EAT C-Sharp Super-flat turntable + 10" C-Note carbon tonearm - less cartridge

EAT 09 CSHARP
NZ$ 5,750.00 ea (incl. GST)
EAT Tubes

a better product for high requirements of exclusive audiophiles

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“Incredible value for money… Outstanding”

EAT C-Sharp turntable – Hi-Fi World, September 2015    5/5 GLOBES AWARD

INTRODUCING THE REVOLUTIONARY EAT C-SHARP TURNTABLE
EAT, lead by Jozefina Lichtenegger, a lady with distinct for elegance and design, went into the turntable business with completely new approach. High End turntables tend to get big, massy and bulky, close to phallic when the technical design goes into extreme!

European Audio Team wants to offer tables with the maximum of Technology and Performance but still elegant looking. 

The Forte and Forte S with their special designed superlative heavy platter have been a revolution in the High-end AudioMarket . Never before has a turntable combined such Kinetic energy in such Elegant products. Later the entry level E-Flat topped the concept with the first unseeable Superflat high-end platter in a wonderful mass loaded dual motor design. The success of the E-Flat motivated EAT to bring an even more elegant and slim turntable to the market.

 THE REVOLUTIONARY NEW EAT C-SHARP TURNTABLE

Thanks to new materials like Carbon Fibre and Thermoplastic Elastomer Eat was designing a new Superflat table. The low profile base chassis is made out of highest density MDF. because of its flatness this base sits perfectly stable on any surface! On this base the ultra low noise motor is mounted as well as 10 damping feet out of energy absorbing TPE (Thermoplastic Elastomers = Hightech high energy absorbing damping material). The cone shape TPE columns carry a SANDWICH sub-chassis out of Carbon Fibre and MDF composite with ultimate rigidity.The stiffness is important to be a Super Rigid base for the tonearm / cartridge and bearing / platter as there must be 100 % no moving tolerance between the distance of the groove and the tracking cartridge. All the rumble of the platter / bearing is directed in the TPE columns. On opposite the TPE avoid that any unwanted energy of motor and surface or surrounding vibration leads to the sub-chassis or even to the tonearm cartridge.

The bearing is an oversized inverted with a inert, resonance free ceramic ball on top Around the bearing we set a super heavy 700g mass point which sucks up all energy around. The stiff carbon sub chassis helps to transport all vibration in this mass point.So vibrations are transferred in heat The platter is from a special alloy of very inert aluminium and is also damped by TPE inserts-It from 2 parts a sub-platter and a main platter to keep it flat although having very high mass and kinetic energy.

The belt is made from special anti-static rubber. It’s glued and then polished.

The tonearm itself is a completely new design which combines all advantages of a unipivot arm with a cardan design. The uni-pivot in the middle only helps bearing to be less loaded. The traditional Cardan bearing insures high stability and easy ness of use with very low friction. Also inside the tonearm is a special silicon-based grease to damp the tonearm / cartridge resonances by more then 50%

The tube is again out of carbon , super stiff and rigid. The headshell we made out of special light and rigid aluminium to get a perfect combination of the advantages of carbon with the better inner damping of the aluminium as well as the possibility of more tighter mounting of High-end M/C cartridges.

An external DC powersupply unit with an AC Generator creates new total clean power for the motors .

You have also 33 /45 electronic switching.

A HIGHEND solution as the whole table.

Specifications

Reviews

Specifications

Model EAT C-Sharp turntable
Nominal speed: 33/45 rpm, driven by microprocessor, separate control panel, lighted control buttons
Speed Variance: 33 rpm: ± < 0,08%, 45 rpm: ± < 0,09%
Signal to noise S/N Ratio ( mechanical noise): – 40 dB, Signal to noise (electrical noise): -70 dB
Downforce range 0 – 30 mN
Supplied counterweights without additional insert → for cartridge: 5 – 9g (125g), with additional insert →for cartridge 8,5 – 13g (142g)
Effective tonearm mass: 16.5 g
Effective tonearm length: 254 mm
Overhang: 16 mm
Power consumption: 8,5 W max / 0,5 W standby
Voltage Universal switch mode power supply: 5 V DC / 1,6 A, 90-264 V AC, 47 – 63Hz
Dimensions; 
500W × 400H × 115D mm without connectors,
500W × 435H × 115D mm with connectors in the rear panel
Weight (without box): 13,5 kg + 0,5 kg for separated control panel

