The Funk Firm Gett! Turntable Review

Is it time to Gett! Funked?

What is the Funk Firm Gett!?

The Funk Firm Gett! is an unsuspended, belt driven turntable – in fact your first glance at it might as well be the archetype of the unsuspended, belt driven turntable. Appearances however, can be deceptive. There are aspects of the Gett! that are unusual regardless of price and some which are practically unheard of at the asking price.

And that asking price is critical because the Gett! pitches into the market at the exactingly specific price of £609. This means that it goes head to head with Rega’s Planar 3 and the Pro-Ject Xpression, products of such ability (and it must be said, ubiquity) that they can make this segment look like a two horse race. At first glance, logic would dictate that there is no reason to back the newcomer in a contest of this nature but things aren’t quite that simple.

This is because The Funk Firm as a company is the brainchild of Arthur Khoubesserian and it isn’t the first company he’s set up. In the eighties, he was responsible for Pink Triangle – a company that has had a disproportionate impact on the business of turntable design. The Gett! is a considered and condensed take on the business of making an affordable turntable and if anyone can bring something a little different to the business of affordable analogue it is likely to be Arthur. Does the Gett! do enough to tempt you away from the major players though?

Specifications

The nature of affordable turntables and the functions that they have to perform means that there really isn’t that much variation in their general layout but if you look closer at the pictures of the Gett!, you will note that there are some variations to its design that are distinctive and wholly deliberate. These distinctions hide other design decisions that are also significant.

The first is that the motor of the Gett! is placed at the front of the plinth in contrast to most rivals. An engineering theme that runs through Funk Firm turntables is the behaviour of the motor on the rest of the turntable. While placing the motor toward the back of the plinth is extremely convenient in terms of connecting everything else up, Funk argues that doing so allows it to generate resonances at exactly the most effective point to affect the playing surface. The motor then proceeds to act on the outside edge of the platter to minimise gyroscopic effect. In more advanced Funk models, it acts on a multi pulley arrangement which serves the same purpose but this isn’t practical for the Gett!

What isn’t visible but is no less important to the Funk philosophy is that the motor works on direct current rather than alternating current principles. This has been a key to both Funk and Pink Triangle designs from the outset and is effectively non-negotiable. The argument goes that a DC motor is not affected by the very slight ‘pulsing’ effect that is present in AC designs and therefore acts on the platter in a more benign way. This is a fairly rare thing to encounter in a relatively affordable turntable. No less useful is the ability to select between 33 and 45 rpm at the switch rather than by moving the belt.

Very significant to the performance of the whole turntable is the tonearm. Thus far, turntables reviewed on AVForums have used either conventional bearing arms or unipivots. The Funk uses a thread bearing arm where a quantity of aluminium wire is used to support the horizontal and vertical axis of the arm’s movement. A knurled screw at the top can be used to increase the torsion of the thread and apply more antiskate. The result is an arm that does without captive bearings without the complete lack of restraint that applies to a unipivot arm. The only remotely similar system we’ve seen is used on the Elipson Omega but this only uses thread torsion for the antiskate rather than mounting. The arm itself is made from aluminium and then makes use of an acrylic headshell on the end for the mounting as the interaction of the two materials is intended to better control resonance. Crucially, this arm is fitted with the ability to adjust the vertical tracking angle (VTA) – the height which it sits over the record. This means that the Gett! can be persuaded to work with a selection of cartridges more easily than many rivals where the arm is at a fixed height.

The acrylic in the headshell isn’t the only use of this material either. The Gett! uses an acrylic platter. This is not terribly unusual in this day and age but it is worth pointing out that Pink Triangle was the first company to use acrylic in this way and held a patent for doing so. The platter itself is fairly thin but thanks to the adjustable VTA, you can add another Funk product and one that we have seen before. This is the Achromat – a sort of ‘blown acrylic’ mat that improves the damping and resonance control. I have a lipped Achromat that I have used on the various direct drive designs I have tested in preference to the supplied rubber mat.

