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  • Garrard
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Jason Kennedy in HiFi+, Issue 55, gives the DPS3 a sparkling review saying that it is "one of the best I have heard".


The last time I wrote for this web site I mentioned the pleasure of listening to music on hard drive. I want to now go from the sublime to the ridiculous and turn back the clock some 50 years and join in the debate (which has been extensive) extolling the virtue of idler drive turntables. The classic turntable of that genre was, of course, the Garrard 301 and 401. Much, has been written about this iconic turntable, and indeed if you take the trouble to google "Garrard", it will amazingly come up with 105,000 entries and here is one more to add to the list!

The reason that Garrard attracts so much attention in the audio world is simple, they always have been and still are today wonderful turntables. It is something of a mystery that the direct drive turntable succeeded the idler drive turntable and thereafter belt driven turntables dominated. Interestingly, Garrard still makes a "modern" idler drive turntable, the 501 and the 601 (http://www.garrard501.com/index.html). But the 301 and the 401 are still sought after and being used in high-end systems around the world. The Garrard name still exist today, thanks to Loricraft Audio, a small firm located near Swindon, where the original Garrards were made.

We have recently been appointed representative for Garrard products (the turntables and record cleaning machines) in Hong Kong, Macau and China, and we are delighted to be their representative in this part of the world.

I am personally using a 401 at home at the moment and I find it staggering that after 50 years, such a piece can play with the verve and rhythm that it does. There is a sort of coherence and rhythm (I think the word rhythm probably is the key word), when listening to music on the 401.

I had the opportunity to listen to a 301 recently, because Ken Chan of Sound Chamber has taken it upon himself to become something as an expert in old turntables (along with all other areas of audio, of course!) and has a Garrard 301, a Thorens TD124II and TD160II, not to mention a rebuilt Lynn in his showroom at the moment. Anyone who wants to get an eye and an earful of some classic turntables from the 50's and 60's, should call round and have a chat with Ken, who enthuses for these turntables matches my own.

Of course, it is not just the turntables that get attention in the audio world, the old question of their plinths, and the tonearm and cartridge best suited for the job are also hotly debated. I am using an Ikeda 345 arm with either a 47Lab MC Bee, Kondo IO-j, or Denon 103 cartridge, which I can swap effortlessly because the Ikeda arm has a headsell and makes the stylus change a breeze. The Ikeda is a nice old fashion heavy arm, which is ideal (says Terry O'Sullivan of Loricarft) to be used on the Garrard deck and it all certainly sings.

In the end, as we all know, judging audio equipment is a subjective exercise, and if you ask yourself the question "am I enjoying the music?" and the answer is "yes", you probably have a decent piece of equipment. I can report that using a Garrard 401, I am really enjoying the music!

Hard Drive Forward!


I have never thought I would say it but music stored on hard drive seems to have many of the advantages (not all the advantages however) of vinyl. Or to put it in another way, some of the "nastys" associated with CD seems to be removed when music is stored and played back from hard drive.

I now regularly use (don't say this too loud!) the Red Wine modified iPod or the Olive, again modified by Red Wine.

I was minded to write this short article having spent the weekend listening to music from the hard drive off an Olive, via a 47Lab Gemini DAC, Mactone pre and power amplifier and into some Living Voice Avatar speakers, all strung together with Kondo interconnects and speaker cables. The point is that the music was reproduced in an entirely satisfying, lively and non-fatiguing way. This system isn't, of course, to coin a phrase "chopped liver" but in the world of audio it remains an "affordable" system.

As I have said before, the fact that Mactone is so little known is one of the great mysteries of audio. It sounds just so good, leading TAS to call it the "best kept secret in audio!"

The future of two channelled audio probably rests on its ability to reinvent itself after the desolate years of CD. The years after vinyl, which have been dominated by Red Book CD, have been a disaster. It is a nasty medium with nasty long term listening experiences associated with it. While LPs continue to delight some, the fact of the matter is more convenience is now required by most, and hard drive offers the way out from the horrors of CDs.

I don't download from iTune (I am not sure I know how!) but instead I transfer my CDs onto hard drive. Why is it that the music is much more satisfying via a hard drive, having originally been placed there from a CD? The answer is ...... I have no idea! All I know is that a day listening on CD leaves me frustrated, while a day listening to music stored on hard drive does not. I encourage more of you to try it!

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