Reviews

With the C-SHARP, EAT really is offering a LOT of TURNTABLE for the MONEY....an eminently luxurious product and, if the looks grab you, the sound certainly won’t disappoint.
Steve Harris
HI-FI NEWS VERDICT:
With this model, EAT really is offering a LOT OF TURNTABLE FOR THE MONEY.... The Czech company’s unique advantage, of course, is its close association with Pro-Ject’s manufacturing resources, and many of the design decisions and material choices seem to reflect the latter company’s expertise. Yet this is still an eminently luxurious product and, if the looks grab you, the sound certainly won’t disappoint.
 
t’s now some six years since EAT, already established as a maker of high-end audio tubes, burst into the high-end turntable market with the spectacular Forte and Forte S [HFN Dec’10]. EAT followed up with the E-Flat and its unusual tonearm [HFN Jan ’12]. But with the new C-Sharp (£2498), EAT has moved into much more affordable price territory.

EAT’s founder Jozefi na Lichtenegger is wife of Pro-Ject boss Heinz Lichtenegger [see boxout], so it comes as no surprise that the turntables are manufactured in the same facility at Litovel in the Czech Republic. But although they clearly share some design heritage, the EAT products are quite different from anything offered under the Pro-Ject name.

SLIMMED-DOWN DESIGN

Many turntables of the high-mass school are unwieldy-looking devices, where the record is perched up on a platter that’s as tall as it is wide. With the Forte, EAT took the lateral-thinking step of making the platter’s diameter larger instead, to create a high-mass design that looked really good: a turntable of classic proportions and elegant design, but on a heroic scale.

With the Forte S, the platter diameter was reduced and the twin motors were built into the plinth, rather than having a separate outboard unit. With the E-Flat the two motors were hidden under the platter, driving a sub-platter from opposite sides through a single belt. For the C-Sharp, EAT has produced a design that’s slimmed down further. It uses the E-Flat’s oversize 340mm diameter platter, but, with a single motor sunk into a rather shallower plinth, the whole player has a lower profile.

Immaculately black-lacquered, the plinth is made of ‘highest density’ MDF and is supported on three large cone-shaped screw-in aluminium feet with soft inserts, adjustable for levelling. Nestling within the rim of the plinth, the carbon-fibre patterned top plate forms a suspended sub-chassis on which the main bearing and arm are mounted.

It’s actually a sandwich of carbon-fibre and MDF, supported on ten compliant elastomer cones. Once you have removed the three transit screws, this sub-chassis can move with its intended damped freedom.

The main bearing is an inverted type, its 10mm-diameter shaft projecting upwards from the sub-chassis and topped by a ceramic ball. Over this fi ts the sub-platter, with its matching bronze journal. As with the E-Flat, the sub-platter is a substantial item, a machined aluminium disc 80mm in diameter and 15mm thick. The belt, a round section type is said to be made from special anti-static rubber, which is then glue-joined and polished.

Because most of the platter’s mass is in the sloping thick rim, it will have a greater fly wheel effect than a conventional-sized platter. Yet with the bonded-on polymer playing surface measuring just under 300mm, it’s easy and convenient to put records on and take them off.

EAT’s chunky two-part record clamp has a felt face underneath and so cannot damage your record labels. It’s nice enough to use, but takes about six turns on the centre part to screw it down.

SEPARATE SPEED CONTROLLER

A small separate unit, EAT’s speed controller takes low-voltage DC power from a plug-top power supply unit and synthesises the appropriate AC current for the two motor speeds. In standby mode, the central button will be lit green. Touch the 33 or 45 button, and its LED will fl ash blue until the correct motor speed is reached, when it will glow solid blue (this takes about 12-20 seconds). No fine speed adjustment is provided.

Looking imposing if rather ‘blingy,’ the 10in C-Note arm fitted to the C-Sharp is described as ‘a completely new design which combines all advantages of a unipivot arm with a Cardan design’.

It’s hard to discern what’s actually inside that big bearing housing. On top is a knurled button which, when unscrewed, comes out complete with a downward pointing pivot about the size of a very large drawing pin. EAT’s blurb only states that ‘The unipivot in the middle helps the bearing to be less loaded’.

Whatever the secret of the bearings, the C-Note has the stability of a conventional gimbal type. So it doesn’t wobble all over the place like a unipivot, but is easy and comfortable to handle; and there is almost no bearing play in the lateral direction. There is play in the vertical direction, but if the bearing design is good this will not be critical, as the bearing will always be loaded by the mass of the arm.

