The Michell look is distinctive and eye-catching and this turntable is no exception. To what extent, though, does form follow function? Many aspects of the Gyro’s design are highly functional, for instance those brass weights hanging below the plastic platter. Yes, a flat disc of brass (or other metal) would have achieved the same aim of adding rotating inertia, but it wouldn’t have done it any better - probably a little worse.
On the other hand, the skeletal metal casting which forms the subchassis of the Gyro SE is, if we’re honest, more attractive than effective. It’s only moderately well damped by the weights screwed to it, and once the deck is set up and operating, a gentle tap on it will reveal a ready source of sonic character.
But there are many clever touches. The suspension uses tension springs – much easier to set up than compression ones -– and they are beautifully easy to adjust by simply removing the decorative ‘towers’ and twiddling a knurled shaft. The deck is a little daunting to assemble when one opens the box and we’re not sure the instructions are quite what they might be, but despite the multiplicity of component parts it all fits together easily and surprisingly quickly. The motor is a low-voltage DC-type in a large housing, which stands within the subchassis, but is not actually connected to it in any way – it rests on the shelf beneath.
The Gyro doesn’t officially come with an arm (various armboards are available), but our sample was supplied with a Rega RB300 with a couple of Michell’s own modifications – the ‘TecnoWeight’ and a VTA adjuster. The former is underslung to put the arm’s centre of gravity nearer the optimal position, in the plane of the disc’s top surface, while the latter consists of a couple of knurled rings that allow the arm to be easily adjusted for height. No lid was supplied, but one is available as an option and several other options are listed on the Michell website.
The treble would seem to be the most distinctive tonal region of this turntable. According to our listeners’ observations, it is a little on the bright side but with just enough to add a touch of sparkle to some sounds and, on occasion, also to give the impression of a slightly pepped-up tempo. It makes for very good vocal intelligibility, a point strongly made by one of our listeners who felt this was perhaps the best turntable in the group on that score. But it can make disc surface damage, especially scratches, a little more obvious.
Piano also seems to work well via the Gyro SE, but the variety of brightness is a function of very high frequencies and merely highlights the harmonics of the piano rather than making it hard-edged. Down in the bass and lower midrange the balance is fine, with decent weight and a good sense of rhythmic drive. There’s also some good detail, although occasionally this is mildly compromised by a busy upper midrange, On the whole, though, there’s a good ‘hear-through’ quality to the sound.
LIKE: Lovely open quality in the high treble picks out acoustic cues well
DISLIKE: Upper midrange not always quite as clear as it might be
WE SAY: Much less fussy about siting than most, the Gyro suits small-scale music beautifully
Dimensions: (WxHxD) 460x150x360mm
• Arm not included
• 33, 45rpm
• Various armboards available
• Disc clamp available
• External power supply
• Free-standing motor housing
Distributor: Michell Engineering
Telephone: 020 8953 0771
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