January 5, 2017
Elipson Omega 100 RIAA
Price: £399 with Ortofon OM10 cartridge
Pros: Built-in phono stage, electronic speed switching, great timing, good cartridge.
Cons: Not the most revealing at the price, tracking force needed adjustment.
Verdict: A good looking turntable with all the features required for plug and play operation. Sound is on the warm side which will suit many budget systems.
Elipson is a French loudspeaker company, or at least it was until it decided to branch out into turntables. Its speakers are round, spherical in fact, so perhaps the idea of a device that goes round had extra appeal, no doubt the upsurge in demand for record players had something to do with it as well.
There are two ranges, Alpha and Omega with the latter carrying the biggest tickets. The Omega 100 RIAA is the latest addition to the range and the suffix indicates that it has a phono stage onboard. RIAA is the equalisation system used for cutting vinyl masters so it has to be used to playback records as well, otherwise they would sound hideous. All phono stages have RIAA EQ built in.
The advantage therefore is that you don’t need a separate phono stage or an amplifier with one onboard to use this turntable, it will work into any input on pretty well any amplifier. The signal level is not that high however, so if you are running your system close to the volume limit already it might not be a great match.
The Omega turntables have a high density acrylic top plate that comes in variety of colours (red, black and white) and sits on top of the electronics that are neatly stowed beneath. Connections consist of RCA phono output sockets, Elipson provides a cable to hook these up to your amp, an inlet for the power supply and a secret switch. This is used to adjust the phono stage for MM or MC cartridges and when the review sample first arrived it was incorrectly set, resulting in a sound that was all wrong. Luckily I found the tiny switch before making an embarrassing phone call!
The platter is small at just under 11inches across and made of pressed steel, it’s topped by an acrylic mat and propelled by the shiny spindle on a motor that is decoupled from the plinth. Speed change is electronic and can even provide 78rpm should you have some Shellac discs in your trunk.
The tonearm has a carbon fibre tube for stiffness and plastic bearings with an adjustable counterweight that arrives in theoretically the correct position for the Ortofon OM10 cartridge provided. My sample arrived with tracking force set at 1.87 grams and the template in the manual makes it over 2 grams, which seems odd for a cartridge that should track at 1.5 grams according to its Ortofon.
Hooking it up to a Cyrus One amp and PMC twenty5.23 speakers results in a warm, beautifully timed sound that is easy to enjoy if not offering the peak of detail resolution. Increasing tracking force helps to solidify up the sound but it never escapes the outsides of the speakers, but there is plenty to listen to in the form of tight, solid kick drums and propulsive grooves. In fact grooves are where it really scores, almost regardless of the music your feet will ‘hear’ the tempo and join in with the beat. The treble could be better defined but in many systems a bit of extra warmth in this area makes for a more relaxing listening experience and one where surface imperfections in the vinyl are not so easily heard.
The Omega 100 RIAA is an attractive and easily enjoyable turntable, the presence of an onboard phono stage makes it easy to use and while the sound is not right at the forefront of what’s possible at the price it is nonetheless an appealing package for those seeking a one box solution.