Product: Benny Audio Immersion T1 - turntable
Manufacturer: BennyAudio - Poland
Recommended Retail Price: 4000€ at October 2022
Reviewer: Piero Canova - TNT Italy
Reviewed: October, 2022
I know it sounds a bit surprising, but a technology like the analog reproduction of music from vinyl records, after more than 70 years from its introduction, still has something new to say. The number of new products among turntables and phono stages is continuously growing and surprisingly, the average level of these new equipment is very good. During the month of July we were contacted by a new manufacturer of turntables and tonearms from Poland offering us a sample to review of their latest turntable and its 12,5" tonearm. After an exchange of mail to organize the shipment, in early September the turntable arrived. Behind all this effort there is one person, Tomas Franielczyk who began this business a few years ago. This model is his second creation with the ambition to produce a turntable competitive in the 10.000€ market segment, but at more competitive prices.
The forwarding company dropped, at my door, a medium size box, and, at my first attempt to lift it, I thought it had been filled with stones. With some effort I managed to carry it inside my house but, to take it downstairs where my system is installed, I had to do it piece by piece. Now, one of my first axioms of vinyl reproduction sounds like: I have never heard a light turntable sound well so, apart from my back, I was quite happy with what I was looking at. After few stairs and some assembling I had in front of me a belt driven turntable with a 12,5" tonearm with several original solutions which deserves two separate reviews, the first on the motor base and the second for the tonearm and the two together. Starting with the motor base, the width is quite standard at 485mm, but the depth is very small measuring only 300mm, the same size of the platter. From above the sides respect the golden rectangle ratio. The picture here below explains well how it looks like; the platter diameter and the depth of the base are exactly the same.
Total weight is around some 25 Kg and it is made by a combination of wood, aluminum, stainless steel and rubber. The motor and the control electronics are inside the motor base, while the ultra linear power supply is housed in a separate box. The spindle supporting the platter is positioned in the center of the base and bears on the top a tungsten carbide ball. The sleeve bearing is also made in stainless steel, but touching the spindle there is a layer of a technopolymer (PEEK).
The platter is made using another technopolymer (POM) that has been tested as having the best performance against aluminum or polycarbonate. To turn the platter Tomasz uses a rubber like belt, which is quite flexible, connected to a Maxon DC motor, that's quite powerful for a turntable (24W). The most interesting part is the rotation stability and it is controlled. This is different to my previous turntables where the goal was to have almost zero friction between the spindle and the platter; here by using a thick oil and a tight tolerance between spindle and sleeve bearing, if you spin the platter by hand,without the belt, it stops after few turns. The concept behind it is to obtain speed stability through the large platter mass and to give to the motor a load constant and measurable. This means that the electronics controlling the rotation speed just need to control it every three platter turns making its corrections non-invasive. The measurements of speed precision and stability (Wow and Flutter measurements) show results in line with the best measurements I'have made so far.
Now, for us end_users, what are the benefits of this long list of features? Substantially, the high mass and combination of materials in the base can adsorb any vibration and move its frequency below the audio spectrum; the combination of platter, bearing, motor and power supply offer an excellent rotational speed stability with very low noise levels and the choice of building materials and their processing should guarantee very stable performance in time, without the need of maintenance or tuning.
Benny Audio supplies three spikes as well as three absorbing feet that have inside a special ceramic material. I chose the dampening feet and in order to evaluate the performance of the turntable alone I used one of my arms using an external support. Discussing with Tomasz about which among my cartridges would be the best for his arm we decided to use the ZYX R1000 Airy 3S and as phono stage the Parasound Halo JC3. Connecting the power supply to the mains a blue light appears on the power supply box; the turntable has a power switch on the back panel next to the power socket. Both switches for starting the motor and for changing speed have a red light. After approximately 5 seconds, during which the Start selector flashes red-white the nominal speed is achieved and the light becomes fixed red and we can start listening.
First impression: silence. No noise, hiss, vibration. Playing grooves without music, leaving aside some hiss from the recording, there is nothing else. Very impressive and convincing.
Second impression: neutrality and cleanliness. There are no changes to the original frequency balance. I know very well both the cartridges which I have had for many years and also the arm since I personally built it and the sound is 100% the right one.
Third impression: power and detail. If in the music you are playing there is some bass, you will hear it perfectly controlled, but also powerful and with plenty of impact. Here the equation control= dryness doesn't apply. I think that the 25 Kg mass is quite helpful in this.
Fourth impression: PRaT. For sure it is the best belt driven turntable I have had a chance to listen in my system. On the other hand, some idler wheel or some DD turntables are better in this are abut we are very close to them.
Musically speaking it is a very neutral turntable. It doesn't add anything to the original signal; swapping cartridges you immediately notice the different sound of each with an impressive clarity. Its best quality is "not to be there" and there's no attempt to be pleasant or musical which is very positive from my point of view since, if I prefer, some more detail and clarity I can go for my Lyra Clavis DC while if I prefer some more musicality I can go for the Shelter 901.
The technical approach is exactly the opposite of what is currently the trend for belt driven turntables, but the result is absolutely excellent. The finish level is excellent too so the price demanded is, in my view, completely justified. Now, stay tuned for the second part of the review which will contain the test of the arm and the two together.
© Copyright 2022 Piero Canova - email@example.com - www.tnt-audio.com