The Wand 14-4 Turntable and Wand Plus Tonearm

Which brings us to the Wand 14-4, a turntable and its matching tonearm so prosaic in design, so resolutely performance orientated and so obdurate in appearance that it creates an alternative style that’s entirely its own – albeit redolent with its All Black heritage. A parked Caterham 7 hardly stops passers by in the street (at least not for the same reasons as a Ferrari or Bugatti) and the Wand isn’t going to have audiophiles sidling up to give it a surreptitious stroke, but experience either in action and the impact is as immediate as it is impressively enjoyable. With an uncomplicated, uncluttered directness to its delivery, this turntable is all about fun: the fun that’s encapsulated on your records, the fun the artists had making them. Hopefully that lengthy automotive preamble has set the scene for what is at first glance, a distinctly odd record player. With its missing rear quadrant, overhanging platter, plywood plinth and Captain Nemo controls, some might consider this turntable somewhere between half finished and half mad – especially compared to the sleek yet chunky lines of the arm. But fear not, there’s method in this madness and the reasoning is as flawless as it is apparent.

Let’s start with that plinth, the Wand’s most obvious departure from convention. Remove the platter and its quadrant shape becomes even more obvious – as do the scattered, large diameter holes cut in its rear edge. Along with the shape that eliminates parallel sides, the voids help to break up standing waves within the plinth and also shift the centre of gravity forwards, placing it under the arm’s tracing arc. That’s important as the whole deck is suspended on three softly sprung feet, evenly disposed about that CG (and easily reached and levelled from the edges once you figure out where they are). Okay, so the Wand’s high-suspended mass makes for a motion that might be more VPI HW19 than LP12, but there’s no mistaking that this ‘table uses a sprung suspension. It’s a model of simple, effective engineering, using carefully chosen and cost-effective materials and mechanics (and a healthy disregard for convention) to create an isolated plinth that suffers minimal resonance or structural feedback.

Simply executed, massively effective…

That minimalist, straight-line thinking extends to the Wand Plus tonearm although, predating the turntable by some years, this is arguably a noticeably more mature product when it comes to fit and finish. The Plus moniker denotes the existence of an earlier version of he arm, shorn of even such niceties as a cueing device and only available online. The Plus version is a far more complete and finished product, signalling its graduation to the global dealer network, while the Master model adds structural developments, superior cabling, on-the-fly VTA and a silver finish armtube option. All of the Wand arms are available in 9.5”, 10” and 12” versions to suit different ‘tables and cartridge requirements.