Michell Orbe

Hi-Fi Choice

Our Verdict - HIFI CHOICE

Powerful, nicely timed and dynamic with a revealing midband

A fully suspended design that manages to do everything with ease

This turntable sounds more substantial than its platter feels, but you canít judge a turntable by mass, itís design and engineering quality that count and the Orbe SE seems to have both of those down. It has real bottom end weight combined with an open, assured midband that lets instruments and voices through in all their tonal glory. The drawback with many high-mass designs is that they donít time well because there is a tendency for mass to retain and reflect energy. This turntable avoids that altogether and produces an extremely coherent and right-sounding result.

This was a view shared by the panel, who enjoyed the Orbe SEís fi ne dynamics and full-scale soundstage in which voices and guitars were projected with considerable realism. It garnered favourable comments about its timing, even if leading edges were considered less obvious. It also managed to turn in a very enjoyable rendition of the dub plate, which revealed much of its extension and rhythmic coherence.

There were several comments about the quality of piano tone from the listeners, with one describing it as being Ďrealisticí and another as being detailed. The Orbe clearly has a strong and well-defi ned bottom end and this goes a long way to placing a piano solidly on a realistic soundstage.

Itís not just about weight either, its also very good with voices, which are well articulated. Allan Taylorís guitar is also well projected into the room in the context of a full-scale image. Transparency could be greater, as some of the competition reveal, but the Orbe SE balances power and subtlety very effectively. Whatís more, it has a breadth of appeal that none of the alternatives could quite match which is impressive to say the least.