label Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs that it would be creating a Mo-Fi Electronics range of turntables, cartridges and phono stages (with DAC and amplifiers in development) was not entirely unprecedented. But it is nevertheless an intriguing proposition. Mo-Fi’s software…

3 min.
mcintosh mt2

McIntosh is better known for its amplification than its turntables, yet its current trio of turntables (and one turntable/amplifier) are as desirable as everything else in its ranges. They maintain the characteristic company colours of green and teal, indeed the current range-topping MT10 has a 5.4kg silicone acrylic platter that spins on a cushion of air, illuminated from below so that the whole platter glows green when in operation. It would be a bit rude to describe McIntosh’s MT2 turntable reviewed here as entry-level, so let’s call it relatively affordable, which still moving our turntable group up to a new level. The platter here isn’t illuminated, it’s black, but two layers of acrylic plates top the plinth base of black-lacquer finished MDF, and these do incorporate “custom-designed fibre-optic light diffusers and…

8 min.
yamaha gt-5000

Platters, on most turntables, are precisely 30cm in diameter, the size of an LP. In our picture above, the GT-5000’s platter looks a bit small, dwarfed by the plinth beneath. But in fact the platter is much larger than normal — 35cm in diameter. Hence the whole turntable is similarly enlarged, the chassis around 55cm wide, 40cm deep, and 24cm high. So don’t be fooled by any photographs which make the Yamaha GT-5000 look like it’s comparable with a standard-sized turntable. It’s not. In Yamaha’s GT Series of yesteryear, GT stood for ‘Gigantic & Tremendous’ — and clearly the concept still applies. Equipment When Yamaha announced first its new 5000 Series of two-channel audio, one choice was fascinating — it would be all-analogue. There is no digital source for the system — in…