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AVID - Volvere SP Turntable


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AVID Volvere SP Turntable

Overachieving Component Brings You Spitting-Distance to Performance of AVID's Flagship Model

DSP Power Supply, Mighty AC Synchronous Motor, Massive Platter, Subtle Upgrades Help Ensure Reference-Level LP Playback, Natural Musicality, and Analog Bliss

AVID's sublime three-point-suspension Volvere turntable is trickle-down technology at its best. Equipped with many of the same engineering features, design principles, and overbuilt parts found in the company's flagship $25k Acutus Reference SP model, Volvere gives listeners the rare chance to come spitting-distance close to superlative analog playback at a cost many more music lovers can afford. The availability of such state-of-the-art innovation in a mid-level priced product is nearly unheard-of in both high-end audio or any other industry. Consider the Volvere the equivalent of getting most of Porsche speed and handling in a Chevrolet, or nearly all the perks of first-class airline service in coach. The strategy owes to AVID's dedication to the music you hear, and the manufacturer's steadfast refusal to compromise on any of its devices.

"Going through everything from Bob Dylan to Led Zeppelin again revealed the Volvere's ability to not only reveal the low bass grunt, but also reproduce the rest of the musical spectrum in a very tuneful and enjoyable way. The Volvere does a great job with music possessing inner detail and can rock when required."
– Jeff Dorgay, TONEAudio

Top-Down Technologies are Tested, Proven, Acclaimed
Volvere boasts the exact same design principles as the Acutus Reference SP. In short, the ‘table functions to remove stylus-borne vibrations from playback, keep mechanical noise to an absolute minimum, and provide isolation, speed stability, and rigidity. Volvere achieves these goals by clamping the record to the main bearing (the latter being the same design as the Acutus) that transmits vibration to the subchassis. Indeed, the Volvere clamping, stainless-steel bearing, and suspension systems are all derived from those on the Acutus. Tested, proven, and critically acclaimed, the technologies result in a freedom from resonant feedback, meaning you hear more information, a lower noise floor, pinpoint sound, and spot-on soundstaging every time you spin an LP.

"The Volvere delivers a substantial sound. Its forte is bass, which it delivers with a weight and power that's rare among turntables at this price...You want slam, grunt, girth even? You got it."
– Jason Kennedy, HiFi Choice

A Power Supply That's the Envy of the Industry
Turntable accuracy and speed are thoroughly compromised without a great power supply. AVID preaches and practices this doctrine with every ‘table it makes. Volvere is no exception. An updated, split-phase quartz-locked, DSP signal-generating power supply controls frequency generation and allows exact adjustment of speed. It guarantees that you will hear reference-level timing, pacing, dynamics, and smoothness. Matched for the power supply, the Volvere's mighty AC synchronous motor drives--and controls--a massive 6.7kg platter. You might recognize this approach as opposite of nearly all other manufacturers, which opt for DC motor-driven ‘tables. It's another reason why Volvere impresses with natural musicality and extremely quiet operation.

Hear Music for the First Time
Volvere's build quality and meticulous engineering details are only part of the story. Its best asset may be the manner in which it gets out of the way and lets music come across with palpable transparency, definition, imaging, balance, and responsiveness. The ‘table is simple to set up and created to focus on what's within vinyl grooves. It looks gorgeous, yes, but this is an instrument solely concentrated on function and presentation. Substantial bass, crystal-clear treble, mouth-watering midrange, ample weight, Olympics-class power--Volvere delivers these aspects and more with an ease, effortlessness, and naturalness unrivaled in its price class.

First Enhancements Since Debut Means You Get Best-Sounding Volere Ever
Reviews of Volvere have glowed since its initial release more than a decade ago. But recently, AVID founder Conrad Mas discovered several ways to further improve the ‘table. This is the best-sounding Volvere yet. Its power supply is separated from the chassis, strengthening the latter by a whopping 700% and increasing its weight from 18mm MDF to 22mm MDF. A move to a larger toroidal transformer reduces noise even more. You'll hear more subtle microdynamics, low-level physicality, timbral complexity, quieter backgrounds, and overall expressive personality with the updated Volvere. AVID has truly outdone itself.

