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Turntable + Tonearm + Cartridge
Bellavista Signature + Betania + Baldinotti

Price: 7980 zł + 7980 zł + 6380 zł

Distribution: Moje Audio

Powstańców Śląskich 118, 53-333 Wrocław
tel/fax: (71) 336 52 67
tel. kom.: 606 276 001, 790 425 142



Text: Wojciech Pacuła

It is not usual for a company specialized in digital gear and amplifiers to manufacture also turntables. Because the last thing, and probably keeping the owner of the company, Maurizio Aterini, busy, are file players, including the formidable DSS 30 Tube. But because we deal here with Goldenote (formerly Bluenote) I maybe put it wrong. The first sentence should be something like this: “It is not usual for a company specialized in turntables and amplifiers, to manufacture also digital gear, like SACD players or file players.” And that would have been more true. But the path has been cleared by a true vinyl giant, the Scottish Linn, which offers subsequent upgrades for its turntable Sondek LP12, and at the same time puts everything on one card in terms of digital sources – manufacturing the network players called DS. Please note that, as this is not coincidence, that people who listened to vinyl for their whole lives, who know more about them, than most vinyl lovers, enter so readily the “river” of high resolution files. I can only say, that this is absolutely logical decision, because when you listen to a digital master tape 24/96 or 24/192, then you will know, that this is something special, and has more in common with “analog” sound, than with a CD. Anyway this duality transfers onto the consumer market. It seems, that vinyl is a format, which will have its own, not endangered niche for the coming dozen years, if not more. On the other hand, the popularity of formats based on files downloaded from the Internet, including lossless files like WAV and FLAC grows. And companies being in the avant-garde, like Linn or Blacknote, will profit most.

This time, I will have a closer look at a turntable proposed by the latter manufacturer. Bellavista signature is the most expensive turntable offered by the company. This is a non-decoupled construction, with two plinths, a synchronous motor and a belt-drive. But the platter seems most important – it is made from a special material called Sustarin, and it has attached additional masses, looking similar to those used by the company Michell Engineering, increasing the inertia. The turntable was equipped with Goldenote best tonearm, the model Betania. This is a construction with a Cardan suspension and a titanium tube. The tube is not straight, it does not narrow to the end, and although it is one complete unity, not mechanically split, it has six fragments with different diameter. It looks great. And finally the cartridge – Goldenote offers a few models – the tested model Baldinotti is the third counted from the best. This is a MC cartridge, with 0.3mV output voltage, aluminum body and hand wound, OFC copper coils. And it also looks fabulous. In addition, the tested set was delivered with an AC filter, Dumbo. Although it was designed mostly for digital sources, it turned out to be splendid as a companion for the turntable.

Discs used for testing:

  • Clifford Brown and Max Roach, Study in Brown, EmArcy/Warner Music Japan, UCJU-9072, 180 g LP.
  • Count Basie&Tony Bennett, Basie/Benett, Roulette/Classic Records, SR 25072, 4 x 45 rpm, special one-sided pressing, 180 g LP.
  • Depeche Mode, Wrong, Mute Records, 12BONG40, maxi-SP.
  • e.s.t., Retrospective, ACT Music+Vision, ACT 9021-1, 2 x 180 g LP.
  • Frank Sinatra, Sinatra&Strings, Warner Music/Mobile Fidelity, MFSL 1-313, No. 199, 180 g LP.
  • Jean Michel Jarre, Oxygene, Disques Motors, 2933207, LP.
  • John Coltrane, Giant Steps, Atlantic/Rhino, R1 512581, 2 x 45 rpm LP.
  • Sinatra&Sextet, Live in Paris, Warner Music/Mobile Fidelity, MFSL 1-312, No. 238, 2 x 180 g LP.
  • Ultravox, Quartet, Chrysalis, 41394, LP.
  • Ultravox, Vienna, Chrysalis, 202 701-320, LP.
  • vijay iyer trio, Historicity, ACT Music+Vision, ACT 9489-1, 2 x 180 g LP.
  • Wes Montgomery, California Dreaming, Verve/Cisco Music, CLP-8672, No. 734, 180 g LP.


