ELP Releases New Laser Turntable
By James Grahame
Twenty years after the introduction of the original, ELP has released a new needleless record player. It features a champaigne gold aluminum case and weighs a hefty 23 kg.
The back panel features RCA and XLR analog outputs, while 5 lasers lurk under the hood. Why five? Well, two are used for groove tracking, another two read the left and right stereo sound and the final beam measures the distance between the laser head and the record surface to handle warped discs.You can set the turntable speed in 0.1 RPM increments for LPs and 45s, with 0.2 RPM increments when playing 78s.
The signal path is fully analog; there's no digitization, so what you hear is exactly what's picked up by the laser pickup. And therein lies the problem -- this process is extremely sensitive to dust. It doesn't have the benefit of a mechanical needle to snowplow debris out of the track, so you'll hear every single pop, click and thump if you don't dilligently clean your discs before each play.
Oh, and there's the small matter of price. The LT-2XNP will retail for $19,100 when it's released in March 2011.