The design ‘stretch’ doesn’t end there either. The Gett! is supplied with pliant rubber feet of a type not dissimilar to rivals. You can however unscrew them and add a system called the BOING (there are products in the Funk inventory that don’t automatically cause Word to go into a spasm of red and blue lines when typed but none are present for this review). This is effectively a decoupled and suspended foot that creates a suspended turntable when substituted for the existing feet. These feet can also be used on other turntables too.

Design

As noted, there are limits to what you can do with turntables at this price point that means that the Gett! does look pretty much like a conventional record player. Thanks to the various idiosyncrasies of the design, the Gett! is different in concept and execution to many rivals and it feels a little different too. Some of this is good. The tonearm can feel a little odd when you attach a cartridge to it but the movement is exceptionally smooth and non mechanical in nature and it feels more able to handle a wide variety of cartridges than most similarly priced rivals. The turntable itself is free of fripperies but it feels well thought out and it is no harder to use than key rivals.

It is harder to setup though. Fitting the belt to the Gett! is a dark art. With the thin platter and a round belt you need to use the approved method (feeding it slowly round the platter) or you’ll most likely never do it. The spindle is also a little on the large side. Having an extremely snug fit is another part of the Funk philosophy but as far as I’m concerned, the tolerances are a little on the tight side. I don’t necessarily believe this is an ideal first turntable – you would do well to ‘get your hand in’ with something simpler first.

It does represent strong value though. If we compare the Gett! to the Rega Planar 3, the Funk initially looks more expensive. The list price of the Gett! doesn’t include a cartridge so, initially at least, the Planar 3 with cart for £625 looks stronger value. Things aren’t quite that simple though. If you want speed control on the Planar 3, you will need to spring for the Neo PSU at £225. This will bring performance boosts as well but it raises the cost of the turntable significantly. Even if you remove the cartridge from the Planar 3 and specify a Goldring E3 – one of the most affordable designs to really do these turntables justice – and the Funk looks competitive.

“The turntable itself is free of fripperies but it feels well thought out and it is no harder to use than key rivals”

How was the Gett! tested?

The Gett! was set up less the BOING feet and Achromat. A £100 Goldring E3 cartridge was used initially but some testing has been undertaken with a Nagaoka MP150 (£275) and a Rega Ania As fitted to the Rega Planar 6 and £448). The BOING feet were added, and tested against a Quadraspire isolation platform. Testing was also carried out with the Achromat. Equipment used has been a Cyrus Phono Signature phono stage, Naim Supernait2 Integrated amplifier and Bowers & Wilkins 705 S2standmount speakers. The test material has been vinyl.

Sound Quality

The most important thing about the Gett! is that once it has been set up, those unusual design decisions do make themselves felt and they do so in a positive way. Exactly how this happens varies slightly on the material you choose to play but as one of the earliest pieces of music that it really made itself felt was Wide Open by the Chemical Brothers, it seems like a good place to start. The presentation of the Gett! is subtly but noticeably different to the way that a Planar 3 goes about the same track.

Firstly, the Gett! has a deeply impressive sense of space and scale for an affordable turntable. The soundstage is absolutely believable and there is more to the way this is handled than simply shoving the sound out to the extremities. Close your eyes and Beck’s vocals are in the centre of the mix and their relationship to the backing music is extremely well judged; nothing sounds detached from each other but it is easy to follow what is going on at all times. No less impressive is the bass response. Even judged as a £600 design, the Gett! is an extremely low mass design but there is a force to its presentation that can be genuinely surprising.

It isn’t perfect. If you listen to the standard torture tests of long sustained notes, the Funk isn’t as resolutely pitch stable as some rivals and nothing I’ve been able to do has completely eliminated this. Depending on how sensitive you are to such a thing, it might be an absolute deal breaker or a non event. The presentation of the Gett! is also a little more matter of fact than some rivals. It won’t sugar coat poor pressings and choosing an unsuitable cartridge might result in a somewhat bright presentation.

