£500! That’s CD player money, surely?
Hmm, looks like you may have missed some of the subtleties of recent hi-fi developments. Here’s the headline: record players are cool again. Existing European turntable masters such as Rega, Clearaudio and Pro-Ject are hanging on to a dizzying wave of new sales, while bigger, Eastern companies (Sony, Technics, Pioneer) are loading up ships just as fast as they can. Toot toot!
And which of those is this?
Neither. The Omega is the result of French hi-fi company Elipson, which mostly makes speakers, eyeing up vinyl sales, stepping over to the drawing table and saying ‘Alors…’ Possibly while rubbing its hands together.
But, if we knew one thing about Elipson, from its speakers, we knew that it knows materials, and so we’re not surprised that its first turntable, in red, white or black, is a delightful melding of shiny acrylic, carbon fibre and aluminium.
Feels like there’s a ‘but’ coming…
But! We didn’t know the engineers at Elipson were such geeks. An Ortofon OM10 cartridge is a solid choice at the analogue end, but this top-of-the-range Omega 100 RIAA BT also has a built-in pre-amp with a USB socket for sending high-res vinyl output to your PC or Mac. It even has AptX Bluetooth, which is a terrifically trendy way to both (a) wirelessly send music to a Bluetooth speaker and (b) make a hi-fi traditionalist choke on their kippers.
£500, though. That’d get you a nice wireless speaker that’ll stream Spotify or some such.
You’re still not getting the appeal of vinyl. Weekend wombling around charity shops in search of scratched-up rarities, or being the guy in HMV that gets the special square poly-bag for that new Metallica record. Then getting home and watching the belt spin up the platter on which you place the record into which you plonk the needle to make the sound come out. Marvellous. And worth every penny.
But, perhaps we can help you, by reversing up the product name. Take off the ‘BT’ for a non-wireless version (£400), or take off the ‘RIAA’ (and another £100) if you’ve already got a suitable phono amp. Or drop down to the Alpha range – less snazzy build, but the same tech options, starting at £200.