Arm height adjustment for VTA is carried out by slackening the two hex bolts that lock the sliding arm pillar in position in its mounting. At the front end, the sleeklooking tapered carbon-fibre arm tube is completed by a polished aluminium headshell. Its straight sides and squared off front edge make for an easy visual reference and, in fact, installing cartridges could hardly be simpler. EAT says that inside the tonearm is a special silicon based grease to damp tonearm/cartridge resonances ‘by more then 50%’.

The large-diameter rear counterweight is not so heavy as it looks because it is a hollow shell filled with a sorbothanetype material. A small accessory disc can be bonded on, allowing the arm to comfortably balance out even quite weighty moving-coils. 

Balancing and tracking force adjustment is, as usual, carried out by winding the counterweight forward or back on its stub. The only slightly fiddly aspect is the thread-and weight bias compensator. This is sited inboard of the C-Note arm housing, but the nylon thread must be passed around the back of the housing to hook onto a small peg on its outer side.

LIGHT, BRIGHT AND CLEAN

So, although this turntable comes pretty well disassembled, it really proved quite easy to put together and set up. I started by installing the excellent Ortofon Cadenza Black, which worked very well. It gave a strong and commanding sound, with a fine, extended and very well-controlled bottom end, and detailed upper registers. 

However, I also had extremely enjoyable results using a Benz Micro Glider SL. Although the bass was not so tight and the mid not so analytical, I felt that the easygoing Benz was subjectively a really good match for this turntable. With the C-Sharp, it always sounded warm and open, and I ended up just wanting to listen to more and more music.

On music with a beat, the turntable had an appealing, lively bounce about it. Listening to funky guitarist Mel Brown and the neat little instrumental ‘W-2 Withholding’ from Eighteen Pounds Of Unclean Chitlins And Other Greasy Blues Specialties [Bluesway BLS 6064], Brown’s trademark tricky blues picking seemed hugely energetic. Brass and organ sounds were light, bright and clean, while the unidentifi ed bass player’s great sound came over with immediacy and clarity.

Again, the EAT delivered a meaty and beaty sound on the classic direct-cut I Got The Music In Me with Thelma Houston and Pressure Cooker [Sheffi eld Lab LAB-2]. In the title track, with horns, keyboards, guitar and background vocals all seemingly going fl at out, the EAT seemed unfazed and kept things well balanced. You could perhaps have asked for a bit more detail and definition in the brass, but the background vocals stayed sweet and didn’t squawk, and the overall effect was great, a sound full of vitality.

Turning to more studio-based productions, the EAT seemed to be quite good at humanising a relatively processed recording. On Stevie Winwood’s 1980 solo album Arc Of A Diver [Island ILPS 9576], Winwood overlaid all the instruments himself to a point where his vocals often seem almost buried in the mix. Yet with EAT they were always intelligible and impactful, so that the songs made sense.

ATTRACTIVE LIVELINESS

On intimate, small-scale classical recordings, the EAT could evince a quite convincing sense of space, and at the same time its lively quality was attractive. With Beethoven’s Septet played by the Ensemble of St James [CfP CFP 40059], the players came to life in a very appealing way with characterful woodwind sounds. The spacious sound of the recording venue was made quite apparent, and the performance took on a good sense of scale since the double-bass was given its full weight and authority in the ensemble.

It was great to find some recent audiophile releases that really lived up to their promise with the EAT C-Sharp, and one of these was the expanded 2LP issue of Last Dance by Keith Jarrett and Charlie Haden [ECM 378 2250]. I was immediately captivated by Jarrett’s spiky, instantly-communicative piano on ‘My Old Flame’, while Haden’s string bass had terrific energy and presence, with a seemingly extra deep response from the EAT giving weight and gravitas. Even after Jarrett had turned the tune inside out and upside down, Haden’s bass solo burst out of the speakers with real passion.

After this, it was easy to relax into the superbly-crafted production of Eric Bibb’s 2003 Natural Light [Pure Pleasure PPAN 018]. On a highly-arranged track like ‘Tell Riley’ the backing musicians were nicely spread behind Bibb across a wide, fairly deep soundstage. And it truly conveyed the rich sound of Bibb’s baritone vocals on a more intimate, introspective song like ‘Circles’.

