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AMG Giro turntable and 9W2 tonearm Review

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AMG-Giro

Listening

I listened to the Giro with three different cartridges; the Soundsmith SG-220 Strain-gauge, the DS Audio W-1 Optical Cartridge, and AMG’s own Teatro. I started listening to it with the DS because that is what I have had in my system for the last two months. The 9W2 seemed to be an almost perfect match for the DS and seemed to work to perfection with the other two cartridges. I have reviewed all three of these cartridges and while my favorite of the three with the Giro was the DS, I feel most people will pair it with the AMG Teatro or another similarly priced moving coil. So, I chose to do the review with the Teatro.

From the first tune I played on the AMG Giro, I knew it was a very refined, quick and nimble sounding turntable. Like its big brother the V12, it was really, really quiet. The soundstage was nice and big. I was impressed from the very beginning at how transparent and musical it was at the same time.

After everything was setup and dialed in I, put on Rickie Lee Jones’ LP Pop, Pop. Her voice was right there in the room with me. It allowed me to hear the very different nuances of her unique voice. Imaging was very precise and the Giro seemed to be getting more information out of the grove than many turntables I have reviewed. Probably, more than any table except its big brother. On “I’ll Never Grow Up!” her voice is very palpable, very articulate and oh-so natural sounding. The instrumentation was spot on with great micro-dynamics and real PRaT.

Next, I put on Cat Stevens’ Tea for the Tillerman, an LP I have enjoyed since college. The sound was very detailed, the bass powerful and tight. His voice and the piano and guitars were transparent, articulate, quick and nimble, glowing with the full emotional connection that the vintage cartridge was fully capable of capturing. I’ve used the cut “Sad Lisa” from this LP to evaluate cartridges and tonearms since I was in college. His voice and piano were spot on, as good as I have ever heard. On the cut “Where Do the Children Play” I could easily hear a different range of his voice and the acoustic guitar sounds beautiful. I was very pleased with how this, one of my favorite albums, sounded on the Giro.

While going through the drawer of male vocals, I decided to play Neil Young and Crazy Horse’s Americana. This is one of my favorite LPs if the system is up to it. I have played it with less expensive vinyl setups and found it almost unlistenable. It is what I call grungy music; it’s raw and powerful. I was very pleased with how it was on the Giro; it was able to make the voices growl and the music flow.

For something very different I put on the Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn LP. On this recording, the two of them used seven different banjos, including a cello banjo, a ukulele banjo and a baritone banjo that Fleck commissioned specifically for this album. The speed of these banjos was simply amazing. This is an LP that really shows off the strong points of the Giro. The placement of the banjos and her voice was also incredible, with lots of natural air and the way it plays so nimbly is simply wonderful.

 

Comparisons

I have had in-house over the last four months some pretty special turntables: Thales TTT-Slim, the TriangleART Symphony, TriangleART Symphony SE and of course my AMG V12. Now before I start this comparison we need to talk about what each of these tables actually cost with their companies’ tonearm mounted on it. The Thales TTT-Slim with the Thales Easy tonearm cost $13,000 and really needs to be on the HRS bass, so that gets it up to $15,600. The Symphony lists for approximately $7,000, the Osiris tonearm for $5,800, the speed controller for $2,000 and the record weight for $1,200, so the $7,000-turntable costs $16,000. The Symphony SE costs $21,795. Lastly, my AMG V12 with the HRS platform comes in at a list price of $19,465.

So, how did the Giro compare to these turntables? Let me start by saying you really shouldn’t listen to the AMG V12 or the TriangleART Symphony SE if you can’t afford them. They both simply sound more real than any of the other turntables on this list. They play music with a more substantial foundation; the bass is more powerful, you can hear the venue better, and they have more substantial and beautiful tonal color. Most of all, they have a momentum and flow about how they play music that is just so realistic. There are two places where both the AMG V12 and the Giro betters the Symphony SE. First, is in detail as in getting information out of the grove and second, is in letting you hear more of the differences from one LP to another.

The Thales, and the TriangleArt Symphony both cost in the neighborhood of $4,000 more than the Giro. There is really no contest; the Giro simply gets more music out of the groove than the other two tables. It lets you hear the difference from one LP to another better. It has a magical way with voices that neither of the other two can match. Which really means that the only turntable I know that is significantly better within $6,000 of the cost of the Giro is the AMG V12.

 

Conclusion

This will probably be the shortest conclusion I have ever written for an equipment review. Simply put, the AMG Giro is the best turntable I know of for less than $14,000, but the AMG V12 is simply one of the best turntables out there at any price. So AMG has now given us two world class turntables, two world class tonearms and an incredible moving coil cartridge for the money. Not bad I’d say for a company’s first five products.

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