January 26, 2017
Elipson Omega 100
Pros: Airy soundstage, detailed mids, firm bass, elegant design
Cons: Careful cartridge set-up required
Verdict: For the price, this turntable not only looks good but it sounds good.
This French company has been around since 1938 and is known for its innovative and eccentric speaker designs. It now produces budget turntables, the cheaper Alpha and the more expensive Omega range.
The nice thing about Elipson is what it is not: it’s not Rega or Pro-Ject. Neither are any of its components. It’s a breath of fresh air into a market sector virtually sown up by the two trenchant companies. The Elipson design is a testament to the individuality of its approach.
This Omega 100 is not like its sisters the RIAA (previously reviewed on VF, that includes a built-in phono amplifier) or the RIAA BT (which includes a phono amplifier and Bluetooth) because it’s a turntable, pure and simple. As far as I’m concerned, I like that. That’s how analogue should be. Why? Because merely bolting on both a phono amplifier and Bluetooth compromises the sound quality in terms of noise and component choice. The RIAA costs £399, so you pay £100 for the phono amplifier and you’re tied into what you’re given while the RIAA BT costs £499. For that type of money, I’d be looking for a better quality turntable.
Arriving with a red, black or white lacquered PMAA plinth, supporting a steel-forged platter, the digital frequency generator motor pushes a flat belt that sits around the platter’s outer rim. The electronic control of the motor is noticeable when you turn the deck on. There is a pause while the motor decides what to do next and then the platter moves. The company claims speed control advantages using this system while the speed an be controlled with a top-mounted toggle switch (which is more than Rega or Pro-Ject can do at this price). Meanwhile the carbon fibre arm (rare at this price point) supports an OM10 cartridge.
I noticed that the downforce for the cartridge was set at its upper limit of 1.75g instead of the recommended mid-point of 1.5g. Yet, at this point, the cartridge suffered from mistracking in the form of terrible sibilance so back to 1.75g it went. As it is, leave well alone and you’ll be fine but I wonder about the synchronicity of the OM10 with the arm and wonder if its inclusion is a budget decision only. Buy this deck and consider a cartridge upgrade ‘as soon as’.
Using a Trichord Dino phono amplifier as the link to my Rega Brio-R amplifier and Spendor speakers, listening to both soul/funk (Stevie Wonder) and rock (Hawkwind) I was impressed with the Omega’s open and airy soundstage, focused and vibrant bass and detailed midrange. Vocal deliveries flowed evenly and without undue effort with, for the price, tonal realism from the treble-infused cymbals.
Offering both confidence and swagger in rock and an a gentle fragility on balladic fare this upgradable turntable offers great sonic value.