RöNt II Power Supply
I’ve already noted that the RöNt II power supply is a nearly essential upgrade if you want to get the maximum out of this turntable. And I’ll tell you now that I’m very close to electrically illiterate. Which is another way of saying that I’m blissfully ignorant as to why tubes in a turntable power supply make any sense at all. Luckily, I can hear. And luckily, Brinkmann has offered a quick technical explanation that I will happily quote: “At first blush, it seems a crazy idea to use vacuum tubes for a low-voltage turntable power supply. So why do we do it? We found that the vacuum in the rectifier tubes not only isolates their plates from the cathodes, but also the power line from the drive circuitry. Because of this, the RöNt works like a high-class power-line filter for our turntables. The purification of the mains noticeably improves the sound in clarity, openness, and spaciousness.”
In my own words, I can tell you that the RöNt II is drop-dead drool-worthy in typical Brinkmann fashion. It seems excessive in price and design, until you listen. The two high-current PL36 pentodes and one 5AR4 full-wave rectifier are said to have a tube life in excess of 10,000 hours, so at least you don’t have that to worry about. Just make sure you don’t hide it. That would be a shame.
With the HRS M3X2 rack supporting it and the RöNt II power supply powering it, the Taurus physically presents itself as a beautifully built and executed product. The minimalist, purposeful design of the still-substantial plinth appeals to me, right down to the front inset power indicator. Everything feels like it belongs. The ’table doesn’t scream at you as much as simply rewards you.
I know. I know. “Another rave review from the press. Let’s just file it away with all the others.” But consider the following. As I write this conclusion, the Brinkmann Taurus is gone from my home. The sexy RöNt II tube power supply? Gone, too. The HRS isolation platform? Back to the factory. I don’t owe any of them anything. I don’t know the people at Brinkmann, and in fact, for most of my professional retail/distribution career I sold against Brinkmann as a brand. They don’t need me and I don’t need them, and I’m way too jaded to waste my time writing about a “great product” to serve some expectant master.
Joan Armatrading’s 1976 eponymous album (I prefer “self-titled”, but the editors like eponymous, so I’ll save them the trouble this time) is one of my favorites, and Intervention Records has done a wonderful job with their re-release. When I let the needle drop on this one, I returned to my chair and literally threw my head back. It was one of the moments where you just involuntarily move in a way to take it all in. You instantly give all of yourself over to the experience. All of your intellectual, analytic defenses come down. You submit.
That submission is an important step beyond mere appreciation. It’s not just that the Taurus performed technical gymnastics beyond other (admittedly less expensive) turntables I’ve had at home; it’s that it let me love the experience. The Taurus gave me much needed moments where I could just put my head back and feel something.
I’ve had some experience with other big, fancy, expensive turntables. Can I right now definitively tell you that any of them is better than the Taurus? No, I cannot. Can I say that the Taurus is the best turntable you can buy at any price? Come on. You know the answer to that. Of course I can’t. But the best direct-drive Brinkmann manages to combine love and appreciation in a way that few can, and it’s a clear step above the best $10k–$20k ’tables I’ve experienced, fully justifying its status as a reference. It’s one of the only products I’ve heard about which I have no reservations. I actually miss it.
I’ll leave the last words to Lupe, the goat in the animated movie Ferdinand: “Is this love? I love love.”
Specs & Pricing
Connectors: RCA, XLR, or feedthrough for direct DIN
Drive: Magnetic field motor with “soft” speed control
Bearing: Lubricated, maintenance-free hydrodynamic journal bearing
Platter: 22 lbs., 40mm Duralumin; recess-mounted planar-polished crystal glass mat
Power supply: “Performance” solid-state power supply standard; RöNt II vacuum-tube power supply optional
Dimensions: 16.5″ x 3.9″ x 12.6″
Weight: Total 48.5 lbs. (chassis 26.5 lbs.; 22 lbs. platter); power supply, 7.1 lbs.
Pricing: Taurus $14,990; 12.1 tonearm, $6290; Pi cartridge $2750; HRS M3X2 isolation base, $3975
Package Pricing: Table + arm $20,290. Table + arm + RöNt II $23,780
Pricing for my loving it: Table + arm + RöNt II + Pi + HRS, $30,505
Brinkmann Audio GmbH
SOUND & VISION (U.S. Representative)
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).More articles from this editor