Stay in Musical Paradise - Forever
No, Volvere isn't pinnacle AVID's pinnacle statement. But it comes closer than you'd ever think. Volvere defies expectation and logic in a world where most products subscribe to what-price-glory reasoning. Volvere is your chance to get a new record collection at a fraction of the cost that attaining such heights normally costs. It is one of the high end's most overachieving components. It is an invitation to analog bliss. And it can be in your listening room within hours. Call a Music Direct audio consultant now and arrange your reservation in musical paradise.

Configuration Options
The Volvere SP is available in four configurations, all in black finish, selectable from the menu above:
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Pro Reviews
January 2009 Brett Gideon, Tone (NZ)

It's been said many times before, but despite the dominance (and eventual decay) of digital formats, the humble turntable has managed to survive - in much the same way as lizards, crocodiles and our own tuatara after the extinction of the dinosaurs. Now, of course, there is the download phenomenon, and recent sampling of network music servers has me convinced that even the CD may be heading to oblivion. So why is there such fascination with crackly, fragile and unwieldy 12-inch records? Because, adherents including myself argue, vinyl still represents the pinnacle of humanity's attempts to capture audio and preserve the musical moment. There is a certain sonic 'rightness' about vinyl when played on a quality turntable that has eluded the best of digital, even the much lauded and now virtually extinct SACD and 24/96 DVD-A. When done correctly, a record just sounds better.

I was lucky enough to experience high-end vinyl replay at a recent demonstration at Auckland's Shore Hi-Fi, courtesy of British turntable manufacturer Avid and its spectacular Volvere. High-end turntables are usually dramatic exercises in style and build quality, and my expectations were realised in full-the Volvere is quite stunning piece of objet d'art. A suspended design, the black sub-chassis, arm board and heavyweight platter (with composite cork mat) sit atop three beautifully turned metal suspension pillars. The turntable is supplied sans tonearm and cartridge, so for this demo a Naim ARO unipivot arm was used along with a very rare Fidelity Research FR1 mk3 low output moving coil cartridge.

I was expecting the sound to be detailed and pacy, and my listening tests confirmed those attributes, as well as offering a few nice surprises. First onto the massive platter was Santana's 1970s jazz-fusion epic Caravanserai, and I was impressed by the ability of the Volvere to extract detail from this old recording. Carlos's guitar came alive, bass lines and subtle percussion were easy to pick out of the recording and, more importantly, the music had a real swing to it. That was a good start, but things took off from there as the first notes of 'I Can See Clearly Now' by the Holly Cole Trio percolated into the room. This was stunning sound quality, and imaging from the system was breathtaking... detail from the double bass was just so real; I could almost reach out and touch the instrument while Holly's vocals pierced through the recording like a vocal epee. Oh boy this was great!

And it didn't stop there, either. American singer/songwriter Mary Gauthier's Mercy Now album was carefully placed on the Volvere, the arm delicately lowered and the fragile stylus began its musical journey in the lead-in groove. This recording is extremely gritty with lots of reverb, completely different from the lush treatment on the Holly Cole disc. Gauthier's atmospheric vocals ached along with the plaintive harmonica, while the kick drum took on an almost timpani-like character. This stripped-down recording allowed all the emotion of the music to flow through the system and into this reviewer - effortlessly.

Other discs from the likes of Pearl Jam, Morcheeba and Hans Theessink were sampled during this most enjoyable afternoon, and all with quite superb results. What struck me most about the Avid Volvere was its ability to communicate the expression of the music, so while it is an expensive component, it would represent a fine investment in musical enjoyment for those who can afford it. It needs partnering equipment of equal calibre and a well thought-out room, of course, but the stunning Avid Volvere is quite simply a superb example of audio equipment done right.

July 2008 Steve Harris, HiFi News (UK)

Customer System Review including Volvere Mk3
'Most of my collection is classical, but since that turntable's turned up I can't stop listening to rock and pop. Led Zeppelin and things that really get to me - I've turned into a Neil Young fan, Alison Krauss ...'

