Riding The Musical Surroundings Train, Cont.

I opened all the boxes, spilled out the contents, and suddenly wondered what I had got myself into. There was an off-white platter over there, a blue acrylic base nearby, a satiny motor with an embedded on/off switch in front of me, a lonely wired up tonearm sitting across in its foam packing and no doubt anxious about its ultimate home, and a boxed phono cartridge swooshing around in my now sweating hand. And oh, yes, there was that big rubber band that had this strange fleshy feel. Also floating about among all this audio flotsam was an "Einstellblock".


What to do, except to don the white cotton gloves that came with the package and assume the concerned pose of a man in elegant evening dress about to assemble C-3PO.

Thankfully, it was remarkably easy to assemble.   It took all of a very satisfying hour. The final bit was installing the critical, yet nondescript Einstellblock under the tone arm assembly. If you don't install this small and very easy to overlook aluminum block under the tonearm's lift mechanism, the thick RCA connector wires snaking out the arm and down through the base will bind.

This lifts up the TT's right rear skirt, not unlike an unfortunate Britney Spear's moment, and makes leveling of the base impossible. (The sometimes laughably translated from German manual and its low-res photos form a highly effective anti-knowledge conspiracy.) That been said, the exalted Einstellblock makes me very happy, with my tongue slapping midway through its pronunciation against the roof of my mouth, all ending in a wonderful guttural salute.

Finally, I placed the fully assembled TT on a hernia busting 1.25-inch thick carbon fiber platform from Black Diamond Racing, which it calls "The Source". The 24" x 18" Source ($1,485) has 1/25 the resonance of an 8-inch thick slab of granite, while its special carbon fiber material weave gives it five times the tensile strength of steel.

A jeep chasing T-Rex's footsteps wouldn't budge this thing. But just to make sure that airborne and mechanical vibrations are not closer in the audio rear view mirror than they appear, I also popped three thick Black Diamond carbon fiber pucks ($53 each) under The Source.


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