The Elipson turntable has been awarded by the Best Buy Which?

The Elipson turntable has been awarded by the Best Buy Which?

The test :

A truly outstanding package for a wide audience

French hi-fi specialist Elipson's history goes back as far as 1938, and in 2014 it turned its expertise to mainstream turntables following the vinyl revival. The Elipson Omega 100 RIAA BT turntable is rare in its price range in having USB to digitise your vinyl and Bluetooth to stream to wireless speakers. With many of Elipson's products costing thousands of pounds, can it deliver for discerning consumers? Our expert panel put it to the test.

First-class sound quality, easy to use, Bluetooth, USB, built-in equaliser, can change cartridge yourself

Not much

It certainly can deliver. This is an incredible package combining not only the very best sound our expert listening panel of music industry professionals have seen in our turntables testing (alongside the Rega Planar 1, 2 and 3), but with a feature set well above of turntables we've seen that rival it for sound. It's built-in preamp and Bluetooth functionality make it a breeze to connect to wireless or wired speakers - giving your more flexibility than rival turntables from Rega. This is one of the very best turntables in its price range on the market.

What is it?

A fully manual-operation belt-drive Bluetooth USB turntable. Elipson's philosophy to be 'at once both vintage and high-tech' is fully on display with its wide feature set making this a very flexible turntable. Bluetooth support conveniently means you can easily connect it up to the vast majority of the Bluetooth and wireless speakers we've tested (any that support Bluetooth), and you can connect it up to traditional hi-fi systems as well. It comes with the Ortofon OM 10 cartridge, which houses the stylus which touches your record.

Its USB support means you can use it to convert your vinyl to digital music files, meaning you don't need to buy the same music twice if you want to listen while out and about on your smartphone, or if you want to back up your collection. The Omega 100 supports playing both 33rpm and 45rpm records. There's even a built-in equaliser that allows you to adjust the sound to your personal tastes.

What's the sound like?

Truly exceptional, matching some of the very best turntables we've tested, including the more expensive Rega Planar 3. The sound is incredibly smooth, well driven and has a lovely tonal presence in the room. It's well-adept at being lively and upbeat as well, with great energy and superb clarity and openness to the sound, and effectively capturing the full detail of the music.

If our expert listening panel are being incredibly picky, you can discern extremely slight surface noise from the record, and it doesn't quite reach the very lowest and highest frequencies you get from the Rega Planar 1-3. Some might prefer a little more bass as well to take a little more sibilance off vocals, so fortunately there is a built-in equaliser to adjust the sound to your personal tastes. But on default, we're confident even listeners with very exacting standards will be impressed, and you'd really struggle to find a USB turntable with such high sound quality at this price.

As is often the case with digitising your vinyl, the recordings don't sound quite as good as playing your records through the turntable. They sound a bit compressed from the recording process. However, such is the strength of this record player, even the digital recordings achieved sound quality ratings from our panel that match the sound of some of our lower-scoring Best Buy turntables.

What's it like to use?

This is a very easy-to-use record player suitable for everyone who would like a manual operation turntable. The instruction manual is clear with good diagrams where needed, although the light grey text could be sharper. Loading vinyl into place on the record deck is easy with the carbon fibre tonearm and the controls are easy to use. Unlike many turntables, it's even very easy to change the cartridge (which houses the stylus which touches the record) for another, as the Omega 100 has a standard removable head shell. With a Rega turntable, we'd recommend getting a dealer to do this, but here you can do it yourself. You also don't need to worry about setting up the tracking force either (how much the tonearm presses on your record), as this is already set up by the factory, making this a great turntable for a mainstream audience.

It's easy to connect via Bluetooth as well, although the Bluetooth pairing button is at the rear and underneath the device.

Converting your vinyl to your computer is a breeze as well - it couldn't be easier. It just works - simply plug in your USB connection to your computer and play your records. To record as it plays, you'll need software on your computer - we'd recommend Audacity, which is free to download from the internet - see our guide. No software is provided with the turntable itself and no suggestion given in the instructions, but the basic instructions given should be enough to get going alongside Audacity or your software of choice.

Is there anything I should watch out for?

There's no warning given that adjusting the anti-skate knob (whose setting keeps the tonearm in alignment with the vinyl's groove) is for advanced users only, and there's no calibration on the knob to know how much you've adjusted it by. We'd advise not to touch it at all if you don't know what you're doing.

Is there anything else I should know?

The turntable performed strongly in our technical tests, with no hint of 'wow', which is wobbles in pitch caused by slight changes in speed as the record spins, as we found with the Rega Planar 1 and Rega Planar 2.

It's easy to clean, with flat surfaces giving easy access to all areas of the record player. It has a very solid, chunky build quality, although the surface does have a tendency to collect greasy marks and the quality of the on-off switch could be better.

Should I buy it?

Yes, it's worth hunting around for one, with many audio specialists willing to order you one direct from France if they don't have it in stores. It would be a superb choice for a beginner looking for a high quality record player, or an experienced user who'd like a record player that's so easy it's a joy to use, letting you sit back and enjoy your music. It's a winning combination - sound quality that matches the very best we've tested, Bluetooth, a built-in equaliser and the ability to digitise your vinyl as well makes this a well-deserved Best Buy.