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Tri-Art Audio Pebbles TA-1 Turntable Review

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Tri-Art Audio Pebbles TA-1 turntable (with Bam Bam Integrated Amplifier on upper shelf) (Pictured taken at AudioVision San Francisco)

Some may think it’s odd for me to be reviewing such an inexpensive turntable. Last Christmas I was looking for a turntable for my 29-year-old daughter-in-law who wanted an inexpensive turntable for her Christmas present. After she got her turntable, I’ve had a lot of people her age looking for entry level tables. So, I was excited to review this beautiful entry level turntable.

If you adjust for inflation the Tri-Art Audio Pebbles TA-1 is the least expensive turntable I have had in my system since 1974. Even not adjusting for inflation it’s the least expensive turntable I have used since 1979. So in a way it’s very difficult for me to review this turntable. I must admit that it has been a delight to use and listen to. So, I’ll try to tell you why, here goes.

Tri-Art Audio is a company that designs, manufactures and assembles their products in Kingston on the North shore of Lake Ontario in Canada. The company grew out of a desire by its founder, Stephen Ginsberg, to create audio systems of the highest possible quality and value for distinct levels of audiophiles: something for the entry level, the enthusiast and the experienced audiophile.

There is no doubt that Tri-Art Audio is a different kind of audio company. They build their products around what they call “The Elements.” They use sustainable, aesthetically pleasing and what they refer to as sonic accepting materials to craft the structural housing of their components. The electrical elements were designed for purity of electrical transmission.

They have selected bamboo to construct many of the structural parts of their systems rather than metal or plastic. They use it in a constraint laminate design that features a core piece, with upper and lower layers. It’s not just to be aesthetically pleasing, they claim it has a vital function. They chose bamboo for its stiffness, its excellent rigidity and the ability to dampen vibration. Bamboo is also non-magnetic and therefore quieter. It is also eco-friendly being one of the ultimate renewable resource, with some variants capable of growing up to a meter every day!

Another feature they use to reduce vibration are their Iso Feet. They physically isolate the plinth from the surface it is sitting on by resting the chassis on a trio of legs that sit on the Iso Feet. They use re-purposed automotive ball bearings sitting in an indentation at the top of shallow metal cones which are set into a multi-layer, laminated bamboo puck. These seem to work quite well compared to resting the turntables’ feet directly on the Box Furniture Rack, though sitting the table on my Harmonic Resolution Systems M3X-1921-AMG V12 isolation platform without using their Iso Feet produced by far the best sound. The only problem is the HRS cost more than the Tri-Art Audio Pebbles TA-1 turntable. I then tried it on a 4-inch Boos maple butcher block with and without the Iso Feet. It was best with the Iso Feet; it still wasn’t quite as good as the HRS, but fairly close and looked really cool.

Tri-Art Audio Pebbles TA-1 turntable

Tri-Art Audio Pebbles TA-1 turntable tonearm

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