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Music Hall

Manufacturer: MUSIC HALL AUDIO
Price (when reviewed): 7000 PLN

Contact: 108 Station Road
Great Neck, NY 11023 | USA



Provided for test by NAUTILUS Dystrybucja


photo Wojciech Pacuła

No 220

September 1, 2022

The American company MUSIC HALL was established in May of 1998. It aims to manufacture, export and distribute well-priced, high-end audio products. Its attention is almost exclusively focused on two-channel (stereo) audio. The most important products for Music Hall are turntables. The STEALTH model is one of the latest proposals. It is a turntable offered in Europe with an installed and calibrated Ortofon M2 Blue cartridge.

N FRONT OF OUR EYES A SHORT-LASTING, seemingly, fashion that originally vinyl has been in the 21st century, turns into a sustainable and well-founded business. Of course, I am talking mainly about the so-called "market", i.e. people who have nothing to do with audio, and who want to listen to music from black records. It seems that behind their renaissance is popular culture, which in recent years goes even more "retro" than usually and causes us to live in many times simultaneously. After all, the return of vinyl is not so much a curiosity, because it was one at the beginning of the millennium, but something that will stay with us for a longer time.

As always in such a case, a large part of contemporary pressed LPs and most turntables intended for young people do not have much in common with the noble idea of high fidelity. We agree to it, however, because pop culture is based on stereotypes and does not require anyone to delve deeper into a given issue. It's actually dissuading us from it. Well, it's just life. Let's not forget, however, that our role is to get so many owners of inexpensive turntables truly interested that in the future they will consider replacing them with higher quality models.

However, for this to succeed, the proposals addressed to them must be consistent with their previous experience. The products that we offer them must be nice, well-made, but above all they must be as "maintenance-free" as possible. The price is also important, but it seems to a not-that-essential issue. One of such turntables is the latest model by the American company MUSIC HALL called STEALTH, launched in mid-2021. This is the company's first direct-drive design.



The Stealth is a true high-end turntable that combines rugged construction, superb audio performance, and unique design features with the ease of use generally associated with throw-away entry-level turntables.

Apart from an exaggeration in calling it a "high end" turntable, everything else is correct. What's more, and what is not mentioned there is that it is a turntable with a very interesting artistic design, indicated in the name. 'Stealth' tell us that it is completely black and that it "disappears from sight". Stealth is a techniques aimed at reducing the possibility of detection of an object by known methods of observation; the term most commonly used for 'undetectable' combat aircraft.

Roy Hall, when asked by a Soundstage Access journalist about "where does so much black come from" in the new project, replied as Roy does, "because it looks really cool" (more HERE, accessed on 19/07/2022). In this turntable, the base is black, the feet and the arm are black, the platter is also black, and the only element in a different color is the factory-mounted ORTOFON 2M BLUE cartridge. However, nothing prevents you from completing the work and buying the more expensive model from this manufacturer, the 2M BLACK, instead.

⸜ MADE IN… Music Hall is one of the few turntable manufacturers who do not have their own factory. Instead, it uses the services of specialized manufacturers and, at least when it comes to turntables, was a pioneer in this field. Since 1998, when they presented the first MMF series turntable, they have been cooperating with the Austrian company Pro-Ject, which has its factory in the Czech Republic in Litovel. However, electronics were built for them by companies in both China and Taiwan.

For some time, however, it has been offering turntables not only from the Czech Republic, but also from the aforementioned Taiwan. Like the Stealth model. A short internet query shows that this is probably one of the two OEM factories Roy had worked with before: Hanpin or Yahorng. They do not offer equally technologically advanced models, and you will not find a turntable arm in their offer, which is mounted in the Music Hall turntable. So it seems that the idea for this turntable came from Roy Hall and that the Stealth was designed according to his guidelines.