Choose the right cartridge though and the Gett! shows it can deliver a seriously impressive performance. The Goldring is excellent – it is unreasonably good for £100 – but moving to the superbly capable Nagaoka MP150 lifts the performance considerably. This is important because the Nagaoka is more expensive than you might traditionally pair with a turntable of this nature. Impressively, the Gett! still has more to give. Putting the Rega Ania on there – a cartridge fully 80% the all up price of the Gett! itself, still shows the Funk making progress. There is a considerable amount of stretch in this little turntable.

And not all of that stretch is down to changing the cart either. Adding the Achromat results in the noisefloor of the performance – already pretty low – dropping even further and the rhythmic edge of the Gett! improving too. For £60, this really should be the first thing you do to a Gett!. The BOING is a slightly different proposition. It actually seems to alter the presentation of the Gett! in that there is a sense of energy added that its normally quite down the line character doesn’t have. This is more engaging but I’m not completely sure it feels more accurate. Depending on what you want your turntable to do, you might find that this is not the direction you want to take it and something like a wall shelf might suit you better. Once again though, having the option to try it is noteworthy.

“There is a considerable amount of stretch in this little turntable”

Conclusion

For those of you that enjoy reading between the lines, the Gett! might be seen as an idiosyncratic product. You could leave a reasonably educated adult with no prior experience of vinyl setup in a room with many of its rivals and come back with the expectation of finding a functional record player. This is not something that is an absolute given with the Funk – it’s more fiddly and unforgiving. As I said earlier, this is not an ideal candidate for a first turntable.

If you’ve done your time with something else though first and learned about the foibles of the format, there’s no escaping the Gett!’s ability to make many rivals sound constrained and congested. Even with a £100 cartridge on it and none of the extra parts, it has a sheer ability that is noteworthy and the stretch the basic design has is considerable. This isn’t a turntable for everyone but for many people, the incredible capability of this deceptively simple looking design will be too impressive to ignore. For this reason, the Gett! is worthy of recommendation.

 

by Ed Selley Feb 22, 2018

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LP播放系統中的“小超人” 濃密的模擬母帶質感令人驚訝

The Little Super Deck

The Funk Firm Little Super Deck LP Turntable

對於音響愛好者,The Funk Firm(紛)是一個陌生的名字。 對於經常為音響雜誌撰稿的筆者來說,也並不比諸位讀者高明多少。 在首次接觸到他家產品之前,我就根本沒聽說/看到過這個公司和品牌,更不要說聆聽它家的產品了。 因此,做一點背景的考據還是有必要的。

幾句話的歷史

The Funk Firm(紛)是一家英國黑膠唱盤製造商,中文譯名“紛”,成立於2005年,也就是SACD開始走下坡,而LP復興勢頭已現的時期。 雖說品牌歷史不能與同在英國的Linn、SME之類如雷貫耳的大牌相比,但創立者 Arthur Khoubesserian 也絕非無名之輩。 較為資深的國內發燒友 ,也許會記得上世紀末期香港曾有代理引進過一個名叫 Pink Triangle 的發燒音響品牌,Arthur 就是創立 Pink Triangle 的兩位合夥人之一。 關於“粉紅三角”這個名字以及 Logo 的由來非常有意思,但因為與本文主旨無關,所以略去不提,有興趣的讀者可自行谷歌(百度是不行的)。 Pink Triangle 以設計製造高端 轉盤聞名,在LP 轉盤的許多方面有創新性的開拓,其中不乏被其他品牌拿去模仿,比如說亞克力轉台、直流馬達、先進材料和結構。 然而在進入 CD 時代以後,Pink Triangle 的數碼產品不僅未在商業上取得成功,還最終把公司拖垮,2003年,Pink Triangle 被迫關閉。

現在我們知道,在Pink Triangle結束後兩年,Arthur Khoubesserian 就創立了 The Funk Firm。 新公司只專注於LP播放系統,從此與數字“一刀兩段”。 其實,模擬播放系統的愛好者們可以把 The Funk Firm 看成是 Pink Triangle 的延續,The Funk Firm 的現有業務中,甚至還包括 Pink Triangle 唱盤的升級服務。 而 Pink Triangle 的原創理念,在 The Funk Firm 被進一步發揚光大。

