Clearaudio Absolute Phono, interior view
The Absolute Phono as viewed from the outside
Another would be the firm’s flagship, two-chassis Reference Phono phono stage (€15,000), said to be the best Clearaudio knows how to make.
Still another would be the TT-3 tonearm (€3,050), which is the firm’s lowest priced tangential tracking arm to date.
Finally, we were impressed by Clearaudio’s spectacular Double Matrix Professional record cleaning machine (€2,800), which can vacuum-clean both sides of the record at once, while also providing ultrasonic cleaning capabilities.
Many analogue enthusiasts are rightly wowed by Da Vinci’s spectacular AAS Gabriel turntable and matching arm, but at Munich we were pleased to see a somewhat less well known offering from the firm; namely, the In Unison OO8 turntable (€28,000), which is suitable for use with 12-inch tonearms.
Dr. Feickert Analogue
Dr. Christian Feickert, founder of the analogue-oriented company that bears his name, was showing all three of his turntable designs at Munich: the single-motor Woodpecker (starting at €3,990), the two-motor Blackbird (starting at €5,990, and the three-motor Firebird (starting at €9,800). In a brief conversation with Dr. Feickert, we asked about the possibility of there being Dr. Feickert Analogue tonearm in the future. The good doctor smiled enigmatically as replied, “Ask me about this again later in the year.” Stay tuned.
Euro Audio Team (EAT)
Many of us think of EAT as a supplier of ultra high-quality valves and valve-based electronics, but as it turns out the firm has now bridged out to become a maker of fine turntables. The range includes the EAT E-Flat (€3,999), which derives its name from its flat, almost blade-like composite tonearm, the EAT Forte S (starting at €5,370), and the flagship, two-chassis EAT Forte (starting at €14,800 with Ikeda 407 tonearm).
The Swiss firm Holborne showed its DC motor-powered, belt-drive Analog 2 MkII turntable (€6,900), which typically would be bundled with the firm’s Dualpivot MkII tonearm (€2,350). The ‘table is supplied with an external motor control module that provides separate pitch controls for 33, 45, and 78 RPM records.
iFi is, as many Hi-Fi+ readers already know, a spin-off from the British firm Abbingdon Music Research. What words cannot adequately convey, however, is the sheer sonic sophistication of the iFi’s compact and very affordable micro-components. A perfect example would be the firm’s iPhono phono stage (€399), which sounds so good you might think there was digit missing somewhere in the unit’s price tag. But not so; the iPhono is simply that good, thanks—no doubt—to liberal applications of AMR-derived design know-how.
Few manufacturers offer a more extensive range of turntable models than JR/Transrotor, but this fact did not deter the firm from introducing three new models at Munich. These included, in ascending order of price, the Dark Star Silver Shadown (€2,900), the Classic.3 Chrom (€5,625), and the eye-catching Classic.3 Gold (€6,815), so named because of its gleaming gold-plated metal trim.