Perpetuum Ebner 2020jubilee – Perpetuum Ebner returned to the market in 2015, just like other illustrious brands that had no response to the stormy developments in hi-fi. The new PE2020 turntable is an ode to the first 2020, which appeared in 1968.
There was a time, in the mid-1950s, when the major German turntable brands accounted for 90% of the world trade in these types of products. These are Dual, Perpetuum Ebner and Elac. Literally millions of record players were built and it is not very difficult to find beautiful vintage copies from these manufacturers these days. In addition, EMT is of course the professional manufacturer of the best that was on the market in those years. You can still score from that whole range today with, for example, a Dual 1229 or 1219. Considered by many to be the best vintage turntables from this brand. Those looking for fabulous performance are well off with an EMT 920 or 927.
Dual and Perpetuum Ebner come from the same family. In 1907 the brothers Josef and Christian Steidinger started a factory in St. Georgen (Black Forest). In 1911 the brothers split up because of a difference of opinion. The Steidinger family traditionally had a clockmaking business. Josef founded a precision mechanics company in 1911. There they made springs for gramophone engines, among other things. After Josef left, Christian continued this business. They developed motors for gramophones and a new invention was an electric motor that powered a spring motor. So, the so-called Dual engine. From 1937 the company also started to build turntables.
Josef founded the company Perpetuum and built spring motors and automatics. From 1920 this company already built complete gramophones and they became electric from 1934. Through the marriage of Hermine Steidinger (daughter of Josef) to Albert Ebner, the company was given the name Perpetuum Ebner. Ebner also had a company, which was merged with Perpetuum. In 1971, PE and Dual were reunited, but both brands eventually disappeared from the market. PE came back into the market in 2015 thanks to efforts from Wolfgang and Regina Epting. Dual has very recently restarted, Elac is back as well and EMT has been around forever, but is not building turntables at the moment. Alfred Fehrenbacher, who produced the original Dual turntables in the 1980s, has teamed up with Audio Tuning (Heinz Lichtenegger’s company). Fehrenbacher will build Pro-Ject turntables in the Black Forest, but also the classic and perhaps new Dual turntables. But under the name Rekkord Audio.
Just before the merger with Dual, the (original) 2020 was put on the market in 1968. Last year (2020), because of this historic fact, PE built a limited edition of forty copies under the name PE2020jubilee. There are twenty white/black copies and twenty walnut/black copies. The white/black 2020 jubilee present here in the listening room is therefore quite a rare item.
This turntable is equipped with a sub-chassis and extremely solidly built. With the return of vinyl, a type of turntable was created that the undersigned was described as an ‘MDF board with a Chinese toy motor’. The importance of these extremely affordable turntables was very great. They were a major contributor to the renewed interest in vinyl. These turntables have actually democratized the market. Accessible to everyone and ideal for rediscovering the moving box with vinyl that had been in the attic for 35 years. Many of those simple record players didn’t sound really bad either. But, gradually the quality of new turntables increased. Thorens and PE also came up with the familiar turntable with sub-chassis, with a solid construction, a heavy plinth and beautiful metal plateaus. In addition, the whole world of vinyl is booming. Many well-known turntable brands made a restart (eg Technics) and manufacturers also came up with ‘bling bling’ turntables. Beautiful works of art, made of stainless steel and acrylic, which often sound creditable. As is the case in hi-fi country, another nonsensical category with prices up to 350,000 euros. Especially aimed at a target group with too much money. The performance is not always necessarily better than the more affordable ones. A Swiss Thales turntable with a Simplicity II tonearm often beats them. As is the case in hi-fi country, another nonsensical category with prices up to 350,000 euros. Especially aimed at a target group with too much money. The performance is not always necessarily better than the more affordable ones. A Swiss Thales turntable with a Simplicity II tonearm often beats them. As is the case in hi-fi country, another nonsensical category with prices up to 350,000 euros. Especially aimed at a target group with too much money. The performance is not always necessarily better than the more affordable ones. A Swiss Thales turntable with a Simplicity II tonearm often beats them.
