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Equipment > Turntables > Avid - Diva II SP (No Arm) **DEMO**
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AVID - Diva II SP (No Arm) **DEMO**

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$2,250.00
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Item: DEMO_AAVIDTTD2SP
Description

** THIS ITEM IS A DEMO - Full Manufacturer's Warranty **

New Heights of Performance

Continuing to share the same design philosophy and key elements of AVID’s more expensive designs, Diva II SP bridges the gap between the Diva II and Volvere. Retaining the same ultra rigid, one-piece aluminum cast chassis, the platter is replaced with machined aluminum and employs an improved main bearing taken from the Volvere and Sequel models. Additionally, the Diva II SP incorporates the new twin belt drive system and DSP Vari-SPeed power supply. Owners of the standard Diva II can upgrade their product to this new version, call us for details!

“This $6000 combination was ridiculously good in every aspect of vinyl play. It produced an impressively quiet background out of which sprang rock-solid three-dimensional images. The Avid's bass performance was rhythmically nimble, "tuneful," and harmonically expressive. The bottom octaves were taut and impressively well controlled, yet supple and texturally revealing. The Diva II SP is an incredible value for such a well-designed, well built, superb sounding analogue rig. Combined with the precise-sounding, easy-to-set-up SME 309 tonearm, I'm not sure what's better, or even as good, for $6000!”
– Michael Fremer, Stereophile, January 2011

DSP Vari-SPeed Power Supply
Against the growing trend of easy-option DC motor-driven turntables, AVID retains the use of synchronous motors and has developed a new power supply to finely control the final speed of the platter. By utilizing the latest DSP technology to control frequency generation, and using the synchronous motors’ unique speed locking abilities, speed can be adjusted precisely. Motor noise, vibration, and control is improved, with the twin belt drive controlling platter dynamics and stability, producing a smooth albeit dynamic sound quality as well as improved bass and treble definition.

More:
While the AVID Diva II has set the bar undoubtedly high, the Diva II SP edition reveals a genuine insight into the original recorded performance; elevating the standards of high-end audio. As you can immediately hear, this is no mere cosmetic makeover.

Control and precision in reproduction are of the very highest caliber; a benefit derived directly from the engineering effort applied to each and every turntable.

A machined aluminum platter is the first and most obvious step-up; the vibration absorbing properties working symbiotically with the chassis. Combined with AVID’s unique, low-density, self-lubricating bearing system, torsional vibration is all but eliminated.

Precision control of turntable speed is achieved with AVID’s new Digital Signal processing engine. Variations in the mains supplies are ironed out to create a pure and abundant supply of power to the motor. This can be precisely and easily calibrated to achieve perfect platter speeds.

Motor noise, vibration and control are all improved with the twin-belt drive controlling platter dynamics and stability under load. The result? Smooth, yet dynamic sound quality, improved bass and treble definition. Authority and delicacy in a single stroke. Our highest recommendation!

NOTE: Tonearm and cartridge shown are optional components

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Pro Reviews
May 2011 Laurent Thorin, Haute Fidélité (FR)

With this thoroughly revised version of the Diva II, Avid makes an impact by offering an affordable turntable of outstanding performance, capable of doing justice to the best arms and cartridges, as well as less exotic partners.

The British brand AVID was created in 1996 by Conrad Mas, a mechanical engineer with high fidelity as a hobby. In addition to audio, the company also provides engineering and Avid’s knowledge to companies in the medical field, robotics and defense. Avid turntables have experienced rapid growth, and even the Russian president Dmitry Medvedev, who is known for his passion for high-fidelity, has recently purchased an Acutus Reference SP and Pulsare phono stage!

Diva II SP is a reworked version of the standard Diva II. It is also twice as expensive. Aesthetically, it is very successful, according to a well-known term that ‘form follows function’. The main chassis is a casting of aluminium with a ribbed profile, comprising the arm board (which is standard cut for SME), the three suspension pods and platter on its bearing. For decoupling from the surface on which they rest, a triple layer of a specific elastomer is used called Sorbothane. The principle of inverted bearing has also been chosen and at the centre of the chassis is a firmly fixed stainless steel spindle with a centred end. Here a tungsten ball is placed. Then a tapered main bearing, with a threaded spindle, rests on the ball with a ruby thrust. Finally, the platter fits precisely on the main bearing. This tapered design eliminates any chance of torsional movement. The platter is made from one piece of aluminium and perfectly balanced. Weighing 6.3 kg, on its upper surface it has a layer of cork that provides the interface to the record. The record clamp is screwed onto the spindle pressing the record to the platter. The large mass of the platter ensures a very low suspension resonance frequency of about 4 Hz.