Finally I had a great mono blast with a record that’s very far from audiophilia, The Best Of Elmore James [Sue Records/Island ILP 918]. As with other compilations of American material on this short-lived imprint, the overall sound makes you suspect that the tracks were simply dubbed from the US 45s.

But it was this compilation, released less than two years after James’s death in 1963, that brought ‘Dust My Blues’ and ‘Shake Your Moneymaker’ to impressionable young British ears. On the C-Sharp, this music seemed every bit as vibrant and exciting as it ever did back then.
......Steve Harris

A FAMIYY PRO-JECT
Jozefina Krahulcova entered the hi-fi business through a family connection, as her sister was married to the valve maker Alesa Vaic. In 1998, while studying at the University of Economics in Bratislava, Jozefina started working for Vaic. She learned all she could about the art of making valves and she represented the company overseas. But times changed at Vaic and after only a few years, Jozefina was ready to set up on her own, as EAT. By 2003, she was having KT88s and 300Bs made by Tesla Vršovice in Prague, and it was while looking for a distributor in Austria that she met her husband-to-be Heinz Lichtenegger, owner of Pro-Ject. In 2006, Jozefi na was able to purchase Tesla, moving the factory from its original site in Vršovice to Hloubětín, to the north east of Prague. Finally, with the facilities of Pro-Ject available, EAT was able to enter the turntable arena.

C-Sharp may actually fit perfectly in many users’ homes, and potentially supplies standard setting performance for its price.
Andre Jennings

REVIEW SUMMARY: The speed stability of the C-Sharp was excellent. The main reason for the head-bopping drive and remarkable timing I experienced during my evaluation was the ’table’s drive system—with which I could find no fault. Well done. 

The combination of the C-Sharp and Quintet Black produced appealing sound that had rhythmic drive and made nearly every- thing I spun fun to listen to. While not the most detailed presentation, the combo just played the music on nearly everything I threw at it. Although it lacked the ultimate resolution and complete neutrality of pricier analog front-ends, the C-Sharp/Quintet Black had a way of convincing this listener that its “sins” of omission were more than acceptable. Indeed, I found myself spending more time listening to complete albums during the review period than what I’d originally allocated. 

EXTENDED REVIEW: While I truly enjoy using my somewhat costly, 100plus pound, isolated suspension, vacuum-hold-down, large-footprint turntable, it is only sensible to acknowledge the fact that it is not what every audiophile is looking for. There are plenty of music lovers who feel that financial outlays of this magnitude are best allocated else- where and who, quite possibly, don’t have the space (or desire) to house a vinyl playback system of such size and weight in their homes.

The C-Sharp from the European Audio Team, the fourth turntable in the EAT lineup, may be a sensible alternative to mega-tables for many listeners. EAT is an offshoot of Pro-Ject, which is perhaps the world’s largest turntable manufacturer. The three other turntables in the EAT line are the Forte, Forte S, and the E-Flat. After the success of these three previous efforts, EAT set out to make a model that had a smaller, retro- modern footprint. With a profile that EAT calls “superflat,” the US$4000 (ecxl tax) C-Sharp may actually fit perfectly in many users’ homes, and potentially supplies standard setting performance for its price. 

Constructed from what EAT calls “highest-density” MDF, carbon fibre, and thermoplastic elastomer, inverted-cone-shaped, internal sandwich supports, the low-profile double chassis is what gives the C-Sharp its “superflat” silhouette. I measured a height of approximately 27.5mm (1 1/8") for the chassis combination. At the bottom are three elastomer-damped, adjustable feet to provide clearance and to allow levelling of the ’ta- ble. Finished in a high-gloss piano-black lacquer, the lower chassis is 25.4mm high. The motor is attached to it to keep any vibrations from coupling to the platter bearing and tonearm. On the rear of the lower chassis are two connectors (one for the external speed controller and another for the tonearm cable). Seven additional recessed cutouts located on the inside of the lower chassis hold the elastomer dampers used to isolate the lower section from the upper section of the assembly. 

The constrained-layer MDF and high- gloss, carbon fibre finished upper section of the chassis supports the platter bear- ing that accommodates the sub-platter. A polished anti-static belt connects the sub-platter to the motor. The sub-platter mates with the main platter to form the drive system and top surface for playing records. The main platter, made from solid aluminium, is extended in diameter for added rotational inertia and features a bonded mat (constructed from recycled vinyl to achieve optimal coupling with the record.) The upper section of the plinth also holds the tonearm assembly. 

