EAT Forte S turntable no tonearm - piano Black finish

EAT 11 FORSB NTA
NZ$ 7,495.00 ea (incl. GST)
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'HiFi News review by Ken Kessler.

Cinnamon Girl' - that delightful juxtaposition of Young's castrato non-voice backed by quasi-heavymetal - taxes most systems, but the Forte S provided every gram-of mass without swamping his weety warblings.'Down By The River'?
Majestic, powerful, as epic as it needs to be. While at times these were almost Spectorian in their grandeur, presenting yes, a wall of sound, the retrieval of detail and faultless clarity allowed you to zoom in on specific players with ease.

During the course of the listening sessions a, notoriousy acerbic rival turntable manufacturer called to visit me. Humility is not an issue that plagues him. He sat in my listening room not just attentively, but was wholly complimentary about the system. This is not an individual who bites his tongue, and so for him to comment so positively is an accolade surpassing anything I might write.
See more:
 http://www.euroaudioteam.com/c2/downloads/eat-forte-s-big-and-beautiful-vinyl-lp-spinner-d0039.pdf

EAT Forte S turntable retains much of the magic of its bigger, older brother…Amazing machine!

After the first impressive model Forte, Euro Audio Team follows with the small brother EAT Forte S. The last letter "S" is for small. Actually there is nothing "small" and this can be seen as a good joke.

Clients comment:
Thanks for last night.
I always look forward to our weekly listening sessions and now and again we have one that is out of the ordinary. Last night was one of those. I wasn’t that fussed about you bringing the EAT turntable to my place as I already have four “well thought of” turntables – as you are aware. I didn’t have any high expectations of the EAT but I was well and truly wrong.
Its ability to reproduce music in a fast, detailed and musical manner was amazing.  The bass was so tight and deep, the midrange clear and the treble natural – especially noticeable was the realistic sound of cymbals and stringed instruments.
Actually, it is a mistake to mention specific instruments as the EAT did everything so well – including voice – and there is not a hint of speed instability. As you heard, the transformation in my system was enormously positive – to the extent that I wonder how I could possibly listen to anything else.
The EAT bears comparison to a very expensive turntable that we had here some time ago but was of such a price that it was unobtainable. The EAT while not cheap appears, on the evidence of our ears last night, to be exceptional value.
As usual you have shown me that the journey is not over and I’m now thinking about rationalising my turntable collection.
Thanks for leaving the EAT with me.  I can’t wait to go home tonight and have another listening session. I’m thinking of fitting my da Vinci cartridge to the EAT but not sure that I want it to get any better – surely that’s not possible…..
Kind regards,
DB

We have reduced size of the huge platter from the 40 cm to 36m and its weight from the 20kg to the 15 kg. It is still amazing in comparison to the standard 30 cm. The sense behind it is to store inside as much as possible of moving mass that is getting most effective on the outer side of the big radius. You can say the following: double size of diameter and four times more effective sound.

The platter incorporates from the inner side sorbothane damping and from the outer side black damping matt produced from the recycled vinyl that make platter completely quiet.

Terrific inverted bearing construction with ceramic ball on the top faces to the Teflon. The pressure on the ceramic ball is reduced by two enormous neodymium magnets that are holding the platter and take over most of the load from the heavy platter. The big brother Forte has built in two motors in separate chassis that makes its imposing 70 cm width. EAT Forte S is "only" 55cm width and single-piece construction. It has also two AC motors but they are built symmetric on the right side besides of the platter, therefore you do not need two belts with different length as by big EAT Forte. Operating of the motor by display panel was getting simpler into the 3 main keys: 33.3, 45 and on/off button.

Both turntables are mass-loaded with huge magnetic feet, which act as a sub chassis. Forte S uses four magnetic feet with possible change of the height. This brings impressive low and excellently dumped resonance frequency of entire system. Standard distortions have no meaning at all for S and his brother as well.

Enjoy your life full of music and sponsor your self by EAT Forte S!

Features

Specifications

Reviews

Testimonials

Features

Dual motor design” to eliminate noise in the motor. By using two relatively weak, but silent running motors, we achieve perfect torque.