創意非凡的構想

The Funk Firm 的產品分為轉盤、唱臂、附件3大類,每件產品都非常獨特。 在最近的產品中,最吸引我眼球的是 AK1 這支號稱無諧振、無循跡誤差、無反饋的超級唱臂。 不過 AK1 也不是本文主角,在這裡提到它,是因為我不想讓大家被 The Funk Firm 產品或樸實、或超現實(高端產品)的外觀所欺騙,以為這又是一個平凡無趣的小眾 LP 品牌。 在我看來,小眾,確實;平凡無趣? 幫幫忙哦。

本文試聽的主角 Little Super Deck(簡稱LSD,很有粉三角風格的縮寫),屬於The Funk Firm的中級型號,外觀並沒有自家高級型號那樣引人注目,可以說平凡得不能再平凡。 一眼看去,LSD就是又一款帶懸掛副底盤設計的LP(其中最為著名的就是Linn LP12),無論體積還是重量都沒有驚人之處。 做工還不錯,我測試的這款底盤是胡桃木外飾,面板是黑色亞克力,整個底盤落在3個支撐腳上。 面板左下側是電源開關,也兼做轉速切換。 轉台為玻璃制,每台轉盤附贈一張The Funk Firm獨家Achromat材質的唱片墊。 和一般流行的觀點相反,Arthur認為軟性唱片墊容易變形,會給唱針帶來更多能量的反射,所以早在Pink Triangle時期就使用硬性的亞克力材料製作轉台,同時不用氈墊給唱片作緩衝。 Achromat是亞克力的進化版,據說完全不會反射機械能量,而是會把能量全部轉變成熱量釋放,因此靈敏的唱頭不會拾取到反射振動。 我試著拿起Achromat,發現它非常輕,表面也比較硬,有點像硬紙板,但比硬紙板輕多了。

F5 II 唱臂用於微調針壓的副重錘,唱臂上印有針壓刻度
F5 II 唱臂的側滑力施加和調整機構

拿掉 Achromat 後,透過透明的玻璃轉台,我們可以看到這台唱盤獨特的驅動結構,也就是被稱為“矢量驅動”的結構。 所謂“矢量驅動”,就是帶動副轉台的皮帶除了由驅動軸帶動外,還由兩個與驅動軸呈等腰三角形佈局的被動滑輪拉緊,這兩個被動輪以“矢量”方式為皮帶提供均衡的張力。 這個設計和3馬達驅動的高級唱盤異曲同工,但不僅成本更低,效果也更好。

LSD 隨盤還帶有一支F5 II 唱臂。 這支是 The Funk Firm 的入門唱臂,也是公司成立後的第一支唱臂。 別看是入門級唱臂,Arthur 認為它在抗諧振方面比許多參考級唱臂還要好。 一般來說,一支唱臂的峰值諧振有 20-30dB,如此之高的諧振一定會被唱頭拾取,成為附加的失真。 Arthur 在 2010 年開發了獨特的F·X十字梁結構的唱臂,也就是這款 F5 II,它的諧振峰值僅有6dB! 用 Arthur 的話來說,對於唱頭來說, F5 II 唱臂幾乎不存在。 當然,目前 The Funk Firm 的頂級唱臂會有更好的抗諧振性能,但從價格來說,FX3 的性能是驚人的。 另外,原廠還給出了唱臂軸承的 ABEC 值。 ABEC 是環形軸承工程師協會制訂的一套軸承精度標準,由低到高分為5級,即 ABEC1、3、5、7、9,F5 II作為入門唱臂,軸承達到了 ABEC 7級精度,即5μm公差。

