Inspire Eclipse

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From Hi-Fi World - September 2009 issue


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Total Eclipse


Adam Smith takes a listen to the stylish Eclipse turntable, from new British company, Inspire Hi-Fi...


Despite the resurgence in interest in vinyl going on at present, it is still quite something to see a brand new turntable launched by a brand new company, let alone two in a short space of time! The difference between the two is that the Claro Clarity09, reviewed on page 108, was developed by a company already well versed in engineering, but the Inspire Eclipse seen here marks a completely new departure for the man behind it, Robert Isherwood.


Robert spent thirty years in a career with the Royal Mail before taking early retirement in order to fulfil a long-held dream of making exclusive hi-fi equipment, and the Eclipse turntable is the first fruit of these labours, with the promise of a phono stage to follow in due course. Robert’s approach was a fairly simple and logical one. He explains that, “when I designed the basic prototype of the Eclipse, I had already listened to many turntables costing many thousands of pounds and I understood their limitations, in terms of both sound and looks. I wanted a product that would appeal to not only those reawakening to vinyl, but the younger generation who currently have a high end CD only system - I knew there was a growing market to tap into with the right products, built in the right way, and designed to impress in sound, looks and cost”.


Consequently, Robert did not rush into anything and took time to consult experienced electronic and mechanical engineers who helped him to pull the final design together and finally put his ideas into practice. The end result is a turntable that consists of finely engineered parts, all of which are sourced from the UK, with the exception of the motor, which hails from Holland. Finally, Robert has aimed to price the deck at what he feels is a realistic point, undercutting more expensive decks that he feels the Eclipse is more than capable of tackling head on. So, what does your two and a bit thousand pounds buy you?


Essentially a two-part design, the Eclipse consists of an acrylic base board underneath which are mounted three feet. On top of this sits the main plinth, supported on three cone-shaped metal supports that locate in small cut-outs in the lower base. The cones are more complex than they first appear however, as they incorporate Sorbothane shock absorbers in their centres, for isolation and vibration resistance. The half inch thick metal subplatter is belt driven from an electronically controlled motor, and spins using a bearing and bearing housing that are individually machined to match each other. These items all support a 20mm thick machined aluminium platter with a glorious green tint to it and the boy racer in me can’t help thinking a spot of LED illumination is called for here! Finally, a superbly machined record weight slips snugly over the spindle to hold everything securely once spinning.


The arm is mounted on a superbly machined arm base, and it is here that Robert has definitely thought ‘outside the box’ a little. Resisting the temptation to fit the highly competent but rather ubiquitous Rega RB251/301 variants, he looked further up Rega’s range and, as a consequence, the Eclipse is available with the Inspire Tonearm 700 or Tonearm 1000, based upon, you’ve guessed it, the Rega RB700 and RB1000. The Eclipse can also be supplied with an SME armboard, or without arm, and complete with the armboard of your choice, so there should be something to please pretty much everyone here. Finally, the Eclipse comes with a neat black acrylic dust cover for the platter, and no it shouldn't be used as a turntable mat!



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