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AVID - Acutus SP Turntable


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AVID Acutus Chrome SP Turntable

Unique "Energy Transmission System" Yields Unparalleled Stability, Zero Vibration at Stylus, Enveloping Soundstages, and Hear-It-To-Believe-It Purity

Intensely Powerful Synchronous Motor Hand-Tuned to Match DSP Power Supply: Combination Provides Perfect Synchronicity, Bottomless Detail Retrieval, and Limitless Dynamics

Achieving excellence often means thinking outside the box. As you can tell from its appearance alone, AVID’s stunning Acutus Chrome SP isn’t your typical turntable. Representative of AVID’s acronym—A Very Interesting Design—this belt-drive sprung-subchassis marvel attains world-class performance from a variety of studied physics principles and smart features that allow it to reproduce everything from the most involved human voices to softest piano notes with ease, accuracy, nonpareil resolution, and lifelike realism. Made to last a lifetime and be handed down to generations, the Acutus Chrome SP is guaranteed to bring you countless hours of musical pleasure by whisking you to the recording studios, live stages, and concert halls where your favorite albums were created. Here is your passport to the world’s most famous venues.

Completely Re-Imagining a Turntable’s Function Leads to Breakthrough Design
Devised from the ground up, the Acutus Chrome SP re-imagines the elemental function of a turntable and how parts can best serve their primary purposes: to support a pick-up arm and cartridge, spin a record at a constant speed, and isolate the stylus interface from unwanted energy. In studying how to achieve these goals, AVID founder Conrad Mas literally threw away the book when creating the Acutus Chrome SP. His refusal to compromise on any aspect and years of intense research led AVID to develop its unique "energy transmission system," which results in unparalleled record stability and zero vibration at the stylus. You will experience immersive spatial acoustics, intense dynamics, massive soundstages, micro- and macro-details, perfect timing, and outstanding stability every time you play vinyl. There’s seemingly no limit to what the Acutus Chrome SP does with LPs.

Ten-Times More Powerful Motor Delivers Unparalleled Synchronicity
Opposite the approach of its competitors, AVID employs an intensely powerful hand-built AC synchronous motor to let the twin-belt drive control the platter. Offering ten times the power of conventional motors and completely tuned to match the power supply, it reduces noise and vibration to immensely low levels and is powered by a cutting-edge, split-phase quartz-locked DSP power supply that keeps the motor speed exactly constant. The resultant synchronicity between stylus and record, eliminated vibration, zero stylus drag, and absence of cogging means that you hear smoother sound, greater rhythmic drive, bigger dynamics, and tremendous bass and treble definition. The Acutus Chrome SP’s gargantuan 10kg aluminum platter also contributes to the photographic images, sumptuous warmth, rich transients, and emotional depth you’ll hear whether playing classic Miles Davis, sonorous classical pianism from Lang Lang, or modern rock by The National.

Say “Goodbye” to Unwanted Vibrations and “Hello” to Sumptuous Sound
AVID also bonds a polymer disc to the platter to reflect vibration caused by the stylus and channel it through the bearing to which records is grounded. Hence, unlike plastic platters that store vibration or felt mats that cause records to vibrate, unwanted vibrations are effectively dispelled. The Acutus Chrome SP’s distinctive frequency-adjustable suspension further contributes to the ‘table’s prowess by providing unparalleled stable vertical movement and isolation, yielding damping and energy transfer solutions unique to AVID. Complex physics aside, what matters most is how AVID's evolved thinking impacts the music you adore. Put simply, the Acutus Chrome SP extracts more music out of vinyl’s grooves than any other 'table in its price class, and does so in a manner that enhances every prized audible aspect of music while simultaneously decreasing traits that distract from the musical experience.

Acutus Chrome SP All About the Music You Hear—And How You Hear It
Despite all the advanced theories and perfectionist implementations behind the Acutus Chrome SP, this is a turntable that’s simple to use and an absolute joy to admire. You’ll likely be spinning records within an hour of un-boxing the ‘table and, once you start, you will never want to stop. AVID realizes one universal theme towers above all else: It’s about the music you hear, and you how you hear it, and nothing else. Contact a Music Direct audio consultant today to help arrange a perfect tonearm and cartridge to accompany the Acutus Chrome SP and begin your journey to everywhere records can take you.

