Sunday, January 24, 2016

Artisan Fidelity table on the way

I've been intrigued by the Artisan Fidelity tables for a long while.  For those who don't know, their tables are a melding of old parts and modern precision tooling to reveal the magic of old Lenco, Garrard and Technics engineering. Reports for the few owners are very positive, and the few comments from reviewers that have heard one confirm that these tables might be quite special. Seems odd in one sense, that something like an old idler-wheel design, discarded over time in the face of newer developments, might be repurposed and tuned up by modern tools, with a dedicated new plinth to create a mix of traditional and modern that some say is the bees knees of analog reproduction.

Well, who would not want to hear one of these creations, especially given the drop dead good looks that the Artisan Fidelity folks seem to deliver.  I mean, look at this and weep, record lovers:

As one dealer told me, you could buy an Artisan Fidelity and just give up worrying about your front-end, it would be the product to get you off the upgrade path. At the prices charged, I'd hope so but then, in audio land, tables prices like Artisan Fidelity might be considered modest in comparison to what lists for Class A in Stereophile.  Still, no one is going to buy one of these on a whim, these are tables for those who love their records. That same dealer (and a few owners) told me that Artisan's estimates of completion time are not very reliable though, and I'm here to confirm this is the case. Three months? Dream already past month four, so a reliable estimate is really more like five or six.

Personally, I like the look of the 401, it captures something of a time (late 60s, sci-fi 'new era' modernity) and the chance to hear this with a 12" arm is too much to resist, so one is coming. Chris at Artisan has even been good enough to send some pics along the way as they go through their construction process which I will be updating here. It's a slow process, we worked out the details last October after several months of back and forth, and the table is only now taking form that allows for pictures, but patience is a virtue, right.  Here's a sample.

First, pick a finish -- I love the reddish wood hues you can see on various table in the Artisan Gallery (here) so, if you have a choice in the matter, why not go for it. This is African Paduak, and in it's raw form starts like this, shown on right.

Of course, once coated, it will take on the lovely reddish hue found in their finished plinths, and for me it strikes the right mix of classic, traditional and slightly modern. Hey, it's all in the eyes of the perceiver, right?. Artisan Fidelity can do a range of finishes, covering numerous veneers and motor car gloss style painted surfaces. I suspect you only have to ask if they don't have something that catches your eye.

Plinth under construction:

Taking shape:

My choice of table is the 401, which to me has the near-perfect look that I prefer to the 301 model -- no logic here, this is purely my taste:


Unknown said...

Congratulations. You should be stoked.

I enjoyed an old school Thorens 124 that was re-done at a Pitchperfect demo and it was a sweet table. Combined with Shindo gear just wonderful music.

Artisan decks just exude taste and class. The performance combined with the looks could certainly say last deck for a lot of vinyl spinners.

Out of my range but that is one table I would spring for in micro-second if the finances allowed. Enjoy it!!!!!!!!

PatrickD said...

Yep, sort of...but the slow progress here is frustrating given the sums. More to come, I am sure.