Hits (And Misses…) Munich High End – 2023

Equipped with the DWC user-tuneable interface and AKASA optical connection – familiar from the Reference Server – the Reference Transport sounds just as fluid, dynamic, unforced and unrestricted as the other Reference Components. Time will tell, but I anticipate its superiority to the Server, the sheer stability and resolution available in Munich hinting at more, much more to come. The show system demonstrated its compatibility with the Reference PSU external supply (and AKASA DC cable) and it will be fascinating to investigate the combination at home when compared to the Server/PSU combination. This was an unfamiliar component in an unfamiliar (D’Agostino/Magico M6) system, but what was clear is that Wadax have not just maintained but stretched their lead over the digital competition. Price for the transport alone is set at $115,000 USD and if you want one inside a year you are going to need to act fast as pre-orders are stacking up. The AKASA optical link and twin optical interface for the Ref DAC are additional options.

Fluo Design Jubilee Turntable

More years ago than I care to remember, I reviewed and very much enjoyed the Clearlight Recovery turntable, a deceptively simple and conceptually elegant record player from Germany. That turntable was the product of the fertile engineering brain of Kurt Olbert of RDC fame, using the resonance control compound liberally throughout its structure. That same Kurt Olbert is one of the three principle contributors to Fluo Design – the others being Ole Lund Christiansen (who founded Gamut) and Keith Martin (of Isotek).

The Jubilee turntable is an altogether more ambitious beast than the Recovery, although it shares its simple elegance. A three-layer plinth separates motor, bearing and top-plate. Each level of the plinth is cut from a five-layer polymer/steel sandwich that helps control and dissipate energy. Four posts in the corners support and level the ‘table, with thumb adjusters concealed under the top-caps. The platter is belt driven from a fly-wheel, that is in turn driven by the motor. A sophisticated external supply is used to provide easy switching and fine control of speed. The standing bearing supports a massive sub-platter, with separate walls, the void filled with RDC. On that sits an over-sized, multi-material platter topped with a cork mat. But the bit I really like is the armboards. The large footprint supports two equally extensive arm-mounting boards, each of which free stands in three RDC cup-and-cone locators, each with independent levelling capability. Arms up to 14” effective length can easily be accommodated and, if you have more than two arms, just mount the extras on their own armboards and swap them in or out at will.

When compared to the over-priced, over-engineered and sonically constipated high-end TT offerings elsewhere at the show, this looks like a haven of sanity from a proven provider of pedigree performance. I can’t wait to give this a try.

Arguably of equal interest, the Fluo electronics (line-stage and three identically housed but differing output power amps) offer purist sensibilities with sophisticated protection and mechanically optimized casework. Both the electronics and turntable were on static display, but this space should be well-worth watching.

Living Voice R80