Roksan Attessa Turntable Package Page 2

Second, and more concerningly, the Attessa has no earth terminal so I could do nothing about the soft buzz permeating the background, the noise increasing in intensity when the arm was touched. This seems a fairly basic oversight in my view.

Fortunately, the musical performance of the deck went a long way to winning me back around. The Attessa really is a sweet and polished performer and a typically very enjoyable listen. No matter what kind of music passes under the stylus, the Attessa has a relaxed but confident air about its presentation. It doesn't leap out and grab you by the lapels but rather it sneakily draws you in with its subtle and alluring sound. The deck has an easy way about it and after a side or two it spins its magic and you're left hungry for more.

The standout feature has to be its midband – close your eyes and it's not difficult to work out that a uni-pivot tonearm is at the business end, and a very good one at that. The traditional uni-pivot sense of air and space around performers and instruments was present and correct, and is always a joy to encounter. However, this was accompanied by a real sense of precision in placement, the performers finely etched within the soundstage.

Ultra Vivid
Don Henley's vocals on the title track from The Eagles' Long Road Out Of Eden [Universal 0602517546950] have seldom sounded more vivid and securely placed centre stage, with a level of projection out into the room that was quite uncanny. I've heard decks many times the cost of the Attessa make a far worse job of this and I was hugely impressed. Despite its apparent simplicity and relatively budget nature, the arm here clearly follows in the estimable footsteps of its more expensive Roksan stablemates.

The same album also hinted at the deck's good speed stability – there are some fine keyboard effects throughout the track and it doesn't take too much to give them a subtle tremor. But through the Attessa they sounded solid, suggesting its drive system is more than capable. This also paid dividends at the low end with a detailed bass, and individual notes easy to pick up on and follow.

Moving On Up
On the other hand, this bass didn't seem especially deep, so although the deck didn't sound lightweight it did lack a little authority and punch in the lower registers. With the 12in single of OMD's 'Forever Live And Die' [Virgin VS888-13] travelling under the Dana cartridge, the Attessa played it cheerfully enough but I am more used to the sound pinning me into my seat with thundering drums and snappy percussion. The Attessa made it clear all was there, but rendered the track in a way that was a little too 'safe'.

Precision cut and polished 10mm glass platter is damped and (flywheel) assisted by a peripheral alloy ‘edge’. Uni-pivot arm’s azimuth is trimmed by sliding an outrigger to the left or right, while the counterweight is set further in, closer to the jewelled bearing

'Safe' could also be used to describe the top-end sound of the deck with its onboard phono preamp in tow – everything was sweet and well-ordered but it could have done with more crispness. Hi-hats on tracks like 'A Man Alone' from the soundtrack to The Ipcress File [Decca DL79124] lacked their customary urgency and snap, for example. Fortunately, the Attessa is built to accommodate the audiophile's need to fiddle and upgrade!

I bypassed the deck's internal preamp and hooked-up an Arcam rPhono [HFN Jun '17]. This proved a revelation as the soft background buzz diminished and the treble took on a new lease of life. Hi-hats stepped up to the front of the soundstage again, and a sense of glossy crispness appeared, but without any associated hardness. If I'd wondered that the cartridge was a little over-smooth, the rPhono proved not – the Dana is far more insightful than I'd given it credit.

Switching out the internal phono stage brought an all-round uplift in sound – the bass was deeper and firmer, the treble lighter, brighter and articulate as the Attessa picked up its skirts and found its mojo. The Ipcress File soundtrack now regained the sense of frenetic urgency I'd naturally expect from the pace of the performance. Even better was that the magnificent insight, spatiality and precision of the midband remained unaffected.

There's still greater potential to be realised from the Attessa if you'll countenance a cartridge upgrade. Recognising the moderate effective mass of the arm, I substituted the Dana for a (costlier) Denon DL103 [HFN Jul '09] whereupon the Attessa's very capable bass was finally revealed. Returning to the OMD 12in single, I now felt proper impact from the drums and heard rhythms that were tight, punchy and pacy. This is clearly a deck to buy for its great sound-for-pound and then upgrade at your leisure.

Hi-Fi News Verdict
There's no doubt that the Roksan Attessa turntable is an excellent value package. I'd argue that better isolation and an earth terminal wouldn't go amiss, while the phono stage is handy as a get-you-started feature rather than a long-term solution. However the motor unit and arm are solidly implemented and, with a little effort and careful cartridge choice, really do turn in a rewarding performance.

Rayleigh, Essex
Supplied by: Monitor Audio Ltd, Rayleigh, Essex
01268 740580