The Wand 14-4 Turntable and Wand Plus Tonearm

With several years of satisfied Wand tonearm usage under my belt, I was distinctly intrigued by the arrival of the turntable as a whole. I used the Wand record player quite happily with a variety of different cartridges, from the relatively modest Hana ML up to the heavyweight (in every sense) Kuzma CAR-20, but I achieved the greatest success with various Lyras, especially the Skala and Titan i. The latter in particular played to the Wand’s strengths, adding textural insight and immediacy to the record player’s impressively stable presence and substance. This is one turntable and tonearm combination that is all about musical drive and the sense of purpose in a performance. I hesitate to raise the pace, rhythm and timing spectre, but in this case it’s unavoidable. Play a record on the Wand and its direct, instantly engaging musical connection is in the finest toe-tapping tradition. The jaunty, infectious rhythms of Vampire Weekend’s Father Of The Bride spring from the groove, full of and musical momentum. But this is no pell-mell rush through the songs, a tempo that trips over itself. Instead, the deft double tracking and delicate mixes, the subtle complexities in the lyrics and the relaxed, unforced quality of the performance shine through, each mix solid and dimensional, each song played at its own, natural pace. This is energy that comes from the groove and the performance that’s captured within it, rather than driven into it by the turntable and the process of playing it. So the multi-layered, breathy vocals and guitar of the Hans Zimmer co-write ‘Hold You Now’, with it ballad verses and hymnal chorus, sits completely naturally beside and flows into the upbeat, insistent rhythms of ‘Harmony Hall’. That change of pace is beautifully and infectiously effortless – just as it should be. The Wand lets you listen into the recording and the performance, rather than hearing it through the medium of the player itself. If that sounds like both an ideal and a cliché then it is, but then that’s what sets the Wand apart from other ‘tables at its price point. Most record players with this level of built-in invisibility come with a far higher price tag.

 …yet confident in its own capabilities!