The design of the bearing and clamp allows vibrations generated by the stylus to be evacuated quickly: the principle of creating a Mechanical earth. The platter is driven by a 24 volt synchronous motor with high torque. The drive is done using two cylindrical belts, allowing better control the movement of the platter and stability regardless of load. The motor is placed in a heavy cylinder totally independent of the main chassis. Its place is clearly defined by a cut out in the latter. But be careful during assembly, there must be clear space so the two sides do not touch. Within its housing, the motor is duly damped by the heavy material. The speed is tightly controlled by a separate DSP Vari-Speed power supply. The DSP (Digital Signal Processing) power supply allows changes in the speed and the motor enjoys a current source pure and abundant. The owners of the Diva II can upgrade their version to SP through a fixed price package.

This analogue source sets the bar very high for tonal equilibrium. There is an impressive degree of naturalness. Anything that makes the charm of analog playback is at the rendezvous, that is to say a good sense of matter, a balance fleshy, and a tiny touch of warmth. However, these virtues never become caricatures and are deployed with a keen sense of measure. In short, this is the modern analogue and not a substitute of vintage players. We locate this success primarily to the width of the bandwidth that is characterized by a bass never seen on a turntable for this price. Listening to the trio of Bill Evans recorded live in Montreux in 1968; Eddie Gomez on bass is simply phenomenal. The tension on the strings has superb presence and energy. There is a lot of presence and accuracy in playing the bass. The limited version Kind of Blue, the bass is once again exceptionally deep and control. It is always surprising to rediscover a disc you thought perfectly well after having encountered it hundreds of times. The fluidity of a medium is successful.

The Avid / Dynavector impose a sense of energy always well controlled. The listening takes place in an atmosphere of tranquility and serenity simply because the dynamic behavior is controlled to the millimeter. The accelerations are straightforward, the judgments are sharp. The breaks are clear, the times too. In short, we can follow the complicated melodic lines with the feeling of not missing a beat. This ease was sticking to the signal gives meaning to listen expressed with clarity of good quality. Whether on a trio or a bigger jazz orchestra, this source is able to offer a deep breath to recorded music.

The image is large and has excellent holographic qualities. Kind of Blue on the site of the musicians is an accuracy that is often lacking. Not only is the focus of sound sources surprisingly accurate, but each retains its own environment and placing on the panorama with excellent space. The depth of sound is obvious with solid images.

The Avid-Dynavector combination quickly showed a supreme elegance and revealed every detail and nuance, with a wealth of micro-information, quite amazing at this price level. It allowed a fine analysis of records by completing the most complex to dissect the message never isolate any component.

VERDICT

This analog source gave us the most musical performance in all aspects. Of course, it is important to put this into a broader sense. Indeed, the combination of which we have the opportunity to test is a bit unusual and would be rarely assembled. It is indeed unlikely that a customer would choose a tone arm which will be priced higher than the turntable, and use a phono preamp costing 8000 euro and a 1400 euro cartridge. But despite these imbalances the final result was an enthusiasm that the intrinsic value of each link was excellent. And that the turntable, in particular, is remarkable. This also allows us to confirm with confidence that the Diva II SP, along with a less expensive arm (for example a SME 309) and a more affordable preamp, would make a complete analogue source (turntable + arm + cartridge + RIAA preamp) for less than 7000 Euros, particularly capable of excellent performance. For all these reasons, the Diva II SP wholly deserves our Best Buy distinction.



January 2011 Michael Fremer, Stereophile Magazine (USA)

I'd evaluated the Diva II turntable from Avid HiFi Ltd and was just about to start writing the review. I didn't know the price, but based on its build quality, and especially its sound, I figured it was about $4500. But when I looked it up on the website of Avid's American importer, Music Direct, I had to call them to make sure the price shown - $1800 - wasn't a mistake. This is going to cause a revolution, I thought.

It wasn't a mistake, but it turned out I'd made one. I'd been listening to Avid's Diva II SP ($3995), which includes, among other upgrades from the Diva II, a nearly 14-lb machined aluminium platter and, for its 24V AC synchronous motor, a DSP-based voltage-synthesizing outboard power supply that lets you dial in the speed. World order had been restored.

The Diva II SP resembles other Avid turntables, with which it shares components, including its tungsten-carbide/sapphire ball, inverted stainless-steel bearing, affixed to the hub of a three-legged chassis of cast aluminium. Part of that casting is an integral mount for an SME tonearm machined into the end of a leg that protrudes from midway between two of the support towers (adapters for other arms are available). Instead of spring suspensions found in more expensive models, the Diva II SP and Diva II use a three-layer elastomer system that includes a "tailored Sorbothane compound" incorporated into each of the support legs.

