"Hi Chris, Your Garrard 301 Statement belongs to the super league. My analog technician is very impressed and so am I. It is something very special. I will show it in the Trinity room of upcoming Audio Exotics AE show."
Chris L., Hong Kong
"Just opened the two crates. Totally impressive. Much better than my already high expectation."
"Amazing deck. Loving the NGS + 4point + Fuuga, much better than the Air Force One."
W. D., Hong Kong
"So had analog nutcase friend over for 4 hours Sunday to sort out what's going on that Garrard with 12" Ikeda was sounding so much better than Origin Live Sovereign with 9" Enterprise arm. Both have Ortofon Anna cartridges.
We mounted the Enterprise on Garrard to see how it would compare to Ikeda using same phono cable and again, Anna. No comparison, the Ikeda setup killed it. We figured no way could be that much difference in tonearms. So, swapped Anna's and.... suddenly Enterprise sounded every bit, err groovy, as Ikeda and Ikeda went 'south'. Hmmm, turns out one Anna was way off in sound and is going back to Ortofon. Note: we had done a quick cartridge comparison about two months ago and both Anna's were in same league then, though we didn't do near as precise comparisons as yesterday.
So, ok found out the arms are practically interchangeable sonically (more time would no doubt reveal differences but on whole near enough) - bigger difference between Ikeda tonearm cable and Valhalla 2 than the arms actually. Go figure. So, how about the tables then? Put Enterprise arm back on Sovereign table with good Anna and.... far better than it was of course but still not the drive, dynamics or body of Garrard. We did numerous swap around's, remember we spent over 4 hours on all this. Bottom line: Sovereign is wonderful at 40% the price of Garrard and superb but have to give it to the Statement Garrard, it does what the hype is about.
Fit and finish of Ikeda is impeccable amazing Japanese and well beyond Origin Live and it has detachable headshell. It also is lacking alignment jig and no wonder; the company can't supply one as they can't decide how to align it. Also, it's stainless steel and effective mass is near 25 grams so while Anna is fine in it, forget Lyra's and many other cartridges. Origin, while not near finish is still superb looking and much more versatile cartridge wise plus no doubt in 12" version for $500 extra would have gained a little in performance. Enterprise's modern look doesn't match Classic look of Garrard though and Ikeda looks positively amazing on it. But for most tables, I'd take OL which is terrific looking on any modern table.
Outcome: it's an easy choice for Garrard regardless of arm and what I'll be listening to daily."
Jay K., California
"So after being an audio hobbyist since my uncle got me going down this demented path some 17 years ago I finally purchased a TT. I had flirted with the idea for a very long time but honestly I've heard a number of TT's at shows and at buddies homes and none of them moved me. Now obviously many many variables are involved. Lets start with, was their TT setup correctly (superlatively).., I don't know. Was the arm/cartridge combination simpatico.., again, I don't know. Was the phono preamp just so-so or great and if it was great was the cartridge loaded correctly.., you get my drift.
So with my digital down through the years easily besting (to my ears) the analog I'd been privy to, I found no reason to spend the money required to involve myself with analog. My former Bidat easily dispatched a SOTA Cosmos Vacuum TT in a head to head listening session. Ditto for my former Dynavox Dynastation.., same with my AMR DP777...etc.
At Axpona last year I listened to the $170K Clearaudio TT along with about $85K worth of Pass Amplification and perhaps $200K worth of JM Labs speaker and cabling only to be more moved by the sound from the Playback Design MPD-5 in the same room.
Finally I realized the only way I would ever find out for myself would be to purchase my OWN TT and make sure it was expertly setup and dialed-in. I had a rare chance to purchase a latest-revision-pristine example of a Graaf GM70 Phono Preamplifier. I have a soft spot for Graaf as Mr. Mariani simply builds the finest gear I have laid ears on. So now I have this phono pre sitting in the box for a few months when I see a SP 10 MK III come up for sale in Agon. So, I threw caution to the wind and contacted Chris at Artisan Fidelity; after some conversation I hung up having just commissioned the building of a SP10 MKIII Next Gen TT.
I was happy for about a month then the fear started to creep in, "what have I done?". What if this thing SUCKS!!!! and my digital system which is very very very good if I do say so myself stomps it!
During the build I researched and read tons of user reviews (I don't really pay attention to so-called pro reviewers) on arms and cartridges. I finally settled (with a lot of talking to Chris and other friends and a lot of late night web searching) on the Kuzma 4 Point and the Ortofon MC Anna.
