Oracle Paris MKV turntable

15.10.2014..
Giradischi oracle Paris
Giradischi oracle Paris

The Canadian Oracle Audio, from Quebec, has gained prestige among the analogists with the Delphi model, whose design of turntable has reached the version MK VI. The series is the bearer of excellent manufacturing ideas, like the floating chassis with twelve components and seven mechanical filter for each one of the three towers. The price, however, is more than 10,000.00 EUR, tonearm excluded. The idea of a less expensive model dates back to 2011: 4,900.00 EUR, tonearm excluded. Be patient if I am insisting on the price, but it represents a fundamental discriminating factor in judging with equity High-End audio equipment.

 

Oracle’s chief designer is Jacques Riendeau, brother of the company’s founder Marcel. Therefore, I was thinking that the Paris MKV had been named after Paris, France, just to remind their French roots. But I was wrong: it is named after the prince in Greek mythology who caused the Trojan War by abducting Helen.

 

The first impact with the machine, out of its packaging, has not been engrossing. A common turntable in a white and black lacquered version not in line with my ‘classic’ tastes.

 

There are several versions of the Paris: with its carbon-tubed-tonearm and silicone-fluid dashpots, with or without cartridge, with or without dustcover, etc.

 

The sample I received was supplied with a SME 309 tonearm, relative armboard and Van Den Hul 502 phono cable with a DIN jack plug. It was reassuring. I am familiar with SME tonearms and their assembly, but I have to admit that here I had some difficulties. Firstly because the setscrews were too short. So, in order to avoid any damage, I had to ordered apposite screws and after a few days, I started over.

 

No way. After many attempts, I had to create an adapter composed of one end of the same wire soldered to a Cardas pipe. Thanks to its small dimensions, I have been able to gain more millimetres of air, which are necessary to the horizontal motion of the tracking mechanism. Four spacers have compensated the constriction of the vertical motion. They have made possible a raising of the armboard and a further decoupling, so to get an improvement in the sound. The other steps of the set-up have been, luckily, very easy and quick.

 

The Paris is a belt driven semi floating turntable with an original damping system for the suspension. Three convex screw-in Delrin feet (Delrin is a very resistant and light acetal resin) are attached to the solid plinth, made of high-density fibre, and can be adjust for levelling. The diagonal independent chassis is free to dampen on thin fibreglass rods, which terminate in sorbothane rings. This combination handles the vertical movement and the balance, so that the user can level the revolving platter and the tonearm in relation to the fixed board and the belt pulley.

 

The Paris has a low voltage AC synchronous motor, encapsulated inside a metallic pod placed beneath the plinth. Unfortunately, the power supply is one of the weak points of this turntable. It’s nothing but a 24 V transformer provided with a thin cable and a jack plug, like a charger for mobile phones. To adjust the speed switching you have to act on two trimmers placed at the back of the plinth. You should expect something more from a machine that costs 5,000.00 EUR, although Oracle claims that the oscillator circuit can ensure accurate speed stability and can isolate the electronic system of transport from any impurity and fluctuation.

 

There is the possibility, however, of upgrading to the same power supply as used with the Delphi model, the Turbo, at a price of 1,100.00 USD.

 

The floating insert becomes free when the two aluminium buffers, used during transportation, are unlocked. The tonearm mounting compartment and the main bearing, within which the platter spindle has to be lowered, are placed at the extremities of the suspension board. Tonearm and platter make a system composed by an aluminium sub-platter around which the drive belt runs, and an acrylic platter over it. The shaft of the main bearing runs in two plain bushing of a thermoplastic called peek, which is known for the exceptional resistance to temperature variation. Before the insertion, 4cc of oil must be injected into the bearing with the provided syringe. A neat screw-down record clamp, that Oracle defines coupling disc, completes the ensemble. A smart solution made of two-part device in Delrin so that the portion in contact with the LP label works independently from the blockage.

 

In a mechanical organism where the motor is on a solid plinth, while the platter and the tonearm are placed on a floating board, joined only by a drive belt, the fine-tuning becomes fundamental. Just one millimetre of error and everything could be compromised. Four knobs placed beneath the chassis provide the correspondence of the levels.

 

The provided suspension gauge acts as reference of the uniformity of the distance between platter and plinth. The perfect parallelism between the revolving elements and the surfaces is achieved by acting in a distance range between 10 mm and 12 mm.

 

After the fine-tuning, I have mounted a Clearaudio Stradivari V2 cartridge and placed the Paris on a Creaktiv table. During the break-in I have noticed how silent and ‘deaf’ to all resonances the machine is.

 

The start is slightly delayed, but the rotational movement goes quickly full speed. After a week, the turntable is fine-tuned. During the burn-in I have noticed also a great sensation of spatiality together with an easiness in reproducing the low frequencies, plus a great energy. Therefore, I decided to start the test with a record of great extension and vigour: The Oscar Peterson Trio Bursting Out with the All Star Big Band, Verve V6-8476, recorded in June 1962 in New York City. It is a magnificent record in the orchestra range, in the musical effects as well as in the ensemble: Ray Brown on double bass with Ed Thigpen on drums. – Clark Terry, Ernie Royal, Pat Brotherly, Roy Eldridge, Snooky Young and Jimmy Nottingham on trumpets. Jimmy Cleveland, Melba Liston, Paul Faulise, Slide Hampton and Britt Woodman on trombones. Jude Brotherly, James Moody, Jerome Richardson, Norris Turney, Seldon Powell and George Dorsey on saxophones and flutes. Willie Ruff, Ray Alonge, Julius Watkins, Morris Secon and Jimmy Buffington on French horns. Don Butterfield on tuba. The director Ernie Wilkins is famous for his variegate weaves and wealth of ideas. He knows how to exalt Peterson’s style like in Blues For Big Scotia, the opening track named after the nickname of Mrs. Peterson, born in New Scotland. The schemes of tonal contrast model a composition that accentuates the central figure of the musician. The Paris goes all out.