'I was looking for something that was going to be very musical and also good at rejecting surface noise. Anyway, they put that together for me, and I just couldn’t believe the sound when it came here. I'm still very impressed with it.'

October 2007 Jason Kennedy, HiFi Choice - (Editors Choice) (UK)

Avid has grown to become one of the UK's foremost turntable makers thanks to the popularity of its heavyweight, sprung-subchassis designs. The Volvere is its base model and its appearance in these pages marks the first major revision that the design has had since its introduction. The Volvere has changed in a numbers of small but significant ways; the main bearing was originally made from aluminium but is now fashioned from stainless steel, while the record clamp and adjustable feet are now scalloped rather being knurled. This is both easier on the fingers and, in our opinion, also more attractive. More importantly, the thread on the clamp has been coarsened so it’s much quicker to put on and off, a significant factor given that you have to do this every time you change a record. The suspension has also been changed to allow adjustment from above with a supplied Allen driver, whereas previously you adjusted it at the side. Another change that Avid has made to the suspension is the way that the damping 'O' rings now hook onto screws on the underside of the subchassis.

Once in action, the Volvere delivers a substantial sound. Its forte is bass, which it delivers with a weight and power that's rare among turntables at this price. If digital has any advantages over analogue, then bass is its trump card; silver discs can't match the natural sound of vinyl, but they do generally offer more powerful bass. No more, though. Here, vinyl has a weapon with which it can compete against digital on its own terms. You want slam, grunt, girth even? You got it.

Further up the band, things are pretty decent too...it keeps meticulous time and delivers a detailed and stable soundstage that you can walk into. The treble is well extended and has more sparkle than our reference SME 20A, the lap steel guitar on Joni Mitchell's Hejira album sounding uncannily real in its capable hands. The quality of the treble is also responsible for the precision of the bass. Perhaps surprisingly, you don't get crunchy bass without clear-cut treble. The Volvere is more on the ball when it comes to rhythm and timing, surprisingly making the SME sound relatively cumbersome in comparison.

With the Naim Aro unipivot, Avid's custom-made sled base, the Volvere turns into a pacier, more nimble sound that encourages extended listening sessions, despite delivering less of the deck's bass power. Unipivots tend to be more fluent and less mechanical sounding than rigid bearing arms, and the Aro did precisely this while delivering good solidity of image and an attractively open and spacious sound, albeit one which seems to major on image width rather than height. There's still plenty of bass with the Aro, just not quite as much - the action being centred on the midband, the heart of the music. You also get a sense of better bass articulation because it's not quite as extended; bass lines tend to be more nimble and give the overall sound the classic Naim 'groove'.

The new Volvere is a welcome replacement for what was already a very good turntable. It has a good deal of power associated with the bigger Avid's and delivers a solid and precise sound that makes a lot of competitors sound decidedly weak. If it's not as refined as some, that's because its strengths lie elsewhere. However, given the price, it represents a definite benchmark.

August 2007 Jeff Dorgay, Tone Audio (USA)

I love the aesthetic beauty of a suspended turntable and appreciate the sonic benefits of said design, however as you well know, some of these designs can take a while to set up correctly. Not the AVID Volvere; a quick read of the manual, a double check of the settings and a few minutes later I was setting up the supplied SME 309 tonearm. Half an hour later, I was spinning records!

Actually, I had an evil plan; I had recently acquired an SME 10 turntable and whichever of the two I liked the best would get a permanent spot as my reference turntable.

AVID's Acutus tips the scales at $19,000 and is a fantastic turntable, easily competing with the best of the best. However the Volvere is much more affordable at $5000. You can step up a notch to the Volvere Sequel which is another $3000 and this possesses a beefier motor and an outboard speed control. The good news is that the Volvere tested here can be upgraded to a Sequel later date by purchasing an upgrade kit. I really think that AVID is to be commended, allowing you a path to keep a component that you are very fond of as your system grows.

