Despite being somebody who blogs about audio items for a living, I am not a vinyl fan. I leave that anachronistic love affair to my coworkers, Caleb Denison and Derek Malcolm, both of whom will gladly take in a whole afternoon on Teams going over the finer points of turntable style, or any variety of other subjects associated with getting the very best noise out of a record. None of that thrills me.
But what I do love is uncommon turntable style, and I am entirely besotted with the Fennessy Donut i5, a completely contemporary analysis of a gramophone. With its streamlined lines and conversation-inspiring horn, it was love at very first sight. Regretfully, I’m required to appreciate it from afar. Fennessy is a China-based maker that does not presently offer its items in the U.S., and from what I can inform, the Donut (such a fantastic name) isn’t brought by my typical go-to sellers for hard-to-get items, like Alibaba. If I might purchase it, it offers for 13,999 yuan (about $2,071).
As long as we’re all now window-shopping together, let’s dig a little much deeper into what we’re missing out on. The Donut stands 5.1 feet high and weighs 66 pounds. And though it’s created to look like an old-timey gramophone, that remarkable, vibrant horn (which Fennessy calls a “bugle”), is simply among 3 sound sources. The bugle is embedded with a 10- watt, 1-inch tweeter. Hidden under the turntable is a front-firing, 40- watt 6.5-inch midrange motorist, and a down-firing 60- watt 8-inch woofer. Depending upon how well that system is tuned, it might sound wonderful.
The Donut isn’t simply minimalist in style, however in function, too. A single knob on the front controls power, volume, and input changing. The turntable’s signal is just processed by the system’s onboard RIAA phono pre-amp and its class-D stereo amplifier, and there are no analog or digital outputs, so you will not be linking it to your existing equipment. There is a Bluetooth module set up, however it appears to be receive-only, so you can stream music from your phone to the Donut, however that vinyl noise will not be going anywhere.
Speaking of vinyl (listen up, Caleb and Derek!), here’s what you require to understand: The turntable is powered by a Japanese-built, microprocessor-controlled DC motor at either 33 1/3 or 45 RPM. It’s a belt-driven system that turns a 2.2-pound all-metal plate that’s topped with a custom-made slip mat.
The tonearm is made from carbon fiber and puts in less than 3.5 g of tracking force through an Audio-Technica (A-T) moving-magnet cartridge, though Fennessy hasn’t stated which A-T cart it’s utilizing, besides to state it has a 0.6 mm cone-shaped bonded diamond pointer.
In other words, it’s a record gamer. I’m more thinking about the truth that it is available in an insane variety of design and colors. A basic Donut i5 is offered with your option of orange, banana, dragon fruit, red velour, avocado, matcha, chocolate, or milk-colored bugles, with a black wood base and material grille.
But Fennessy likewise makes scandal sheet Donuts, like the Van Gogh, the Marylin Monroe, and the Quicksand. They’re all, in my modest viewpoint, spectacular.
As it ends up, Fennessy isn’t practically modern-looking gramophones. If you have a taste for something more genuine, the business has a big collection of vintage-inspired styles, including exceptionally ornately-carved wood cabinets and horns that are completed in a selection of unique products.
I’m still not a huge vinyl man, however if ever there were an item that may seduce me to the appeals of analog noise, among Fennessy’s gramophones would be it.
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