This is a complete turntable, with tonearm and cartridge. As Ray says, the idea was to create a product that would require as little specialized knowledge from the customer as possible. Although it is not a fully automatic design, it does feature a system that turns off the motor when the cartridge reaches the center of a record. This feature can be turned off with a small switch on the back of the turntable. And that's good, because with releases where the music was recorded almost all the way to the label, the motor stopped even though the music still played; it happened to me, for example, with one side of the DIRE STRAITS’s Brothers in Arms, in the 45 rpm remaster of Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab.

⸜ PLINTH The Music Hall is a solid and precisely made, good looking non-decoupled turntable. Its base is made of three layers separated by lossy material. The manufacturer does not say what these materials are, but it looks like the two lower, thicker layers are made of MDF, and the upper one is black anodized aluminum. Although the MMF series turntables also had layered bases, this solution is different. Instead of the so-called "split-plinth" with dampers placed between layers, in the Stealth the mass of the materials themselves does the damping. The base weighs 11 kg and stands on four large feet, which are decoupled using quite flexible damping material.

The platter weighing 1.8 kg is made of aluminum with a thick layer of elastomer underneath that dampens vibrations. From the top, it is additionally damped with a thick rubber mat. The mat quite easily catches dust, so it should be regularly washed under running water. One places the platter on a large-sized sub-platter combined with a steel axis, which is part of the motor. Unlike DJ turntables, this is a rather low-power motor. Even so, it takes off quite quickly - it just does not start as fast as in Technics or Reloops decks.

We control the motor using small buttons. Three of them are used to start and stop one of the three rotational speeds - 33 1/3, 45 and 78 rpm - and turn the power on/off with the fourth one. Above the buttons there are blue LEDs and only the LED above the "standby" button turns red after the electronics are put to standby mode. The turntable goes to standby mode automatically after 20 minutes without playing any record. The power can also be turned off with a mechanical switch on the back of the device. These solutions are aimed at reducing power consumption. The motor is powered by an external 12 V DC switching power supply in the form of a small plug.

⸜ TONEARM While the base looks very nice, both in terms of vibration damping and the motor, the tonearm surprises with its advanced, complex design. Let me put it this way: until recently the Japanese company Jelco offered this class of arms, and the one in the tested Music Hall looks better anyway.

It features a dynamically balanced 9” (230mm, 15mm overhang) S-shaped tube. Its headshell is removable and is attached with a standard bayonet latch with a nut, similar to the older Ortofon cartridges. Perhaps this is a good lead, as the turntable allows you to play 78 rpm shellac records, and these require a different type of cartridge. You can also get a classic cartridge, but intended for monophonic records - switching between cartridges should be almost instant.

The tonearm tube hangs on a solid tower that allows you to adjust VTA, also "on the fly". On the side there is a smaller screw that allows user to release the clamp, and on the top there is the proper screw, which one can change the height of the arm with. This will come in handy when playing discs of different thicknesses or changing the mat. However, the VTA will have a greater impact with more refined styluses than the elliptical ones like in the 2M Blue. There is a magnetic anti-skating system on the side.

⸜ CARTRIDGE Music Hall, similarly to the Pro-Ject, with which it works closely, has been equipping its turntables with cartridges from the Danish company Ortofon for years. Although Roy Hall also offers cartridges with the company's logo, Stealth comes with a regular the Ortofon 2M Blue.

It is a Moving Magnet (MM) cartridge. Its stylus features a nude elliptic stylus, ie elliptical one but with a narrower than usual profile. It was mounted on an aluminum cantilever. The VTF should be set between 1.6 and 2g with 1.8g being the suggested value I used. The 2M Blue 5.5V output voltage is high. The manufacturer also states that the separation between the channels @ 1 kHz is 25 dB, which in this price range - the cartridge costs PLN 800 - is a good result. The declared chanel balance is at 1.5 dB. I would prefer this value to be a bit smaller.