The tonearm is exclusive to, and specifically built for, the C-Sharp. This com- pletely new design incorporates what EAT calls a traditional Cardan bearing for horizontal movement that’s been optimized for high stability, ease of use, and very low friction. Made from hardened steel with zircon tips, the Cardan bearing is lubricated with silicon-based grease that dampens tonearm resonances by more than 50 percent from baseline measurements taken without its incorporation in the assembly. Vertical movement is achieved via a pair of traditional, but very high precision, ABEC7 ball-race bearings positioned 180 degrees from each other. An additional uni-pivot damping pin serves as a final part of this hybrid bearing assembly. The uni-pivot damping pin plunges into a silicon-based gel that is said to further dampen vibrations and to provide additional support for the horizontal bearing. EAT says the headshell is made from a light, but inflexible aluminium that makes for a stable foundation for cartridge mounting. A rigid, carbon- fiber armtube connects the headshell to the tonearm bearing assembly. All key features for cartridge alignment and adjustability are available on the tonearm (VTA/SRA, VTF, azimuth, anti-skate, and a slotted headshell for overhang and offset angle). 

The C-Sharp arrived in a well-designed box with a three-tiered internal section. Just above the top section were the user manual and all the set-up tools needed (except for a tracking-force gauge). The top section itself contained the counter- weight, record clamp, two of the three feet, and the sub-platter. The middle section housed the assembled chassis with tonearm, including the pre-installed Ortofon Quintet Black cartridge (if ordered with the ’table). The lower section contained the platter. The motor controller was located in a side pouch that traversed all tiers. 

The user manual details setup in a step- by-step fashion to allow easy installation and assembly. I had no issues with it other than Section f of Step 4, which references the use of a 1.5mm hex key to remove a locking screw. A small slotted screw- driver is actually required to remove the uni-pivot locking screw, which secures the uni-pivot cover, in order to access the azimuth adjustment. One other item in the manual worth mentioning is that EAT recommends that when using the record clamp, it should not be screwed down. The screw-down function is only to be used as a means of installing and re- moving the main platter during assembly and disassembly. 

If the ‘table is ordered with the Ortofon Quintet Black, EAT will install and set up the cartridge for a Lofgren A/Baerwald alignment. As a value-added benefit, VANA Ltd. (the U.S. distributor) offers the option of changing to Lofgren B or UNI- DIN alignment at the time of ordering at no additional charge. Using the Acoustical Systems SMARTractor cartridge-alignment system, I cycled through all three options and settled on the Lofgren A/Baerwald alignment that I find most appropriate for my taste, which spans multiple genres of music, as well as early to modern pressings. 

The legendary jazz trumpeter, Clark Terry, passed away at the age of 94 the day before the C-sharp was assembled and ready to play records. I became aware of the loss of this great talent the day I set the ’table up. As a sort of tribute, I wanted the first piece of music I played to be something from Clark Terry, so I reached into my vinyl library, without looking for anything in particular, and pulled out one of his later works titled Portraits on the Chesky label. Although Terry was sixty-eight when this recording was made (on the day after his birthday, in 1989, at RCA’s Studio A on 44th Street in Manhattan) his playing is delightfully youthful yet masterfully controlled. From the first track, “Pennies from Heaven” to the last, “I Don’t Wanna Be Kissed,” I listened nonstop—with the exception of getting up to turn the record over, of course. There was no compelling reason to adjust anything. On “Pennies from Heaven” Victor Gaskin’s bass solo was crisp and tight, and on time. Bass lines were easy to follow and the rhythmic flow of all tracks was a joy to hear. I derived added pleasure from how well the C-Sharp/Quintet Black was able to keep up with drummer Lewis Nash’s delicate brushwork. My favourite title on this LP is “Jive at Five”; Terry’s scatting and playing is filled with so much dynamic expression that it becomes difficult to do anything but listen. With this random pick, the C-Sharp allowed me to remember one of jazz’s great trumpeters. 

Next, I queued up “Got My Mojo Working” from Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown’s Standing My Ground, an album produced in the same year (1989). I was struck by this track’s propulsive drive and slightly rounded but stronger bass. As presented by the C-Sharp/Quintet Black, Gatemouth’s guitar had less bite and dynamic expression than I’m used to hearing, but everything still possessed musical flow. Although I only intended to listen to one track, I found myself playing the whole side of the LP. 

