CES 2017 Video: Spiral Groove Revolution turntable interview with Allen Perkins, and *that TAD system playing Prince*

Allen Perkins has some crazy ideas careening around his well-coifed head. Perkins, who wouldn’t look out of place playing Dave Brubeck in an HBO biopic, is the soft-spoken turntable genius behind Spiral Groove who takes design, and parts integration to the Nth degree with something he calls Balanced Force Design. He seems to think that if you apply the idea of beauty, precision, advanced-engineering, and reliability to the design, and manufacture of a turntable you can create one that looks as good as it operates, and sounds.

Crazy, right?

Sounds downright sane to me. Check the video, and decide for yourself.

Perkins is also responsible for all the new Mobile Fidelity UltraDeck, and StudioDeck turntables.

The gorgeous Spiral Groove Revolution.

Speaking of sanity, I can tell you that Perkins is definitely on to something, and that he should continue on the sonic path his design ethos has led him. His Spiral Groove Revolution ‘table ($18,000 USD) with Centroid tonearm ($6,000 USD), fitted with a Koetsu Onyx Platinum MC cartridge ($9,995 USD) was killing it at CES, particularly when MoFi mastering legend Rob LoVerde played a UD1-S (UltraDisc One-Step) 45rpm test pressing of the Bill Evans Trio’s Sunday at the Village Vanguard.

LoVerde spins Bill Evans on the Spiral Groove.

This deck was piped directly into the BAT (Balanced Audio Technology) VK-P12-SE SuperPak Phono Stage that was feeding into some amazing TAD (Technical Audio Devices) electronics, and transducers n Vegas, and this system was literally the talk of the show among those people whom I pay attention to when they say “you’ve got to hear this system.”  So listen I did. This was one of three systems that Mobile Fidelity had put together to showcase their wares in their suite at the Venetian. The TAD Micro Evolution One stand mounts ($12,995 USD) were reveling in their US debut with truly incredible imaging, bass authority, and an ability to deftly control powerful dynamic swings that was breathtaking to experience from a bookshelf loudspeaker. Amplification was being handled by the TAD M2500 power amplifier ($24,000 USD), and C2000 pre-amplifier ($29,000 USD) with cabling, and power filtering supplied by a mix of Nordost, and IsoTek.

TAD Micro Evolution One.
CES 2017 coverage brought to you by Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs.

This was also the system (digital front end this time, using the TAD D1000 SACD Player/DAC, $15,000 USD) that Mofi Distribution’s National Sales & Marketing Manager (and Japanese whiskey enabler) Jonathan Derda was playing Prince’s song Avalanche on that everyone who was at CES for hifi was tripping about. Apparently it was sourced from a Club-members only CD titled One Nite Alone (going for $300+ USD on Discogs currently), and is to super rare what Kurosawa is to samurai films.

D1000 SACD/DAC playing the Prince Avalanche cut from Derda’s mix CD.

I’d never heard this cut before, and while I recognized his voice, my mind couldn’t reconcile it was Prince for a few long heartbeats. It was one of the very few ‘what the fuck?’ moments I’ve had in high fidelity in the last several months, so it wasn’t like I was going to forget it, and I had to write about it. Let’s just say I got a raspberry ripple right up my spine hearing this cut through the TAD system, and leave it at that.

–Rafe Arnott

About Rafe Arnott 389 Articles
Editor of InnerFidelity and AudioStream


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