The Italian turntable impressed me from the very beginning with a high class sound. Along the way, when I listened to more discs, and compared it to the Transrotor Argos or others, like Bergmann Sindre, it became clear, that some things could be done better. But until the end, until I put the unit back in the box to send it back, I was really impressed, how it translates the grooves into musical experiences. This is of course a simplification, but in the end, this is what it all is about.

The Goldenote system presents an incredibly “carrying” sound, with beautiful timbres, reproducing rich passages without any problems, and remaining true to the spirit of the original. It happened, that I started the test with electronic music, made with analog synthesizers. How nice sound the original issues of Ultravox vinyl - Vienna and 1980 and Quartet from 1982. Those were the last years of the domination of analog technology (Quartet was mastered digitally, unfortunately). The Italian construction got the best out of those, meaning very good timbre differentiation, splendid sound stage and incredible “openness” of the sound, but not in the sense of extensive treble, for example the Kuzma Stabi S is better in that aspect, not even mentioning the Kuzma Reference. It is rather about something else, the clou of the analog, the lack of any coarseness, any “teeth” sawing into our brain, causing fatigue. Here the Goldenote is equally refined, as for example Avid Acutus. And this seems to be the right trail. If I would have to compare the transmission to something, then it would be the Avid turntable and products from VPI, like the Super Scout. And this is especially interesting, because when we look at the mechanical construction, the Bellavista should sound closer to the Transrotor, Clearaudio or Kuzma. And in reality it is closer to the Avid and Linn Sondek LP12, and the SME 20A. Their common divider is the incredible energy of the recordings, the emotional engagement, those require from the listener. And at the same time, it is not a turntable, which would sound as dynamic as other hi-end constructions. For example the Transrotor LaRoccia TMD or the mentioned Avid sound in a more “explosive” way, the dynamics of the bass is bigger. Here it is about something else, the cleanness of the midrange, but also the bass, is so exceptional, that it immediately translates into an impression of a “live” in terms of “multicolored” sound. This is a transmission, that “is created” in our eyes. Heavy, rigid turntables – Transrotor and others – play the music, as if would already be prepared, as if it would be put together in what it is just a moment before the diamond in the groove reads it. I hope you understand, what I am trying to say – the way Bellavista sounds, is closer to that, what we perceive as natural sound. In absolute categories, there are constructions that sound more “accurate”, more precise, but they lack some “life”. A splendid balance of those two things have the products from SME and Avid (also Linn), but at the price level, the Italian turntable is places, it is an unique capability.

Fortunately this is not a sound overly “bloated”. Here the asset of rigid suspension came to play. Linn and Avid tend to inflate a part of the lower midrange, what is perceived fantastically by us, but it masks a bit the resolution of this subrange. Here, there is not the slightest warming. I mentioned analog synthesizers, and I checked that with a disc from 1976, the original pressing of Oxygene J.M. Jarre, and then with the newest recording, the maxi-single Depeche Mode Peace and it was clear: Bellavista sounds with a nicely balanced sound, which is incredibly “analog” in the common sense of that word, but at the same time it is not warmed. Actually, we can talk about a slight softening of the attack, as this is part of the “analog” idiom, but only a bit. The cymbals from the re-edition of the Wes Montgomery disc California Dreaming were full and strong, vivid, “present”, and only listening to this aspect, we could hear, that the resolution could be better, and the SME 30A and Transrotor Argos (and I would also put Bergmann Sindre on the list) can draw the three-dimensional events better, the cymbals have a more metallic “bite”. Here, this was without such simple consequences, like fogging, this is not the league, but it is worth to know, that it can be done better.

