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Take a Spin

To all the bicyclists reading—sorry!—this isn’t a story about cycling. It’s about one of life’s greatest pleasures: listening to vinyl.

I recently wrote about putting a good basic audio system together, but what comes after you have the amplification and speakers covered? If you want to start listening more critically and like the idea of spinning records, then it’s time to talk turntables.

EAT-C Sharp


Vinyl is back in a big way, and for good reason: It’s one of the most enjoyable hobbies. Opening the album, reading the liner notes, laying it down on the turntable, and dropping the tonearm—BOOM! It’s real, it’s alive, and it sounds spectacular.

EAT Jo No5 Cartridge


I have several turntables—both in my home and workplace—all of which work well and sound great (albeit different) and come at different price points. I often hear the comment: “Don’t they all sound the same?” No, they don’t. Firstly, we all hear differently, and secondly, all audio gear has different sonic signatures based on their parts and engineering. It’s like saying all cars are the same. Yes, they all get you from point A to point B, but how they do it is why we buy it. Does anyone think a Honda Civic can be compared to a Porsche 911? Some might, but they clearly see cars as tools, not engineering marvels.

Wharfedale Lintons


Speaking of Porsche, the turntable pictured here, the EAT-C Sharp, is one I’ve had the pleasure of using for the past few weeks. I refer to Porsche, because of the product’s engineering and overall design. From the moment I opened it, it felt luxurious; every aspect just felt right, including the speed control module and connectors. Mounted on the exceptional tonearm was the EAT Jo No5 Cartridge, another item I’d been wanting to demo. The combo didn’t disappoint! I sat listening to Lyle Lovett’s 12th of June and Lyle was in the room—just voice and music—superb. Not only did the turntable perform at a level higher than expected, but it now ranks in my top three and costs far less than the other two. At $7,200 with the cartridge, it’s not an entry-level piece of gear, but then neither is a Porsche 911.

Tom Petty's "Wildflowers"


As for speakers, I recently test drove a pair of Wharfedale Lintons. In a word? Sublime. They disappear, which (in my opinion) is the goal. I’ve been listening to a lot of Tom Petty lately and recently purchased the remastered Wildflowers. It’s a recording I know well; however, in this system, with the EAT-C Sharp and the Wharfedale Lintons, I felt like I was hearing it for the first time. Whether you’re listening to rock, jazz, or classical, the Lintons can do it all, but what stood out for me were the voices. I played a favorite album next, Sinatra-Basie, and that’s when I knew these speakers were something special. What’s more, their exquisite look and matching stands are perfection—akin to the interior of a custom Jaguar. BTW—I bought them—I couldn’t let them go!

Lyle Lovett


These products found a forever place in my home. It’s one of the perils of writing about gear this good, but darn it, somebody has to do it!  

by Terry Carroll