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Fern & Roby Montrose Turntable and Tonearm | Review

by Marc Phillips in Analog

A few months ago, Dave and Carol Clark of Positive Feedback made a social media post where they told friends in the industry they were looking for a new turntable and asked everyone an audiophile’s favorite question—what should we get? The usual suspects made recommendations of the usual brands, and I decided not to hop into the discussion because, quite frankly, that was a very crowded thread for a few days. It didn’t matter, because they ultimately went with something that I’d [...]


  • I’ve got quite a large LP collection that I endeavor to keep as unsullied as possible. Goodness knows it’s not because I’m a mysophobe; one glance around my listening room is enough to dispel any notion that I’m Mr. Clean. But it’s a universally accepted fact that if you want to hear everything on your records and not be sidetracked by annoying snaps, crackles, and pops that can overwhelm the content—or at least minimize those annoyances—you must spin clean records. That’s [...]
  •   Having a Jeff Rowland Design Group product in my reference system reminds me, in a roundabout way, of one of the greatest hi-fi systems I’ve heard. This happened nearly a decade ago, at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas. I had just received my Trenner & Friedl ART monitors—yes, I’ve owned these little gems for almost ten years now—and I was invited to Bob Clarke’s Profundo room to meet Peter Trenner and Andreas Friedl. (This was the first time I had met Bob as [...]
  • Fluance RT85 Reference Turntable | Review

    June 19, 2020 // 6 Comments

    The Fluance RT85 Reference turntable retails for $500. That’s very important to me from a historical standpoint, so allow me to elaborate. I came up with the $500 Rule for turntables back in 1998, during the early days of my original Vinyl Anachronist column for Perfect Sound Forever. The $500 Rule states that “you have to spend about $500 to get a turntable that out-performs every mass-market CD player out there.” This, of course, was back in those dark, almost medieval years when most [...]
  • I had a fantastic time putting the most excellent Doshi Audio Tape Head Preamplifier through its paces. This latest version, labeled the EVO series, has some improvements over the previous Tape Head Preamplifier 3.0 series, but permit me to reminisce a bit first… A Long Time Ago In A Recording Studio Far, Far Away Sitting behind an enormous API console as I peered through the glass to watch the musicians in the tracking room, I heard the last bit of decay from the final chord and cymbal crash [...]
  • LampizatOr Vinyl Phono MC1 | Review

    June 7, 2020 // 2 Comments

    What the heck is in THAT thing? That was my first reaction to the huge road case I signed for from my delivery guy. My second reaction was “Dayum, I don’t remember there being an amplifier headed my way. This sucker is heavy!” Ohhhh, I thought, it’s the LampizatOr Vinyl Phono MC1. I flashed back to my days of helping load the van with all our band gear, and I channeled my inner roadie as I hauled the case back to the staging area, my garage studio, for unpacking. Once in the [...]
  • ZYX Ultimate 100 Phono Cartridge | Review

    May 31, 2020 // 6 Comments

    There is something about a curry. Sorry, but for some reason when I started making serious notes about the sound of the ZYX Ultimate 100 moving coil phono cartridge, I thought of food. I love Indian food. I find it incredibly satisfying. It must have something to do with the sheer number of spices that have to be skillfully blended to result in a concoction with the effect of a single, complex explosion of flavor to the taste buds. Other culinary experiences are of a simpler nature. A piece [...]
  • Hana ML Phono Cartridge | Review

    May 31, 2020 // 3 Comments

    My first experience with Hana cartridges of Japan came at the 2016 Newport Show when I had organized my Down Under Audio exhibit rooms for Colleen Cardas Imports. My idea was this—after visiting Australia in 2015, I was determined to create an exhibit room (or two, actually) that had nothing but audio products from manufacturers based in either Australia or New Zealand. We built two systems, a simple one with Axisvoicebox loudspeakers and REDGUM Audio electronics and cables, and another far [...]
  • This review of the Palmer 2.5i turntable and the Audio Origami PU7 tonearm has been decades in the making. If you’ve been following the Vinyl Anachronist columns on Perfect Sound Forever over the last 22 years, you’ll know that I owe a debt of gratitude to Gene Rubin of Gene Rubin Audio. He’s the one who steered me away from the mid-fi gear I’d been using since I was a teen and started me on my true audio journey. Gene was especially helpful when it came to turntables—he sold me my [...]
  • PS Audio Stellar Phono Preamplifier | Review

    March 29, 2020 // 5 Comments

    After arranging to review the PS Audio Stellar phono preamplifier, I realized that the first time and only time I’ve reviewed a PS Audio product was way back in 2008, when the GCPH phono stage arrived on my doorstep. I evaluated about a dozen phono stages in the $800 to $1200 range over the course of that year and while I ultimately chose the Lehmann Audio Black Cube SE as the one I liked the best (I bought it and still have it around somewhere), I was equally impressed with the GCPH for some [...]
  • Rega P10 Turntable | Review