I mentioned bass. Here it is ideally sewed together with the midrange. Both electronic music and jazz showed, that this is the same, well working organism, that you cannot analyze the one without the other. In absolute terms the lower end of the bass sounds a little lighter, that in the Transrotor and SME. This isn’t also the fleshy sound of the Avid. Bellavista gives off the “flesh” with afterthought, it is not wasteful, if I can say that. It is interesting, but we do not have the feeling of “light” sound. A similar thing can be experienced with turntables from Pro-Ject, the RPM series. The Italians set it in such a way, that although we know, that bass from, for example the Depeche Mode disc, is a bit smaller than I am used to, smaller also than from good digital sources, but it is not a “flaw” in a way, we could imagine. Sometimes we could think “what if…” – if the bass would reach lower, if it would be more saturated, etc. But this does not transition into “where the hell is my basssssss!”. I did not perceive it like that with Wes Montgomery and with Sinatra. Sinatra’s voice was strong, firm, splendidly drawn in the space, almost three-dimensional, in the direction showed by SME turntables, and I liked it. Also the dynamics of percussive instruments from its live disc Live In Paris was shown nicely. The same can be said about Wes’ guitar – it was full, strong and naturally soft. This is especially nicely sounding with such kind of music, because the jazz guitar is warm, incredibly saturated, but has also slightly hard edges – guitar tube amplifiers usually work in class B. Here everything was shown well, without softening of the edges, and without warming.

The energy emanating from each subrange makes us perceive the sound in an incredibly favorable way, we do not close ourselves with accusations, we want to believe, that it is the truth. This is helped by a very competent sound stage. Like I wrote in the beginning, and I want to repeat: the turntable sounds with a very clean sound, what makes the elements on the stage splendidly differentiated. This is valid for both dimensions, although the top-bottom dimension is rather suggested, than realized. This is not the last word in terms of placing the instruments in depth, on the axis – this is the domain of good mass-loaders and very good decoupled ones. On the brilliant disc Study In Brown in the Japanese pressing, a monophonic disc, the cymbal hits opening the side B almost threw me off the couch – they were so natural, as if they would be played in my very room. Then the whole drumset kicks in and the rest of the instruments. All of them had a very natural timbre, but played close to each other. Transrotor Argos, and earlier Avid Acutus, showed them more apart, together with small differences in acoustics, as independent “beings”. Here, although very natural in timbre, the sound was a bit flattened, more uni-dimensional.

But don’t have this cover the most important information: the instruments played by the Bellavista seem so natural! It can be heard, that resolution is not a priority here, but it does not translate into lesser differentiation of the sound, what is an incredible achievement. Bass should be more worked out, and a bit more fleshy on the lowest end. But there are no ideal solutions, and you just have to choose. The turntable is a “plug-and-play” device, what means a thought through, competent system, which also plays best together – with the company tonearm and cartridge. You can of course try other cartridges – I had the Air Tight and Lyra – but the costs rise significantly, and the sound does not get significantly better. One thing you need to do for sure, is to use the AC filter Goldenote Dumbo AC with the turntable – it is incredible, how much the sound depends on the good, clean power for the motor!


Bellavista Signature
Bellavista Signature is the top Goldenote turntable. It has a not decoupled chassis, made from two, 20mm plates of black acryl, separated by six brass, chrome plated, distances. As written in the company materials, the rounded edges of the plinth are not just a decorative move, but increase its rigidity. The platter is exceptional. It is made from a material called Sustarin, which is based on polyvinyl. Its upper part is covered with grooves, and is quite hard, similar to SME turntables. The platter is not so heavy, as it is only 22mm thick, but nine brass, chrome plated, or gold plated, weights are mounted beneath, exactly like in Michell Engineering turntables, what improves on inertia, while not adding unnecessary mass. The latter is a good thing, but some companies claim, that when a platter is too heavy, then it cumulates energy, and releases it later as vibration. The synchronous motor is mounted on the same chassis. On its axis we have an aluminum pulley, in the patented shape Tulipan – the sides are cut, and there is a bolt in the middle, which extends or contracts the sides of the pulley. This way the revolutions can be controlled in a very precise way. The torque is transmitted by a large, rubber belt. The power switch is in the front, on the lower plinth. However, there is no automatic rpm change, what is a big miss in a turntable of this class. There is a heavy clamp to attach the disc to the platter. On the top plinth the bearing is mounted – as written in the company materials – this is an innovative construction, with a much longer and thicker shaft, working in a bed mad from hardened bronze. This is called Split-Spindle, and has to provide perfect fit and lack of hammering. Fitting is also assured by very precise machine working, including polishing, what allows for a lower tolerance than 1/100mm. This steel element – the spindle and mini-subplatter – connects very well with the main platter. Let’s add, that on the bottom of the bed we have a special material called Arnite – one of the hardest, most rigid, self-lubricating polymer.