A mat of soft cork tops the platter. The crown of the inverted spindle bearing protrudes slightly from the platter surface to provide the downforce flex for the screw-on record clamp. The platter is driven via capellini-gauge dual O-rings looped around double grooved pulleys on the platter and motor.

Avid's ingenious belt-pin system makes it easy to fit the O-rings over the hidden pulleys; Insert a small pin in a hole in the platter's underside, close to its outer perimeter. Fit the belts around the platter pulley and then over the pin, which pulls the O-rings away from the pulley. You then carefully fit the platter over the bearing, placing the pin so that the pulley-aside section bisects the motor pulley. It's then relatively easy to remove the pin and let the O-rings snap into place in the motor pulley's two grooves.

With the motor all but invisible between two chassis legs, the handsome Diva II SP has a relatively small footprint. Turn on the power supply, push Play, and the platter is up to speed so quickly you'd think it was direct drive.

Music Direct supplied me with an SME 309 tonearm. I was able to securely bolt it to the Diva in minutes, and set it up almost as easily. I used a USB-connected microscope to set a Lyra Kleos moving coil cartridge's stylus rake angle to 92, and a digital oscilloscope to set azimuth.

The results of this all-instrumentation, no fiddling, no guesswork setup were spectacular. While sprung 'tables do achieve excellent isolation from outside vibrations, I believe that once you set a platter spinning, no matter how carefully it's machined, it will cause the suspension to move. I much prefer the rock-solid performance of mass-loaded or elastomer-isolated 'tables like the Diva II SP, provided they're placed on a properly tuned isolation stand like the HRS SXR rack and M3 base - which is what I did.

This $6000 combination was ridiculously good in every aspect of vinyl play. It produced an impressively quite background out of which sprang rock-solid three-dimensional images. The Avid's bass performance was rhythmically nimble, "tuneful," and harmonically expressive. The bottom octaves were taut and impressively well controlled, yet supple and texturally revealing. In my experience, sprung 'tables have trouble keeping up with this level of bottom-octave performance.

The Diva II SP's overall attack was fast and precise, its sustain reasonably held long, and sounds decayed very, very cleanly into silence. I sat twice through an original UK pressing of Eno's Before and After Science, and found myself concentrating on the precision of the cymbal work, particularly when I played the album at low levels during one play, and on the "tunefulness" of the bass during the next. This 'table dug down deep to deliver foundational rhythmic grooves for which rockers will go absolutely crazy.

All of the Diva II SP's sins were of omission, and even those were minor. Overall dynamic and spatial scales were somewhat diminished, but the Avid's most significant lack was of a fully fleshed out midrange, which gave it a generally cool, detached sound. While this quality produced less "fleshy" vocals and somewhat undernourished and mildly recessed harmonic palette for strings, reed instruments, and keyboards, it revealed an incredible wealth of genuine low-level detail, particularly in the recording's reverberant field. This somewhat clinical quality can be balanced out with a warmish cartridge or phono preamp.

However, even in the clinical context of a tonally neutral cartridge and phono preamp, the Diva II SP produced sound so enticing that I listened night and night to all kinds of music, constantly surprised by its high level of performance, and telling myself that if times got tough and I had to sell my big rig, I could listen happily ever after to the Diva II SP. That's how well balanced and robust its overall sound was. My only real complaint was about its coarsely threaded spindle: It was easy to misthread the clamp, especially when I was in a rush to hear the next record.

While at $3995 the Diva II SP isn't the bargain it would have been at $1800, it's still an incredible value for such a well-designed, well built, superb sounding analogue rig. Combined with the precise-sounding, easy-to-set-up SME 309 tonearm, I'm not sure what's better, or even as good, for $6000.



October 2009 Adam Smith, HIFI World Magazine - (5 Globes) (UK)

Spurred on by the resurgence of vinyl, it would appear that Avid is a company going places. I had a long and interesting chat with owner Conrad Mas at the Munich Hi-Fi Show and he was telling me of the companies plans for the future, and what they are planning to introduce over the next couple of years. Naturally I am sworn to secrecy but suffice to say that I nearly fell off my stool when he announced that the number of new products in this period will be in double figures!

I think this is indicative that Avid has become something of a success story since it opened its doors in 1995. Yes, the company also doubles as a source of high quality mechanical engineering, but making perfect 'oily bits' for a turntable is all very well if you don't know how to put them together or how to make them interact successfully. Fortunately, judging by the Diva II, Volvere and Acutus models that we are such fans of, it appears this isn't an issue. Consequently, it was with a great sense of anticipation that I set to unpacking the first newbie from Avid; the Diva II SP turntable...

