Searching for a budget turntable that combines a low price with style and top-quality sound to boot? Paul Rigby wonders if he’s found a real contender with the Elipson Omega 100.
Additional equipment Ortofon OM10 Catridge
One of the overriding themes of the modern budget turntable is how much the genre is dominated by both Pro-Ject and Rega – to such an extent, that even many third-party brands feature complete design clones, or ‘guest’ parts from the two outfits.
That’s where French company Elipson may appeal to those looking for a unique design approach, because this turntable’s construction and parts are born and bred in-house. The only familiar item on the belt-driven Omega 100 is the free Ortofon OM 10 moving magnet cartridge that hangs off the carbon-fibre arm: a surprisingly expensive addition in a budget design such as this, as carbon fibre is normally associated with high-end turntables.
Known as the Orbital Tension Tonearm, the twin-bearing arm design features an anti-skating wheel directly above the bearing. It’s more efficient, but also more stylish. The only problem is there’s no anti-skating gauge readout, so you don’t know how much force you’ve applied.
There’s no damped arm-lift support, which some might see as an issue, but I view as a ‘good thing’ in terms of sound quality. The more adornments hanging off a budget turntable, the more potential vibration is created; which can result in reduced sound quality. You’re also supplied with an integrated lid: remove it while you play your records, then place it on the deck to protect against dust when you’ve finished.
Let it flow
The Omega 100 is a near ‘plug and go’ model; you do have to add a few bits and pieces out of the box, which is fully covered by the included instruction manual, but the set-up is pretty straightforward.
For those of you who are familiar and confident with turntables and like to make sure the turntable is in proper working order, don’t be too perturbed by the relatively high tracking force of the cartridge, which is set at the OM10’s upper limit. The figure is required for the OM10 to work successfully in the Omega 100; reducing it will only result in cartridge mistracking. For those who don’t have a clue about tracking force and the like, don’t worry about it.
“The More adornments on a budget machine, the more potential vibration is created – which can result in reduced sound quality”
Spinning Stevie Wonder’s Love’s In Need Of Love Today from Songs In The Key Of Life, I’m impressed by the open and naturalistic way the midrange is presented. Space and air is abundant around the soundstage, so you never feel the vocals and the instruments are crowding each other.
For the price, I was also impressed with the tonal realism from the treble-infused cymbals, especially their extended reverb tails. Bass is vibrant and responsive and has playful bounce and a characterful weight. Next, I turn to Hawkind’s Space Ritual Sundown V.2 LP and the tracks Space and Orgone Accumulator.
Even with the chaotic rock arrangement, the midrange insight and associated clarity reveals information to delight and, indeed, amaze before the rocking Orgone’s guitar-and-drum attack shows the Elipson can rock with the best of them; a pleasing lack of low-frequency blooming allows more detail to hit the ear.
For the price, the Omega 100 provides a tonally impressive presentation. Music flows easily, providing rock with swagger and a fragility to balladic fare. The Omega 100 provides plenty of upgradable options, too – a later cartridge upgrade will enhance sound quality – adding to its useful life and value.