Technical data (according to manufacturer):
Wow & Flutter: 0.03%
Rumble: -80dB
Speed: 33 1/3 + 45 rpm +/- 0.1%
Speed change: manual

Betania is the best Goldenote tonearm. This is a construction of the type gimbaled-arm, with a tube made of grade 2 titanium and special aluminum alloy. This is also the first arm of the company, made in such a way, that there are six segments with different diameters. Three sections have a wall thickness of 6/10mm, and three are 1/10mm thicker. This type of construction should eliminate all the vibration from the rotating disc. The counterweight moves on a steel shaft – it can be amended by a small element, that lowers the gravity point, what is very desirable. Antiscating is made from a weight on a string. The internal cabling is made from silver plated copper wires, and the interconnects are soldered to it, and made from silver.

Technical data (according to manufacturer):
Full length: 255mm
Effective length: 240mm
Effective mass: 10g
VTA: adjustable
Internal cabling: awg36 Hyper Litz from silver plated copper 99,9999%, shielded
Mass: 480 g

Baldinotti is probably the most known cartridge by Goldenote, although it is not the most expensive one – higher in the catalog there are the Baldinotti Aurum and Tuscany. This is an MC cartridge, with an output oltage 0.3mV. Its body is made from a precisely machined aluminum block, anodized blue. The cantilever, with an oval shape, is made from two elements, what should eliminate vibration. The diamond has a very thin Super Micro Elliptical cut. The coils are wound with best available OFC copper. The suspension is made from a special polymer, which changes very little in time.

Technical data (according to manufacturer):
Output voltage: 0.3mV
Frequency response: 18-45 000Hz
Impedance: 50Ω
Compliance: 5 CUs.
Channel separation: >30 dB
Mass: 16g
Suggested tracking force: 2.4g +/- 0.4g
Cut: Super Micro Elliptical
Body: aluminum

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  • CD player: Ancient Audio Lektor Prime (tested HERE)
  • Phono preamp: RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC (tested HERE)
  • Preamp: Leben RS-28CX (tested HERE; soon to be changed to Polaris II, tested HERE)
  • Power amp: Luxman M-800A (tested HERE)
  • Integrated amp: Leben CS300 (reviewed HERE)
  • Loudspeakers: Harpia Acoustics Dobermann (tested HERE)
  • headphones: AKG K701, Ultrasone PROLine 2500, Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro, 600 Ω version (reviewed HERE, HERE, and HERE)
  • interconnects: CD-preamp: Wireworld Gold Eclipse 52 (tested HERE; soon to be changed to Acrolink Mexcel 7N-DA6300, article HERE), preamp-power amp: Velum NF-G SE (tested HERE)
  • speaker cable: Velum LS-G (tested HERE)
  • power cables: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC9100 (CD; reviewed HERE) and 2 x Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC7100 (preamp, power amp (reviewed HERE)
  • power conditioning: Gigawatt PF-2 Filtering Power Strip (reviewed HERE)
  • audio stand Base
  • resonance control: Finite Elemente Ceraball under the CD (article HERE ) Turntables change continuously, as do cartridges. My dream setup: SME 30 with Series V tone-arm and Air Tight PC-1 cartridge (also in the PC-1 Mono version).