In this comprehensive evaluation of the Acoustic Signature Tornado Neo turntable, we delve into its unique features and engineering prowess. Beyond being a source of audio enjoyment, the Tornado Neo presents an opportunity to explore a longstanding analog question: What is the impact of a twelve-inch tonearm compared to its nine-inch counterpart? Situated in Süßen, a charming town near Göppingen in southern Germany, Acoustic Signature’s manufacturing facility embodies precision and craftsmanship. This review highlights the Tornado Neo’s exceptional design, its key components, and the influence of tonearm length on sound quality.
|Acoustic Signature Tornado Neo|
|Concept:||Mass drive, belt drive|
|assembly||Up to three tonearms possible|
|Power adapter:||DMC-10 (2.6 kilos) outsourced|
|Speeds:||33 + 45 rpm|
|Dimensions (W x H x D):||45.0 x 16.0 x 46.0 cm|
Acoustic Signature’s Tornado Neo is a mass-driven turntable, distinguished by its dense tripod plinth made from solid aluminum. This meticulously crafted chassis offers remarkable stability and aesthetic appeal. The turntable is available in all-black, all-silver, or black-silver bi-color finishes, each exuding a touch of elegance. The adjustable feet, equipped with gel inserts, ensure precise height adjustments and efficient decoupling from external vibrations, enhancing its performance and stability.
The Acoustic Signature Tornado Neo turntable embodies a level of engineering excellence that sets it apart in high-end audio. Here, we delve deeper into the key elements that make this turntable a standout in terms of engineering and design:
- Solid Aluminum Chassis: The Tornado Neo features a chassis milled from a single block of solid aluminum. This process involves countless machine hours, resulting in a robust, resonance-free structure. The use of solid aluminum not only contributes to the turntable’s mass and stability but also adds a touch of aesthetic elegance.
- Adjustable Feet with Gel Inserts: The turntable’s three adjustable feet are precision-engineered, allowing for precise height adjustments. These feet incorporate gel inserts, providing effective decoupling from external vibrations. This attention to detail ensures that the player remains stable and isolated from external disturbances.
- Damping Technology: The Tornado Neo employs an innovative damping technology that significantly reduces vibrations and resonances. Cylindrical brass weights, each fitted with two surrounding O-rings, are pressed flush into the platter’s surface. These weights effectively dampen any resonances in the aluminum platter, resulting in silent and calm rotation.
- Mass-Loaded Design: As a mass-loaded turntable, the Tornado Neo concentrates considerable mass onto a reduced tripod swivel. This mass-loading approach enhances stability and minimizes the impact of external vibrations, ensuring consistent playback quality.
- Bearings and Materials: The turntable’s bearing system is critical to its engineering excellence. Using vacuum-hardened stainless steel for the bearing axle, coupled with a Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC) coating, reduces friction and wear to a minimum. This precision bearing runs quietly and smoothly, contributing to the overall sound quality.
- Duraturn Diamond Bearing (DTD): Acoustic Signature’s Duraturn Diamond Bearing (DTD) is a hallmark of their engineering prowess. This bearing, used across their product range, combines precision and durability, further enhancing the turntable’s long-term performance. Including Tidorfolon, a Teflon-Kunststoff-Metall composite, in the bearing design has proven its reliability over the years, leading to an extended warranty for the entire player.
- Precision Tonearm Mounting: The Tornado Neo’s design allows for the mounting of up to three tonearms, showcasing Acoustic Signature’s commitment to flexibility and customization. The tonearm bases are attached securely to the chassis, with the ability to adjust their positions according to the user’s preferences. This precise tonearm placement ensures optimal alignment with the record grooves.
Silencing Vibrations The centerpiece of the Tornado Neo is its six-centimeter thick aluminum platter, weighing approximately ten kilograms. This platter incorporates innovative silencer technology, consisting of cylindrical brass weights with O-rings, effectively damping resonance. This design detail contributes to the turntable’s remarkable ability to maintain silence, even under extreme external vibrations.
Precision Bearing The turntable’s bearing is a engineering masterpiece, employing a vacuum-hardened stainless steel axle coated with Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC). This coating ensures minimal friction and wear, resulting in smooth and quiet rotation. The bearing’s efficiency significantly influences the sound quality, providing silent track transitions and enhancing musical coherence.
Duraturn Diamond Bearing (DTD) Gunther Frohnhöfer, the founder of Acoustic Signature, uses the “Duraturn Diamond Bearing” (DTD) across their turntable range. This remarkable bearing, coupled with Tidorfolon material for the platter’s base, exemplifies Acoustic Signature’s commitment to durability and performance. The company even offers an extended 15-year warranty, a testament to the robustness of their products.
