Featuring a plug-in phono amplifier for a luxurious ‘all in one’ configuration, Paul Rigby reviews the T+A G2000 R turntable
I have had ‘prior’ with T+A. My own turntable history began at the age of 14 or so with a belt-driven Technics SLB2 and then a Linn Axis. From that point I bought myself a T+A G50 turntable complete with SME arm and Benz cartridge. That deck was solid and heavy and the G2000 R, under the review spotlight here, is no different. Built like the proverbial tank, you could hit the G2000 R with a guided missile at point blank range and do more damage to the missile than this turntable.
The point of this turntable is confidence. It is built to promote it, it exudes it and, once you’ve operated the G2000 R, you’ll be infused with the stuff. You get the feeling that you could pick the deck up by the arm, swing it around your head, release and crash it into the far corner of the room and it would work fine afterwards. Not that I’d recommend such a thing but the design impresses to that extent, if you see what I’m driving at.
You can buy the turntable without an arm but I selected the Carbon 2-equipped Clearaudio option that includes a carbon fibre tube with a 2g tracking MC-2 cartridge (with micro-line stylus). It’s supposed to be a T+A design but it looks like a tweaked Clearaudio Essence MC.
The chassis features a sandwich aluminium skin covering, in bonded fashion, MDF and sitting on anti-vibration feet. A belt-driven aluminium platter cradles a ground rubber mat and is powered by a quartz-controlled AC synchronous motor.
When you turn on the turntable to either 33 ⅓ or 45rpm, the internal motor control DSP circuit slowly increase the speed. When that speed reaches the required revolutions, the designated light illuminates. Again, the entire process looks and feels solid and dependable. Confidence, again. A simple yet stylised turntable lid completes the package.
The T+A turntable was supplied to me with a T+A phono amplifier module fitted within the chassis as a luxurious ‘all-in-one’ turntable package, if you will. A top of the range variant of all of those Chinese-made all-in-one turntables we’ve been seeing of late. Because of this fact and because of the convenience it offers within this configuration I decided to concentrate on this configuration only. I hope to return, at a later date, to the turntable itself without the phono amplifier and add a suitable external model from my own collection.
I began with a slice of retro jazz-based jive from Joe Jackson and his album, Jumpin’ Jive and the track Jumpin’ With Symphony Sid.
What struck me initially was the bass performance from the deck which was strong and took a full part in the mix. This track offered an upright bass as the vehicle for the lower frequencies and it offered a firm foundation being weighty and massy in nature. That said, don’t infer that the bass was sluggish. No, it offered a sprightly pace that kept this energetic and vigorous piece of music shifting at an animated pace.
When a piece of hi-fi impresses in the lower frequencies, there is a fear that it can bloom and literally infect adjacent frequencies, adding a lack of focus and an unwanted warmth elsewhere. While the overall presentation of the T+A is a slightly on the warm side of neutral, I was happy to hear that the bass tended to keep itself to itself and not intrude elsewhere in the mix.
The midrange, meanwhile offered clarity and focus, illustrated by the brass section which blended a welcome combination of detail and insight but, because of the neutral nature of the sound, it was never bright or strident. While the saxes may not have offered the fluidity of more expensive turntables, the T+A did inform the ear that this was, above all else, an organic instrument, powered by human breath with all its tiny frailties.
The treble exuding from the cymbals was also pleasantly fragile and airy yet there was also an indication of the strength and effort within each strike that again humanised the percussion.
The same could be said of Shakatak and the title track of the 1982 album, Invitations. This jazz-tinged but far more funky track blended with delicate female lead vocals. I was happy to hear that the strong bass on this track was firm and not wooly. At the same time, I was also happy to hear that the bass did not offer a plastic punch, starting and stopping too quickly. This percussion was from an organic source. The T+A was able to convey the slight ‘give’ from the drums that produced a naturalistic sound.
The lead instrument on this track was the piano, a terribly chaotic instrument and one that any hi-fi equipment finds tough to truly control. The T+A did a good job here. It’s slightly warming personality added a touch of softening to the piano while its inherent control and precision balanced that ingredient, adding a sense of transient speed to the instrument, adding extra life to the track.
Moving decidedly away from jazz now and Fun Boy Three’s superb hit single, Our Lips Are Sealed. The highlight here was the T+A’s ability to separate the instruments on the soundstage, adding a relaxed and airy presentation, in the process. Without, accentuating any one particular frequency unduly, I was impressed by how the T+A simultaneously handled deep bass via secondary percussion and rather a fragile tambourine, each having the space to express itself fully and each providing a host of detail. This included the subtle EQ effects on each vocal. The lead having a rather dreamy, soft focus while the accompanying vocal harmony being all the more precise and immediate. The T+A was able to track both effects with ease.
A stable and steady vinyl platform, the T+A adds a sense of conviction with its ease of use in terms of set-up and the bundled features that add value. Combine that lot to the generally neutral and focused sound output, one that offers no intrusive vices or negatives and you have an excellent vinyl front end that will serve any analogue fan for many years to come.
T+A G 2000 R TURNTABLE
G2000R Turntable with Clearaudio tonearm: £4,111
Including a MC-2 cartridge: £5,205
PHE-G – Built in phono-stage (MM or MC): an additional £545
Tel: 024 7722 0650
GOOD: sound balance, strong bass, instrumental separation, build, feature count
BAD: phono amp DIP switches
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All vinyl was cleaned using an Audio Desk’s Ultrasonic Pro Vinyl Cleaner