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Spiral Groove

Spiral Groove SG1.1 and SG2 turntables and the Centroid arm

The design of these two turntables fits perfectly with our growing understanding of the paramount need to control vibration in music systems. The pernicious effects of vibration are nearly always badly understood, unrecognised or even ignored, not just by listeners but, sadly, by many manufacturers too.

SG1.1 with the Centroid arm

If you accept that assertion then controlling unwanted energy, in a turntable handling the most minute signals, is a demanding goal for designers. The SG1.1 and SG2 use multi-layer damping in the plinth and the platter – with the motor, the arm and the bearing all mounted on different layers.

Solid construction ensures that stylus, arm pivot, platter bearing and motor remain in an absolutely fixed relationship, unlike suspended turntables that are perpetually in motion as they try to correct, after the event, for the dynamic forces from airborne energy, the pull of the motor and the changing drag of the stylus as it tracks music.

SG2 with its five-layer plinth

Spiral Groove have won several “Product of the Year’ awards and comments such as ‘..this may be the best tonearm I’ve heard’ and of the SG2 ‘ transcends expectations – it’s something special’ both from the US magazine Stereophile. And another comprehensive piece by the experienced reviewer Martin Colloms in HIFI CRITIC: spiralgroove_sg2_critic.pdf 

The huge benefits that stem from controlling the energy include incredibly quiet backgrounds, retrieving fine detail, revealing a wide and deep soundstage populated with accurately-placed performers and precise rhythm and timing. Spiral Groove achieve these musically-essential standards with:

• multiple damped layers in the plinths, seven in the SG1.1 and five in the SG2
• multi-layer platter with a graphite record surface

• oversize platter drive ring for excellent speed stability
, giving vanishingly low wow
• centre spindle decoupled from the bearing

• magnetic support bearing

• external voltage generating power supply, with fine 33 and 45rpm speed adjustment

As well as its superior energy damping the SG1.1 also offers a bayonet mount for the arm. This invaluable facility allows for near-instantaneous exchange of arms if the user needs alternative cartridges, eg for 78 records, but also makes for very convenient cartridge mounting. Mounts are available for a number of popular arms, such as the Graham.

Prices: SG1.1 £21,500 and SG2 £13,200

SG Centroid Tonearm

Best performance from a cartridge is possible only if the arm is easy to set up and offers precise adjustment of all the parameters. This one does. It is a delight compared with the difficulties you encounter with so many otherwise good performers.

Centroid arm on a fixed SG2 mount

Moreover, with its rigid Balanced Force Design it dumps unwanted energy fast. Quick-change bayonet mount for SG1. Allen Perkins's Balanced Force Design is fundamentally simple yet highly innovative in implementation. It underpins all aspects of the turntables and arm and you will find this explanation helpful: Balanced Force Design

There are versions of the arm for SG turntables and a Universal one, all £5,000.

Here is a link to the Spiral Groove site: Spiral Groove home