⸤ HOW WE LISTENED The MUSIC HALL STEALTH turntable was tested in the HIGH FIDELITY reference system. It was placed on the top shelf made of carbon fiber, on the Finite Elemente Pagode Edition MkII rack. I set the VTF using the REGA ATLAS scale, I also used the DS Audio ST-50, an element for cleaning the stylus.

During the tests, I treated the Music Hall turntable as a complete system, that is, I listened to it with a factory-fitted cartridge. I made an exception for the interconnects, which I replaced with Acoustic Revive ABSOLUTE cables. In turn, I led the mass with the outstanding Nordost QLINE cable. I also used an external RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC phono preamplifier, from which the signal was sent through the Crystal Cable Absolute Dream interconnect.

As you will see, at the end of the listening section I also tried out a few elements to improve the sound: the Pathe Wings PWS-710 record clamp, the Acoustic Revive RKI-5005 turntable mat (review HERE) and the linear 12 V DC JCAT OPTIMO 3 DUO power supply (review HERE).

Recordings used for the test | a selection

⸜ CLIFFORD JORDAN, Hello, Hank Jones, Eastworld ‎EWLF-98003, „Direct Cut” LP (1978).
⸜ DIANA KRALL, This Dream Of You, Verve Records 602507445416, TEST PRESS, 2 x 180 g LP (2020)
⸜ DIRE STRAITS, Brothers in Arms, Vertigo/Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab MFSL-2-441, „Special Limited Edition | No. 3000”, 45 RPM, 2 x 180 g LP (1985/2014).
⸜ DEAD CAN DANCE, Into The Labyrinth, 4AD/Mobile Fidelity MoFi-2-001, “Silver Line Special Limited Edition | No. 1545”, 2 x 140 g LP (1993/2010).
⸜ SADE, Stronger than pride, Epic | Sony Music/Audio Fidelity AFZLP 159, „Numbered Edition | № 0033”, 180 g LP (1988/2014).
⸜ AL DI MEOLA, JOHN MCLAUGHLIN, PACO DELUCIA, Friday Night in San Francisco, Philips/Impex Records IMP6031-45, 2 x 45 rpm, 180 g LP (1981/2021).
FOUR FACES, AC Records AC021/2021, 2 x 180 g, 45 rpm LP (2021).

THERE ARE PEOPLE AMONG AUDIO ENGINEERS who have a hundred ideas at once. They are fantastic people. Just like the early inventors - Alexander Graham Bell and Nikola Tesla - they can't help but try out their own ideas. Their imagination seem to have no limit. If they work with a clever managing director, there is a chance that an innovative, interesting audio company emerges. If, however, they work alone or dominate their colleagues, such a company will at best just exist and, in most cases, will collapse quickly.

The thing is that a company, also an audio company, needs a set direction, stability and credibility. And the overabundance of ideas gets in the way of each of these three conditions for a successful business. Therefore, looking at Music Hall's offer, I am sure that Roy Hall is an excellent manager, despite the fact that he is also an innovator and that he has a lot of ideas at the same time. He combines these two features - ingenuity and self-control. Thanks to this, Music Hall has been a steadily developing company offering a sensible range of products for so many years.

The introduction of a completely new class of product to its offer is therefore something unique and - this is how I understand it - had to be preceded by long reflection and consultations. Why does a company specializing in belt-driven turntables need a direct-drive turntable? The answer that seems obvious to me is not "because he can", because that would be a contradiction to everything I just talked about. Rather, it rather about "seeing potential customers for such a product." Customers, let me add, who would like to stay within the circle of a specialized construction, a small audio company, and would like to "touch" the technique nowadays known primarily from dance clubs.

Listening to the STEALTH turntable, I almost saw it. Its sound is quite different from what we get with other products of this company, and yet it has something familiar to offer, which allows it to stay within the MMF turntable family.

| Our albums


AC Records AC021/2021 ⸜ 2021
2 x 180 g, 45 rpm LP

AS ADAM CZERWIŃSKI TOLD ME, he thought about the title of this album for a long time and that it is much easier for him to come up with music. The thing is, that the Four Faces is completely different from previous AC Records releases. The album consists of two 45 rpm albums, so we have four sides - that's one clue. The other is that each side contains a different kind of music. And yes, the first is jazz, the second is classic, the third is vocal music, and the fourth is what is usually referred to as free.

