Music Hall loses the belt for first direct-drive turntable
New York hi-fi gear maker Music Hall has launched its first direct-drive turntable. The weighty Stealth is designed for ease of use, precision playback and low maintenance, and comes with an Ortofon cartridge already mounted and aligned.
As we've noted a number of times, spinning vinyl on a turntable has been enjoying a steady rise of late – recently surpassing CD sales for the first time since 1986, but still no match for music consumption via streaming. As well as vinyl albums becoming more prominent in high street music stores, the gear needed to play them has also seen a resurgence.
Music Hall Audio has been in the turntable business since 1998, "well before the vinyl revival" according to the company's president and founder, Roy Hall. All models released so far have been belt-driven, but the company has now opted to offer listeners precision playback and low maintenance in the shape of the Stealth direct-drive turntable.
The new model is built around a low-torque direct-drive brushless motor that quietly and precisely spins an aluminum platter that weighs in at a hefty 4 lb (1.8 kg), and comes with elastomer damping underneath and is topped by a vibration-damping mat. Playback speeds of 33.3, 45 and 78 rpm are supported.
The system also comes with an auto-stop feature that powers off the motor and brings the platter to a stop roughly 20 seconds after the stylus reaches the end of a record, though there's no auto return so you'll still have to lift the tonearm and take it home manually.
The Stealth sports a 9-inch-long (230-mm) static-balanced S-shaped aluminum tonearm boasting VTA (vertical tracking angle) adjustment that can be tweaked while a record is playing, as well as adjustable anti-skate control. At the business end is an Ortofon 2M Blue moving-magnet cartridge that's already mounted and aligned, though the headshell can of course be removed and the cartridge updated to a moving-coil flavor if desired.
The multi-layer plinth helps prevent external vibrations from spoiling the listening party, while also contributing to the system's overall healthy weight of 24 lb (11 kg). The turntable rests on vibration-hating feet, and touch-activated speed controls sit up top.
Music Hall is promising ease of use combined with high performance, and decades of trouble-free enjoyment. The Stealth is on sale now for US$1,495, and comes with a cloth dust cover (rather than a rigid plastic flavor). There's no built-in phono pre-amp here, so listeners will need to invest in an external unit if their hi-fi amplifier doesn't already have one.
Product page: Stealth