In summary, the Acoustic Signature Tornado Neo exemplifies engineering excellence in several key aspects. Its meticulously crafted chassis, advanced damping technology, precision bearings, and flexibility in tonearm options all contribute to a turntable that stands as a paragon of mechanical and acoustic design. These engineering innovations result in a turntable that not only delivers exceptional sound quality but also ensures long-term listening pleasure for audiophiles who demand the highest standards of craftsmanship.
Connections and Connectivity
The Acoustic Signature Tornado Neo turntable is designed to offer high-quality audio output and connectivity options that cater to audiophiles seeking the best possible sound reproduction. Here’s an elaboration on its connections and connectivity features:
- Analog Output: Its analog output is the primary method of connecting the Tornado Neo to your audio system. The turntable features a high-quality phono cartridge that generates a low-level analog signal directly from the vinyl record. This signal is then sent to a phono preamplifier, which amplifies and equalizes the signal to a level suitable for your amplifier or receiver.
- Phono Preamp Compatibility: To ensure the best audio quality, the Tornado Neo requires a dedicated phono preamplifier (also known as a phono stage or phono amp). Some turntables have built-in phono preamps, but the Tornado Neo assumes users will have a separate phono preamp as part of their high-end audio setup.
- RCA Output: The turntable typically features RCA output connectors, phono or cinch connectors. These connectors are standard in the audio industry and are compatible with most amplifiers, receivers, and preamplifiers.
- Grounding Terminal: The Tornado Neo includes a grounding terminal that reduces hum and interference in the audio signal. Connect a grounding wire from the turntable to your phono preamp or amplifier’s ground terminal to eliminate ground-related noise.
- Interconnect Cables: High-quality interconnect cables are essential for connecting the turntable to your audio system. These cables transmit the analog signal from the turntable to the phono preamp and then to the amplifier or receiver. Audiophiles often invest in premium interconnect cables to preserve signal integrity.
- Compatibility with High-End Systems: The Tornado Neo is designed to be compatible with a wide range of high-end audio components, including amplifiers, preamplifiers, and speakers. Its analog output and connectivity options make it a versatile addition to a premium audio setup.
- Integration with External Phono Stages: Audiophiles who already own external phono stages or preamplifiers can seamlessly integrate the Tornado Neo into their existing systems. This flexibility allows users to choose a phono preamp that suits their preferences and system requirements.
- Balanced Output (Optional): Depending on the specific model or configuration of the Tornado Neo, there may be an option for balanced output. Balanced connections use three conductors (positive, negative, and ground) to reduce interference and provide even higher audio quality. Balanced connections are often preferred in high-end audio systems.
The Acoustic Signature Tornado Neo turntable provides analog output connectivity, catering to audiophiles who prioritize high-quality vinyl playback. It assumes that users will have a separate phono preamp as part of their audio system and offers compatibility with a wide range of amplifiers, preamplifiers, and other audio components. Including grounding terminals and options for balanced output further enhance its connectivity options, making it a versatile choice for high-end audio enthusiasts.
Variety of Tonearms
The Tornado Neo’s design allows up to three tonearms, allowing audiophiles to experiment with different configurations. The turntable can accommodate various tonearm models, and the flexibility of tonearm placement enables precise alignment with the record grooves.
Nine or Twelve Inch Tonearm? One of the central discussions in vinyl playback is the impact of tonearm length, typically nine inches versus twelve inches. Acoustic Signature provides a perfect platform to investigate this question, offering six tonearm models, with five available in nine- and twelve-inch versions. To explore this topic, we conducted listening tests using identical cartridges and setup parameters.
Nine vs. Twelve-Inch Tonearm The choice between a nine and twelve-inch tonearm involves trade-offs. A longer arm reduces tracking errors but introduces other challenges, including increased sensitivity to external vibrations and potential changes in sonic character. We observed that the twelve-inch arm delivered a more rounded, intimate sound, while the nine-inch arm offered a brighter and more detailed presentation.
Usability and Practical Functionality
The Acoustic Signature Tornado Neo turntable offers exceptional sound quality and engineering, usability, and practical functionality that enhance the overall user experience. Here, we delve into the key aspects of usability and practical functionality:
- User-Friendly Setup: The Tornado Neo is designed with ease of setup in mind. Its user-friendly construction and clear instructions make it accessible even to those new to high-end turntables. The inclusion of a comprehensive gauge for mounting the tonearm simplifies the process of aligning the tonearm and cartridge correctly.