So, here we are today and I have had my TT for a little over 3 weeks now and I have about 150 - 160 hours on the rig. Early on it sounded ok, you know.., good but nothing special. I liked it but my digital was fully up to the task and in some cases much better :) (now I'm scared)
Ok, so fast forward to 100 hours.., ok, I think I'm starting to understand all this analog hype :) better and better. now we are at 150 hours.., the word SUBLIME comes to mind. The spaciousness, openness and natural continuity of the analog is addictive. The dynamics seem to go on forever along with a naturalness that is very difficult to put into words. I did purchase the Furutech Demag, the Destat II, a scale..., all the toys to go along with it :) Again, I wanted to know for myself and the only way to do that was to take the plunge.
So how does my digital hold up? Well, my well run-in long time AMR DP777 has NOTHING to be ashamed of. It sounds great and I can easily go from the TT to the DP without too much shock (the AMR guys are big vinyl heads and use vinyl as a reference when designing) BUT... when I have two equally well recorded pieces of music (Best of Eva Cassidy comes to mind or Diana Krall Live in Paris 24/96 vs 180g/45) as good as my digital sounds the SP10MK III simply walks away. Again the digital is not trodden underfoot and indeed 20 seconds of the digital and you will be into it fully, but the analog rig beguiles with its effervescent ease and infinite continuity of musical flow.
Ok, so to end this long synopses.., I am now deeply into analog and have been going to local used record stores and burning up my cc on Music Direct and Acoustic Sounds...etc.
The folks at Artisan Fidelity are the real deal and they built me a museum quality +180 pound Porsche Basalt Black TT/piece of art that sounds AMAZING!!!!
I also ordered a Bassocontinuo Apogeo rack for the table which should arrive in about 2 weeks. I am enjoying my foray into the land of analog!!!"
Don N., Chicago
"I've been enjoying my Artisan Fidelity Garrard 301 Statement for about six months. I looked long and hard for a turntable that I believed would be the last and only table I would ever need. I spoke with Christopher for quite a while one night and made a decision I have not regretted. Mine is in piano black lacquer with an Ortofon transcription tonearm and two SPU cartridges.
For myself, I was getting back into vinyl after a decades long flirtation with CD/SACDs. I hadn't spent much time with vinyl until a friend invited me over to hear his complete Shindo system. While he has a beautiful Shindo 301 table himself, he said he'd get an Artisan Fidelity if he had to do it again. Wow, I was surprised to hear that and I took his recommendation to heart.
Rather than two tonearms, which I eschewed for esthetic reasons, I had AF make two separate armboards instead: one standard for the SPU G shell (and other standard cartridges), the other dedicated specifically for the SPU A shell. This is working out great for me, as I don't switch between them often. That was a neat solution they came up with for me.
I specified that I wanted to go with the Ortofon SPU series cartridges and was delighted to discover that AF is a certified Ortofon (among others, I sure) dealer.
I cannot praise enough Christopher's customer service. He has raised the bar for me in every way. I won't go in to details because it would not be my place to over-promise on his behalf. But I will emphatically state that he has never over-promised and under-delivered ... and the "promise" has been quite a high bar indeed.
My Garrard 301 Statement has exceeded my expectations in every way! First, the ease of designing and ordering in conjunction with Christopher's input and expertise to my wishes, specification and expectations. Second, the timely delivery of the table at my home. And third, of course, the playing of the unit in my home. It plays like a dream.
I'm not a guy to address a lot of technical questions like I see on this thread. But as a full-time musician and record lover, I just wanted to share my experience with Artisan Fidelity.
Every single aspect of the experience has far, far and away exceeded my expectation. Christopher and I had a laugh when I ordered mine the evening of our initial discussion. "Confucius says, 'Buy the best and cry once'," I remember saying. I've thrown a lot of money at also-ran products over the years and now I see the wisdom in buying the best and being satisfied forever. I say forever because at my age (mid-fifties), I cannot foresee ever contemplating another turntable. So when you contemplate your price to value, remember price is what you pay, value is what you get. Yes, they are expensive. But their value far exceeds the initial cost. Christopher -- if you happen to read this -- THANK YOU!!"
Britt A., Arizona
"Chris, I've been up all night listening to this thing make music along with the wife. We had a ball. Thanks for all the work and suggestions to make this concept in my head a reality. I could not have done it on my own. It's probably an initial euphoria sort of thing, but out of all the decks I've built over the years for myself, friends and customers, this is the best one yet and not by a small margin. I'm hitting the hay, tired out and I've got friends coming in later this evening to check the deck out. Talk to you later my friend."
