Soulines Kubrick DCX/Timestep T-609 turntable/tonearm Page 2

Whereas sometimes instruments can be lent something of a 'flavour' by a turntable, albeit a very palatable one, this pairing gave the sense that it was pulling exactly what was needed to be heard from a recording. Leading edges of notes arrived at just the right moment while the tail ends faded away with a well-judged sense of atmosphere. The deck proved masterful at maintaining an easy sense of rhythmical flow, never missing a beat.

The Soulines and Timestep combination is one of the most neutral I have heard at the price. However, this is not to say that it sounds a little safe or dull. In fact, when called for the pairing has an energy and exuberance that many will find addictive.

At the bottom end, I was struck very early on by the bass performance, which was big, beefy and solid. The kick drum strikes on the introduction to Steve Earle's 'Copperhead Road' from the album of the same name [MCA Records MCF3426] hit home with an impact and snappiness that was very impressive. It was not all bang and slam, though; the bass guitar notes on the title track of Donald Fagen's Morph The Cat [Reprise Records 9362-49975-1] were as detailed and well-rounded as I have heard them on any turntable at this level.

This continued to be the case on tracks with a driving but simple bass, the only tiny drawback revealing itself with material featuring more complex low-end action. As an example, later in the Steve Earle track, more bass drums roll across the rear of the soundstage and things sounded a little reticent compared to when the track is played on rival packages.

In order to find the cause of this I mounted the arm on my Michell Gyro SE turntable and played the same track again. The presentation was similar, leading me to conclude that it is part of the arm's character. In this one area, it doesn't quite live up to the likes of my usual SME 309 arm for bass clarity and separation.

Beyond Reproach
This single niggle aside, the arm's performance is largely beyond reproach and it's happy with a wide range of cartridges. Although most of my reviewing was carried out with the Denon DL-103, which really sang, I also used an Ortofon 2M Black MM [HFN Mar '11] with fine results. In both cases the T-609 showed that it can dig right to the heart of the music.

At the top end, the Kubrick DCX and T-609 offered a delicious sense of clarity and openness that pulled performers expertly into the room. This character extended down into the midband as well. The effect here was to ensure instruments occupied their rightful place within the soundstage while sounding exactly as they should. 'The Awakening Of A Woman (Burnout)' from the Cinematic Orchestra's Man With A Movie Camera LP [Ninja Tune ZEN78] was a perfect case in point, the stringed instruments being brought expertly to the fore. The percussion took its rightful place in leading the track, with the subtle cymbal effects crisp yet never overbearing.

As a final observation, a spot of experimentation during the review did lead me to conclude that the supplied rubber/cork mat was of benefit to the sound. Without it, high frequencies were very impressive indeed, but its use on the platter made sibilants that little more precise and cymbals and hi-hats just that little bit crisper.

This paid real dividends on the likes of 'A Man Alone' from the soundtrack to The Ipcress File [Decca DL79124] where the frenetic percussion that underpins the track was an absolute joy. The deck and arm kept up the breathless pace without breaking a sweat, while missing nothing that was going on behind this main action.

Hi-Fi News Verdict
Not only are the Soulines Kubrick DCX and Timestep T-609 compelling products in their own right but, fortuitously, they also work very well in combination. The turntable is well engineered, looks like a piece of sculpture and sounds very fine indeed. Meanwhile, Timestep's new titanium tonearm is the icing on the cake, sounding especially sweet with low compliance moving-coil pick-ups.

Supplied by: Timestep Distribution, Devon
01803 833 366