As Adam said, the recording of the first side "was completely crazy". The session took place at the height of the pandemic, yet it was held with an audience - it's a "live in studio" recording. The following sides were recorded in multiple sessions - separately for the violin and the piano, the vibraphone with the piano, and separately for Adam's percussion miniatures. Another time, a vocal session was prepared. Electronic music was ready earlier and more instruments were added to it.

The recordings took place in the Custom34 studio, except for the electronic part which was ready earlier. Apart from the electronic track, all the others were recorded on a 24-track Studer analog tape recorder and mixed in analogue domain to a stereo analog tape. The material was taken to the Abbey Road studio in London, where the varnish was cut. Although the album was supposed to be released in 2021, we actually got it exactly one year after the material was deposited at the pressing plant. It turned out that Takt, where it happened, had some problems when pressing of one of the records and it had to be pressed again - customers who bought a Limited version of the album with a defective disc received the correct pressing for free. The black (standard) version was replaced by the pressing plant.

Adam Czerwiński put in a lot of work and invested a lot of money into the preparation of the Four Faces. From the very beginning it was supposed to be a perfect project in terms of music and sound quality. Pressing the material on two 45 rpm records does just that, but it significantly increases the cost for the publisher. But it paid off. The album sounds fantastically consistent, smooth and fluid.

The sound sources are shown differently than in classic jazz recordings from the 1950s and 1960s. There they had large forms and strong bodies. They were clearer and more tangible. Often they even "jumped" out of the speakers. Paweł Łukaszewski's recording and its mastering are aimed at withdrawing the performers in perspective and bringing them together. It gives a less clear and selective, but a more natural sound.

To be honest, I heard it as if it was supposed to be an “analog” sound, in the sense that it repeated what we usually think vinyl should sound like. So there is a beautiful midrange, a strong, dense, nicely controlled bass and a splendid treble. That is why, singing in their own song Trinkets ALICJA BORATYN and LESZEK DRANICKI were placed further back in the mix, so differently than I know from classic recordings of Ella Fitzgerald or Frank Sinatra. This also applies to other instruments that breathe a lot, are not thrown in listener’s face.

I missed the tangibility and directness that I associated with resolution, I am a fan of these qualities. But that's my perspective. From any other one, Four Faces is a great album. It offers great, varied music that never gets boring and can be enjoyed with equal pleasure when listening for the first, second and tenth time. This is accompanied by a great sound entourage, worthy of the best audiophile releases. So we are pleased to award the album with the ˻ BIG RED BUTTON ˺.

THE SOUND OF THE STEALTH TURNTABLE IS FAST, accurate and spatial rather than focused. It is a presentation in which we do not have clear, dense bodies. Instead, we get an extensive, impressive spectacle. Yes, a spectacle - it's hard to call it otherwise. There is momentum in it, there is dynamics, and there is also speed. Phantom images are not precisely defined, because this presentation is about the whole not details. What is more important is how the "performance" we witness is presented, and not its individual components.

Both, purist "direct cut" records, such as CLIFFORD JORDAN’s Hello, Hank Jones, and digital recordings released on vinyl, such as DIANA KRALL’s This Dream Of You, played from the TEST PRESS (2 x 180 g) sounded like this. Both albums had dynamite in them. Speed and dynamics are something the listeners will really like - oh yes, they will. Compared to Stealth, many of the belt drive turntables seem too calm, as if they were playing at slow speed. It is not so, it is only our perception of the stronger attack of the Music Hall turntable and a great rhythm, but our subjective perception will tell us just that.