 

It is not easy to break up the individual weaves of a Big Band and, at the same time, to keep it compact in a three-dimensional reality. The scene is wide, the accuracy of the detail amazing, whereas the depth is not so exalting. The protagonist is Peterson’s piano but Ray Brown’s bass is, alas, a bit distant. From the standard West Coast Blues, a rootsy waltz with some blues, through the relaxed Here’s That Rainy Day, up to the up-tempo swing of I Love You, the exuberant dialog among the instruments is not easy to be reproduced. Something is missing along the way and the rapidity of the changes in rhythm is not always supported by the same reactivity in tracking the grooves of the vinyl.


Daahood, one of Oscar’s favourite tracks, closes the side. Here the rhythmic session exalts itself in an inimitable dynamism. The bass comes ahead and the Paris can highlight its best virtues. The sound is exciting, although there is a strong euphony in the mid-high parts. After Tricotism, with the fast-paced dialogue between Brown and Peterson, and I’m Old Fashioned, great expression of orchestra dexterity and subtle use of the flutes, the most extraordinary track of the album starts: Young & Foolish, refulgent range of all the orchestra colours. In the ending Manteca, the implacable beat of the most talented jazz bassist together with the most talented pianist gives a joyful and gratifying sound to the listener. The happy union between inspiration and technique, the involvement of the musicians, the quality of the sound, makes this album one of the best experiments of excitement in jazz. The essence has been extrapolated by the Paris, although with some limits concerning the naturalness of the musical message, the fullness of the scene, the timbric balance, the clearness and stability of the image. I did not expect more. Simply because a light turntable like ours cannot offer more. The situation improves if we simplify the tasks with Flamenco Festival, by Carlos Montoya and his Flamenco Group, RCA Victor, LPM-1713, recorded in March 1958 in Madrid and defined by the label: A “New Orthophonic” High Fidelity Recording. Montoya plays with the Spanish Gipsy Singers and Dancers group. Ten co-performers for a Flamenco jam session of four hours. Amazing. A strong and insistent rhythmic base, a powerful and syncopate beat together with individual improvisation and exciting spontaneity within a regular scheme. The three main forms of Flamenco are represented: Tiento, the oldest form of ‘Tango Flamenco’, Fandango and Buleria, the native gipsy dance. Difficult and intricate they see the instruments coming into the scene separately. Firstly the snaps, than the hand-clapping, the so called off-beat or counter-tempo. After the voices the beat of the heels. Only now the dance is in its full swing. The Paris is not stressed. The naturalness is not excellent and the beat of the heels is weak. There is a lack of energy so that the ecstatic percussive aura and that sort of trance, typical of the Flamenco, are missing. The voices are deep and well placed. The tone of the guitars is coherent, although there is a lack of accuracy in the resonances of the wood. A wide scene, well beyond the external limits of the loudspeakers. The live take is authentic, without overdubbing. The turntable appreciates, so the listener.

 

The Oracle Paris is not one of my favourite analogic players. I love big masses, oversized motors, heavy platters that run for inertia. The entry models by Micro Seiki weighed many many kilos. I succeeded in making performed a Michell Orbe only after adding weight to the base with more than twenty kilos of steel and to the base with more than ten. I strongly believe that the physical consistence of a turntable is fundamental in order that a cartridge can track the grooves in a faithful, dynamic and natural way. The Paris, instead, aims only to the materials and the agility, and, in my opinion, it reaches anyway appreciable results.

 

The listening is enjoyable with all kind of music, with good sound and musical coherence. Unfortunately, its cost does not help to consider it as an affordable machine to compare with other competitors. Nevertheless, it is a turntable and for this reason, I like it.

 

 

Official technical specifications:

Drive: AC synchronous motor, belt driven, external power adapter

Platter: two piece with aluminium hub and acrylic main platter

Plinth Dimension: 19.5"x15" height to top of tone arm 5", 6" with dust cover installed

Speed Selection: 33 and 45, adjustable

Tonearm Mounting Specs: maximum centre to centre tonearm length 228mm 

Suspension system: Adjustable, semi-floating chassis on dual rod system made of fibreglass and Sorbothane decoupling

Paris tone arm, the basic structure is the Project 9CC carbon tone arm. Oracle Audio developed the micro vibration silicone-damping device for this tone arm.

Power requirements: 100/120/230volts 50/60Hz

Turntable weight: 7kg, 15 pounds

Regular power supply: 24 to 28 VDC/500ma standard configuration

 

Official Italian dealer: to Il Tempio Esoterico website

Official current price in Italy: 4,900.00 EUR tonearm excluded

Associated equipment: to Giuseppe "MinGius" Trotto’s system

by Giuseppe Trotto
Read more articles

Torna su

Advertising

DiDiT banner
KingSound banner
 
Vermöuth Audio banner

Is this article available only in such a language?

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive more articles in your language!

 

Questo articolo esiste solo in questa lingua?

Iscriviti alla newsletter per ricevere gli articoli nella tua lingua!

 

Sign up now!

Advertising

Dream Streaming banner
HighResAudio banner