33.3rpm  & 45rpm pushbutton selection

The platter incorporates from the inner side sorbothane damping and from the outer side black damping matt produced from the recycled vinyl records crating a perfect interface for the record. A clamp holds the record on the vinyl matt that make platter completely quiet.

Terrific inverted bearing construction with ceramic ball on the top faces to the Teflon

ForteS turntable is mass-loaded with huge magnetic feet, which act as a sub chassis, uses four magnetic feet with possible change of the height.

The EAT ForteS turntable is all about eating dispersed energy:
■Energy from the ground is decoupled by magnetic feet.
■Energy from the air is decoupled from the heavy chassis that is made from MDF and filled metal sand.
■Energy from tone arm and cartridge is absorbed by using a heavy metal tone arm base isolated by sorbothane.
■Energy from the belt is captured by the mass of the platter and by the string itself.
■Energy from the motor is captured by the dual-motor design, and the mass-loaded motor chassis.
■Energy of the bearing is catch by the ceramic ball, the Tefl on plate and the magnetic bearing construction

Specifications

Electronic speed change * 33.33/* 45.11
Speed variance ±0.09%
Wow and flutter ±0.009%
Signal-to-noise ratio -73dB
Power consumption 4W
Outboard power supply 16V/1.000mA AC, suitable for your country's mains supply
Dimensions (WxHxD) 550x250x440mm
Weight 44kg

Reviews

It's a combination for the rest of one's life. The turntable itself is of so high quality, technically and sonically, that I'd stop looking for a better.
Kari Nevalainen - INNER AUDIO

 SUMMAER REVIEW: in this regard this EAT combination including the EAT Forte S turntable & EAT Yosegi cartridge & EAT-312 tonearm is really, really a competent one, smooth and still vivid sounding, such a joy to the ear. Sonically the EAT Forte S reminded me of superb sounding Verdier turntables, which to those who know Verdier turntables, tells a lot.

EXTENDED REVIEW: Before I say a word about Euro Audio Team's - EAT, for short - Forte S turntable, let me say this: It's never too late to acquire a new audio dream. That is, it's never too late to buy a turntable and a whole analogue music playback system. Why bother? Why? Because the vinyl sound is magical. It's pure and natural. It's 100% music. That's why.

Due to problems with the idler, I had to stay away from my TT for some period of time. In the mean time I got the box of remastered The Beatles stereo albums. I focused on the White double album especially, and got convinced that the remastering was skillfully done. It even occured to me that the sound quality could equal or surpass the one of the original LP. What a fool I was! When I was able to listen to the original LP again, I couldn't believe the magnitude of the difference! There's no way the digital sound, no matter how well recorded/remastered, could compete with the original vinyl sound, and that irrespectively of the format or resolution.

When I revived my TT system again, I found myself jumping, dancing, snapping, clapping, crying along with the music in a way that I hadn't behaved during the dry digital period. And the same continued when I put the LP on the heavy platter of EAT Forte S turntable. Only a stone would have reacted differently. It's not that the digital sound would be bad as such. Not at all. As we all know it can be great. But no matter how good or bad the digital sounds, it always sounds dead, as from the other world, when compared to a good vinyl sound.

Although I've been a vinyl lover for all of my life, it still keeps amazing me how radically the two, digital and analogue, differ from each other. Consequently, it's a sheer mystery to me why people go on listening to digital software as the only source for music. Inconvenience of the analogue? I'd not like to believe that.

Right. So let's move to the EAT Forte S turntable. I must admit that prior to the review I had some reservations: a vacuum tube specialist (see the Inner-Audio review of their 300B here) mixes its labour into turntable manufacturing - isn't that a bit too adventurous? Not necessarily, if you come to think of it. Both the tube and the turntable are waterproof analogue devices, both operate on a micro-mechanical level, and both require similar kind of knowledge and expertice. And patience. Also, when I first saw the Forte S face to face my doubts were effectively dispelled!

The EAT Yosegi cartridge

The middleman here is the cartridge. Just like a vacuum tube (broadly speaking), the cartridge is in the delicate business of "mechanical modulation of an electric signal". The cartridge in the Forte S that I got for a review was EAT's Yosegi: a 0,4mV MC cartridge made, with high precision, of a number of “micro-quadratic” pieces of various types of natural wood glued together with special resins. Different woods have different, specific structures and densities, and therefore their own characteristic "sound". EAT strongly believe that when it comes to dealing with small and weak signals, the choice of material really matters, ie. individual resonance characteristics are clearly audible.