This impression is also supported by shortening the of the bass attack. It is low, full, with great contour. But its filling is not quite complete. I could hear it, for example, on Money For Nothing, a track from the DIRE STRAITS’ Brothers in Arms album. Played from the version released by Mobile Fidelity Labs on two 45 rpm discs, with material remastered from the original ½” analog tape, it was fast, strong and punctual. But it was not as warm as I remembered it from other listening sessions.

Fortunately, the sound of the tested turntable is neither dry nor light, nor bright. Which is what distinguishes it from most of the direct drive turntables I know. Even expensive designs of this type have something cold in their sound, a certain amount of distance. This is also a way to go, also a way to convey music. There is no need to pretend that it can only be done in one way and that only that one is right. But, at least for me, a warmer and fuller presentation is preferred.

That's why I found Stealth so interesting. There is no emotional distancing in its sound. While listening to the DEAD CAN DANCE album entitled Into The Labyrinth, also released by Mobile Fidelity, but cut from digital files, I understood - or so I thought - the decision-making process behind the development process. With the tested turntable I got a wide panorama, momentum, quite low and precise bass, and above all warmth, which I would not expect from this type of construction.

Because apart from punctual bass, the most important thing in its sound is the midrange. The high treble is withdrawn and warm. A thing, let me repeat, in such turntables, unusual and extremely desirable. This is why the presentation is so natural and not caricatured. This does not mean that the sound is closed in - absolutely not. The SADE’s Stronger than pride, played from the analog remaster by Audio Fidelity (№ 0033), had enough treble and "air" accompanying the vocalist's voice and the sounds of synthesizers.


THE VOLTAGE FOR THE STEALTH TURNTABLE comes from a wall-mounted, small switching power supply. Such a power supply is also available for most belt turntables, both cheaper and in this price range. Replacing it with a well-stabilized, linear one usually results in a valuable performance improvement. In most cases, the improvement will not be as spectacular as it was with Stealth.

Although I tried the Pathe Wings clamp and the Acoustic Revive mat with it earlier and the changes were nice, good, making them worth investing in them, but replacing the "proprietary" power supply with the JCAT Initio 3 was a shock for me. Not because I did not believe that something would change, but because I did not expect it to change to such a degree.

So I got better differentiation and resolution. My attention was also better focused on sound sources, previously slightly “diffused”, without a clear central point. Not that the sound was bad with stock power supply - everything I wrote above concerns the turntable with its own switched-mode power supply. And yet the guitars of AL DI MEOLA, JOHN MCLAUGHLIN and PACO DELUCIA on the Friday Night in San Francisco disc, in the Impex Records version (2 x 45rpm), were much more "visible" and clear with JCAT.

I perfectly remember the shivers that I felt when, at the very end of the concert that Al Di Meola gave with his trio at the Kyiv cinema in Krakow in June this year, they played the Mediterranean Sundance/Rio Ancho. I could feel the same with the linear power supply. Without it, Stealth sounds great, especially considering its price, build and features. But the power supply takes its sound a class higher.


THE MUSIC HALL TURNTABLE delivers precise sound. But also, let's say it, we deal with quite warm sound. Therefore, it will be a very safe choice for many music lovers. If you were afraid of a turntable of this type, precisely because of its dryness and brightness, with the Music Hall you will quickly stop worrying. You will get its advantages in terms of rhythm, precision and punctuality, but no disadvantages.

The lowest bass is only marked, and the upper treble is withdrawn. There are also no tangible sound sources, and the differentiation of layers in soundstage’s depth is only average. But that's the price we pay for the perfectly balanced sound we get with Stealth.

The bonus is that you don't actually hear pops&clicks and the noise of a stylus moving along the groove , even with Test Press releases, which have the disadvantage of more noise. And the operating this turntable is extremely pleasant and easy. That’s a really cool device!

Polish distributor

NAUTILUS Dystrybucja

ul. Malborska 24
30-646 Kraków | POLSKA



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Record mats:


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