Yan K., Singapore
"Chris' work is top notch, and his designs are tailored to meet his clients' needs. Want dual arm compatibility?. . .check. Want 12" capability?. . .check. Want your table in puce with magenta stripes?. . .check. I went with a single arm design The base of the deck is constructed primarily of Panzerholz in a constrained layer configuration. Weight of the table and standard platter is close to 80 pounds. I decided on Audi Daytona Gray as my color of choice, along with a Kuzma 4Point arm. Current cartridge is a Van Den Hul Frog Gold, with partial duty served by an Air Tight PC-1. So how does the result of this collaboration sound? In a word. . .fantastic. The combo communicates both music and emotion. What's on the vinyl is what you hear. . .there's no homogenization which seems to be inherent in lesser tables. Backgrounds are silent and black. Obviously the arm and cartridge play a significant factor, but the 4Point exhibits excellent synergy with the table. I can't speak highly enough of Chris' work. I would encourage anyone looking for an SP10, Garrard, or Lenco to touch base with him. . .you won't be disappointed."
Bob S., Missouri
"Christopher and Artisan Fidelity keep taking classic restorations to next level. This time I bought a beautiful Technics SP10 MKII restoration, the finish and attention to detail is truly high end."
Fernando C., Florida
"People normally don't do these things anymore but I wanted to call and let you know how much I appreciated the time you spent with me discussing various turntable types and options. You obviously have a tremendous passion for what you do and it shows."
Brent H., New Hampshire
"Chris, Just wanted to drop you a note letting you know how satisfied I am with the Birdseye maple plinth and the refurbishing of my SP-10 turntable. The quality of work is outstanding and it was thoroughly enjoyable talking with you on the phone. Your passion for improving vintage turntables is evident in your finished products as is your commitment to your craft. Also, just wanted to say that the wooden shipping crate is also a nice touch. Thanks again!"
Dean C., Washington
"Good news! both the TT and the base have arrived safe and sound, as for looks... truly art! beautiful! the eye goes automatically to the TT in the room, just like a gorgeous woman!"
Lucio A., Toronto
"Just a short note to let you know the TT arrived. It is beautiful and everything was packaged well. I haven't had time to set it up yet, but since I'm still waiting for my pre-amp to return I'm in no rush. Thank you very much for all you help."
Dale L., British Columbia
"I just wanted to this opportunity to complement you on the quality of the workmanship that went into the construction of our project.The bullet proof packaging was also appreciated.They look great and are exactly what I had envisioned. You guys rock."
Mark and Jennifer, Canada
"Merry Christmas Chris, The Thorens looks great and is playing away as we speak! Thanks for being a man of your word!"
Alan J., Arizona
"The Achates arrived in perfect condition, excellent packing. Sounds amazing. Chris is also wonderful to deal with, always available, responsive and helpful, and very knowledgeable. Would not hesitate to buy from again."
Cliff C., California
"The fully restored Thorens TD125MK2 Chris provided was professionally restored,setup and shipped in perfect order. He is a true credit to this hobby,very knowledgeable and great to deal with. He has my highest recommendation."
Jim I., Connecticut
"I received the weight last night and set it up. It solved the problem and the Thorens works great. The sound of this table is magnificent and I am going to provide positive feed back. I do hope you will be providing more of these. You are a true credit to this hobby."
Richard C., Florida
"Chris, the Technics Sp10Mk2NG arrived and has quickly exceeded my expectations, after having owned your conventional Mk2 I had no idea how much better this model would sound, unreal. Transparency, lower noise floor and resolution are now on another level."
Fernando C., FL Cruze First Audio
"Hi Chris, I'm loving it, sounds great and not even broken in yet, awesome turntable my friend! It was worth the wait and worth the investment. Thank you." (Lenco L75 DCHM)
Gary H., California
"I can say that listening to my favorite recordings now is like hearing them for the first time. Everything sounds as if it should and the soundstage places everything where it should be. Craftsmanship of the the piece - suffice it to say that my listening room WAS a spare bedroom. When my wife saw the finished product she suggested that I move everything to our living room making the 301 a focal point."
Frank C., Ohio
"Chris is a knowledgeable and friendly professional specializing in vinyl playback. He is fun to talk to, has great integrity, and his packaging, communication, and products are of exceptional quality."