As its name suggests, this deck is an evolution of the base model Diva II, which incorporates some features found on bigger brother Volvere, but also launches one or two new ideas for Avid onto the market. Obviously visually similar to the Diva II, the first thing you notice when assembling the deck is that the platter is a metal item, rather than the MDF of the standard Diva II, and this spins on a high quality Tungsten carbide/sapphire bearing assembly taken from the dearer decks. As per all Avid designs, the Diva II SP is belt driven, but it is here that the new item I mentioned earlier shows its face, in the form of a synchronous AC motor, driving the platter through twin belts and offering variable speed through a brand new frequency-adjustable power supply.

This configuration came about as Conrad prefers to stick with a synchronous AC motor. As he explained, he sees the use of a DC type as something of an easy option, requiring a simple voltage alteration for speed adjustment but his concerns at how the changing load on such a motor can ever make it hope to remain stable meant that he stuck with the AC, and chose to develop a circuit that regenerates a clean AC signal to power the motor, making it frequency-adjustable for the possibility of speed alteration. The result is the DSP Vari-SPeed supply, so called because it uses Digital Signal Processing for the signal generation and control.

Physically the supply is a small and neat metal box with an on/off knob and two buttons. One starts and stops the platter, and the other changes the speed, whilst pressing and holding both moves the unit into speed adjustment mode, where one button speeds up in fine increments and the other slows down. Once the desired speed is reached, both buttons are pressed together once more and the setting is stored in memory. A simple process and an effective one too, as both speeds remained rock-solid after several days of continuous running.

With my Audio Technica AT-OC9MLII fitted, and warming up the Diva II SP and supplied SME 309 arm with something a little frivolous in the form of Kleerup's recent twelve inch single 'Longing for Lullabies', I realised that the Diva II SP does indeed have the Avid family sound, but definitely takes the performance of the standard Diva II up a gear.

The electronic bass line from this track was punchy and deep, offering visceral excitement, and the Diva II SP proved a more than willing accomplice to some dance-related shenanigans. Moving to something a little more sophisticated, it continued to show that its right at the top of the tree when it comes to bass lines, imbuing Tift Merrit's 'Still Pretending' with a delightfully well formed underpinning.

Equally delightful was its sense of expressiveness and feeling across the midband. Tift's vocals were vivid and finely etched onto the performance, the Avid making it easy to spot when she pulled back from the microphone when delivering something of a vocal crescendo; some lesser decks simply leave you wondering why she's gone a bit quite suddenly, but the Avid didn't miss a trick here.

Instruments also held no fear for the deck, and the Uliean pipes from Brian Kennedy's track 'Captured' were magnificent in both timbre and sonic texture. Once again, a less than capable deck can make these sound rather strained and uncomfortable, but through the Avid they sounded as clear and as lifelike as I could have hoped.

Shifting the musical genre again the Jean Michel Jarre showed that the Diva II SP is also something of a wizard when it comes to timing. Those delicious analogue synthesisers stopped and started perfectly, and the Avid made sure that each and every note sat in its own space and could be easily picked out if one chose to do so, and yet melded with its companions to form a beautifully cohesive and flowing whole. In fact, in imagery terms, I felt that the Diva II SP is one of the best at its price in the way in which it layers performances.

That is to say, some decks pull everything out into the room, some push all the action off into the distance, but the Diva II SP has perfected the trick that usually identifies something much more expensive. Which is to say that it positions everything perfectly, lining the main action up at the front, and tucking the backing performances in behind this just where they need to be. Frankly, it's further grist to my theory that, if you want surround sound but don't want a roomful of loudspeakers, try a decent turntable instead.

The Avid Diva II SP is a fine turntable and, the doubling of price it commands over the standard Diva II is well worth the extra outlay. The Diva II is certainly an absolute bargain at its £1,000 price point and punches well above its weight sonically, but listening to the Diva II SP, it's easy to pick out the extra sophistication and musical insight that the superior engineering has brought about. Add in a versatile new power supply that will undoubtedly be making its influence felt elsewhere, and you have a very fine vinyl spinner indeed that promises high standard for the other forthcoming models.

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Drive: Twin Belt drive
Speeds: 33.3 and 45.0 RPM (Adjustable)
Platter mass: 14 lbs.
Bearing: Inverted stainless steel
Thrust point: Tungsten carbide/Sapphire
Suspension: Triple layer 3 point elastomer
Motor: 24v 12mNm ac synchronous
Power supply: Separate DSP Vari-Speed control unit
Voltage input: 100-240vac 50/60Hz 20 watts max. (depending on region)
Dimensions:
   Turntable (overall) 17.75" x 15.5" x 5.5" (WxDxH)
   Turntable (footprint) 15" x 13.5" (WxD)
   P.S.U. 6.25" x 11.25" x 2.33" (WxDxH)
Net weight : 28 lbs. ex. PSU
Packaging : 22.5" x 21" x 9" (WxDxH)
Shipping weight : 42 lbs.

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