Illustrious Tonearm - Reviewer Excerpts
Letter sent 17th Dec 2002 by Bill K. in Chicago - part time reviewer
I wanted to share my impressions of your exceptional Resolution and Illustrious combination that I've been enjoying for a few weeks now. I already provided e-mail feedback (below) to my dealer and thought
that I should also pass it on to you, their 'creator'. - Bill
I logged some additional time with my new OL Resolution/Illustrious setup, and wanted to provide you with my listening impressions. All comments are related to the combination, since I haven't heard either piece on their own or with any other common component. My previous setup had the same AQ7000 cartridge on a Well Tempered Classic table/arm with the black damped platter. Cosmetically the Combination has a really high tech appearance. The look is very unique, I've never seen any other table that looks at all similar to it. The piano black finish is very striking, as is the reflection of the
spinning structured acrylic platter and the entire arm and sub-chassis on the plinth's high gloss finish. The quality of fit and finish is very high on both the table and the arm, and I'm an admitted perfectionist. I find that the degree of mechanical engineering that is evident in these Origin Live products is unprecedented in my experience (which is quite extensive, well beyond my WTT). The set is a real example of combining a fanatically well executed mechanical engineering design with a very modern, high tech artistic appearance.
First of all I have never heard my cartridge perform with anywhere near this level of refinement. Cymbals and wire brushwork on jazz recordings are now clearly and effortlessly revealed, with realistic shimmer and natural decay. When a cymbal is hit it's now obvious that a wooden stick is hitting metal. The sound of the combo has a very lively quality to it, while my previous WTT had a much drier and deader sound to it. That was the primary reason for my desired analog upgrade, and I think I really picked a winner. It's also very nice to have the electronic speed control; now I can easily play my 45 RPM Groove Note LPs without having to move any belts.
The sound is very dynamic and always effortless, with the silent background the performers seem to appear out of nowhere. This is what analog is all about! The bass isn't overdone as some other tables are (i.e. VPI), but everything is very well balanced in tonality. Very natural while always rich and engaging. A few operational notes about this setup. The suspension works really well. I have floors that have some give, and some suspended tables on a Target TT stand will bounce so much as to make them unusable. This subchassis only moves up and down about one millimeter, and it doesn't bounce for very long. As such, it provides effective isolation without being out of control. The setup does take some time to complete, but the manual is quite detailed with photos and diagrams that address most possible questions. I was very
pleased (and honestly surprised) that the instructions provided were so complete since these products were both just recently released. Also the packaging & crating was very professionally done, among the best I've ever seen. The crate arrived in perfect condition after shipment. Thanks for your support in getting me these excellent Origin Live products!
Yours in higher fidelity,
I had a chance to do some more listening to my Resolution/Illustrious setup today, and am very pleased with what I heard. One very positive thing that I notice is that after every listening session I can't get
the songs I heard out of my head. This only happens to me when the sound is truly exceptional, and it seems to be a regular occurrence now!
Dynamics are captured and reproduced superbly and effortlessly. Harmonic decay of instruments is very naturally portrayed, and the entire soundstage is filled with details that previously were buried somewhere and went unheard. The sound is round, full, and lively; a big improvement over my previous Well Tempered Classic setup! Thanks again for your support.
Letter sent Feb 03 2003, from very experienced vinyl listener and a preexisitng sme V and Graham 2.0 owner:
'The sound the arms is providing with every of the above mentioned cartridges is very impressive and astonishing. The sound is very dynamic, the bass response is excellent. There is absolutely no lack in the midrange and its high frequencies were beautifully open and flowing. Female voices sounding tremendous with this arm. The sound is very clear and musical, but also it provides very much grip and dynamic. The stage is extremely three dimensional. Compared to my other arms: The Graham 2.0 can not suffer the bass response of the Illustrious arm. In the midrange and in the high frequencies both arms sounding quite similar. 1:0 for the Illustrious. Compared to the SME V the Illustrious doesn't have the same bass response like the SME V but it is providing much better articulation for the bass fundament than the SME V. So here we are with a 2:0 for the Illustrious. You're engineers (my special thanks to Mr. Mark Baker) have done a tremendous good job on designing this arm'