由此看來,LSD 的內涵,遠比第一眼印象豐富得多,這在作為傳統技術領域的模擬唱盤來說是很不容易的。

帶有模擬母帶味道的濃密質感

試聽選用了德國 Voxativ 的 T211電子管合併放大器和9.87揚聲器系統。 這也是一個獨特且個性張揚的品牌,等有機會再為讀者作介紹。

我要事先聲明,我在之前所聽過的最好的LP播放源,是一套氣浮盤加氣浮正切唱臂的系統。 在用這套系統與另一套高級磁浮轉盤直接比較之後,我發現除非直接比較,否則LP播放系統的缺陷是很不容易發現的,但是一旦有了比較,缺陷又會變得顯而易見。 我試聽 LSD,也實在沒有比較的情況下,因此是不太容易找出毛病的。

首先試聽的是 Nat King Cole 的經典 LP『A Mis Amigos』,Cole 的聲音一出,我就有“這聲音怎麼這麼有開盤帶味道”的想法,因為Cole嗓音的厚實、飽滿、鮮活度,還有那種濃密的質感,不僅從數字系統聽不到,甚至一般的LP播放系統也很少能夠有同樣的表現。 也許是因為系統搭建的關係,整套系統的聲音很有古典音響的感覺,尤其是中頻段,就像上等的紅燒肉那樣讓人感覺實在、過癮。

質輕、表面堅硬、內耗高的Achromat唱片墊

神奇的是,系統的音域並沒有狹窄的感覺,甚至分析力與透明度,也可以與優秀的數字系統比肩 。 如果說低頻對於LP播放系統本來就不是什麼大問題,但高頻的純淨度和解析力可就不是那麼容易做好的了,因為高級唱頭的靈敏度實在太高,太容易受到各種機械振動的影響而把聲音“弄髒”了。 對於LSD,我不敢說它的聲音乾淨到氣浮盤的水準,但至少在我的試聽過程中,我對它的解析力印象頗為深刻。 播放一張表面狀態並不太理想的老飛利浦LP,是赫爾曼·克雷伯斯、海汀克和皇家音樂廳管弦樂團合作的貝小協,令我沒有想到的是,不僅每一個音之間的界限都清晰無比,小提琴的泛音以及在音樂廳中的餘韻綿延得也非常充分,讓我不敢相信這是1975年的老錄音。 這樣一張舊唱片,除了爆豆聲,我並沒有感覺聲音有被“弄髒”的感覺,尤其是當我關閉9.87揚聲器的有源低音箱之後,系統的透明度再次提升,讓我對LP播放系統的潛力有了新的認識。 換上一張RCA的魯賓斯坦演奏肖邦作品LP,鋼琴的顆粒感和通透感我原本以為從來不會在模擬音源中聽到, 演奏家觸鍵力度的微妙變化被捕捉得相當不錯。 也許以後有機會聽到The Funk Firm更高級的產品會有別的想法,但至少現在,我不想對LSD的解析力做更多的挑剔。

在聲場的還原方面,我認為還是有提高的潛力,因為這方面的性能受到空間環境和系統設置調整的影響更大。 但從LSD的透明度可以推斷,在調整到位之後,它的聲場不會比數字播放系統差。

小超人

Little Super Deck,字面的意思是“小型超級唱盤”,作為中價位LP 轉盤,這個名字體現了 The Funk Firm 主事人 Arthur 野心,就是以貌不驚人的外觀挑戰高價位的高級LP轉盤,並且獲取令人大跌眼鏡的結果。 我這次的試聽,因為沒有安排殘酷的“對決”環節,所以不能直接驗證 LSD 是否是真正的“小超人”,不過,初步試聽的結果還是顯示出 LSD 出乎意料的性能和潛力。 家中已經擁有LP播放系統的讀者,可以親自到經銷商處體驗一下,就會知道我的意思。 老實說,在我聽過 LSD 之後,我對重型高剛性LP轉盤的必要性產生了懷疑。

最後附帶一句,The Funk Firm 的 Achromat 唱片墊是單獨發售的,無論你是否考慮更換LP播放系統,這塊唱片墊也是升級現有系統的高性價比道具,強烈推薦。

 

全文轉自<現代音響>2017年8月刊

 

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