Revox T700 Studiomaster Black Edition Test

All the equipment that Revox now produces (of course, except for the renovation of its classic reel-to-reel tape recorders) is rather digital and digitally oriented, most of all focused on building its own ecosystem and multiroom type systems. There are also devices characterized as “all-in-one”, there is an audio server, there are wired and wireless acoustics with their own characteristic, recognizable appearance. But, I repeat, everyone loves to live in their own ecosystem. The vinyl player seems to be something separate, but this is only at first glance.

Revox T700 Studiomaster Black Edition Test
Revox T700 Studiomaster

Firstly, its external style. A very laconic design made of aluminum and glass, all completely black, this also includes elegant touch controls. Secondly, the player comes almost ready for use: the head is pre-installed, you only need to install the counterweight using standard scales. Yes, there is also a built-in phono stage, which again follows from the design of other Revox devices: they do not have phono stages, either built-in or separate.

Revox T700 Studiomaster Black Edition Test

I first wrote that the Revox T700 Studiomaster is the only player in the catalog, and in essence this is true. But two configurations are available. One is the usual basic one, it comes with an Ortofon Quintet Bronze MC head, and the one that I got for testing is the Black Edition version, it has a pre-installed older head, Ortofon Quintet Black S. This in itself is nice, the heads, especially the older one, are very good.

Revox T700 Studiomaster Black Edition Test

The quality of the head pre-tuning is good: I checked everything, but did not change the height, geometry, or azimuth. However, when adjusting the height, I note that the tonearm is set for 180-200-220 gram records, not for thinner editions from previous years. But in practice, if it is not possible to reconfigure, then it is better to have a slightly raised option than a slightly overwhelmed one. This means that all that remains is to install the counterweight and the anti-skating weight – and that’s it, you can listen.

I was a little disappointed by the standard scales included in the kit. Nominally they were calibrated, but the weight was still shown with an error of 0.15 grams. Nominally, the pressure range of this head allows such a tolerance, but in reality a difference of 0.1 grams can already be heard – the sound is slightly different. However, even with this error you can approximately fall into the average value, and then slightly adjust the weight by ear. But this should be done only after the head has run for 30-40 hours and has broken in.

Revox T700 Studiomaster Black Edition Test

Now let’s look at the design as a whole. The table is made of MDF, aluminum on the sides and glass on top. It was done carefully, I couldn’t find any negligence anywhere. The table rests on three fairly massive aluminum support legs, complemented by rubber hemispherical inserts. You can adjust the position of the table; the package includes a good bubble level.

The player has a belt drive, the motor is installed in the housing, but is connected to the housing in a slightly movable way: it is logical that the design provides for some kind of damping. A flat belt transmits rotation to the outer surface of the main disk, which is made of polyoxymethylene and operates without any additional mat.

Revox T700 Studiomaster Black Edition Test

Control – using touch buttons on the table surface. They also show when the disk has reached the required speed. The design provides both adjustment of each speed (33.3 and 45 revolutions) and also an optical rotation sensor. The motor power supply is remote pulse, but the unit used is of high quality. However, let’s not forget that in our case this unit powers not only the motor, but also the corrector board…

The bearing here is a classic non-inverted one, with a fairly massive cup and pulley. A support ball is used inside. Lubricant is poured into the bearing at the factory and the turntable arrives with a corresponding plug. But there is no additional oil included in the kit, although potentially such a bearing may require topping up/replacement after a few years. However, there is nothing complicated here, choosing an analogue is not a problem – there are no specific materials or extreme loads in the design, and the oil chamber provided inside the glass allows you to fill in oil with a reserve for a very long time.

Revox T700 Studiomaster Black Edition Test

The player has a 9-inch tonearm, the most familiar rotary design, with a carbon or combined tube, a carbon shell and all the necessary settings. Head position, height, azimuth, clamping and anti-skating – everything here can be adjusted if necessary, and the range of settings does not differ from most average models. Effective weight – 11 grams. 

Now has a built-in phono stage. It is designed to work only with MC heads and has a good tuning range for both impedance and gain. But it basically has neither the required impedance nor the capacitance settings required for MM heads. I opened it after listening and was very surprised – this tiny circuit actually played better than one would think from its appearance. I have encountered this several times, when either a very budget corrector turned out to be quite good, or when an expensive corrector contained a couple of operational amplifiers and several parts, but in general this is a rare exception to the general rules.

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