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TriangleART Symphony SE turntable and Osiris tonearm Review

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A Few Criticisms

There are a few things I found about using the SE and Osiris that I wish could be changed. Let me begin with the wonderful sounding Osiris tonearm. First, it would make me feel more confident if the arm rest had some way of securing the arm instead of just letting it sit on the rest. Second, I missed the little bubble levels that the AMG and Graham tonearms have; if not a bubble level maybe, at least, some marking on the pillar so one could tell how much they have raised or lowered the tonearm.

I also have two things I would like to see changed about the SE itself. First, unlike Tom Vu, I do not like to change LPs on the fly. I do love 45rpm LPs though and I found it a pain that you can’t start the table when the speed is set on 45rpm. Second, it still bothers me that the platter rings like a bell, even if I’m not sure I could ever hear any negative effect it had on the music.

As far as sound goes, there was very little to criticize; overall this turntable sounds wonderful.


Conclusion I

The first time I heard a turntable that could move my system from a world class audio system to a really musical experience was with the Shindo 301. In my review of that turntable, I said: “We are accustomed to a sound that only sounds its best when restrained. We are simply not used to a system that can sound as alive, energetic, has the realistic dynamics, and power of the 301 without it sounding strained.”

The AMG V12 turntable and tonearm shocked me by doing this while being a belt-drive turntable, although it had to be on the HRS platform to have the drive I wanted. The Symphony SE and Osiris tonearm pulled off this special ability in spades. It sounded alive, energetic, had really great dynamics without ever sounding strained, but it also sounded quieter and had an incredible ability to let you hear layer after layer of instruments and singers in the performance. The SE and Osiris was a combo that I can listen to for hours on end. It had that special way of making the listener feel relaxed while listening to some of the most exciting sound you can imagine. This is something you can seldom experience except when hearing live music.

Again, in my review of the Shindo 301, I wrote, “The longer I have the Shindo 301 Vinyl Playback System, the more the thought of writing about comparisons with other turntables seems wrong. Why? Simple, no other turntable I have heard compares.” Well, now six years later I have found two turntables/tonearm combinations that do deserve comparison. The truth is I think both are better in some important areas. The Symphony SE with the Osiris tonearm mounted on it in some ways combines the best of the Shindo and the AMG. Like the AMG you have more freedom to use other cartridges, but not as many with the Osiris as with the AMG tonearm. The Osiris really needs a low compliment moving coil to get the most out of the arm.

Without a doubt, Tom Vu and TriangleArt has succeeded in building one of the finest turntables and tonearms on the market regardless of price. It is one of the three best turntables I have ever heard in my system and in many ways the very best.


Conclusion II

So why am I writing two conclusions? After rereading this review, I thought if I had been reading this review, I would wonder why the reviewer never told me his conclusions when comparing his turntable to the Symphony SE. I know the reason; it’s because my job is to tell you how the table sounds and I hope I have done a good job in the above review with that. Still, I decided to write a second conclusion for those readers like me, who would like to know. So here it goes.

I started by talking about the WOW factor that this turntable has, both visually and sonically. My experience in that past is that what often what starts out wowing me ends up irritating me. This was never the case with the SE. It was simply a wow from start to finish. Still, it was an interesting comparison to my AMG Viella V12 Turntable and Tonearm. When you just look at the two turntables, the SE says wow and the AMG says refinement; the SE says big and bold while the AMG says definition, air, information, and power. The power of the SE was specifically in the bass through the lower midrange and a little way into the upper part of the lower midrange. The power of the AMG was from the upper bass and up to the very top end, but not quite as big.

When an LP sounded its best on the SE, it was amazing to hear. On other LPs, it seemed like the SE’s power could slightly overtake the information. This was very subtle and would only be noticed with long term listening and being used to a table that delivers as much information as the AMG. For a specific example let me share with you the comparison when listening to Neil Young & Crazy Horse’s album Americana. The bass and mid-bass were noticeably stronger played on the SE. Neil Young’s voice was stronger and was more articulate on the AMG. Above the lower midrange, the AMG untangled all the multitudes of sounds going on better.

On less complex music like the Rickie Lee Jones LP talked about above, the SE seemed to add just a little more drive and a little more bass impact to a recording. On a more complex recording, the AMG would unravel more of the recording and let you hear more of the layers of the music and soundstage. Speaking of the soundstage, the SE had a slightly wider soundstage, but the AMG had a slightly deeper soundstage and did a slightly better job of letting each singer or instrument be in different places front to back in the soundstage. As I said, these are two of the three best turntable I have heard in my system. There is no doubt that the SE did some things better. Still it was amazing how the AMG seemed to do so many things right.

So which turntable do I like best? Heck if I know. After weeks of listening to the two, I have no idea which was best. So, I have reviewed the SE and then compared it to my AMG, sorry, but this was not a cop-out. After all this time, all I can say is that I think which turntable you would like best would be dependent on two things, your system, and your taste. There is one other thing I should mention: I was not able to hear the Symphony with a lower mass tonearm. I would love to hear it with my AMG V12 Tonearm. I tried to mount it on the SE, but I could not get it high enough to even come close on VTA. So my comparison is between the two tables using the Soundsmith Strain Gauge. My conclusion might be different if I had used a moving coil cartridge, but I prefer the Strain Gauge or the DS Audio Optical cartridge. So, I’m finally through and I can promise you the TriAngle ART Symphony SE is a truly world class turntable. I think it is a good bargain and it has an incredible Wow factor.


Copy editor: Laurence A. Borden

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