Arguably the toughest ask in the vinyl spinner retail arena is to sell a turntable for around £ that isn’t a Rega Planar 2 or a Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo. Hats off to Edwards Audio, then, because that’s exactly what it’s doing here. Unlike those that have unsuccessfully come before it, this is a product capable of stress testing its estimable opponents with some tantalising tech and points of difference more usually found at considerably loftier prices. Read our Edwards Audio TT4 Review.
Perhaps most obvious, it simply looks more expensive than it is, rocking an aesthetic arguably closer to that of the extraordinary Vertere DG-1 (HFC 463) than anything remotely close to the price. Also like the Vertere, the tonearm eschews the gimbal bearing assemblies common to the vast majority of tonearms in search of lower friction values. This is factory fitted with a pre-aligned Audio-Technica AT95E movingmagnet cartridge (re-badged C100).
Though the glass platter is more Planar 2, on the whole the TT4 offers some fresh thinking to the usual suspects. To emphasise the point, the Z-shaped dust cover that slips over the spindle and rests on the platter is a departure from the hinged-lid norm. Three large non-adjustable, anti-vibration feet are fixed to the underside of the plinth and provide a reassuringly firm footing.
TYPE Belt-drive turntable
DIMENSIONS (WxHxD) 465 x 113 x 370mm
• 33 and 45rpm
• 9in aluminium captive uni-pivot tonearm
• Zephyr C100 (AT95E) MM cartridge
DISTRIBUTOR Talk Electronics Ltd.
TELEPHONE 01344 844204
Unfortunately, I don’t have the slightly more expensive Rega Planer 2 and Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo to hand for comparison, but by pitching the TT4 against the considerably more costly Rega Planar 6 (HFC 427) with Ania moving-coil cartridge (HFC 452) and Neo PSU as well as MoFi’s terrific StudioDeck + (HFC 466), we should get a reasonable idea how that contest might have turned out.
Exposing the TT4 to the revealing insights of Chord’s Huei phono stage (HFC 459), Hegel’s H120 integrated (HFC 460) and Dynaudio’s Evoke 30 floorstander (HFC 460) uncovers no fundamental flaws. On the contrary, it is a quiet performer: zero hum, barely detectable surface noise, no woofer flutter and, even with an old pressing of The Oscar Peterson Trio’s Hello Herbie, vanishing low ‘groove rush’.
Actually, Peterson’s phenomenal speed, technique and mixing of styles is a great test for sifting the hi-fi pretenders from the real practitioners and, with all three decks having hosted the album’s fully lit opening track, Wes Montgomery’s Naptown Blues, the TT4 is clearly on the pace, in control and firmly a member of the latter camp along with the Planar 6 and MoFi – if not killing any giants, then at least holding its own.
I’ve come to notice when a turntable is getting the important things right if it can make Audio-Technica’s budget MM AT95E, sing sweetly. And the TT4 does that – no rough edges at all. Moreover, the combo is refined in a broader sense. It might lack the precision, openness and ultimate resolving power of the Rega or the tonal richness, body and ‘soul’ and lyrical flow of the MoFi, but it doesn’t fall that far short and, more importantly, the presentation has an exquisite order, coherence and balance that never grates or fails to find the musical pulse, whatever you play. From Leonard Cohen to The Clash, you will be engaged and uplifted.
So, what of the notional TT4 versus Planar 2 versus Debut Carbon Evo match-up? A potential slam dunk for Edwards Audio’s talented newbie? In the absence of its actual price zone rivals, that must remain moot. But I am inclined towards a definite maybe. Measured against its supposed betters, it’s clear the TT4 has an awful lot going for it, not least that ever-desirable fusion of seductive style and transcendent sonic chops. I’d simply say this: don’t buy a £ turntable without auditioning the TT4 first.
Even with its modest fitted cartridge, the TT4 sounds exceptionally fine
- Design, style, build and performance
- Nothing at the price