JELCO TK 950
Hi Fi Choice
As one of
the largest OEM manufacturers of tonearms in the world Japanese manufacturer
Jelco has built an enviable reputation in the business by providing customised
tonearms for turntable manufacturers that do not have the extensive
manufacturing capacity or expertise to make their own.
comes in two variants Ė the 12in L and 9in S model that Iím looking at here.
Both are quoted as being high-mass designs, best suited to low or
medium-compliance cartridges. The vertical axis bearings are high-precision
knife edges made from a proprietary steel material. They are made by hand and
designed to have very low friction, low centre of gravity and resistance to
unwanted vibrations. The geometry has been designed to be set up using Baerwald
calculations, which follow IEC recommendations. The supplied universal
counterweight is for use with cartridges and headshells with a combined weight
of between 17 and 35g. The tonearm has a standard SME-style 0.5in connector for
attaching the supplied headshell and incorporates a small clamp that allows for
adjustment of the cartridge azimuth angle.
comes with everything you need for installation, including a Perspex mounting
ruler, various Allen keys, nuts and bolts, armboard template for the standard
Rega three-point fixing and a combined specification and instruction sheet.
Also included is a Jelco SG-1 digital stylus balance (shown). There is a static
tracking force gauge on the front of the counterweight.
cartridge is a Kiseki Blue NOS moving-coil cartridge with a compliance of 15cu,
making it a medium-compliance cartridge. My turntable is the ISOkinetik Modular
One with a removable armboard and I have a ready-made armboard for the Jelcoís
three-point fixing. I set the tracking force to 1.75g using the supplied
digital stylus balance. This is one of the nicest digital stylus balances I
have come across in a while and the clear and stable reading remains unaffected
by the relatively powerful magnet in my cartridge, unlike some that I have
installed the arm, the first disc that I spin is a superb recording of
Vivaldiís The Four Seasons. Choosing the exciting first movement of Winter, the
music grabs me with a fantastic attack from the strings, which are bright and
clear and with no signs of harshness. The three-dimensional nature of the
recording is spot on, with an overall superb imaging of the instruments. The
bass is tight and well extended and with excellent tonal clarity in the lower
registers demonstrating the arm and cartridge are in perfect harmony.
out the tonearmís handling of vocals, a recording of Donít Misunderstand sung
by Thelma Houston on a Sheffield Labs direct-to-disc pressing proves to be
totally convincing in my listening room. The excellent detail and clarity of
the recording, coupled with the smoothness and refinement of the performance,
is very much in evidence throughout the track.
Organ Concerto No. 1 in G Minor with Adrian Boult conducting the London
Philharmonic Orchestra showcases the majesty and maturity of this performance.
The orchestra is full, without being overblown and there is an excellent
balance across the entire frequency spectrum. The bass is very well extended
but tight, and this is particularly evident in the organ passages. The top end
is clear and crisp, without being at all edgy and the brass is beautifully
strident with the strings sounding rounded.
with a jazz version of Vivaldiís The Four Seasons by the Raymond Fol Big Band.
The allegros sparkle with excitement and the performance is conveyed with great
energy and gusto. The trumpet solos are clear and strident, without sounding at
all abrasive and the guitar in the second movement of Spring is very moving and
the TK-950S has a sophisticated feel and an elegant appearance. Itís truly a
fantastic performer and fully justifies its position at the top of the range of
Jelcoís respected tonearms.