North American Distributor: AudioScape Canada,
But I won’t go on about this, but the point has to be made that there is a place for a reasonably priced, high quality record player in this day and age of digital media, especially if you are transferring vinyl to recordable CD or computer media. The Dual CS-455-1M is just that, easy to make operational out of the box, with a high quality moving magnet cartridge in a low-mass arm, and automatic record play at the flick of a switch. The arm lifts and settles into the lead-in groove and plays the side, and then lifts off and goes back to its rest position. All you have to do is put the LP on the quite thick felt mat that covers the turntable platter.
Now, Dual has been making turntables longer than just about anybody else in the world, (since 1928), so they must have got it right by now. If you opt for a special additional phono stylus, it will even play 78 rpm discs. The other speeds are 33 1/3 and 45 rpm. The unit has an internal suspension that isolates it quite well, and no problems with feedback were encountered during the testing process. It comes in 5 versions, our review sample in piano black, the most luxurious of the range.
Here’s how distributor Allan Feldstein describes the various versions of the CS-455-1:
1) CS 455-1- is the basic version, matt vinyl covered plinth…..same motor, platter, arm, cartridge as the more expensive CS-455-1-M versions, but has an MSRP of $729.95; overall weight 5.8 kg.
2) CS-455-1-M (M for “massive” plinth), matte black finish, silver platter…..MSRP of $829.95; overall weight 7.8 kg.
3) CS-455-1-M Gloss Black plinth, Silver platter/arm….MSRP of $999.95; overall weight 7.8 kg
4) CS-455-1-M Gloss Black plinth, Gold platter/arm…..MSRP of $999.95; overall weight 7.8 kg (This is the one you have for review)
5) CS-455-1-M Walnut plinth with Gold platter/arm….MSRP of $1049.95; overall weight 7.8 kg”
Dual also offers the CC1 “USB audio capture karte”, or kit, which is a small box that interfaces with a computer to allow recording from the turntable to a computer. It has line and phono inputs, as well as analog RCA and USB outputs. It works with included Audacity software to achieve the computer interface. We didn’t test the unit because I’m not set up for computer/vinyl interface, but I’m sure it’s a very useful product for those wanting to digitize their vinyl, and works with both PC and Mac computers. A USB 2.0 capable computer is recommended.
Getting back to the CS-455-1M, I found it quite easy to set up, using a tracking weight of 2 grams. The turntable is a belt drive that comes with the belt installed, so all you have to do is put the platter on. The motor is a DC servo type, and the power cable has a wall-wart AC plug. Then you put the record on and flick the switch. The arm action is very smooth, and it gently finds the lead-in groove. And one never has to worry about “playing the label”, as it were, because the arm gently lifts off at side end and returns to its rest position. I found it fun just to watch the smoothness of operation, this turntable very much in the long and great Dual tradition.
I plugged the turntable into my professional Bryston BP-1 phono preamp, into which it had excellent output levels. The Bryston has served me well since my broadcast days, and while there may be better out there, for the current situation, it was more than ideal, with no step-up devices necessary. I listened to quite a lot of vinyl over a couple of weeks, and I’ll provide some highlights that helped define the sound of this LP reproduction device.
I also put on a side of Will The Circle Be Unbroken, a wonderful country and folk music anthology, and definitely heard the authenticity of the performances of some great country songs. Trying to be eclectic, I next auditioned a Supraphon recording of the Martinu 2nd Cello Concerto, which also sounded very good. It’s a wonderful piece of music. Another standout classical recording of the many auditioned was Keith O. Johnson’s Rutter Requiem on the Reference label. Here the choral ensemble’s depth was palpable, though the organ pedal bass was a little less authoritative than what I usually hear from this disc.
Sound quality was excellent overall, quite a bit better than I expected at the price. The Ortofon MM cartridge was very quiet in the groove, and there was a total absence of rumble or other mechanical noise. I heard lots of clarity and detail, with excellent stereo separation. It was a turntable that made me want to play LPs: musical, effortless, and dynamic.
This a very well engineered product that can capture the essence of vinyl, and transmit if to the listener. I doubt that its quality could be otherwise duplicated at anywhere near this price. And the convenience and operational smoothness also have to be factored in as well. In the CS-455-1M, Dual has put together a record-playing package that is easy to set up and use that delivers exceptional sound. It’s a great record player for a grand, or less.
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