Michael Fremer reviews the newly launched SAT XD1 record player for Stereofile. Worth a read over a coffee break…
If you have read (and seen on Youtube) Michael Fremer’s enthusiastic reviews for the Swedish Analog Technologies tonearm (owns and uses on his Caliburn), then you will be aware of the SAT turntable. Based on a Technics SP-10R direct drive unit, but the similarities end there as everything else is a clean sheet design. From the text, this seems to have been an uncompromising labour of love for the designer - Marc Gomez, with astonishing attention to engineering detail and some clever problem solving such as the air platter construction. But, the cost? For the plutocracy only!
Conclusion copied & pasted from Stereophile below for you don’t want to read the whole thing…
Antivinyl audiophiles who have gotten this far are shaking their heads in disbelief that anyone would spend this amount of money to hear an old technology that they are certain is nothing but rumble, pops, clicks, and constricted dynamics. But the rest of us know the magic produced when old, familiar records get played on an upgraded analog front end. Nothing in the digital world compares to the experience—at least in my experience.
Everyone has experienced an upgrade where familiar music’s meaning, long hidden in plain sight, suddenly gets exposed. The XD1 did that consistently. I’m still hearing in my head the XD1’s playback of Eno’s Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy) (ILPS 9309) and Bowie’s Station to Station (RCA APL1-1327), thinking, “I’ve really just heard those records for the first time. Oh, there’s a second musical event hiding behind the familiar first one that I used to think was all that was there.”
There’s more than one contender for best-sounding, best-built turntable in the world. Another stratospherically priced one is arriving in a few days, and still another is scheduled for 2021, COVID-19 (or a vaccine) willing. For now, though, sleep deprivation makes clear that the SAT XD1 with CF1-09Ti is the best-sounding, best-engineered, and best-built turntable that’s been here. I’m so glad that I’m still here to experience it!