The manufacturer writes: "At the heart of the cartridge are selected motors, cantilevers and diamonds, of the calibre expected of the very best Japanese-made pick-ups." It's a public secret that the Japanese pick-up EAT is here referring to is Audio Technica. As far as I know the Yosegi is not identical to any AT model but a reworked version based on EAt's own specifications. The claimed frequency response is 15-50kHz; the channel separation: 30dB @ 1kHz, and the output balance 0.5dB @ 1kHz. On other specs, later.

EAT has a special headshell for the Yosegi cartridge, also made of natural woods. However, due to some unexpected practical adversity, Oyiade's headshell had to be used instead for the review. For reasons of elegance and weight, it would have been preferable to have the Yosegi headshell. However, my estimate now is that the harm wasn't fatal.

EAT Forte S

Now we need a turntable. EAT has three of them: the mentioned E-Flat, the flagship Forte, and its "reduced" version: the Forte S. "Reduced" because the platter diametre is 36cm instead of 40cm. But note: 36cm is still 6 cm wider than that of a standard 30cm platter, and its moving mass is much higher than the moving mass of a standard platter. EAT believes that the "effectiveness of the sound" is geometrically related to the size of the diametre of the platter: double it and the sound gets four times more effective. I don't know exactly what they mean by "effectiveness of the sound" but having heard the Forte S now I'm sure it points to a meaningful property of the sound. What's obvious is that playing with Forte S makes one feel like playing with the mighty EMT 927 - or other professional TTs from the golden radio era.

The 15kg platter is damped with sorbothane from the inner side. A black damping matt made of recycled vinyl damps from the outer side. The purpose of the construction is to make the platter completely quiet. Sorbothane is also used to damp the bearing housing, tonearm base and the magnetic feet.

Just like other EAT turntables, the Forte S is mass-loaded with huge height-adjustable magnetic feet acting as a sub chassis. Thanks to the feet system, the resonance frequency of the entire system is dumped down to a very low level making the need for a special turntable stand less urgent.

As to the bearing, EAT Forte S emplois an inverted construction in which the platter (the Teflon cup) rests on a ceramic ball on the top of a pin. In order to reduce the pressure on the ceramic ball from becoming too heavy, two enormous neodymium magnets hold the platter 'in the air'.

The Forte S sports two AC motors but unlike in the bigger Forte, the motors are not in a separate chassis. Instead they are in the same single-piece plinth and placed symmetrically on the left side of the platter. The only beauty spot of the whole construction is the outboard power supply (16V/1.000mA AC), which I'm sure is technically adequate for the pupose (the power consumption is only 4W) but looks like one stolen from some gadget. For a turntable of this calibre matters of appearance also matter.

Otherwise the Forte S looks absolutely gorgeous. The 55cm width and 44kg mass gives a certain irresistable authority to it, ownership pride too. The luxurous Makassar finishing is not my personal favourite in turntables but black gloss and Zebrano finishes are also available.

I couldn't measure the Forte S but all the published measurements I've seen point to the fact  that the construction of the turntable is technically of the highest class.

Putting the three together

The Yosegi outputs 0,4mV. That is more than many other highend MC's, but not as high as to make it a high-output MC. The max. 40dB gain provided by my Sentec EQ11 RIAA/MONO phonostage wasn't quite enough for the Yosegi so I needed a MC step-up. I tried more than one, the ideal input impedance being around 100 ohms.

From the Sentec EQ11 the signal went through Gregitek interconnects to the modified Dynakit tube preamp, Behringer DCX-9624, to 6V6PP & 6L6G SE poweramps, and AGA Baltic/Lansing horn speakers.

To operate the Forte S was obvious and fun: just three easily approachable small buttons: 33.3, 45.11 and ON/OFF. The only practical inconvenience comes from the fact that the Forte S, although 15cm narrower than its big brother, is still 55cm wide. The big boy needs a big bed.

