Anyone who keeps half an eye open on the world of Highend Vinyl will probably need no introduction to Spiral Groove who operate out of Berkley in the sunshine state of California. Launched in 2007 the original SG1 quickly established itself as one of the very best decks out there, holding it’s own amidst such lofty company as the Continuum and Walker ‘mega-decks’.
Fast forward to 2017 and what Allen Perkins and his team now offer is a an improved SG1.2 with a new platter design, revised feet and various weight saving measures and new also a more affordable deck in the shape of the new Revolution. The multi award winning Centroid tonearm is also offered as a standalone product and a very ingenious tonearm it is too.
Fast, dynamic with standout rhythmical ability and drive, and resolution levels of the highest ever seen in turntable design, the Spiral Groove is a musical device that performs comfortably at the six figure price category but sells at just a fraction of those sorts of numbers.
Bold statements are always risky, and doubly so when made on the basis of so brief an exposure. But since I’m already out on a limb, I’ll inch out a bit farther: I’ll bet that the more I get to know the Centroid, the more certain I’ll be of my first conclusion: The Centroid tonearm this may be the best tonearm I’ve heard. It is not leaving my listening room. Read more at https://www.stereophile.com/tonearms/spiral_groove_centroid_tonearm/index.html#H35go6DqFhTgMofU.99
Every cartridge, turntable and tonearm I have heard this record through presents a different version of the relationship and shape of the two instruments. But when I listened to the LP with the Atlas mounted on the Centroid, the music completely shed all audiophile credentials or markers for the first time. Instead it simply sounded like two great musicians playing real instruments right there in my room.
In the context of inherent grrove noise, the SG1.1 Centroid combo might be the quietest combo I’ve ever heard. In that department it rivaled, and perhaps surpassed, Continuum Audio Lab’s Caliburn and Cobra. I think the SG1.1 is even quieter than the Wave Kinetics I reviewed in the October issue.
The increase in bass stability was immediately clear, and my impression is that there is far more than “a bit” more depth to imaging. Furthermore, the changeover also seemed to have tightened up speed stability, going by my measurements on Chris Feickert’s PlatterSpeed app. The SG1.2 also wins on the aesthetic front, with the sloping line of the platter reflecting that of the new, more robust-looking support feet. All in all, these are meaningful improvements to an already great turntable.