In case you aren't familiar with AVID, they have been over in the UK making turntables for 20 years now; this is not a "new" company by any means.AVID also provides design and machining expertise to other high technology industries as well, so these folks are truly masters of their craft.

Thanks to a wide range of mounting plates, you can put just about any tonearm on the Volvere. If you are an SME fan like me, you are in luck, because the Volvere comes pre-drilled for an SME arm, so no additional mounting hardware is needed. Again, I would like to stress how easy this table is to get up and running. It was very well packed and only took a few minutes to get ready for assembly. Once assembled and level with tonearm in place it was time to play music!

For those stepping up from a decent 1000-2000 table, the first thing you will notice is just how much more music is lurking in those grooves of yours!! My old faithful P25 with all the mods that has served me really well over the years. Kapow! Everything got a lot bigger, with a lot more space and air between the notes right away. Whiles we often agonise over swapping cables, or other upgrades, a move like this provides instant gratification.

I checked speed accuracy with a strobe and my SME disc; the Volvere was spot on and I could not detect any other speed or rumble related problems. Their bearing is very quite, providing very deep backgrounds to whatever music I was listening to. Because I have a very thick concrete floor in my studio, the suspension of this table was not as important in terms of walking around interference might be in some homes. But, when I set it up in my living room, with bounce subfloor it was a completely different story; the suspension was very effective indeed!

One sure way to clear out a room full of audiophiles is to put Chicago's Free Form Guitar on the turntable; it works every time. But seriously, I've taken a new interest in this because it's another one of my favorite wacky records for listening to spatial anomalies and to MoFi version is quite good indeed. And I'll make you listen to it at very high volume if you come over to my house and start whining about interconnects! If you can blast this song with no feedback, your table is dialed in! Of course the Volvere passed this with flying colors as well.

But let's get serious about listening for a minute and get back to some real music. Spinnig a copy of Prokoviev's Excerpts From Romeo and Juliet (Sheffield Lab) really helps reveal the character of this table. It has a very open and airy presentation, with a very low noise floor. Real instruments float in the soundspace rather nicely and there is a good dose of front to back depth as well as left to right width. The Volvere will reproduce a good deal of weight, especially for a turntable in this price category. When the Dances of the Knights kicks in, it really grabs your attention! I suspect that taking it to the next level and upgrading to a Sequel will only enhance this aspect of the Volvere's performance further.

This table did a great job, no matter what I threw on its eleven pound platter. It is nice and dynamic and made listening to a lot of my favorite jazz and popular music records very enjoyable. Listening to some of my favorite albums going through everything from Bob Dylan to Led Zeppelin again revealed the Volvere's ability to not only reveal the low bass grunt, but also reproduce the rest of the musical spectrum in a very tuneful and enjoyable way. The Volvere does a great job with music possessing inner detail and can rock when required. Some accuse suspended tables as being soft, mushy and less defined than non suspended tables. While I had more of this experience with other suspended tables, this was not the case with the Volvere.

So, did the Volvere stay or did it go?   Rather than agonise over this decision, the Volvere stayed to become an integral part of my growing turntable collection. At $5000, this table mated with a good arm and cartridge will get you more than waist high into the waters of great analog performance, with the promise of the Sequel motor and power supply upgrade taking you even further. Until that new motor and power supply get here, I managed to upgrade the arm on the Volvere to the SME V.
This combination offers a very easily heard improvement in the resolution and refinement of the sound, so if you can make the stretch, I would suggest it, but I am very good at spending other peoples money!

I can easily recommend this turntable with good conscience.

March/April 2002 Jimmy Hughes, HiFi+ (UK)

"Enter the Volvere....It certainly offers more than a taste of the Acutus. And while the cheaper turntable does inevitably fall short in certain key areas, its overall performance is exceptionally fine. Indeed without a direct A/B comparison, there could be times when you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference."

"The Volvere might not be the ultimate turntable on the planet, but it needs no excuses making for it. None at all."

"...your cash buys plenty of good solid engineering-the Volvere looks and feels the class act it is."

