TriangleArt Master Reference Turntable, Osiris 2 Tonearm and Apollo MC phono cartridge.
Firstly, A Review
I have followed Tom Vu and TriangleArt’s development since before my review of their Apollo MC phono cartridge (available here at analoguefellowship.com). I liked that piece of transducer so much so that I ended up purchasing it.
Later, I travelled to and paid Tom Vu a visit at the Singapore Audio show where TriangleArt products were exhibited.
There, I was introduced to their Ultimate LE turntable which was 4 feet in height and 850 pounds in weight, and their Reference SE turntable. Since then, I was hoping that TriangleArt would send me a review sample.
Patience Paid Off
Fate has it that TriangleArt and Chris Yong (from Malaysia) have decided to set up a South East Asian distribution arm in Malaysia. They contacted me to check if I would be interested to listen and review their latest model, The Master Reference turntable and its partnering unipivot magnetic bearing tonearm, The Osiris.
Unfortunately, TriangleArt was not able to have the review sample in my system for a minimum period of 2 months as requested. Therefore, I would like to mention that the following is my impression of the performance from the samples only.
Let Us Spin
The Master Reference turntable that came into my audio system has been to some other venues earlier. The first installation in my system was met with some challenges. The platter was not able to maintain speed stability at either 33.3 rpm or 45 rpm. Tom Vu tried a number of remedies but the problem persisted.
Later, we moved that turntable to an associate’s system and the same instability in speed occurred. Oddly, that same turntable was able to maintain both speeds at the TriangleArt local exclusive dealer’s system.
A month later, Tom Vu revisited my system with that same turntable and an Automatic Voltage Regulator (Servo Motor Control SVC-2000VA).
I plugged that Automatic Voltage Regulator to the same outlet (used at the first attempt one month ago) at my Shunyata Hydra 2 power distributor, but it refused to engage.
So I decided to plug that Automatic Voltage Regulator to the high current outlet of my Shunyata Denali power distributor (6 outlets, Tower), and it engaged successfully.
Later, I bypassed that Automatic Voltage Regulator from the chain and have the Master Reference turntable power supply connected directly to the same outlet at the Shunyata Denali power distributor. Thus, I am happy to report that the TriangleArt Master Reference has been spinning accurately at both 33.3 rpm and 45 rpm respectively, throughout its stay at my audio den.
Catch a glimpse of the action below (click for the video)
Music to One’s Ears?!
Tom Vu was given the pleasure to cue in the first song, Funkytown (Mouth to Mouth/Lipps, Inc. Casablanca Japan 25S-4). Straight away, I recognized that the analogue presentation here was different from what I am familiar with my other analogue set up.
Even though that TriangleArt set up was with my TriangleArt Apollo MC phono cartridge. In a way, I did not recognize my own long term reference phono cartridge which was dismounted from the Vertere Reference tonearm at the TechDas Air Force One turntable, for this write up. Here, the disco presentation was exciting and backed by a quiet background, which was not dark nor black. The background was to me, in a word, “nothingness“. In a way, if I may, that “nothingness” was as if the (sound)stage was in a well-lit room or hall.
Next, I tried “One Night in Bangkok” by Murray Head (Maxi 12″ Version 45 rpm, RCA PC 68247), and discovered the same and then some. I found that the TriangleArt set up would bring out “excitement” into the presentation.
It was not the same with “liveliness” as I have described in other reviews. To me, that “excitement” was the effect of a culmination of clarity, speed, control, separation and detail in its musical presentation.
To illustrate further, I spun the album, “Art Pepper meets The Rhythm Section” (Analogue Productions APJ 010). Here, I am used to hearing Philly Joe Jones’ drum attack and hit which felt like an ‘upper cut’ punch.
The TriangleArt will give you the “excitement” of the drum attack but not the hit of an ‘upper cut’ punch. I am not saying that the TriangleArt will not give you the “mid bass” attack. On the contrary, you would have the mid bass all the way down to the lower bass from that drum, and with speed and control too, that very few analogue set up could ever match.
On a grander scale and more demanding musical material such as “Winds of War and Peace” conducted by Lowell Graham with the National Symphonic Winds (Analogue Productions APC 8823/Wilson Audiophile Recordings 1988), that TriangleArt set up could easily present the grand scale of an entire orchestra. As I have mentioned above, that TriangleArt’s background was of “nothingness but in a well lighted hall”, therefore, as could be imagined, the whole orchestra could easily be ‘seen’. There were clear images of musicians within each section of the orchestra. Thus, it was easy to follow the flow of direction of the entire presentation. As for the bass attacks, they were fast, lean and delineated. Technically, I found the mid to the lower region to be controlled, tightened and commensurate the scale of the orchestra.
On a sentimental vocal note, Tom Vu introduced to me the latest album from Ms.Yao Ying Ge, titled; “Listen” (Guangzhou Fenglin Culture Communication Co Ltd FLLP-C10, www.hifi-cd.com.cn).
Our diva has been performing at a number of exhibitors’ rooms at the Guangzhou High End Audio Video 2017 show and that she has stirred some attention from there on. After first hand experience with her record through that TriangleArt set up, I must admit that I am in her bandwagon too.
That TriangleArt set up could easily light up her performance with her voice being close (relatively) and intimate to me. There was that clarity to her artistry and to the freedom of her performance (or to that recording).
My Impression Thus Far
I believed that Tom Vu and the TriangleArt team set out to design and produce high end audio analogue products with a specific mind set, ideas and preferences, which may not be in agreement with some.
I like to think that they have succeeded in producing beautiful “Bling Bling” products that are not just ‘skin deep’, but with a specific audio performance to match.