Aurora Turntable Group Comparison Test Review
By What Hi Fi
The individual ratings range from three to five stars, but all the decks serve as a reminder of how good vinyl sounds. The Technics SL-1210MK5 loses out due to our sound-per-pound rule, but if you want a DJ deck to cane the rest, this is the machine. It’s not the most musical, and you should upgrade the supplied cartridge, but, of the four decks, it’s the king of clubs. The choice between the Roksan and the Michell is not clear-cut. The Michell’s total price means it’s up against some very good rivals–we’d demo it at £699 and see how it compares with the new Roksan. And for the money the Roksan Radius 5 is a cracker–sublime looks and great sound to match. But, if you can find room on your credit card, choose the Origin Live Aurora. It’s a nightmare to set up but, boy-oh-boy, it’s worth the effort. It looks like a star and sounds like heaven–a class leader in every respect.
How it works–Setting up your turntable
Attach the counterweight and, with the tonearm free and the stylus guard off, screw the weight in and out until the arm is parallel with the surface of the platter. Now hold the weight still and rotate the collar (if numbered) to show zero, then recheck the balance and adjust as needed.
Unscrew and screw the feet to ensure the turntable is level. But first use a spirit-level to check the rack or shelf on which the deck is located. Then place the spirit level–if you don’t have one, use a ball bearing–and check the left- to-right, front-to-back, and diagonal levelling.
Installing The Cartridge
Use the protractor provided (if not, ask your dealer) to adjust the cartridge so it aligns with the grid at the two points on the guide, so ensuring correct tracking. Do this with the stylus guard removed and the locating bolts loose enough so you can adjust position. When you’re done, tighten the bolts up gently but firmly.
AURORA CAN MEAN the goddess of dawn or a luminous meteoric phenomenon; pretty lofty connotations, so does the turntable meet its maker’s expectations? Well, we confess, we wanted to hate this deck: the confusing assembly instructions caused much test-team blaspheming. Come on Origin Live, clearer instructions, please. But once you finally lay down your Allen key, the Aurora does indeed look phenomenal (our picture shows an early production model).
The Junoesque plates support a chunky platter and the overall effect is reminiscent of a model of the planets. The price includes a structurally modified Rega tonearm–the£199 Ol1–and Origin offers further alterations for extra cash. The moment you spin some vinyl, the sound stuns. The voices of Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong from their April in Paris album sound glorious. The Aurora gives vocals great solidity and excellent detail. This is what vinyl’s all about – close your eyes and you believe the singers are in your room. More than CD and Multichannel, the format delivers realism of the highest order. And tonal balance is spot on the bass during Can’t We Be Friends bounds along but never obscures the midrange or treble. Switch to Nirvana’s attack on the higher frequencies and the turntable remains unruffled and there’s no evidence of harshness. There is, however, proof of superb attack and rigid bass. Dynamics are excellent, which means continually engrossing performances and edge-of-the-seat listening. You also get a vast, room-filling soundstage, which means there’s reams of space for new instruments: the sonic good news couldn’t be better. Yes, it’s the devil to assemble but it’s enticing looks and celestial sounds mean we fully forgive it.