My Well Tempered Simplex review was written back in September 2010. I liked this unconventional turntable…a lot. So much so that I sold my modified Technics SL1210 and bought a Simplex of my own as soon as the review sample needed to go back down to Christchurch.
Sonically the Simplex has lived up to everything I wrote in the original review, and more. Long listening sessions are the rule rather than the exception, and with a Dynavector DV20X-L cartridge on the front and P75-MkII phono stage on the back, the Simplex just flat out flatters everything it’s fed and almost every piece of vinyl I own has been on that platter since I got the deck. In fact, my Spin Clean record washer has been in very heavy use getting the new vinyl I’ve been buying into shape, along with the stuff I bought ages ago and never got round to cleaning. The Simplex makes me want to spin records, so in that regard, it’s fulfilled its purpose perfectly. The fact that it tracks warped records like a laser beam is a plus when your collection is made up of as many motley second hand albums as mine is.
Ease of use has been a strong suit as well – popping cartridges in and out without worrying about aligning them is a blessing to a reviewer. Getting the platter properly installed has taken some patience though; the zero clearance bearing needs to have the spindle in the exact centre or the platter wobbles like a drunken sailor on his way back to his ship. Once the art of platter loading is mastered however, this ceases to be an issue.
The only glitch I’ve had so far happened shortly before I left NZ on holiday. The Simplex headshell is mounted to the tonearm with a single screw and the manual is careful to point out that the cartridge bolts must never be excessively tightened or the headshell may move out of alignment. I’ve been super careful not to get carried away with the hex key but the headshell screw still loosened up. Perhaps my definition of tight varies from the factory’s definition or maybe the screw wasn’t that tight to begin with (this is an early production unit after all). I could hear the difference instantly as tracking distortion headed out of control and the sound wasn’t that pretty at all.
I ran out of time to set up the basic alignment graph and adjust the headshell before hitting the road but the misaligned Simplex is in storage, awaiting my return. I don’t really consider this incident a major negative against the Simplex, the positives far outweigh this inconvenience…unless it keeps happening. Then again, it’s only reviewers and freaky tweakers who’re constantly fiddling with their cartridges, so in normal use, for most owners, this is likely to be a non event, particularly if the deck and cartridge are set up by the dealer as most will no doubt be.
I’m still hugely impressed with Bill Firebaugh’s design and I’m a happy Well Tempered owner who’s looking forward to getting his hands on his deck after a long absence, where the heart is definitely growing fonder.