Switching to Simply Red’s Picture Book, the “Holding Back the Years” track produced a similar slightly rounded sound that was big on lower frequencies; as a result, the bass and drums moved closer to sharing centerstage with Mick Hucknall’s vocals. At the same time, the cymbals moved back a little bit in the presentation. Playing “Red Box” yielded similar results, with the same tendency towards lower-frequency instruments moving to the forefront and higher frequencies taking a step further back. 

From the Pablo record label, I listened to Joe Pass and Ella Fitzgerald’s 1983 al- bum Speak Love. On the track “Comes Love,” the C-Sharp preserved Ella’s wonderful, timeless voice and dynamic expression, while Joe Pass’ Ibanez guitar had dense body and generous amounts of pleasing tone color. (As with the some of the other albums mentioned, I couldn’t resist listening to both sides of this LP.) 

The C-Sharp/Quintet Black maintained the tempo and dynamic drive captured on the Klavier Records reissue of the original EMI recording of Massenet’s Le Cid ballet music. Once again, this turntable/cartridge combo appeared to prioritise the lower registers of instruments, while still preserving the tracing of high-frequency percussion—although at levels reduced in amplitude vis-à-vis the low end. (I’ll explain what accounts for this below.) 

Given my observations about the be- havior of the C-Sharp/Quintet Black, I wanted to discover which characteristics were attributable to which component. So, I first switched out the Quintet Black and installed the van den Hul Colibri cartridge. Spot-checking some of the same records mentioned above (as well as many others) revealed the C-Sharp tonearm’s ability to let this cartridge showcase most of its attributes without any losses of composure on any records played. Some of the notable characteristics of this particular Colibri are its clarity, speedy transient response, liberal but well controlled high frequencies, and slightly warm but reduced bass output. With it installed in the C-Sharp, the music gained sparkle in the top registers—a trait that the Quintet Black also had, only at a much lower out- put level. Overall, the Colibri was more generous in its top registers, while the Quintet Black tended to fill in the bottom ones. Like chocolate or vanilla, there was nothing inherently wrong with either of these cartridges on the C-Sharp; which you’d prefer would be a matter of personal preference. 

I began to muse about the Quintet Black’s sound character because it tended to remind me of the “ideal” EQ curves programmed into many digital signal processing-based (DSP) room-correction systems, which tend to have a slow but steadily declining frequency response slope from the lows to the highs. In an effort to satisfy my curiosity, I checked the frequency response of the Quintet Black, and the results (regardless of SRA setting) showed something similar to the target curves of room-correction devices. This observation helped me understand why the Quintet Black successfully traced high frequencies, albeit at reduced output levels, but had more generous low-frequency output relative to some of the other cartridges that measure more linearly. I want to point out that this isn’t such a bad thing given the multitude of hot- and/or thin-sounding, non-audiophile recordings in circulation. To the contrary, reducing a little upper octave energy and ultra-detail can yield more enjoyable listening sessions in these cases. This is especially true for those who want to re-experience some not-so-well-recorded music of the past  and the present. 

Isolation is always something to consider when purchasing a turntable and finding the right location for it in your listening room. While the C-Sharp has internal damping within its sandwich chassis as well as elastomer-damped feet, care should be tak- en with its placement. The top chassis is a bit lively when touched or tapped enough to hear sound through the speakers. This liveliness can result in the ’table being susceptible to airborne or robust floorborne vibrations. Acoustic feedback, especially from powerful bass-heavy transients, can potentially cause turntable systems to oscillate. For my evaluation, placing the C-Sharp on a rigid corner shelf provided sufficient isolation for all but the most demanding music played back at amplitudes far beyond nor- mallistening levels. If you tend to play very loud, you may either need to consider some additional isolation or to find a different location for the ’table. (These comments are not exclusive to the C-Sharp and should be considered with any turntable.) 

The speed stability of the C-Sharp was excellent. The main reason for the head-bopping drive and remarkable timing I experienced during my evaluation was the ’table’s drive system—with which I could find no fault. Well done. 

The combination of the C-Sharp and Quintet Black produced appealing sound that had rhythmic drive and made nearly every- thing I spun fun to listen to. While not the most detailed presentation, the combo just played the music on nearly everything I threw at it. Although it lacked the ultimate resolution and complete neutrality of pricier analog front-ends, the C-Sharp/Quintet Black had a way of convincing this listener that its “sins” of omission were more than acceptable. Indeed, I found myself spending more time listening to complete albums during the review period than what I’d originally allocated. 