- Adjustable Feet: The turntable features three adjustable feet that can be precisely adjusted in terms of height. This feature is not only practical for leveling the turntable on different surfaces but also aids in achieving optimal isolation from external vibrations. The use of gel inserts in the feet further enhances stability.
- Silent Operation: The Tornado Neo operates silently, contributing to a distraction-free listening environment. Even under challenging conditions, such as external construction work or vibrations, the turntable plays undisturbed music. This silence allows listeners to fully immerse themselves in their music.
- Intuitive Controls: The Tornado Neo’s controls are intuitive and straightforward. A compact control puck made of solid aluminum is included, featuring two laser-labeled buttons for speed selection (33/45 RPM) and motor start/stop (On/Off). The motor control responds with a reassuring relay “clang,” and the turntable gradually increases power at startup to protect the belt and minimize interference.
- Minimal Maintenance: The turntable’s maintenance requirements are minimal. It features a dust-tight aluminum hatch that provides access to the motor and belt area, which typically requires attention only every few years for belt replacement. This user-friendly maintenance design ensures that upkeep is hassle-free.
- Flexibility in Tonearm Mounting: One of the practical highlights of the Tornado Neo is its ability to accommodate up to three tonearms. Mounting additional tonearms is a straightforward process, as the tonearm bases are attached securely to the chassis with two robust Allen screws. Users can adjust the distance from the center pin according to their preferences and use existing tonearms without compatibility concerns.
- Customization Options: The Tornado Neo offers customization options, including the choice of finish (all-black, all-silver, or black-silver bicolor) to suit individual aesthetics and preferences. This level of personalization adds practicality by allowing users to match the turntable with their existing audio setup and decor.
- Versatile Tonearm Options: Acoustic Signature offers a range of their own tonearm models, with most of them available in both nine-inch and twelve-inch configurations. This versatility enables users to tailor the turntable’s performance to their specific needs and musical preferences.
- Duraturn Diamond Bearing (DTD): The inclusion of Acoustic Signature’s DTD bearing ensures long-term reliability and durability. With this bearing technology, users can have confidence in the turntable’s performance over time. The extended warranty, particularly for the bearing, provides peace of mind for users.
The Acoustic Signature Tornado Neo turntable combines usability and practical functionality with its high-end performance and engineering. From straightforward setup and intuitive controls to minimal maintenance requirements and customization options, the Tornado Neo offers a user-friendly and versatile listening experience. These practical features enhance the overall usability of the turntable and ensure that audiophiles of all levels of experience can enjoy it.
The Tornado Neo astounds with its tranquility and expansive soundstage. It eliminates resonances, offering a pure and unadulterated listening experience. This turntable remains unfazed despite external vibrations, showcasing its exceptional decoupling capabilities. However, it’s essential to note that it is sensitive to airborne noise.
Sound Test and Sound Quality
The Acoustic Signature Tornado Neo turntable underwent rigorous sound tests to evaluate its sonic performance. The sound quality produced by this turntable is a result of its exceptional engineering and design, as well as its ability to minimize resonances and external vibrations. Here, we delve into the sound test process and the sound quality it delivered:
- Remarkable Calm and Silence: One of the standout characteristics of the Tornado Neo is its ability to impart a sense of tranquility and silence to the listening experience. This tranquility does not manifest as a reduction in dynamics but rather as a profound stillness that extends into the background of the soundstage. The turntable creates an almost immeasurably deep stage where the acoustics of the recordings can unfold unhindered.
- Resonance-Free Performance: The Tornado Neo eliminates resonances that can color the sound. During sound tests, no audible resonances were detected, whether as inadmissible coloration or through deliberate tapping on various parts of the turntable with the needle in place and the record spinning.
- Decoupling from External Vibrations: The turntable’s advanced decoupling technology effectively isolates it from external vibrations. Even when subjected to significant external vibrations, such as those caused by nearby construction work, the Tornado Neo remained unaffected and played music without disturbance.
- Minimal Airborne Noise Sensitivity: While the Tornado Neo excels at decoupling from ground vibrations, it is sensitive to airborne noise, particularly when playing music at higher volumes. External noise, such as loud conversations or ambient sounds, can stimulate the turntable.
- Wide Soundstage: The soundstage created by the Tornado Neo is expansive and immersive. It allows for a spacious and detailed music presentation, providing an immersive listening experience.
- Transparency and Detail: The turntable offers exceptional transparency, allowing for the subtle nuances and details within recordings to shine through. It captures the intricacies of instruments and vocals with remarkable clarity.
