I bought a Statement 301 table from Christopher Thornton at
Artisan Fidelity. My table was ordered
with a Kuzma 4Point arm and an Ortofon MC Anna cartridge. I have had it in my system for about six
months now and I am getting a clear view on this great turntable.
To start, you can’t ignore the way it looks. Mine has the Macassar Ebony finish that you
can see on the Artisan Fidelity website.
Add the silver platter with the copper top and you have gorgeous. Guests, whether audiophile or not, are always
commenting about how beautiful it is – art for the eyes. The best part is that, almost invariably,
they want to hear it. For those that
aren’t experienced audiophiles, that gives me a chance to introduce them to
vinyl. They come away exclaiming about
the sound – art for the ears!
Sound-wise I am very pleased. For me, it is all about presence. That’s what
makes vinyl superior to digital. The Statement
301 delivers that “in the room” sense that is often missing from other sources. Music and the air around it come out of a
deep black background. Live recordings
are live in the best sense of the word. It
is difficult to describe how the combination sounds because it doesn’t. It adds nothing to the recording. Words like warm (or crystalline) don’t apply;
it is neither. I like words like transparent
and faithful (to the recording) best for this table, arm, and cartridge.
This week we had a shootout.
We brought seven copies of a Charles Gerhardt/National Philharmonic recording of The Classic Film Scores of Bernard Herrmann Citizen Kane (RCA Red Seal) together to compare them. We wanted to test the idea that different
records, particularly different stampers, sound different. Six of the records
were acquired over the web, one from a well know company that specializes in
finding especially good sounding records.
The short of it was: they do! In
fact they vary significantly form best to worst. Over several hours of listening we discovered
two examples that were flat and compressed; two more that were okay but not
great; and three copies with extraordinary sound. Distinguishing between the first four copies
and the other three wasn’t difficult, but sorting the remaining three required
the highest quality playback. To sort
them required hearing variations in the subtleties of each that would challenge
any playback system to resolve. The
Artisan Fidelity rig gave us that. The
best copy turned out to be one bought over the internet, with the specialty
company’s copy in the last three.
Clearly, I am happy with the system. I am interested in other people’s experiences
with this table. How does it sound with
other arms/cartridges? Are there any tweaks
that anyone has found that make a difference?
I am currently trying a Herbie’s Way Excellent II turntable mat. But I haven’t reached a conclusion about it
yet. Anyway, please share your views.