Nottingham Analogue Studio-Space 294
$3999 with Ace-Space 294 arm
Nottingham’s beautiful Space 294 belt-drive turntable offers very good speed stability and nearly noise-free operation. Driven by an ultra-low-torque motor, the 294’s massive platter must be push-started by hand (you’ll get used to it). Completing the picture is the 12-inch, unipivot, Ace-Space 294 carbon-fiber tonearm. The system strikes a fine balance between resolution and musicality.
Acoustic Signature Challenger II
$4500 in silver; special order $4950
The German-made Acoustic Signature Challenger II is a beautifully built, excellentsounding turntable that vies for “best-of ” status in the mid-price category. It shares the same special bearing as the company’s top-line Ascona, and the 50mm-thick, 20-pound aluminum platter is machined—as are all tooled parts—in-house on a 20x precision CNC device. The Challenger is very low in mechanical noise, has excellent detail and dynamic range, and can accept up to two tonearms. Setup is a snap. Value is high.