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Brinkmann Taurus Turntable

Brinkmann Taurus Turntable

Beer…

I hate to preempt the misplaced technical description, but (spoiler alert) the Taurus is a German direct-drive turntable. The more knowledgeable turntable hobbyists out there might have anticipated things like stability (ppm speed excellence) and electronic-like consistency from a well-built ’table with this drive technology. But does it have soul? Can it get down in the dirt a bit when required? Can it flow like a great belt-drive? Can it drive forward like a great idler?

Let’s put it this way. I grabbed my old grungy copy of the Allman Brothers Band’s Eat a Peach (1972, Capricorn), threw on “Les Brers in A Minor,” and proceeded to write down “Turn that up!” Took inspiration from that and reached for another Capricorn record (this time from 1974) from Elvin Bishop, Let it Flow. Boy, the Brinkmann let it flow. A physical, foot-stompin’ experience. The Taurus showed no shame in walking to the other side of the tracks, and thank God for that. 

…Bubbly

Evenhanded brilliance. Just a breath of fresh air to listen to a ’table with seemingly no restrictions on differentiating dynamics and space. The Taurus feels both open and powerful, precise yet free. And that’s from way down at the bottom to way up there on top (frequencies, that is).

Celebrating my time with this latest Brinkmann, I cracked open an old bottle of bubbly (in this case the Royal Opera House Orchestra’s performance of Gounod’s Faust [1960, RCA LSC-2449]). All that classic RCA sense of space (i.e. less precise focus, but still very present) reminded me that the pains of the hobby and industry are occasionally worth it. Powerful orchestral climaxes here as open as a delicate triangle. A dimensional, believable soundscape. The feeling that you surrender to (fully trust in) the performance as something new—as an artistically creative event. This bottle was most definitely not spoiled. Musical inebriation. 

The Taurus can meet the moment. Beer or bubbly, it takes you there.

Low, Not Slow

The Taurus is notably effortless in the lower registers. It makes the slew of $10k-level ’tables I’ve had at home (from Roksan, Yamaha, Clearaudio, and the AMG Giro) seem rather inadequate in this area. This shouldn’t be completely surprising given the nearly three-times price difference, but it is nice to know the Brinkmann has some clothes. The Yamaha GT-5000 sounds indistinct down below in comparison, while my own Roksan Xerxes 20 lacks the ultimate power, substance, and scale of the Brinkmann. Again, one should expect this at these price points. I’m just telling you the Taurus gets the corporate “Exceeds” report in relation to my lofty standards for a reference ’table’s low-end performance.

The superbly recorded Talking Timbuktu (Ali Farka Toure with Ry Cooder, 1994, World Circuit) was recreated with stunning low-frequency conviction. So powerful and full without being forced. Almost so close to real you’re afraid the spell may be broken if you lift the needle. Think always massive but never forced. 

For the audio hobbyists out there, imagine the power and efficiency of a ported loudspeaker with the extension and purity of a sealed enclosure. The Taurus will recalibrate your expectations for the format if you haven’t heard something in its class. You’ll either be permanently wrecked psychologically for experiencing something you may not be able to afford, or you will be spurred on knowing that there’s so much more in the groove yet to be discovered. I try really hard to remain in the latter category, though packing up products like the Taurus to send back to the manufacturer does tend to put me in the former.

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Tags: ANALOG BRINKMANN TURNTABLE

By Allan Moulton

Let’s just start with a confession of sorts. I enjoyed listening to the combined talents of Roger Whittaker, Nana Mouskouri, The Irish Rovers, Zamfir, and Chuck Mangione with my family as a youth (Allan winces).

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