Configuration Options
The Acutus SP is available in three configurations, selectable from the menu above:
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Pro Reviews
March 2009 David Price, HIFI World Magazine - (5 Globes) (UK)

I would like to think that in 2009, we are past the stage in the debate where journalists have to talk in terms of "the best turntable in the world". I think there are as many of these as there are people in the world, and never underestimate the power of human subjectivity and individual taste to bring disorder to any type of reasoned debate! So, I am not going to make dramatic pronouncements, rather I'll try to explain why I think this is one of the great turntables in the world...

The Acutus has a very neutral sound, which is to say that it both takes you very intricately in to the recording itself, and at the same time rather removes you from it. By this I mean it is so incisive that it gets past much of what is wrong with a particular recording/mastering/pressing, offering a direct route to the music without concerning you too much with how it gets there. By any criterion, this is an astonishing feat and puts it in the company of the world's very best disc spinners.

For example, when I first spun Steely Dan's 'Deacon Blue' from that jewel 'Aja' LP, I sat there rather transfixed with Donald Fagen's voice. There were moments when I would marvel at the warmth of that superb bass guitar sound, and the brilliantly dextrous way it was played, or delight at the sublime hi-hat sound which was about as realistic as I've ever heard outside a concert hall with its shimmering harmonics and supernatural air. But actually what locked me into this song was the nasal, New York, Jewish whine that intoned, "I'll learn to work the saxophone/ I'll play just what I feel/ Drink Scotch whisky all night long/ And die behind the wheel"... It's the juxtaposition of Fagen's bitterly acerbic, almost poisonous lyrics with Walter Becker's soft, inoffensive melodies that makes this song so powerful, and Fagen's plaintive vocal delivery tops it off brilliantly - and never have I heard it so direct as with this turntable.

Moving to '1000 Knives' from Yellow Magic Orchestra's dark 1981 ambient electronic 'BMG', and once again you could sit there and gasp in awe at the clarity of one of the earliest digital recordings, the sumptuous warmth of those arpeggiating Korg analogue synthesisers and crashing Roland drum machines. You could marvel at the superlative bass grip the Acutus displayed and it vast widescreen projection of the soundstage. And you could smile at the thunderous dynamics, hitherto unheard, as the brooding songs builds to a crescendo. But again I found myself transfixed by what the song was doing, the emotions it was evoking and where it was pushing itself. At the end I was left with a deeper respect for its composer Ryuichi Sakamoto - and an insatiable appetite for more.

It's hard to review a turntable such as this, which is so clearly brilliant in so many areas. Instead, the debate becomes not about its relative merits but whether its particular nature suits you sir!   As for me personally, I think this about as close to the sound I am looking for.

May 2003 Michael Fremer, Stereophile Magazine (USA)

"What you end up with is an extremely compact, heavy, superbly isolated record-playback system. like the SME 30/2, which I reviewed in the March issue, the Avid Acutus is a no-BS, industrial grade turntable with a truly effective isolation system. While the Acutus execution differs, its basic design concept is similar to the SME's. The biggest diffrence is in overall mass, and what you do with the energy: damp it out (SME) or let it dissipate (AVID). The SME is a high mass, damped design, the Avid a medium-mass, undamped one,though the Acutus platter is actually heavier."

"What impressed me most about the Acutus was how well-thought-out and compact it is; how everything fits together so neatly. It's also handsome, far more so than the SME 30/2."

"...the Avid is one dramatic-looking turntable."

"The Acutus didn't sound identical to the 30/2, but it certainly was competitive in most ways. Depending on your tastes, you might prefer it overall, though it couldn't match the 30/2's performance in some respects it definately matched the 30/2 in the way music emerged from jet black silence. That alone is a major accomplishment, and reminded me of the Rockport System III Sirius Turntable, which I haven't heard almost 2 years now. I'm unable to perform rumble tests, but I suspect the Acutus would measure as well as the 30/2."

"SME detractors would say the 30/2 is overdamped, with too much weight and emphasis in the base, giving the music a thick, leaden quality. I don't hear that, but it's something you'll have to decide for yourself. The Acutus' base performance was more remeniscent of the Rockport's, which is still saying plenty. The Avid's base was deep, powerful, very well focused, and rhythmically nimble..."

"One thing I noticed almost immediately when I switched to the Avid Acutus after a few months with the SME 30/2 was a slight increase in surface noise on familiar records, accompanied by an area top end."

"The Avid Acutus was a superb sounding turntable by any standard - among the handful of best turntables I've heard..."
"For less than a third the price of the SME, the Acutus came remarkably close."

"Ultra compact, superbly engineered, and rationally designed, the Avid Acutus more than lived up to its advanced billing, and to what I'd expected from such a clever, carefully thought out design."

