At this juncture I feel obliged to note that I am not truly a classical music fan but the Amadeus teetered on the brink of turning me into one. It made me find delight in records that have sat unplayed on my shelves for, quite literally, decades in some instances.
Nonetheless, I retain my passion for the Devil’s music and plenty of that invariably found its wicked way onto the WT’s platter.
The WT thoroughly voiced its appreciation of George Thorogood and the Destroyer’s insistent rhythm, rich guitar tone and the dynamic variety in his playing on ‘One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer’ and particularly his slide playing on ‘Kind Hearted Woman’. Apart from painting a vibrant picture of his guitar and vocal stylings and approach, the deck captured the varied emotion and energy of each performance perfectly.
Patti Smith’s album Easter is nowhere near being an audiophile recording but the Amadeus rendered it with remarkable control, detail and precision. Regardless, tracks like ‘Rock’n’Roll Nigger’ did not suffer one iota from this veil of composure; they rocked as hard as ever but the added definition and insight allowed me to connect more easily with Smith’s poetic lyrics and the dexterity of her approach to compositions such as Springsteen’s ‘Because the Night’.
One strength of the Amadeus seemed to be the surprises it was able to throw up when you selected albums you had not played for years. Albums that had been confined to a lofty shelf because you imagined they had little to give frequently revealed all manner of depths and delights you perhaps never appreciated on earlier playing.
Thankfully those surprises were usually very favourable because the WT seemed adept at digging intensely to find musically relevant information: the only albums with which it had a struggle were ‘eighties stadium excess from the likes of Simple Minds. Nothing unpredictable there, so I made sure to give U2’s output a wide berth as well!
As well as its facility with classical music the Amadeus proved exceptionally communicative with ‘fifties’ jazz recreating the vivid playing-live feel of albums such the 1959 Riverside recording of the Thelonious Monk Orchestra in New York. As well as revealing the wealth of instrumental colour and dynamics buried in these discs the WT, more importantly, latched onto the groove that the rhythm section so fluidly established for Monk and the other players to work around. Furthermore it presented this music without any hint of artifice to spoil the illusion that one was in the privileged position of being able to sit and listen to Monk play.
I then moved on to listen to a few Miles Davis LPs. I began with 1955’s Blue Moods but found that the playing was, quite literally, far too blue for the time of day and quickly switched to The New Quintet album where Trane’s sax and Philly Joe Jones’ brisk drumming quickly elevated my spirits. This recording era and labels such as Verve and Prestige make life simple for any turntable with an inclination to sound good to do so but the WT’s capacity to allow the music to connect directly with my moods absolutely astonished me.
Ultimately it behoves me to confess which of the turntables that currently inhabit my music room is, in my opinion, ‘the best’; my Funked LP12 or the Amadeus GT. That is a truly difficult question, not unlike asking me to decide whether tea is better than coffee. I would be more than happy to live with either of these fine decks’ but if I were ever to become a real devotee of classical music or to increase the amount of jazz in my diet I could easily see the Amadeus winning the title.
Well-Tempered Amadeus GT turntable and arm combination