Clearaudio is a company that just loves acrylic and makes some pretty outrageous designs using stacks of the stuff.
It also makes some rather tasteful-looking turntables that are, considering the value of the Euro these days, very competitively priced.
Minimal turntable design
Emotion is a simple solid plinth design with minimal apparent means of keeping out vibration. Its three legs are turned acrylic cones that look great and have a rubber O-ring underneath to keep unwanted vibes at bay. It would be wise to site it well away from loudspeakers and decouple it from suspended floors.
It has a freestanding AC synchronous motor (with an on/off switch at its side) that drives the 18mm-thick acrylic platter via a round section belt. The bearing is described as being 'maintenance free' and consists of a hardened steel pin in a sintered bronze housing.
The Satisfy tonearm is unusual in having Clearaudio's distinctive headshell, whereby a top plate bolts to the cartridge and both elements are aligned with one bolt.
It has gimbal bearings and a clever, if bulky magnetic anti-skate system. It doesn't come with interconnect cable, but has phono sockets at the arm base so you can choose your own.
The Aurum Classics wood-bodied cartridge is an moving magnet (MM) design that tracks at 2.2grams and delivers 3.3mV output, which will suit any MM phono stage.
In the listening room the panel found the Clearaudio to be an appealing and enjoyable record player. They liked its ability to keep the bass in proportion and in time, commenting on the good overall integration of the sound.
One listener suggested that there was, "a touch of velvet to every frequency", however, which he meant as a complement, but is also an indication of the 'halo effect' that acrylic platters tend to bring to the party. They can produce a subtle glow to the mid and top that adds extra scale and openness to the sound that's is not entirely accurate.
Another listener suspected that the turntable had more energy storage than its predecessor on the day (Rega P3/24), which probably indicates the same observation in a different way. If anything, the Clearaudio has less potential in this respect than the Rega as it's a little bit lighter in terms of platter mass.
Attention to detail
The Emotion had the advantage of a better interconnect than the competition (because we had to supply it), which will have helped its undoubtedly good treble extension and tight bottom end.
The midrange is very good at projecting detail as well and, while it's not as rich as some, it remains in control despite nothing serious in the way of isolation.
One thing we noticed when re-packing this turntable was the selection of tools supplied and the quality of packaging. The attention to detail Clearaudio brings is extremely high, resulting in impressive build quality.
This welcome standard of manufacture, allied with sound that, while not entirely neutral, is engaging and revealing in equal measure, results in a very classy package for the money