May 2001 P.Panagopoulos, HXOS High-End Magazine (5 Stars)(GR)


"A Bristish turntable that proves once more that not only has analogue sound not been out-dated but is a constant challenge, as powerful as time itself."

"There are moments in the life of a reviewer that are unique. It is a pleasure to come across a device that incarnates everything you imagined,which for several reasons could not be accomplished. The Acutus is not just an extraordinary case, it is a milestone in the history of hi-end, where an implementation of "aesthetics" approach, from every point of view meets a deep know-how, with respect to the subject "music" in its deepest meaning."

"I cannot hide the fact that I was very impressed by this device which, without costing a fortune (I have seen turntables costing a lot more money, which do not sound or work this right), it encompasses exactly what a turntable needs today in order to perform at its best."

"Together with the now established, SME V tonearm, it achieves an overstepping performance that any other source will find difficult to reach."

"This turntable is of wonderful manufacture. Without resorting to design extremes, sporting rather copact dimensions, it presents a rigidly built model."

"After closer inspection and based on the reproduction performance of the system, I can assure you that in terms of performance of its suspension the Acutus only has a few competitors."

"This turntable, together with the right equipment, "eats" for breakfast anything digital on the market today. This is an undeniable fact. Apart from this, it has all those attributes that will make anyone who has listened to it lose sleep for days. Uninfluenced by all external disturbances, as a solid "rock", it overcomes all the traps of analogue sources' nuisances with characteristic ease.

"As a result, it has astonishinly effortless flow and musicality, which only reality can compete with. It stops right at the top limits of the recording. It literally collides on these, revealing where the limits of the capabilities of the sound engineers, of the recording equipment and even of the performers are.

"Forget "as if" or "sort of". This device is ruthless. It will take everything to their limits, revealing all the points that can be criticised. In the same manner it will reward anything that deserves it, presenting it from a view of acoustic renovation and "fresh aura", with healing effects on your senses."

"Its low frequencies extend to abyssal depths, having flawless control but correct presence too. This means they are not to heavy, trying to add poise, resulting in being slow and losing timing. On the other hand, they are not superficial, even though they do have a tendency to sound quick, which a lot of times is perceived-wrongly-as "control". They are absolutely balanced and real. The same applies to its midrange that has all the lyrical magnificence the black disc can contain."

"In all, it is needless for me to try to describe its behaviour at diffrent areas as they are so interconnected and so homogeneous that can be described as a "whole" only, and really in respect to their result, the sole receivers of which are our sences."


"Listen to it. Give into its magic. Let it drag you to a totally sensual musical world. Experience it even if you do not have the ability to acquire it. It is an experience that maybe you owe to yourself."

May/June 2000 Chris Beeching, Listener Magazine (5 Stars)(USA)

"Visually the turntable is a striking piece of engineering."

"Setting up the turntable is particularly easy, made all more so by the ingenious way the platter and subchassis assembly can be lifted off the main chassis for arm fitting and cartridge alignment."

"Immediately obvious was the absolute stability of the musical material. The size of the acoustic; the integrity and inter-relationship of pitches; and the stereo image were all clearly and sharply defined, just as in real life. Some-how the Avid seemed to offer an authority of presentation, which not even CD managed."

"There has been so much written about bringing the performer into the room that it has suffered overkill, but this turntable transports the listener to the recording environment and-depending on the quality of the pressing and production-lays bare everything that transpired."

"However, this is not at the expense of the "musicality" angle. While it may be called "accurate," this turntable is definitively NOT sterile. It is lucid, poised and refined."

"The second most noticeable attribute the turntable exhibited was a very much lower degree of surface noise than I had experienced before-completely independant of which cartridge was fitted."

"Tonally, the Avid had no obvious flaws at all. Its presentation was neutral, though with one suprise: the depth of the lower registers. This was quite noticeable on recordings with descrete very low frequencies. I do not mean the "obvious" lows of an organ recording,but the low-frequency characteristic of a large recording space, such as a large concert hall or cathedral. Because the bottom end was so clean, the mid/low bass was also far more articulate and musical, and you could easily differentiate between performed low bass/harmonics and the resonance or reverberation characteristic of the recording venue."

"...a real sense of the recording venue came across quite disarmingly."

"The Avid Acutus is a performance package that offers what I consider the most complete and thoroughly intergrated soloution to quality vinyl replay. It will inevitably reveal the shortcomings in the arm and cartridge chosen, and most likely will show up any shortcomings in the amplification and speaker system."