Bret Z., USA
"Hi Chris, Really enjoying listening to my vinyl again for the first time. Every time I put on a different album, I'm blown away." (Lenco DCHM)
Steve B., New York
"I picked up my Achates Lenco November 2 2013. Like you I had some fear after ordering it. My over 30 year old Oracle Alexandria with Morch DP-6 arm was getting old and I had to make a change. The rest of the system had been updated over the past 10 years also. The Lenco came with an Orirgin Live Encounter MK.3C arm. Using a Clear Audio Maestro V2 cartridge. From the start I was very happy with the purchase. After about 40 hours of playing time I am very happy and really wish I was retired so I could do more listening. I also have a Jolida cd player with a level 1 mod. I still like it but the tt is considerably better. It is a fair amount of money for most people to pay for a tt but after listening to it in a system that is worthy of it, the tt is acually a bargain. It performs beyond it's price tag. Artisan Fidelity is definently worth considering if your in need of a tt. Also the audio phile that is considering this type of purchase probably has spent as much or more for amp and pre amp and Artisan Fidelity turntables are going to benefit your system just as much as good electronics."
Jeff S., Wisconsin
"Well, it was long in the waiting, but I got it. It's a truly beautiful table (a work of art) and operates flawlessly. When the power turns off the platter keeps rotating for several minutes, a sign of a truly well balanced platter. Forgot to mention; that crate was the best packaging for hi fi equipment I ever received (and I received alot over the years)." (Achates Idler drive)
Mike D., California
Garrard 301 Statement and Shindo Garrard 301 comparison notes: "Its an awesome deck chris. Truly. Hands down the best rendition of a 301 I have ever heard. Am AB ing it now with several other 301s at my customers place.... my client is flabbergasted..."
Yan K., Singapore (2nd testimonial)
"Finally got my table up and running, it's amazing by far my best turntable ever. I'm just using an Ortofon AS309 and haven't setup the Kuzma 4 point yet. Thank you so much for your extraordinary turntable." (Technics Sp10Mk3 NG)
Alan C., MD
"Christopher, I honestly believe the turntable you created for me is the best investment that I have ever made in my audio passion, it is better than either my previous TNT and Micro Seiki turntables. The quality and absolute sound projection is superlative. You and your business is a real jewel to the audio industry. Your passion for excellence is unparalleled. Great designs, great quality, great sound. Thank you. Oh, I forgot. Your turntable is better than my vehicles, better than the wine I make, better than the books I read, better than my telescope I use for watching the stars, better than either of my dogs and Kitty, and better than my best fishing poles/reels. You do great work. Perhaps my wife rises above this rating, but not always!" (Achates Idler Drive)
Don R., NM
"Christopher, Just wanted to let you know that I received the turntable on Thursday. It looks gorgeous and sounds superb. No hum, no rumble; total silence. It sounds very modern and agile. Thank you for this masterpiece."
Faruk U., California
"Chris, I really love the MKIII NG. Having done MKIII plinths with Albert, Steve and even the earlier version of yourself, I can say without a doubt you've advanced your craft to state of the art status. I wish you continued success and maybe someday we can do that NGS. Just thought you should know how much I'm enjoying the work you did for me, on pretty generous terms to boot."
K. Hall, IA
"Hello Christopher, Just a quick interim response. My listening has been limited but here are a few initial non-technical impressions:
Compared to my SME 30.2:
- a much cleaner, more focused, more controlled sound
- tighter rhythmically
- quieter, almost silent
- superb separation of instruments, voices, spacial sense
- less forgiving on damaged records or poor recordings
- it looks absolutely stunning. My 19 and 23 year old sons described it as
"uber-cool retro" whereas I prefer "timeless elegance".
I have not bought the Monarchy power supply yet as I¹m told a new single component
product is due out next month from UK¹s IsoTek that would be perfect for a
turntable. I believe it will be named "Genesis One"."
Bill R., London, England UK
"I have had the Garrard 301 Statement in my system for about six months now and I am getting a clear view on this great turntable. Guests, whether audiophile or not, are always commenting about how beautiful it is – art for the eyes. The best part is that, almost invariably, they want to hear it. For those that aren’t experienced audiophiles, that gives me a chance to introduce them to vinyl. They come away exclaiming about the sound – art for the ears!
Sound-wise I am very pleased. For me, it is all about presence. That’s what makes vinyl superior to digital. The Statement 301 delivers that “in the room” sense that is often missing from other sources. Music and the air around it come out of a deep black background. Live recordings are live in the best sense of the word. It is difficult to describe how the combination sounds because it doesn’t. It adds nothing to the recording. Words like warm (or crystalline) don’t apply; it is neither. I like words like transparent and faithful (to the recording) best for this table, arm, and cartridge.