"The massive ribbed sub-chassis is exceptionally rigid, with cut-outs ready to take a variety of tonearms, including SME, Rega and Linn. Which means the Volvere can be used with most arms on the market with no need for separate arm boards or drilling-useful if your're thinking of changing arms at some future date. For Rega arm users there's a special plate that screws into the base of the arm, allowing cartridge vta to be adjusted."

The sprung sub-chassis is centred by three rubber O rings keeping the whole platter/arm assembly stable in relation to the drive motor while allowing up and down movement. This ensures excellent isolation, while taking awat the tendency for the whole assembly to move in a lateral direction when excited. The system itself is very simple but effective. 33 and 45rpm speeds are avalable at the touch of a button, and the platter is fitted with a rubber ring to damp resonance."

"...overall it seems pretty easy to set up. Once installed, it shouldn't need much (if any) adjustment. It's designed to be non-tweaky. But what of the sound? First impressions aren't always reliable, but the thing that immediately stood out with the Volvere was its exceptional rock-like stability; the music sounded solid and focussed. It sounded like the stylus was in total contact with the groove walls at all times, and thus able to follow each undulation with precision and ease."

"The sound was extremely clean and refined, lending a smooth effortless quality to the reproduction. At the same time, dynamics were wide and the music sounded powerful and solidly focussed."

"So the Volvere immediately created a positive impression by virture of its sheer unflappability."

"Clearly the Volvere was providing a firm stable support, allowing both arm and cartridge to give their best. Surface noise was extremely low, as was extraneous hiss and rumble.Speed stability was rock solid."

"Overall, the music had a CD-like focus and precision, but minus CD's tendency to be clinical and overly analytical. Tonally, the sound was fullbodied and smooth, but not overlywarm or rich. Bass was firm and tight, while the upper treble wasextended yet quite sweet and oftensuprisingly smooth and mellow."

"Although I'd describe the Volvere's musical presentation as detailed and crisp, rather than warm and beguiling, never was the sound cold or stark."

"The Avid record clamp is brilliant at flattening warped LP's. Sonically, the clamp firms up the lower frequecies, resulting in tighter punchier sound.

"I want an inky-black background, no peak level distortion, no pitch waver, and no click and pops. Unreasonable? You bet. But the Volvere gets close to that impossible ideal - closer than you've any right to expect given the crudeness of a stylus tracing a wobbly groove in a bit of plastic."

August 2001 Ketan Bharadia, WHAT HIFI? (UK)

"This Volvere is a simple deck to set-up, with easy adjustments to allow you to level the base and suspension, the latter being a clever design that maintains the correct spring rate throughout its range of adjustment. The result is a suspension that should bounce evenly, no matter what type of arm is fitted."

"There can be no questioning the fine build and finish of this turntable..."

"There's no excess richness in the bass to make records sound 'nicer', nor does this deck round off any dynamics excesses to make the sound more palatable."

"Dynamics are strong, and the Volvere's delivery brings the musician's technique to the fore."

"The lowest frequencies are held in an iron grip that's a world away from the soft and blurred bass that most of its rivals dish out. This makes it particulary easy to appreciate the decay of the lowest piano notes in this recording and so make the whole piece that much more convincing."

"The Volvere's combination of composure, resolution and control works well on all types of music."

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Drive: Belt drive
Speeds: 33.3 and 45.0 RPM
Platter mass: 14.75 lbs.
Bearing: Inverted stainless steel
Thrust point: Tungsten carbide/Sapphire
   3 point, springs in vertical, o-rings in lateral frequency
   vertical 3.2 Hz (variable), lateral 4.5 Hz

Motor: Modified 24v 55mNm ac synchronous
Power supply: DSP Vari-SPeed control unit
Voltage input: 100-240vac 50/60Hz 20 watts max. (depending on region)

   Turntable (overall) 16.75" x 14.5" x 8" (WxDxH)
   Turntable (footprint) 14.75 x 12.75" (WxD)
Net weight: 27 lbs.
Packaging : 17.75" x 19" x 19.66" (WxDxH)
Shipping weight: 41 lbs

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