The 20plus is a considerable refinement of the original Xerxes design. It is far better finished and thought out, but the essential principles remain the same.
Its distinctive features include a motor that sits on a bearing which is retained by a spring, so that it can move when drag is increased. The idea is that the motor exerts less torque on the inner platter that it drives. This is via a fl at rubber belt and thus less energy is transferred into the platter atop it. Its other quirk is that centre spindle is designed to be removed when the record is playing, thus entirely decoupling the vinyl from the metal of the platter and bearing.
This turntable is immensely adjustable; you can vary the angle of the subchassis in two planes and even the angle of the platter via the main bearing. This has an unusually smalldiameter hardened-steel bearing spindle, which sits on a tungsten ball and is attached to the inner platter with the outer platter resting on top.
Both parts are in aluminium and covered by a mat with distinctive cut-outs. While the top slab of the chassis sits on decoupling mounts, the lower half is supported on bright polished-metal feet.
This Xerxes.20plus came with the top DS1.5/XPS power supply and the Zi version of the Tabriz tonearm.This has a pendulum counterweight, which puts the mass low down in order to combat the effects of record warps, it adds £250 to the price of the standard Tabriz.
The Xerxes has always had a reputation for great timing and this quality is amply demonstrated in this latest version. Our panel described it as having good leading-edge definition and being very fast. This impression was even stronger in the sighted listening, where we were captivated by its ability to deliver a totally coherent musical result.
It’s a thrilling experience that makes pretty much everything you spin sound more engaging and enjoyable, whether it’s heavyweight dub or the nimble playing of acoustic guitars. The Xerxes manages to do this without sounding bright or forward, too, which is often the case with turntables that time well. Instead, instrumental tone is very real and lifelike, a factor enhanced by the full-scale imaging that the listening panel pointed out with comments that included, “good acoustic space” and, “high soundstage”. It doesn’t seem to be as extended in the bass as the best in class and but this may be because it manages to maintain its tunefulness and timbral colouring right across the band. It’s not bone-crunching bass, but you can follow the lowest notes with ease and that is a more appealing characteristic in our books.
The Xerxes in this guise is an inspiring turntable and one that will have you engrossed from the first track. It is by far the most expensive on test, but if budget allows the results are rewarding.
LIKE: Superb sense of timing with spacious soundstaging
DISLIKE: Bass could be more extended
WE SAY: A classic that keeps on getting better, with superb control and spatial resolution to make an addictive sound
• Acrylic dust cover
• Three-part plinth
• External power
supply with speed
• Gloss black or
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