This week we had a shootout. We brought seven copies of a Charles Gerhardt/National Philharmonic recording of The Classic Film Scores of Bernard Herrmann Citizen Kane (RCA Red Seal) together to compare them. We wanted to test the idea that different records, particularly different stampers, sound different. Six of the records were acquired over the web, one from a well know company that specializes in finding especially good sounding records. The short of it was: they do! In fact they vary significantly form best to worst. Over several hours of listening we discovered two examples that were flat and compressed; two more that were okay but not great; and three copies with extraordinary sound. Distinguishing between the first four copies and the other three wasn’t difficult, but sorting the remaining three required the highest quality playback. To sort them required hearing variations in the subtleties of each that would challenge any playback system to resolve. The Artisan Fidelity rig gave us that. The best copy turned out to be one bought over the internet, with the specialty company’s copy in the last three."
Craig M., California
"Just writing to let you know that the Achates is AWESOME. Everything is starting to settle in a bit and sounds incredible, and all of our Christmas guests couldn’t stop talking about how beautiful it is. Anyway, I’m very pleased with the purchase. Happy New Year!"
Chad G., Chicago, IL.
"As expected the second package showed up in December which had the bearing and other goods I couldn’t originally find, and set up went very smoothly. I currently have the table in a system in my private office at home on Maui, so I can play it most of the day, as I wanted to get time on the cartridge, cables, and phono pre. I mounted a Lyra Etna SL on the Reed arm, it feeds an Auditorium 23 Homage T1 SUT, which feeds a Lamm LP 2.1 phono pre. The rest of my office system is a Prima Luna Dialogue HP integrated powering KEF LS50’s, all cabling is Audience AU 24 SX. I have to say the musicality of the Table and arm is amazing, dynamic and detailed, yet so smooth and liquid. Soon I am going to move it to my main system, which consists of MBL 101 Extremes, 2 MBL 9011 and 2 9008 amps, MBL 6010 preamp, and all. At present my analog source for the main system is a fully kitted Linn Klimax LP12, not what most people would expect as a TT in an MBL system, but I really like Linn’s Klimax DS music servers, and had never owned an LP12, so 2 years ago decided when I did the system to try one. When I move the 301 to the main system, I will move the LP12 to my office. I have one other TT at my other home on Whidbey Island, Wa., a SME 30/2 with a Graham Phantom Elite arm, and Clearaudio Goldfinger Statement cartridge, feeding a D’Agostino Momentum phono pre, to a Momentum pre, and Momentum 400 watt monoblocks, all cabling is Transparent Opus Gen 5. the speakers are Wilson Alexandria X2’s. Over the last few weeks I was back in Washington, and while there I recorded 7 different songs from 7 different artists from the SME set up, using a Tascam DA 3000 recording at DSD 128. I then brought the same LP’s back to Maui and recorded all again from the LP12 and the Garrard 301 Statement. I did all the recording direct from the phono pre output of each set up. I have been listening over the past few days in the MBL system to the different songs comparing the sound of the 3 different analog set ups. I know the digital files don’t sound as good as the TT will, but hearing even the recordings from the 301 Statement set up in the big system is so impressive. In comparison to the other TT’s, which sound great as well, the 301 is incredibly detailed, but at the same time you just let your shoulders relax when listening to it, everything is just a bit more rounded without any sharp edges or glare. So I guess to answer your original question my 301 experience has been great. I am running it from the Monarchy AC regenerator at 220 volts and 50hz, I get great speed control with the Eddy brake right about dead center facing forward. And interestingly enough, I was able to modify the second armboard for the SME 3012R arm I had, and the new opening lined up perfectly with where the previous opening had been cut, it is now just a longer opening, although the Reed sounds so good I haven’t even mounted a cartridge on the SME."
Frank S., Hawaii
"Setup the table. Geez. It sounds way better than my Avenger, the bass, the energy. Lots of pride in the build, reminds me of my Daedalus Orpheus speakers. As I type this email, I'm listening the Jeff Buckley's Grace 45rpm and as I flip a disk the Wife commented how well it sounded. Pretty good considering I'm only running a Charisma MC-1."
Lloyd N., Texas
"Christopher, Received the Copper platter mat today. Spectacular fit and sound. Love it. Just wanted to let you know."
Dr. Mike B., CA
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