Palmer Turntable Review – LP and HiFi World Magazines
“Technical innovations are not the ones that make up the unique sound of the Palmer 2.5. Based on consistent materials research for many years, this British turntable demonstrates to perfection a powerful and dynamic sound.”
* Translated from German, thanks to our friends at Nixdorf
“26 Test Plattenspieler Palmer 2.5
Whenever a new turntable shows up now, it is not as much a sensation as it has been 15 years ago – the analog revival is in full bloom. Still one should note a newcomer, since there is a chance of this being the big thing.
Equipment used for test:
• Zyx Yatra
• Nagaoka MP500
• Denon DL-103R
• Van den Hul The Condor
• Audio Exklusiv 0.2
• Vitus Audio
• Audio Research
• Lindemann 830s und 858
• DIY 2A3
• Tsakiridis Alexander und Apollon
• Audio Physic Avantera
• K+T Deltahorn
• K+T Nada
• Phonokabel von Silent Wire
• NF-Kabel von Transparent
• Lautsprecherkabel von Transparent
• Netzkabel und -fi lterung von PS
• Basen von Copulare, Tabula Rasa,
Audio Exklusiv, Thixar, SSC
• Füße von SSC, Audio Exklusiv
• Clearaudio Performance DC
• Phonosophie P3
• Transrotor Zet 1 mit SME 5012 und
• Transrotor Merlo Reference
While Palmer has established a sincere reputation in UK, the demo unit we used in Germany is probably the first Palmer officially used in Germany of the English newcomer. Thanks to Bernd Hömke of Input Audio, while watching presentations of Harbeth loudspeakers where the Palmer was used in one of them, a question toward Harberth resulted into an excitement in regards to the sound of the Palmer.
Since the following try-outs were quite satisfactory, there was a new product brought into Germany and available at Input Audio: The Palmer 2.5.
The turntable is a result of several years of development by Jonathan Palmer. Most important was the experimentation with different materials and forms to gain the best possible combination of sound and technical possibilities.
Palmer himself speaks of a “holistic system”, which has been perfectly composed due to all parts working together at an optimum. Be it named as it is, but in the end the final result of sound and the way it was done counts.
The drive mechanism seems to follow this idea. The extreme power supply – in matching wood – creates two sinus waves which are set off by 90° for the connected synchronous motor. The voltage has been adjusted for the motor to barely have enough momentum to drive the turntable at the correct turns – it has to be started up manually.
This concept is known of the –also British- Nottingham turntables, where it works perfectly. The transmission power is created from the huge and slowly running 2-step pulley via a very thin rubber thread towards the turntable; hence, vibrations are no issue here. The mounting of the table is a specially normally aligned bearing ball of hardened steel with a phosphor bronze cartridge. The ball itself is made out of wolfram carbide and rotates on the hardened steel. The bearing with its dome runs up conically, where the massive block of aluminium platter (10 kg) sits perfectly tight on the dome. The mat and the beautiful weight add to the overall sight.
The frame consists of several layers birch multiplex, with anchored metal parts on several layers. Three height adjustable feet of stainless steel create a secure stand.
The armboard is also made out of bronze with the customer requested drill holes. Our test system had a normal Rega-drill hole, with the strongly modified Michell techno arm RB300.
For this special tonearm, the lower half of the shaft showed several drilled holes to change the resonance within the shaft. Furthermore, from the inside, the tube was damped with foam, internal wiring exchanged and finally the counterweight exchanged with a horizontal lying cylinder of high mass to set the center of gravity toward the back and lower. A Goldring Reson-Etile MC was mounted.
Usually I am not a fan of these two level types of mounting in high mass turntables – the distance between the frame and the table usually looks awkward. Yet for the Palmer it looks correct and perfectly fine.
The Mitchell tonearm and the Reson is a lucky combination, which will make a lot of listeners very happy. The trick here is to buy a quite expensive table and add a tonearm and system to not hurt the pocket that much anymore, but give you the feeling to always be able to upgrade later. After a couple of months one notices, no upgrade needed – except for the always happy upgraders.
After a couple of tries I always came back to this combination. The other combinations also did have their charm, but this combination transports the quality of the frame, table and arm in such a complete way with a deep bass, while still be able to listen to the nuances. Controller, drive unit, and platter produce an extremely stable foundation with deep-reaching bass.
The Palmer does give the deep sounding instruments clear and precise contours within the possibilities of the stereo panorama. The possibilities are only limited by the loudspeakers and the human ear.
Another part of the solid impression of this large mass turntable is no compression effects at dynamic changes can be heard. Usually the large mass tend to slow down the movement of the table. The Palmer simply does not allow this. In the mids the table is that exact, that it does not attempt to make it “nice”. And because the bass, and the mid show this, also the highs show the same. Neither too much details nor too flat. The DL 103 with defensive highs will get this sound, a van den Hul The Condor will be able to fully show the capabilities.
But as mentioned before the best balance and versatility was created with the mounted Etile, which also adds to a stable room “feeling” and a very good resolution of fine dynamic information . In short the illusion of a stage in width and depth and especially exactness.
Nothing negative? O yes, there’s one thing: The usage of antistatic brushes requires more expertise than usual. Too easy to slow down the rotation, which the motor can still stabilise anyway.
If you manage to do this the Palmer is one of the most non-corrupted players to find in this pricing segment.
• Preis 6.900 Euro (wie getestet 8.600 Euro)
It is not the technical innovation, that creates the unique Palmer 2.5 sound. It is the consequent research in materials over several years toward a unique powerful and dynamic sound. The tip of the iceberg is the Pulley, to allow a minimum amount of torque to be needed. The wood-metal combination looks quite elegant. The sophisticated power supply with the 90° changed AC adds to the picture.”
Turntable Of The Year
“ I was presented with a wonderfully wide and expansive soundstage, with boldly located instruments which just oozed texture.”
“I think many vinyl fans will find its supremely delicate but detailed, mellifluous but musical sound addictive; it just pulls you into the recording, soothes you and makes you never want to leave.”