As you know, Benny went through the ‘death road’ in the uncompromising TNT – Audio magazine. The reviewer was Piero Canova – a distinguished engineer, and designer among other things, of his own turntables and tonearms. The test lasted 2 months and was very exhaustive. I had to explain every little ‘screw’ in accordance with my principles and beliefs – no voodoo or black magic involved. I saw the review only after it was published – this adds a significant factor of uncertainty because reviews in TNT are ruthless.
About the plinth/ drive
“First impression: silence. No noise, hiss, vibration. Playing grooves without music, leaving aside some hiss from the recording, there is nothing else. Very impressive and convincing.
Second impression: neutrality and cleanliness. There are no changes to the original frequency balance. I know very well both the cartridges which I have had for many years and also the arm since I personally built it and the sound is 100% the right one.
Third impression: power and detail. If in the music you are playing there is some bass, you will hear it perfectly controlled, but also powerful and with plenty of impact. Here the equation control= dryness doesn’t apply. I think that the 25 Kg mass is quite helpful in this.
Fourth impression: PRaT. For sure it is the best belt driven turntable I have had a chance to listen in my system. On the other hand, some idler wheel or some DD turntables are better in this are abut we are very close to them.
Musically speaking it is a very neutral turntable. It doesn’t add anything to the original signal; swapping cartridges you immediately notice the different sound of each with an impressive clarity. Its best quality is “not to be there” and there’s no attempt to be pleasant or musical which is very positive from my point of view since, if I prefer, some more detail and clarity I can go for my Lyra Clavis DC while if I prefer some more musicality I can go for the Shelter 901.
The technical approach is exactly the opposite of what is currently the trend for belt driven turntables, but the result is absolutely excellent. The finish level is excellent too so the price demanded is, in my view, completely justified. Now, stay tuned for the second part of the review which will contain the test of the arm and the two together.”
About the tonearm
“Among its sound characteristics, what did hit me first, was the solidity of bass frequencies. Usually, unipivot arms tend to be far more musical than gimballed ones, but lighter in the lower frequencies. Here the low end is as powerful as with a gimballed arm, but without the mechanical reproduction of these last ones. The ZYX has possibly the best mid-range in the market and this arm lets it shine at its best. On the highs, it tends sometimes to be slightly open, but in my experience, this is often related to arm wand construction where carbon fiber presence is very high.
The DP 6000 is my personal choice for PRaT and the arm follows it perfectly in giving you a presentation that’s very dynamic and involving. In my ranking, I put it above some very popular High-End tonearms (SME, Origin Live) and in the same league as the Morsiani CM1 and the Triplanar VII (even if this last one has a finish unrivaled by either BennyAudio or Morsiani). The only arm I had that I still consider superior is the Schroeder Reference, but not by far.”
“In the first part of the review, I commented on the turntable that it was just a bit short of being perfectly neutral and balanced in its reproduction. The arm is in the same line, with a very balanced and detailed reproduction of all frequencies. The two together complete the picture, with the turntable moderating the slight excess of highs while the arm gives some extra shine to the presentation of the combination. I spent almost one month listening the two together and I have also involved friends in the process. Everybody was completely in agreement that we were listening to an excellent turntable and arm and that for most of us this could be a definitive turntable.”