Santa Claus included in His shipment of goodies this lovely, simple and inexpensive new toy - and I gather my friend Len Wallis had a hand in this this...
But between my own travels, visitors from overseas and...work, I have not had a chance to try this wonderful addition to my hifi kingdom.
We are experiencing a very strong storm here in Sydney, really the tail of a cyclone hitting the Coast 6 hours drive north, so it is a good time to set it up (a breeze...sic) and clean a few records and take the time to listen to the results.
First cab off the rank is "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme" by Simon and Garfunkel, a 1969 CBS record pressed in Holland and purchased in Paris for 49.00 francs, which was quite a sum at the time) which has seen many needles and turntables over the years (Dual 1219, Clement for a few nights, ERA 455, Rega Planar 3 since 194, and more recently Rega P1 branded NAD. BTW, as my daughter is in Paris for six months, I have pinched the glass platter of her (my old...) Planar 3 and installed it in the P1 which brings a significant improvement to the overall sound.
Back to cleaning, after three spins clockwise and three counterclockwise and a good dry with the special doth provided, it has to be said that most of the surface noise is gone, and it brings clarity to the whole affair. For sure, there is still audible noise in the groove in between songs, indicating that the brushes are not doing a great job in the depth of the groove, but gently clean the upper part of it satisfactorily to bring back the music to a very low level of noise free enjoyment.
Next I tried my original 1968 US pressing of the "White Album" from the Beatles bought in Mexico City at the time. This record has been abused at parties, on portable plasticky japanese player a la Teppaz, then on the same turntables as mentioned before. It is so damaged that I bought the 30th anniversary pressing which is still in pristine condition. However the 1968 pressing is still quite not there after the cleaning, as the needle collects a nice little fluff of dirt after the second side of the record finished playing. I think I will have to try a second clean another day and maybe keep it as a collector item, rather than a playable pleasure...I will let you know.
(That's 25 years ago, mon Dieu...)
Having said that, this Spin-Clean costs less than one hundred dollar and will restore most of your precious "galettes" to a listenable condition. To get something more efficient would cost about ten times more with a Clearaudio machine that would probably be my next choice up. But frankly, I rather spend the price difference on more records! Let me have your own cleaning stories...
Tosca is most famous for its range of valve phono stage, preamps and amps. I had a private listening session at Point Musiques, driving Ocellia speakers, and that experience convinced me that these are indeed very rare beasts, extremely quiet and dynamic, but mostly inaudible - a must for any amplifiers, I think...
They need very high efficiency speakers though, as their output power is only 10W or 20W depending on the model.
Continuing their expansion, Tosca has introduced speakers and cables.
I only listened to their Aria 5, teamed up with the Sub 10 subwoofer.
These were driven by the AT5-20W and we used the CD8 from Metronome or the "Classique" turntable as sources, quite a nice set-up, I have to say...
Classified as a mid-range system, it would still set you back a year of most people income!
Tosca use primarily Fostex drivers and in the Aria 5, 4 FX120 and 1 FT96H are used in a d"appolitto configuration and housed in a tear drop shaped metal column. The load is a transmission line design.
These speakers have all the trademark qualities of Fostex speakers, high efficiency, full range, but in
this implementation, I thought the result was pretty disappointing and probably not in line with the
quality of Tosca's electronics. In particular, there was quite a bit of sibilance due to - I think - a
filtering artefact. Also the integration with the subwoofer was far from seamless, although using an
active filter and integrated class D amplifier (in a separate chassis to allow future upgrade).
I wish I had a chance to listen to some of their other speakers, in particular the Recital 12, which is an open baffle 3-way design with an integrated amp to drive the bass driver: intriguing!
Thorens was kind of hidding on their French distributor's stand (DEA International) with a static display - not an ideal set up for such an iconic brand!
Two models were on display, the high end TD 350 and TD 550
Quoting Thorens, "The TD 350 revives the legendary Thorens tradition and concept of the suspended chassis. The construction of the TD 350 ingeniously combines the advantages of a mass platform with those of the suspended chassis. This tried and tested concept as well as traditional manufacturing quality make the TD 350 a record player that will satisfy even the most discerning demands.
The front panel of the TD 550, similarly constructed as the TD 550 which also holds the operational buttons, is available either chrome-plated or with black anodized aluminum finish. The high-grade plinth itself has been refined with finest black piano lacquer.
he TD 550 comes equipped with a suspended chassis and the belt drive around the outer rim of the
platter. The player‘s generous dimensions allow the mounting of 12-inch tonearms also. The tonearm
platform is made from extremely stiff carbon fibre compound which ensures a very rigid coupling of
platter and tonearm".
The TD 350 was fitted with a REGA arm and Ortofon cartridge, the TD550 was fitted with a SME arm.
Being a static display makes it difficult to judge their sonic qualities, but I am sure you will be fine if you choose to buy either of them, or any of the less expensive models, or if you are after looks, then nothing beats the TD 2035 or my favourite, the TD 303...
Born in France, well travelled, relocated to Sydney in 1997.