The sub-chassis hangs on three coil springs that can be adjusted from below. The feet can also be adjusted. The sub-chassis carries the sinter-bronze bearing with a 10 mm thick shaft that runs on a ball. The aluminum plateau is 24 mm thick and has internal damping (against ‘ringing’). Even the wheel on which the platform rests and the drive belt is located is made of aluminum. A textbook example of German quality. The motor is of professional origin and comes from Allied Motors, a renowned company in Dordrecht (formerly Premotec). It is an electronically controlled DC specimen. Both speeds can be fine-tuned. The platform is driven with a flat rubber belt. The diameter of the platter is just a few millimeters smaller than the diameter of a long-playing record. This is very handy because you can then remove the plate without having to stop the plateau. On the same sub-chassis is the TO 2017 tonearm with a beautiful hydraulically damped lift. This means that the arm slowly lowers towards the plate. The arm has an adjustable VTA, cross pressure compensation and needle force. There is no separate headshell, but a mounting plate that is mounted at the right angle to the arm and can slide to adjust any other cartridges in the right way. An Ortofon 2M Bronze has been fitted from the factory and has already largely been adjusted. Only the weight for the transverse pressure compensation and the counterweight still need to be attached. The needle pressure must also be set. So it is almost a plug & play package. A phono cable is also included and fits in the RCA chassis parts on the back of the plinth. The consumer can then easily experiment with other phono cables. A separate adapter is included for the power supply. At the rear there is also a setting for the speed. The entire turntable weighs 17 kg and that says something about the solid construction. The design is very modern and partly breathes the simple and functional design language of the Bauhaus. The entire turntable has a chic look. You cannot escape an attack of ruthless greed. The entire turntable weighs 17 kg and that says something about the solid construction. The design is very modern and partly breathes the simple and functional design language of the Bauhaus. The entire turntable has a chic look. You cannot escape an attack of ruthless greed. The entire turntable weighs 17 kg and that says something about the solid construction. The design is very modern and partly breathes the simple and functional design language of the Bauhaus. The entire turntable has a chic look. You cannot escape an attack of ruthless greed.
Structure of Perpetuum Ebner 2020jubilee
Coincidentally, a set was ready when the turntable arrived here, in the form of the just not smoldering remnants of a previous review. Quad-raad, in the person of Theo Wubbolts, is the importer and the listening room was on the way. The machine had come from Germany in the morning and was driven directly to this author. Theo is still from the analog era and has an immense knowledge of music and recording technique. The turntable was put down just as quickly as usual, waiting for further tuning and attention on my part. Because, in such a setting, a device has to score and reveal potential. Put something down that triggers you. That happened and then it’s all hands on deck. Keep busy until the last note thunders out of the speakers in all perfection. That’s the ultimate challenge similar to Expedition Robinson or Temptation Island. Tuning then consists of carefully adjusting the turntable. In this case this was limited to setting the needle force and the pull force of the transverse pressure compensation. Normally a phono cartridge is tuned here with the Acoustical Systems toolkit. However, some test and measurement plates have still ended up on the plateau. The system base (amplifier, speaker cable and speakers) was an ideal match. Neutral, powerful and dynamic. Then only the (separate) phono amplifier still needs to be adjusted. The Ortofon Bronze (MM) requires an impedance of 47K and a capacitance from 150pF. PE gives a value of 1.8 grams for the needle force, but Ortofon itself starts at 1.5 grams. Still started at 1.8 grams. The soundstage was a bit too far to the left. The 2020 stands here on a Townshend Seismic Isolation Platform and the phono amplifier and preamp thrive on Van Medevoort’s new and extremely useful RA4 Resonance Absorbers. The image returned to center by leveling the turntable and minimizing the cross-pressure compensation. Ultimately, the needle force of 1.5 grams was chosen. Apparently the transverse pressure compensation is then slightly too strong for this value.
The first thing that struck me was the stability and solidity of the sound. There is a certain form of authority. Features that you will not encounter with much cheaper turntables. The sound there can be playful, lively and enthusiastic, but also a bit less controlled. But the Perpetuum Ebner 2020jubilee is clearly a mature turntable in that regard. The sound is also purely neutral. That also has to do with the Ortofon Bronze. That is an analytical, neutral, very detailed and subtle sounding cartridge. This Bronze is representative of how great the MM technique is today. On par and maybe slightly better than the Shure V15 type5, one of the best MM cartridges ever made. The difference between an MC and this Bronze becomes extremely small. Cartridges up to about 2000 euros are very good today. The experience here is that many cartridges with a much higher purchase price, have little added value, apart from the few exceptions. For a minimal improvement you pay thousands of euros extra. One problem is that such cartridges are sometimes ‘naked’, or sometimes have housings made of materials that are highly coloured. Wood, natural stone and the like. That analog sound is ‘warm’ is not recognized here. Perhaps with someone who plays worn records with a set that has not had a single tube replaced for forty years. However, it is impossible to knock out of the collective consciousness that analog sounds warm. A good analog recording can register the warmth of instruments, voices, the acoustics and the microphones used, and you can hear that in all beauty on a neutral analog playback set. But no heat can be recognized from the analog technology as such. A tape recorder sounds neutral and so does a good turntable. If not, then there is distortion. However, analog recordings from long ago were often made with microphones, microphone amplifiers and other studio equipment that (consciously or not) had some form of coloration. Modern studio equipment is often much more neutral.
