How Hi-Fi Magazines Write about Cables, Part 22: Getting Up and Dancing

Who wouldn’t want a turntable that makes them want to get up and dance? A reviewer at Cnet seems to have found one. He says:

I play music all the time at home, but I couldn’t help but notice that my wife was grooving and dancing more when I played tunes on the Pro-Ject Classic SB belt-drive turntable. She didn’t have to say it’s a great sounding turntable, her actions spoke louder than words.

Well, that’s impressive. I assume she never, ever wants to get up and dance when you play music on a different turntable. Because it’s not the music; not the mood; not the presence of, perhaps, mood-enhancing substances. It’s just the turntable.

I find it interesting how high-end audio reviewers – and listeners – ascribe life-changing audio quality to a single element in the chain, yet at the same time try to explain how every item in an audio chain has an effect on the sound. Let’s take the minimal system required to play back music from a turntable, and look at all the elements that audiophiles constantly say make their music sound so much better:

  • Power cable
  • Power conditioner (Optional)
  • Turntable
  • Cartridge
  • Stylus
  • Rack (to keep the turntable rock-solid, and somehow improve the soundstage)
  • Records
  • Interconnect cable to pre-amplifier
  • Pre-amplifier
  • Amplifier
  • Speaker cables
  • Speakers (or headphones)

This is a simple audio chain, purely analog, so there’s no DAC, USB cables, and no worries about getting a good sounding hard disk.

In any case, the reviewer here was convinced that it was the turntable that changed everything. It’s pretty magical too:

Oldsters remembering the bad old days of crappy turntables, and the new-to-vinyl convert who frets over LP’s surface noise, clicks and pops will find newfound quiet spinning LPs with the Classic SB. Of course it can’t totally eliminate those noises, but they recede into the background.

Somehow this turntable is muting noise on records; that alone would make it product of the year on any audio website.

But, as always, the reviewer waxes acidic when talking about the music he listens to:

Bob Marley’s “Natty Dread” LP almost completely disarmed my reviewer brain, I had to force myself to listen critically, but there wasn’t much to criticize, the sound was lively and Marley’s soulful vocals were beyond reproach. The band’s solid support threw a party for my ears.

And, as always, nothing he says above has anything to do with the sound of the turntable; it’s just the music that he’s describing. Or:

That led to Prince’s “Purple Rain” and the energy level surged a few notches. The Classic isn’t the sort of ‘table that sounds soft or mellow, Prince’s ‘classic album sounded fresh as the day it was minted.

Translation: “Argle bargle wargle.” There are journalists that really think writing something like this is journalism.


For some reason the Classic had me spinning my jazz LPs more than I usually do — there was just something about the way it brought out the band’s interplay, especially among the rhythm section.

Notwithstanding the fact that he doesn’t say who “the band” is, this is audiophile-grade BS.