It's all just a bit galling. For a start, the very first Signals customer actually had one (hello Ian, hope you are well). But eleven years on, Signals has only now discovered the joys of Nottingham Analogue turntables.
The sequence of events was simple. Customer rolled up to try MC cartridges. Brought his Spacedeck with Space Arm. We fitted a Ortofon Kontrapunkt B and it sounded OK, moving on to the similarly priced Lyra Argo was a revelation. He decided to buy the cartridge and we had something of a problem on our hands. This £889 turntable with a middle range sub £600 arm was producing music to a standard that had previously eluded Orbes / Gyrodecs, SME 10 with SME 309, series 4 and series 5 tone arms. You simply cannot ignore a discovery like that!
The next step was to speak to Tom Fletcher at Nottingham Analogue Studio. An odd experience, basically an interview that I must have blustered my way through. No sales targets, no discussion of stock profile. Just a rather laid back “if you do your best and only sell one in a year, you can still be proud that you did your best”. Hmm. This sounds like my Mum talking.
To be fair to Tom, there was a lot more to the conversation. His anecdotes and similes were not only amusing but had a seam of good sense running through them. He is not into the traditional hi-fi descriptions, he and his staff “flush their ears” regularly with doses of live un-amplified music. The gist is that we seemed to get along well enough to have a N.A.S. account (look on the web, there are not may of us) and I placed an order for a Horizon SE turntable with Rega RB250 arm and a Spacedeck with the Space Arm.
I have been struggling to work out how to present these decks. It’s a little bit like discovering that you have been crying wolf for years. There is a certain level of incremental change that we expect between components. To get them across, we have to talk these differences up. Mountains from molehills perhaps. It's a bit of a problem when a real mountain comes along!
The entry level Horizon SE is a superb piece of kit. It might not have appealing looks on its side but it is remarkably inexpensive and makes a Rega RB250 perform to a standard that we simply had not encountered before. At least not before we tried the Space Deck, that is. Beyond that comes the Spacedeck followed by the Hyperspace, the Dais and a new £17000 Deco, a behemoth that was first aired at the September 2004 hi-fi show.
Where the better Michell decks give air and space and the SMEs rock solid stability and resolution, the relatively inexpensive Nottinghams offer the full fat cake and eat it experience. Scale, security, rock solid airy bass, warmth (real, not applied), textures, colours and natural timing that allows real music to flow free from constraints. The Horizon is excellent, the Space Deck remarkable and the Hyperspace bloody amazing . . and we still have several levels to go above that!
These turntables have really made an impact on us. We've turned a little bit evangelical on the subject but if you have records and love music, we honestly think that you need to hear these decks.
Signals hi-fi for grown-ups. suppliers and installers of music hi-fi audio stereo system, systems and a/v av products to all areas of Suffolk,North Essex, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire 01473 655171