Sound consistency

To start with I tried a good number of piano LPs to hear if I could detect any - just any - wow from the Forte S combo. With piano music any wow would be irritating indeed, if present. But no wow whatsoever. The test passed. And general speaking, the Forte S combo did not have an erroneous kind of sound but its opposite. No flutter either, althoug I think flutter is less of a risk with this type of turntable construction.

The speed variance of EAT Forte S is, according to the manufacturer, +/- 0,09%. But it's not just that technical speed stability that matters. When my daughter practices cello, I often ask her, before she adds any slow/fast variations of her own, to play the piece first as if she were a metronome, like a bulldozer, keeping timing and tempo razor sharp, instead of "quite correct". It is quintessential for musical satisfaction that a turtable behaves like a bulldozer, rushing through the piece respecting the fundamental temporal progression at the bottom of the composition. This I guess is one of the major reasons why idler-driven TTs are so liked in some corners, and I very, very much liked what the Forte S was able to do in this regard.

Yet another thing. Have you noticed how fast the actual tempo often is in pop and rock songs (take the Beatles, for example), even in the slower ones? The fact is easy to confirm by trying to play the same song by oneself at the original tempo; time and again I'm amazed by the chosen tempo on the recording, and how fast it is as compared to the perceived one, just like hymn singing church-goers lag behind the tempo suggested by the cantor. The better TT, the more directly it conveyes the actual, fast tempo of the songs. The Forte S is such a turntable.

As to softness/coldness of the tone, which I associate mainly with the qualities of the cartridge, the Forte S/Yosegi combo delivered quite a nice package of mellowness/roundness on one hand, and sharper accuracy/resolution on the other. Yosegi ain't Ortofon SPU or EMT TDS-15 (not even with van den Hul stylus profile), it ain't like the Benz precision instruments either. It's somewhere in the middle, featuring a little bit of the best of the two worlds. That suited to my personal likings perfectly, but that's only me.

As to definition/timbre, let me just say this. No one should come and tell how a guitar ought to sound, or a violin or a clarinet or any other instrument ought to sound before he or she has heard how the instrument in question sounds on the original LP through a quality turntable system. And I'm not at all talking about the "true color" of the tone estimated by some vague reference to some long gone concert event; I'm talking about how the sound feels. With a well-made turntable it feels - it felt - so good and right. I doubt it can never feel the same in the digital domain.

The bass department was also surprisingly good although I know turntable/tonearm/cartridge combinations that can dig the bass out of the groove equally convincingly. Here my verdict is that to the extent the bass quality depends on the turntable itself, there's no need to worry.

However, I want to stress again and again that properties related to the quality of the bass, treble, mid-range, sound-stage etc. are always of minor importance as compared to what the turntable can do or cannot do with matters relating to music's temporal progression. And in this regard this EAT combination including the EAT Forte S turntable & EAT Yosegi cartridge & EAT-312 tonearm is really, really a competent one, smooth and still vivid sounding, such a joy to the ear. Sonically the EAT Forte S reminded me of superb sounding Verdier turntables, which to those who know Verdier turntables, tells a lot.

Conclusion

The EAT Forte S together with the EAT-312 tonearm and Yosegi cartridge cost about eight nine thousand euros. It's not within possibilities of most us but still, I'd say, competitive. It's a combination for the rest of one's life. The turntable itself is of so high quality, technically and sonically, that I'd stop looking for a better. No doubt there's a whole bunch of "better" and pricier turntables on the market, but I'd rather put my energy and efforts in finding a tonearm/cartridge combination that maximally compliments both the Forte S and the taste. My taste was well served with the EAT-312 tonearm. It's a tempting choice also because it enables having five or six different cartridges, including mono ones, fixed in their own headshell, and then changing the cartridge according to music genre, recording, time of the day, the weather, and so forth.

The major difference between the EAT Forte S combo and lesser turntables is that with the former it becomes so obvious that the digital sound can never be equally touching and real as the vinyl sound. No same charm, no same magic.

...........Kari Nevalainen

Testimonials

........every free waking moment listening

Hi Terry,

Still spending every free waking moment listening to the awesome EAT Forte-S turntable.......


Regards

Mike