My analog setup was a Well Tempered Reference with various cartridges and a modded EAR 834P. I feel the WT is a very good Turntable. Extremely quiet, nice Tone and timbre and pace. It was a lot better than an all out LP12 at the time (the difference wasn't even funny). Though I liked it I was looking for something else and better. That is what this hobby is all about.
I tried to make a massive plinth for a Lenco and used an DV505 for a while to see what the hype in many forums is all about. I am no professional plinth builder, but I definitely heard the big potential an idler wheel driven Turntable can bring. The bass, tempo and dynamics of this set-up was definitely beyond what the Well Tempered brings. I was mainly using my VdH Colibri cartridge in Myrtlewood body as my reference at the time, and got some nice result. The Well Tempered however had a much blacker background, and the music flows so nice. The Lenco was noisy, more dynamic had better micro dynamics and separation of all the instruments. So two Turntables with pros and cons.
After this try-out I really got curious about a Dobbins Garrard 301. After some long talks with Steve I decided in the Winter of 2009 to go for a two armed Garrard, with special platter, Loricraft power supply and finally a Reed 2A 10,5 inch Tonearm with Cobolo wooden arm tube and Silver cryo wire. Also I got my hands on a Allnic H1500 Phono to replace the EAR.
When the whole setup finally was put together at my home I couldn't be happier. It looked so nice. All the products I received are build with great care and eye for detail and this really shows.
So I tried the Colibri on the Reed tonearm. And this was something very special, but pretty edgy in some cases. Steve Dobbins and Vidmantas from Tonearms.lt both gave me the advice to be patient. It became clear the silver tonearm wire needed some burn-in. Actually not some, but a lot. With a CD-player I burned the wire in a couple of days.
So up for a new try and this time it all was so much better then I ever heard. I compared the Reed with the DV505. The DV505 is a very solid performer. The way this arm just tracks is really great. You will get a very solid composed picture of the music, but sometimes the Colibri doesn't work at its best with it. The Colibri is a very special cartridge. Sometimes the music just explodes with this cartridge and the DV505 just can't control it in those cases.
So then the Reed. This is like the Colibri, very energetic, extremely good bass performance and the resolution is much better. The tonearm-wire and phono cable in one piece is a lot more resolving then the DV505 (vdH silver tonearm wire and standard phono cable used on this). So you get a lot of air, micro dynamics and very exciting sound. The wooden arm tube also gives a lot more natural timbre and more tone and decay. The Reed is also able to control the Colibri in all circumstances.
The Colibri is quiet a large cartridge and is very sensitive on VTA and azimuth. As it turned out I needed a little riser for the Tonearm (pod) to get the Colibri on the right level. After an email to Tonearms.lt. The pod was immediately send over. That is service guys.... With the pod the sound was more relaxed without losing the magical dynamics of it all.
Later I also tried an Allnic Verito (very exciting and really good, but not a good match with my setup) a Ortofon M20FL and Empire 4000DIII. All these cartridges showed the superiority of the Reed in live like exciting sound. A lot of detail and air without losing tone.
So the Reed is definitely staying and gets my highest recommendation. The combination with Dobbins Garrard and Loricraft power supply is a real winner and the most real, live like and exciting source I have ever heard.
Now its time to play some more music :)
Paul Blom (The Netherlands)