Shaun Daniels, M.D. of Peak Hi-Fi and his manufacturing company SMD, especially wanted me to see and review their new SMD V2.0 turntable, because he knows I am a long term Garrard 401 user. And I was delighted... you can read my review on page 10. In case it isn't quite clear, page space being limited, I received a prototype – and had to reject it. Measurement showed a good, but not exceptional performance – I sensed a problem.
After Shaun bought in the same test equipment I use, to see what I was seeing, he found even greater spindle circularity was needed plus a better felt washer and changes to motor feedback. These improvements made an extraordinary difference, moving the V2.0 to a level fractionally better than Direct Drive. I suspect that is down to its now-superb bearing that is likely better than all others, as well as its big 9 kg machined platter. And I must not forget the Maxon RE-max 29 brushed D.C. motor and Escon 36/2 motor controller of course.
What a fascinating project and product the SMD V2.0 turned out to be. I was intrigued by it and left very surprised by just what idler drive could achieve using modern day parts to overcome olden day limitations. I hope you enjoy reading what is coming out of Sheffield these days; it isn't cutlery any more.
Also, as Martin Pipe notes, although the Garrard 401 and 301 turntables put idler drive back onto today's turntable wish lists, long ago others used it, notably the Swiss Lenco company in their GL75 turntable. I have serviced them and used them – and they are quaint but clunky! But all the same, a big fan base and web site has grown up around them, all of which you can read about on page 83. Extraordinary.
And whilst I'm known for my Garrard, as it were, Jon Myles is known by Naim as a Naim-ey (or whatever they are!), meaning he owns Naim, knows it every which way and is totally in tune with the marque. This also means he gets to snout out every new Naim product before they've finished inserting the last screw – and that's why you'll find the impressively complex and well finished Mu-so Qb on page 63 of this issue.
The hi-fi world moves ahead, even whilst moving backwards – to vinyl replay. I hope you enjoy reading about its differing directions in this issue!