The Oasis from Brinkmann

Image-HiFi 01 August 2013 Full Review

The most prominent feature of the Oasis turntable is most probably its direct drive mechanism. Brinkmann use a precision bearing that is capable of smoothing out the drive's miniscule speed variations. This results in a rotational smoothness hitherto unimaginable with “classic” direct drive mechanisms.

With a properly matched tonearm / cartridge combination, the “Brinkmann Oasis” turntable will reproduce LPs true to their wide band nature. Music playback will be neutral in the strictest sense – just as the music was recorded.

Perhaps the thing to comment on first regarding the Brinkmann analog package is how it lets go of notes. It brought to mind a modern dance by Garth Fagan entitled Prelude: Discipline is Freedom.

The piece begins with the dancers doing basic warm-up movements, then steadily gains momentum and complexity, until a lively series of jumps and turns along the diagonals of the stage has the audience on the edge of their seats—or dancing in them—at the finale. It only works when the dancers have mastered their parts sufficiently to appear relaxed. Then, the dance itself appears effortless. Now, what on earth does this have to do with how the Brinkmann Oasis Turntable lets go of notes?

Many tables and arms—actually, many components in general—utilize damping to control the signal and achieve higher resolution. But, where a little is good, there's always the temptation to eke out more. 

If overdone, you're guaranteed to tamper with stuff that should be left alone and reveal your hand to the listener in the form of tight and squashed sound. (Of course, you can also err on the other side and under-damp, in which case the sound has no form and is left flapping in the wind.)

The Brinkmann front-end strikes an excellent balance. It masters its parts through the application of control, as evidenced in superior detail retrieval. Yet the decay dissipates naturally; it lets go of notes with no sense of being over-damped.

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