- Resonance-Free Playback: The absence of resonances and coloration ensures that the sound remains pure and faithful to the recording. This transparency enables the listener to hear the music as the artist intended.
- Natural Tonal Balance: The Tornado Neo delivers a natural tonal balance across the frequency spectrum. Bass frequencies are controlled and articulate, midranges are expressive, and high frequencies are detailed without harshness.
- Musical Engagement: The turntable’s fundamental calmness and precision translate into a superior musical engagement. Even the quietest and subtlest musical elements are presented with precision and order, creating a magnetic pull that draws the listener into the music.
Nine-Inch vs. Twelve-Inch Tonearm Comparison:
The sound tests explored the choice between a nine-inch and a twelve-inch tonearm. The nine-inch tonearm tended to produce a slightly brighter and more detailed sound, with a wider and more detailed soundstage. On the other hand, the twelve-inch tonearm provided a more physically engaging, rounded, and closed-in tonal presentation. The choice between the two largely depended on the listener’s preferences and the specific music being played.
In conclusion, the Acoustic Signature Tornado Neo turntable delivers exceptional sound quality characterized by its remarkable calmness, transparency, and resonance-free playback. It offers an immersive listening experience with a wide soundstage and precise detail retrieval. The choice between the nine-inch and twelve-inch tonearm configurations provides flexibility to cater to individual preferences and specific music genres, making the Tornado Neo a versatile and high-performance turntable for audiophiles seeking the highest sound quality standards.
The Acoustic Signature Tornado Neo stands as a testament to precision engineering and meticulous craftsmanship. Its exceptional build quality, bearing technology, and flexibility in tonearm options make it a top choice for audiophiles seeking a versatile and high-performance turntable. The question of whether to opt for a nine or twelve-inch tonearm remains a matter of personal preference and the specific demands of your music collection. In either configuration, the Tornado Neo delivers a listening experience that is sure to captivate audiophiles.
Reasons to Buy the Acoustic Signature Tornado Neo Turntable:
- Exceptional Sound Quality: The Tornado Neo delivers remarkable sound quality with its ability to provide a calm and silent background, transparency, and resonance-free playback. It offers an immersive listening experience that brings out the nuances and details in your music.
- Solid Build Quality: Crafted from a single block of solid aluminum and featuring precision engineering, the turntable exhibits outstanding build quality. Its durability and rigidity contribute to its long-lasting performance.
- User-Friendly Setup: The turntable is designed for ease of setup, making it accessible to both newcomers and experienced audiophiles. Clear instructions and a comprehensive gauge simplify the alignment of the tonearm and cartridge.
- Customization Options: The Tornado Neo allows for the mounting of up to three tonearms, providing flexibility and customization to suit different musical needs and preferences.
- Quiet Operation: The turntable operates silently, even in challenging conditions, ensuring that external vibrations and noise do not interfere with your listening experience.
- Minimal Maintenance: With minimal maintenance requirements and a user-friendly design, the Tornado Neo offers hassle-free upkeep, allowing you to focus on enjoying your music.
- Versatile Tonearm Options: Acoustic Signature offers a range of tonearm models, allowing you to choose the ideal tonearm length and design to match your musical preferences.
- Personalization: The turntable is available in various finishes, allowing you to select the one that complements your existing audio setup and decor.
- Duraturn Diamond Bearing (DTD): The inclusion of Acoustic Signature’s DTD bearing technology ensures long-term reliability, and the extended warranty provides peace of mind.
Reasons Not to Buy the Acoustic Signature Tornado Neo Turntable:
- High Cost: The Tornado Neo is a high-end turntable, and its price reflects its exceptional build quality and performance. It may not be suitable for budget-conscious buyers.
- Limited Portability: Due to its substantial mass and solid construction, the turntable is not easily portable and may require a dedicated listening space.
- Complexity for Beginners: While the turntable offers user-friendly setup instructions, it may still be considered complex for beginners new to high-end audio equipment.
- Additional Equipment Required: To fully enjoy the Tornado Neo, you will need a high-quality phono preamp and a set of compatible speakers or headphones. These additional components can add to the overall cost of your audio system.
- Size and Space Requirements: The turntable’s size and space requirements may not be suitable for smaller living spaces or setups with limited room for audio equipment.
In conclusion, the Acoustic Signature Tornado Neo turntable is an excellent choice for audiophiles seeking top-tier sound quality, exceptional build quality, and customization options. While its high cost and complexity may deter some potential buyers, those who prioritize audio excellence and craftsmanship will find it a worthy investment for a premium listening experience.
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