The worlds of vinyl DJing and audiophilia wouldn’t be further apart. While both essentially aim to achieve perfect playing of their records in their unique environments, the actual technology couldn’t be more different. Or so I thought… rubs chin…
The audiophile world is an arcane and ridiculously expensive place, frequented by purist vinyl lovers with pockets disproportionately deeper than their common sense. The turntables themselves walk an odd line between scientific instrument and work of art, and are suitably priced too. But then we must remember that the venerable Technics SL-1200 turntable was designed as an audiophile deck.
But for some, that’s just not enough. There are those who feel the need to break out the the wallet and the screwdriver to take their decks to the next dimension of high end audio sex. One such company happy to turn your Technics back into listening decks is Sound Hi Fi in Devon who can supply a solid amount of off-the-shelf mods. They’ll happily “take away the DJ part of the DNA and restore it to it’s original audiophile birth”, but it’s a one way trip – no DJing on these modded decks. It does however offer the most complete genetic reworking of a Technics possible.
Behold the Sound Hi Fi Timestep Evo – yours for a nut-crunching £3695, or £2895 if you supply your own deck. Hi-Fi World seem to think it’s worth the cash though. Colour me surprised – I expected only the minimalist wooden block belt drive style audiophile variety of turntable to get such glowing words.
But its not just Technics getting the pimp treatment. Its perceived successor , the Stanton ST.150 (or STR8.150 for the scratch guys) is being touted by The Mapleshade Store in the US as a very fine audiophile deck on its own without any fancy pants mods. But of course, they’re happy to perform the necessary surgery for a fee. They’ll pop it all in a rather nice polished wooden case too for $1620.
Vestax don’t miss out either, but perhaps to not quite the same degree. You can, if your heart and wallet desire, get some quite serious Toyota engineered feet from Stokyo for your PDX decks. Not quite the Technics/Stanton overhaul offered above, but a treat for your decks nonetheless. You’d better love your PDXs as these are $600 for a set of 4.
In years to come, I may well treat myself to a pure listening setup, but perhaps not drinking quite so excessively from the snake oil fountain as others. While I get immense pleasure from buying rare and well pressed vinyl, much of the mass produced variety really isn’t worth spending several thousand of your currency on. I’ve got vinyl that sounds worse than an electronic greetings card, so let’s not get fooled into believing that ALL vinyl sounds amazing, because it’s simply not true, especially the limited run variety that proliferated the dance music scene. Turd polishing is a fruitless exercise.
Do you have a special setup for listening to vinyl? Do you genuinely believe that these small and not so small tweaks can make a real difference and that it’s well worth the money? Or like me are you more of an opinion that on the whole, most vinyl isn’t worthy of such lavish spending? Personally, I’d rather drop hundreds or even thousands on the vinyl itself. I’m actually more likely to spend more money on the shelves to store it all.
Don’t get me wrong – it’s not that I don’t believe that there might be a heightened listening experience, but it’s simply that I’m happy with the quality I have, and I cannot see how spending thousands on Pear cables will make the DJ Premier remix of D’Angelo’s “Lady” or The Truth’s “Open Our Eyes” (my favourite play loud and just listen tracks) sound any better.
And thanks to ciscoelnino for the original Stanton pimping link.