First shown earlier this year at the Bristol Sound&Vision Show, in this issue we finally review a full production Technics SL-1200GR Direct Drive turntable, rather than an early review sample for the press. Interesting that our Timestep tweaked Evo version was better under measurement than its more expensive stablemate, the SL-1200GA. It had none of the measurable cogging everyone likes to talk about – that even Technics mention – even though this phenomenon is minuscule compared to all the stuff a belt drive puts out. What you get from the Technics is a sparklingly clean sound with metronomic precision. If you are looking for a top quality turntable to play LPs then turn to p78 to read our report on this fine piece of technology. There's every likelihood a GR would see out your lifetime and not be bettered over it.
Almost worryingly, Lenco's budget L-3808 Direct Drive we measured and reviewed in the June 2017 issue was also speed stable, yet at one-fifth the price of the Technics. That made us think: was there some mysterious Chinese turntable plant now about to challenge the Japanese in this field? To find out we have reviewed another Lenco in this issue, the L-90 belt drive – see p87.
Watch an old sixties science-fiction movie like 2001 A Space Odyssey and you'll see big tape reels spinning away on banks of computers. Nowadays we've got digital and solid-state memory to hold data, including music. But not everyone is happy about this. A vast wealth of musical history sits on analogue master tapes and copy masters offer a great – if expensive – way of hearing it. Trouble is you need an open reel tape recorder – and they ceased production long, long ago. So I'm sorry to say we haven't got an open reel recorder review in this issue! What we have got is a fascinating look by Dave Tutt at what to expect from an old open reel or cassette deck in Letters p28 and his column p69. Good to know if you spot one at a car boot sale, or lust after the many on eBay.
There's a link between old analogue and today's deep digital in the form of NAD's M32 amplifier and 50.2 streamer/server. Both these products have an ADC on board to turn analogue to digital, and once there it can be recorded. Martin Pipe looks under the bonnet of these fascinating products on p15.
Analogue or digital, we've got it covered in this issue. I hope you enjoy it all.