EAT''s mid-priced C-Sharp turntable and C-Note arm offers a great-sounding, thoroughly well-designed vinyl disc spinner for not a lot of money.... Amongst The Best
Paul Righy
EAT C.SHARP - AWARDED - 5/5 GLOBES
OUTSTANDING - amongst the best
VALUE - keenly priced
VERDICT - Plenty of detail on offer which is enhanced by a broad and organised soundstage,

FOR:
- clarity
- soundstage
- low noise
- arm performance
AGAINST
- fiddly anti-skating set-up
- 'clamp

EXTENDED REVIEW: Based in Prague in the Czech Republic, EAT is in the fortunate position of owning and sharing a factory with turntable giant Pro-Ject (EAT boss Jozefina Lichtenegger, is married to Pro-Ject! founder Heinz Lichlenegger).All EAT turntable Parts are made on site, which keeps costs down. Jozefina Lichtenegger was keen to emphasise, though, that EAT is a wholly separate company and, apart from a few screws, shares nothing with Pro-Ject. ln fact, the sixth floor of the factor/ is wholly EAT which includes it's own infrastructure. staff and designers.

Addressing the turntable, Lichtenegger first discussed the C-Note arm."lts a hybrid Cardan/unipivot made from carbon fibre with copper internal cable" she said."You can chan see the azimuth and VTA with adjustable locking nuts. lt. comes with a silicon damping liquid plus a lightweight, aluminium headshell".

The anri-skating compensator uses a nylon thread and must be passed around the back of the housing to hook onto a small peg on its outer side.This can be fiddly but Lichtenegger disagreed "lt shouldn't be difficult unless you have big fingers! I'm a woman so I find it easy. You can maybe ask your wife to help for that part of the set-up. Women are normally much more skilled".

The external power block trails a bell wire to a plug. Lichtenegger was unable to fully describe the nature of the power supply but it seems to be of a 'Never Connected' type. lt holds the speed changer buttons (33.33rpm and 45rpm) plus a 'standby' button.The selected button\light flashes until the required speed is met whereupon the flashing light becomes a steady emitter.

The low-profile deck itself holds a large 340mm diameter platter which EAT sees as an alternative to thick, small diameter platters. "With our platter, more mass is actually moving while the actual weight of the turntable is kept low" said Lichtenegger. On top of the platter is a fixed (recycled) vinyl mat."Nothing collectable was used though" quipped Lichtenegger. The platter sits on top of a belt-holding sub-platter and both are constructed from an aluminium/magnesium alloy sitting on a bronze bearing.

The motor is fixed in a lower plinth, separated from the tonearm and bearing by a suspended chassis,"They're constructed by a sandwich of carbon fibre and MDF.The suspension features a series of seven conical thermoplastic elastomer pieces to remove vibration" said Lichtenegger."They are far superior to Sorbothane". Produced by Ortofon, the elastomers were available in much widei more customised densities. EAT also found that this elastomer was far more stable than sorbothane, which changed its inherent properties over time. So, let's put the C-Sharp into perspective. If EAT can produce a turntable at a cheaper cost because i! owns the factory how does that equate to a competing manufacturer who does not and must out-source more expensive parts? How much should this C-Sharp turntable actually cost? "Probably around Euro 4,000" said Lichtenegger. Which puts this Euro 2,500 turntable into some sort of perspective.

SOUND QUALITY

I began the sound test without the use of the supplied clamp to judge the sound quality of the basic deck and then to see how the clamp altered the final sonic signature.

Spinning an instrumental piano rendition of 'You'll NeverWalkAlone' from Nina Simone with a cello accompaniment and minor secondary cymbal percussion, this complex rendition is adorned with frills and rolls that threaten to bloom and invade the cello space. 

Yet from the first few bars of this music, I was impressed by the solidity and maturity of the EAI'S output This turntable is obviously the result of some considered design tenets because there is a focus here which breeds confidence in the listener. 

Tonally, the piano was appealing and remained so as Simone upped her game and became more energetic in her performance.The rise to the final crescendo excited many piano resonances.At this point, the entire performance could easily have become uncontrollable yet the EATt low noise output helped to not only allow the ear to peek in-between each note but also prevented the ultimate upper midrange hardening at the top of the scale during the musical climax. Despite a touch of midrange dD/ness, the cello remained rhythmic while $e brief burst of treble via the cymbal was calm and rich in tone.