    March 22, 2020 // 15 Comments

    By means of introduction to the Rega P10 turntable, let me start by saying that I work as a mastering engineer. For some time, I’ve wanted to upgrade my current turntable, a Rega P3, to address a few issues. While using the turntable to check test cuts (done by myself and others), I realized that the speed-accuracy on my P3 is not great (it runs fast). While wow and flutter is generally low enough so that it won’t interfere with my listening enjoyment, it isn’t good enough for me to [...]
  • Pear Audio Blue Kid Thomas turntable | Review

    March 20, 2020 // 1 Comment

    The Pear Audio Kid Thomas turntable I had in for review came to me by way of Dr. Vinyl, a local audio dealer, and Audio Skies, the US importer for Pear. I had seen this turntable at a variety of audio shows, and almost always paired with some exquisite speakers and electronics from GamuT. In the spirit of full disclosure, those demos have always been among my favorites. So, when it came time to go shopping for a new, upscale, and modestly unaffordable turntable, this was one of the first places [...]
  • Lab12 Melto2 Phono Preamplifier | Review

    October 6, 2019 // 0 Comments

    The Lab12 Melto2 phono preamplifier reminded me of how I sometimes get really excited about trying new outboard phono stages—and this is from a guy whose first article about phono preamps was dismissively titled “Little Black Boxes.” I find that a good phono pre is something that makes an immediate impression, a component that, in the first few minutes of operation, hands you its calling card and quickly informs you “this is what I’m about.” This has happened three times in my life. [...]
  • Dr. Feickert Analogue Firebird Turntable | Review

    September 18, 2019 // 3 Comments

    The Dr. Feickert Analogue Firebird turntable signifies a lot of firsts in my vinyl-loving life. It’s the first turntable I’ve used that accommodates two tonearms, and lo and behold I’ve got two tonearm and cartridge combos mounted on it right now. It’s the first turntable I’ve used that has more than one motor to spin the platter. (It has three, in fact.) Finally, it might be the heaviest turntable I’ve ever reviewed. I’ve had seat time with many, many high-mass turntable designs [...]
  • D’Agostino Momentum Phono | Review

    July 21, 2019 // 1 Comment

    There is no lack of religion, opinions, or passion when it comes to vinyl. Which table, which tonearm, which cartridge, which geometry or even which equalization curve to use? Lots of smoke. Maybe even some fire. But even then, we don’t regularly pay enough attention to one of the most important elements, the phono pre-amplifier, that little gadget that amplifies the electro-acoustic signal deep in our delicious grooves, down anywhere from 40 to 75dB, depending on whether you choose a moving [...]
  • Gold Note Mediterraneo Turntable | Review

    June 23, 2019 // 1 Comment

    Wow! What is it about Italian audio gear? I have been recently blessed with a veritable feast for both the eyes and the ears …. Right at the tail-end of my time with the lovely Sonus Faber Sonetto II speakers, this lovely morsel shows up: the Gold Note Mediterraneo turntable (website) fitted out with the company’s B7 ceramic tonearm. Just like Sonus Faber speakers, this ‘table reeks of classic European style and panache; it’s a visual work of art and thing of beauty. Don’t be [...]
  • For us analogoholics, you can never have enough LPs or turntables to play them on! For the last few years, I have been blessed with the company of an AMG Viella V12 turntable. It’s big, it’s fast, and generates  a sound that I have not been able to surpass with any digital setup to date. To change things up, I decided to put it on ice for a couple of months and listen to something smaller and simpler to see how it could fit the bill. Speaking to Garth Leerer of Musical Surroundings, US [...]
  • Thales Simplicity II Tonearm Review

    December 16, 2018 // 2 Comments

    On March 27th, 1983, the New York Times published an article titled “Sound; Tonearms: Is Linear Better?”. The article read like a technical paper, more sophisticated than some of today’s articles found in Audiophile magazines. Without too much introduction, the article jumped right into contrasting the pros and cons between tangential versus pivoted tonearms as if it was normal kitchen table talk. But when Sony released the first commercial CD player in 1982, the sale of turntable [...]
  • VPI Player Review | The Millennial Audiophile

    October 20, 2018 // 0 Comments

    VPI re-imagines the turntable, and creates a new product category with the Player When I speak about record collecting with the under thirty-five crowd, initially many of them see vinyl as a low-fi medium, much like cassette tapes, and 8-tracks. This impression was created by dusty hand-me-down turntables, and record collections of which most have unkempt and dirty grooves. Along with many of the new records purchased during the “2008 vinyl resurgence” being played on these [...]
  • ZYX UNIverse Optimum

    ZYX UNIverse Optimum 1Ω MC Cartridge | Review

    August 25, 2018 // 4 Comments

    Astonishment, personified US $16,995.00. There, I’ve said it, in bold. That’s nearly seventeen thousand dollars for a phono cartridge. I still remember the first turntable I bought back in 1981, it was a Luxman PD-284 which cost me $150 dollars. If I had known that 36 years later I’ll be laying my hands on a $17,000 cartridge, I would have taken up aerobics or knitting instead. To put it into perspective, the price of Gold closed trading at $ 1,225 per ounce at the COMEX exchange today. [...]
  • Pure Fidelity Eclipse Turntable Review

    August 10, 2018 // 0 Comments

    Pure Fidelity Eclipse Turntable Review: Total Eclipse of the Art, as originally seen in The Occasional Magazine. [...]