"If a mere(!) $10,000 is your budget for perhaps the ultimate vinyl replay system, the Avid has to be heard!"

April 2000 Jimmy Hughes, HiFi+ Magazine (Score:12 out of 10)(UK)

"Designer Conrad Mas' uncompromising approach has produced a turntable that's essentially neutral, accurate, and truthful."

"...no one could fail to admire and respect the thought and care over detail that's gone into every apect on the design."

"First impressions were of a tight, sharp, lucid, and precisely focussed sound without an ounce of spare flesh anywhere."

"Detail was staggering. And if performance were judged solely on how much could be heard the score would have to be ten out of ten. Sorry, make that 12 out of 10."

"Clarity and control were beyond reproach."

"Stereo soundstaging was unerringly precise; lateral placement of voices and instruments couldn't be faulted for solidity and stability."

"...the Acutus started making music, impressing time and again with its amazing analysis, its vividness and lucidity. It was especially good on simply-miked transparent recordings, where its incredible pin-point detail and slide-rule precise-focus often had one enthralled. At times, it was almost like x-raying the music, such was the clarity."

"The Acutus is a very revealling turntable."

"Buy an Acutus and you've a whole new record collection to listen to - guaranteed. You'll discover new things on discs you thought you knew backwards."

"...low frequencies had the kind of firmness and control one associates with CD. Very impressive!"

"But on a direct A/B comparison I'll wager the Acutus is likely to sound leaner and firmer than most of its peers."

"One of the great strenghts of this turntable is its clean accurate soundstaging. Instruments and voices are placed with the kind of pin-point precision even CD sometimes struggles to equal."

"...the Acutus has the tightest most focussed sound imaginable."

"Build quality is stunning, and the deck is beautifully finished. Its looks and feels expensive without being vulgar, yet there are no unwarrented excesses. Everything's there for a reason: if you talk to the designer he can justify even the tiniest detail. The sprung suspension ensures excellent isolation, and the clever balanced spring arrangment virtually eliminates yaw."

"This helps create rock-like speed stability."

"Listenen to the Acutus imparts feelings of certainty; precise, solid, unflappable, it sound as though nothing short of an earthquake could upset its equilibrium."

"Engineering tolerances are so close, there's no need for fine speed adjustment - the Acutus is spot-on."

"...it's the most incredible turntable you've ever heard"

October 1999 Jason Kennedy, HiFi Choice (Editors Choice)(UK)

"In all functional respects this appears to be an extremely well thought-out turntable. it redfines the classic phrase inky blackness, and does so in such unsubtle fashion that you often wonder, when you've just let go of the arm lift, if the needle is on the record at all. Suddenly there's sound;it makes you jump-it also makes you wonder how much rumble there is on other turntables."

"...and dynamics leap out of the speakers."

"Its simply phenomenal-every familiar record I put on offered up new layers of sound."

"...be hard pressed to find an alternative at or near the price that is so competent across the board."

"Extremely capable design with no apparent short comings; don't even think about selling your vinyl until you've heard it on this!"

October 1999 Temptation, What HiFi (5 star product)(UK)

"...cruises effortlessly through everything from jazz to rock, bringing music to life in a thrilling manner.

Sonic pictures have immense solidity, detail retrieval is exemplary, and dynamics and punch are huge."

June 1999 Steve Harris, HiFi News & Record Review (UK)

"impressive dynamics and very good detail retrieval, all founded on a strong sence of stability-the only word I can use to sum up what must be a combination of excellent speed stability with a low noise floor."

"...the Avid sound was positively dramatic, immediately loud and impressive, and seemed to reveal and open up the acoustic space around the instruments, at some points giving that feeling of a particular instrument etched in space:a truly rock-solid image."

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Drive: Belt drive
Speeds: 33.3 and 45.0 RPM
Platter mass: 22 lbs.
Bearing: Inverted stainless steel
Thrust point: Tungsten carbide/Sapphire
  3 point, springs in vertical, o-rings in lateral frequency
  vertical 2.5 Hz (variable), lateral 4.5 Hz
Tonearms: Std. cut for SME (adapters to order)
Motor: Hand built 24v 140mNm ac synchronous
Power supply: DSP Vari-SPeed control unit
Voltage input: 100-240vac 50/60Hz 20 watts max. (depending on region)
  Turntable (overall): 18" x 15.75" x 8.25"
  Turntable (footprint): 16.25" x 14.25"
  P.S.U.: 10" x 8.5" x 3.75"
  42 lbs. turntable only
  8 lbs. psu only
Shipping weight: 66lb

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