What stands out about the Perpetuum Ebner 2020jubilee is the balanced sound that can sound subtle and defined, but also with a huge drive. Play Children of Sanchez Overture from the movie of the same name (AMLM66700). This former Studio Sport tune comes out of the speakers with such robust power and stability, it’s like being launched. The enormous space that this turntable can accommodate and the dynamics is beautifully reflected at 88 Basie Street (Pablo 2310-901). Recorded in 1983 in Hollywood and the 2020 puts the band very wide and deep in the listening space. The sheer realism this PE can deliver is evident on Astor Piazzolla’s ‘Tango Zero Hour’ (AMCL 1013, American Clave). According to Piazzolla the best record he ever made. Listening to the 2020 you can only wholeheartedly confirm that. If you’re talking about sound, you might listen to Golden Slumbers and Carry That Weight (Louis van Dyke plays Lennon-Mc Cartney, CBS S64946). The sound of the Flentrop organ in the Dutch Reformed Church in Loenen aan de Vecht is phenomenal, but so is the characteristic way of transposing, which is a kind of trademark of Louis. One of Joan Baez’s finest LPs is probably ‘Diamonds & Rust’ (AM Records SP-4527). Baez likes beautiful songs. This record meant a new direction for her. The title song is great, but Baez also sings Jesse. That was daring, because there were already two sublime performances, by Janis Ian and Roberta Flack. Those who want a superior sounding LP should look for ‘Tuck & Patti’ from 1988 (Windham Hill Records/A&M Records). The 2020 responds here with detail, subtlety and dynamism. This album was digitally recorded with the DBX700 recorder. A funny machine because the storage of the signal was done on a VHS video machine. Very fine is the album ‘Horace Silver and the Jazz Messengers’ (Blue Note BLP 1518), recorded by Rudy van Gelder. The first 12-inch appeared in mono in 1956 (Lexington Avenue). It is a compilation of 10 inches previously released. The American 1966 release (Liberty) is playing here from the archive, which is in stereo. That is a bit more fun on this stereo 2020. The turntable perfectly reflects the atmosphere of this recording. Diana Krall’s ‘Live in Paris’ is also sublime. A package with two LPs spinning at 45 rpm and mastered by Bernie Grundman. Also spectacular is the breadth and fabulous sound of the Francisco Symphony Orchestra with Symphony no.9 From The New World (Dvorak, Philips 6598 273). The Perpetuum Ebner 2020jubilee puts down a stereo image here of five meters wide with an enormous depth. Obviously the rest of the system lends a hand here too, but there are turntables that just don’t with this record.
Perpetuum Ebner 2020jubilee -Epilogue
In summary, what is striking about this turntable is the mature and stable sound. If the rest of the audio system cooperates, this turntable, with the Ortofon Bronze, produces a neutral, detailed, dynamic, very spacious and enormously powerful sound. The heat from a recording is also perfectly communicated. It will be clear that the Perpetuum Ebner 2020jubilee is an excellent basis for experimenting with even better cartridges. Then you have to come from a good family, because the Ortofon Bronze already has enormous qualities.
Also striking is the impressive German build quality of this turntable. It is one of those products that can last for at least sixty years. Just plain old-fashioned, without software and all kinds of apps, so that you can throw such a product away in five years. Although this PE is extremely affordable, a consumer is entitled to a solid product with a long lifespan. You could call it ‘lifecycle by design’ and that is at odds with the throwaway economy that has also made its appearance in the audio world. In a modern interior, this PE is also a beauty to see. The price/quality ratio is optimal here. The Perpetuum Ebner 2020jubilee will also perform in high-end systems with price tags that capture the imagination. The importer reported that Perpetuum Ebner is coming in early 2022 with a non-limited edition that is completely in black and Ä 2. 499 will cost with an Ortofon 2M Black. Keep an eye on the Quad-raad website!
Price of Perpetuum Ebner 2020jubilee:
Perpetuum Ebner 2020jubilee € 2.499,- (Including Ortofon 2M Bronze)