Here at Digital Trends, we spend a huge amount of our time checking out the latest audio technology — things like new Bluetooth speakers, the latest and greatest headphones, and on-demand streaming services — but we’re no strangers to the joys of analog. While we maintain that digital audio is much more affordable and can also offer great sound, we’d be the first to admit that the feeling of picking out a favorite record and placing the needle in the groove just can’t be replicated by clicking the play button on a screen.
And if you’re willing to make a healthy investment, analog can sound absolutely incredible. With products like the European Audio Team’s (E.A.T.) B-Sharp turntable, a good amplifier, and a pair of excellent speakers, you’ll be able to pull vivid highs, punchy lows, and an expansive stereo image from your vinyl collection, outshining all but the best digital audio systems.
After a few hours of listening to the E.A.T. B-Sharp, you too may find yourself gazing longingly at your most recent bank statement and contemplating an impulse purchase. Then again, can you really put a price on the kind of high-quality gear that may well last you a lifetime?
The joys of high-end analog
A glossy black turntable with gorgeous metal accents and a carbon fiber tonearm, the B-Sharp (cheeky name aside) is the kind of device that may not immediately leap out at you from the shelf, but it adds an instant air of class to the room, and anyone who knows anything about vinyl will immediately be impressed.
The B-Sharp offered us warm, realistic sound that we rarely experience on anything other than highest-quality digital gear.
In fact, the best thing about a premium turntable like the E.A.T. B-Sharp is that, at $1,595, it still resides in what we’d classify as the “non-psychotic” realm of audio spending. Sure, audiophiles can spend tens (or even hundreds) of thousands of dollars on a turntable, but the B-Sharp is designed to provide those with more discerning tastes a healthy amount of bang for their buck, without veering into the ridiculous.
With a specially suspended chassis, the aforementioned carbon fiber tonearm, and an Ortofon 2M Blue moving magnet cartridge installed at the factory, the turntable is actually better equipped than numerous other options at its price point. In fact, with such a great suspension system and tonearm in place, you’ll get a lot out of a simple upgrade like the shift to a higher-end cartridge down the line.
Then again, even that upgrade isn’t really necessary: As far as we’re concerned, there is virtually no reason this turntable would ever be a bottleneck in a serious listening setup.
Like most turntables, the B-Sharp comes in easy-to-assemble pieces, and it didn’t take us long before we had it set up and balanced (as we would any turntable) for our listening session. Right out of the box, with the anti-skate weight in place and the counterbalance at the recommended setting, the included Ortofon 2M Blue cartridge was set to deliver exactly 1.8 grams of tracking force as recommended.
We spent the majority of our time sending the B-Sharp through the phono input on an Anthem STR integrated amplifier and our beloved GoldenEar Triton Reference speakers, and we were supremely impressed with its performance in all genres and at any volume.
When listening to the massive drum, bass, and electric guitar crunch of Led Zeppelin II, we loved the crisp imaging and tight low-end the B-Sharp brought out in the music, offering the kind of warm and realistic reproduction that we rarely experience on anything besides the highest-quality digital gear.
That said, the B-Sharp shone particularly brightly when we fed it softer, more acoustic music. Ballads from Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young were sweet and intimate, with lush vocal tones and acoustic guitars strumming from the edge of a massive soundstage.
The E.A.T. B-Sharp is a device that renders your favorite analog discs with near-perfect fidelity.
When comparing the turntable to more affordable (but still above-average) decks like the Crosley C20, the B-Sharp provided a definite increase in clarity and stereo separation. There’s an intangible vibe you get from a quality turntable that you just can’t get with less expensive gear, and the B-Sharp’s got it.
In terms of daily use, we love that the B-Sharp comes with a twist-on record weight, which holds the disc firmly on the platter as it spins, and contribute to the firm bass reproduction in the music. We always recommend people who don’t own one purchase a record weight for their turntables, so it’s nice that E.A.T. includes a purpose-designed one here. Another thoughtful design element is an included magnet on the tonearm holder, which snatches the arm securely between sides, and means you won’t ever need to worry about the tonearm flying all over the place if you accidentally bump it while changing a record.
Given its supreme build quality, thoughtful design elements, and fantastic sound, we think the E.A.T. B-Sharp is worth every penny of its price point. This is a device that renders your favorite analog discs with near-perfect fidelity, and with regular and simple maintenance, you’ll probably pass it onto your children when you are gone.
If you’ve got the budget and you plan on a lifetime of analog audio investment, you may as well start with a product that will best represent your collection long-term — and this fits that bill perfectly. Pair an E.A.T. B-Sharp with a quality integrated amplifier and some great speakers, and you’ll never envy the Joneses again.