For a more up tempo contrast, I turned to David Bowie and his 'Alwq/s Crashing InThe Same Car' from his 1977 album 'Low'. Again, I was impressed with the low noise output on this track. lt certainly benefitted the overall Presentation. Despite a touch of midrange dryness again that slightly restricted the air and dynamic extension, there was plenty of detail revealed by the low noise rendition such as the shy rhythmic guitar that sat underneath the Bowie vocal. The EAT easily targeted this instrument, allowing my ear to make out the often hidden performance.The lead guitar, which has a tendency towards stridency in more uncontrolled turntables, not only exhibited tight control but offered no hint of being shouty or forward on the EAT all times the guitar was incisive and exacting. Percussion was also focused, althouth it was not the meatiest that I've ever heard. There was plenty of zip and vibrancy thought. 

Finally, the soundstage was both full and wide,giving the music a real epic nature while detail could be heard at each extremity, doubtless the result of the excellent arm performance, as confirmed by our technical tests.

It was at this stage that I decided to add the included clamp which I tightened onto the screw-threaded spindle. 

Replaying the Bowie track, I noticed an immediate change in the upper midrange.The dry aspect was gone. It now offered a more open and airy nature, confirming that the clamp was a necessary part of the decks design make-up.This allowed the vocal to sound breathy which enhanced the emotions during his delivery. It also pushed Brian Enoy rather subtle synth work to the fore, giving it a little more prominence while the high-pitched percussive effects had a rounded tone that enhanced their character. There was a downside, though, those same spacious upper mids also sounded slightly out of control, which ruined the previouslY admirable soundstage focus. 

I confronted EAT boss Lichtenegger with this issue and she confirmed that the clamP was only to be tightened on the screw-threaded spindle during installation. During play, she instructed, the clamp was to be left sitting loosely on the record spindle.The advertised 'clamp', in use, is actually a stabiliser, therefore ln this configuration, the sound quality immediately improved. Focus was enhanced in the upper mids with a concurrent lowering of blurring yet, I felt that the C-sharp was capable of more, so I removed the EAT clamp from the turntable. 

I returned to Lichtenegger with m),, conclusions and she was refreshingly open about the EAT clamp/stabiliser! properties. "Yes, there are much better clamps on the market. We like to listen to you and our customers.This is how we progress". 

This why I reached for the Oyaide STB-MS ({225) stabiliser instead. This design proved far superior, as it not only removed the bloom and blurring but extended, further, air and sPace while keeping the locus intact.l highly recommend this unit if you intend to purchase an tAl c-5harp as an immediate up-trade to replace the supplied EAT clamp/stabiliser. 

With the Oyaide stabiliser in place I then moved to Ananda Shankar (son of Ravi) and his early seventies,self-titled Production with a cover of the Rolling Stones ‘Jumpin' Jack Flash' on sitar’. 

I was impressed with the EAT’s soundstage structure on this track which was layered in a 3D fashion around the central stereo image with extensions to the left and right This pressing can be dangerously strident if not carefully controlled. l found the EAT performed this feat with ease, grabbing the track by the throat and forcing the oft forward upper mid-sounding female backing singers to remain calm and collected while percussion was self-assured without being hefty.

Moving onto the next track on the LB'Snow Flower', it was quite startling to hear the wide soundstage again. Secondary percussion displayed admirable clarity while bass provided a characterful presentation that added a secure foundation to the entire track.

CONCLUSION

The C-Sharp displays incredible value for money with its low noise output and controlled sonics that are both well-focused and mature in nature with an incisive and detailed presentation.
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MEASURED PERFORMANCE:
The EAT C-Sharp ran an almost correct speed, its error of +0.1% being inconsequentially small. Speed varied little around nominal too, suggesting a low Wow figure. This promise wasn’t quite delivered, basic rate Wow at 0.55H2 (33rpml was still in there. measuring 0.13%- a well constrained level- as our Speed Variation analysis shows this, The C-Sharp will not sound rock steady, but it will sound stable and free of obvious time-domain slur. The DIN weighted Wow and Flutter figure was low at 0.09%.

The carbon fibre arm was unusually well damped, with no sign of a first order bending mode around 200Hu - unusual. It is also stiff, the first visible bending mode being at a high 500H2. 

Our accelerometer shows a spiko at I kHz but this is narrow and encompasses little energy. The head shell is also very quiet mechanically. The arm will give good stereo separation, especially across the lower midband on drums and larger percussion. 

The C-Sharp tumble measures well and its arm looks superb: good sound quality is assured.