Turntables aren’t just for hipsters anymore. Actually, expensive turntables have never gone away. Here’s another one, made by a Japanese company called Esoteric. Called the Grandioso T1, this turntable costs ¥7.7-million. That’s a mighty R950,000, just a handful of change shy of a full R1 million.
It might look like an over-engineered kitchen scale but Esoteric’s vinyl player really hopes to justify the price tag. The Japanese company’s speciality is high-end audio tech but the T1 is its first analogue vinyl player. Still, it looks the part.
The first thing you need to know about this turntable is that it’s heavy. Really heavy. Weighing in at about 45kg of brushed aluminium, the T1 is heavy enough to cause some serious damage if it’s dropped. The main feature? A hand-polished metal platter that weighs in at 19kg on its own. Getting great sound from a turntable depends heavily on stability and this grandiose player is just about the heaviest you’ll find out there.
It also uses something called the ‘Esoteric MagneDrive System’. There are no belts — getting a belt to rotate 19 kilos of metal will be noisy anyway. Instead, the Grandioso T1 more or less levitates the platter, reducing its effective weight from 19kg to just 4kg. The result? Vibration-free rotation “…free from any irregularities of speed, potentially caused by mechanical contacts, such as belt, rim or motor”.
Of course, if you want to buy one, it’ll be a mission. An expensive mission. A company called Aeolian is listed as a South African distributor. Perhaps they’ll be willing to take your million bucks.