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Turntable + tonearm

Price: euro (with 80mm platter) + 650 euro; 3299 euro (with 50mm platter)

Scheu Analog
Zietenstr. 4, 12249 Berlin, Germany


Manufacturer's webside: Scheu Analog

Country of origin: Germany

Text: Wojciech Pacuła
Pictures: Wojciech Pacuła
Translation: Krzysztof Kalinkowski

Thomas Scheu, the owner of Scheu Analog is a man, who was related to DIY community for years. But about twenty years ago, he started to think about creating a turntable, he could be selling commercially. So the model Premier was born, now available in two versions – the tested Mk2 and Mk3 – prepared for two tonearms.
In Thomas’ catalog Premier is the middle offering – below it in the price list we have the models Cello and Diamond, and on the higher price levels Das Laufwerk No. 1 and No. 2. However the tonearm that came with the deck, Scheu Classic Mk2, is the entry level in Scheu Analog catalog.
Both the turntable and the tonearm look like a well prepared DIY project. I mean, everything is nicely made, well finished, there are no visible corner cuts, but you can feel, that this is a singular unit, made by one man – just like products from Ancient Audio.

On the technical side, those are very simple products. The turntable is a mass loader, not decoupled, with a motor placed separately. The material for the construction of the turntable was chosen by Thomas Scheu based on listening sessions and his personal preferences. It is acryl – black in the plinth (can also be transparent there) and milky in the platter.
The plinth is made in such a way, that the chassis is as small as possible, while very heavy and stable. It is round, because only such a form guarantees the smallest size. We can choose between two different platters – one weighing 7.5kg with 80mm height (this is the version we received for testing) and a smaller, 50mm thick one, weighing 4.4 kg.
The Classic Mk2 tonearm is manufactured in two lengths – 10” and 12” (and the latter we tested). It is very simple and at first it caused the biggest distrust in me. This is a simple, aluminum channel bar, ending in a flat plate being the headshell. This is a unipivot arm, with a steel blade and bolts on two sides, with large nuts, used to set the azimuth. The suspension is not damped, and the arm is not damped itself – except for three rubber elements, used to fasten the cables inside the channel bar. This looks very primitive. But it is most important, how it sounds.


Discs used during testing:

  • Billie Holliday, Songs For Distingue Lovers, Verve/Classic Records, One-sided, 2 x 180 g, 45 rpm LP.
  • Clifford Brown and Max Roach, Study In Brown, EmArcy/Universal Music K.K. (Japan), UCJU-9072, 200 g LP.
  • Depeche Mode, Fragile Tension/Hole to Feed, Mute Records, 12BONG42, 2 x 180 g, maxi-SP LP.
  • Dominic Miller, November, Q-rious Music, QRM 114-2, 2 x 180 g LP.
  • Frank Sinatra, Sinatra&Sextet: Live in Paris, Reprise/Mobile Fidelity, MFSL 1-312, No. 238, 2 x 180 g LP;.
  • Frank Sinatra, The Voice, Columbia/Speakers Corner, CL 743, Quiex SV-P, 180 g LP.
  • J. S. Bach, The Works of Johann Sebastian Bach. IX. Research Period, Archive Production, ARC 3162, LP.
  • Nat “King” Cole, Nat King Cole De Luxe Set, Capitol, STCL 2873, 3 x LP.
  • Queen, Innuendo, Parlophone/EMI Records, 67988, 180 g LP.
  • The Cult, Electric, Beggars Banquet/Sire, W1-25555, LP.
  • The Police, Reggatta de Blanc, A&M Records, AMLH 64792, LP. ¬
  • Wes Montgomery, Smokin’ at The Half Note, Verve/Universal Music K.K. (Japan), UCJU-9083, 200 g LP.

Looking at the not so complicated construction of this turntable, using solutions resembling those from the DIY community, I did not know, what to expect from the sound. Actually, after putting it together, what was not so easy (mostly due to the tonearm) I was so tired with it, that I left the turntable for two days – turning, but not playing any disc. That was not necessary. I do not know how this is done, but the Scheu analog sounds with a such classy, refined sound, as if it would be the absolute top of precision and material technology. Maybe exactly that was struck me in the beginning, the DIY approach to the problem, the individual handling of the product by the constructor, and maybe other reasons, unknown for me, resulted in such a sound.

I can say one thing from the very beginning – this German turntable sounds in a way, that defined the term “analog” used now not only for turntables, but also for other elements of the system. “Analog” in the sense of a strong, full, slightly warm, deep and absolutely unobtrusive, relaxing sound.
First I will tell you about the consequences of such sound, which will not be to everyone’s liking. The way sound is being built up, the shaping of timbre in relation to dynamics are different to those, known from Transrotor, Avid or SME turntables. I will even say more – it is even different than in the Rega or Linn, although the timbre of the Premier Mk2 is a bit similar to those two. The case is, that the Scheu Analog sounds in such a nice, full way, that there is no place for any bite, stronger attack or some madness – of course where it was recorded on the disc. As it seems, I hear it like that, this is the result of the materials used for the construction of the turntable, and in further perspective of Thomas’ preferences. But this is not heard as a “flaw”. Everything had its logical resolution, anchoring in other elements of the sound, it was a coherent whole. Only a little different than in other, more open and brighter constructions.

The sound of this system (turntable and tonearm) has a lot of depth. Each disc has a strong and full sound, but not by being pushed towards us, but rather by having a three dimensional shape and a solid, saturated sound stage, where the fluid connects all individual events into one, well working whole.
And it does not really matter what disc we are playing – although their character is quite well defined, timbre differentiated, all will have a similarly shaped tonal balance and coherence as the main motive. That happened with the original discs of The Police Reggatta de Blanc, The Cult Electric, and with the digital re-masters of Queen, like Innuendo. I am talking about rock in the beginning on purpose, because I wanted to see, how the withdrawal of upper midrange, and its slight softening, being a continuation of the warm midrange, will influence rhythmical and strong playing.
And it did have an influence – it calmed the sound a bit, it made it slightly similar to other, mainly jazz, discs, to which I also listened, but at the same time it turned out, that it is not about damping the sound. This is one of the abilities of a good constructor – he can juggle elements of the sound (construction) around, reaching results, that should normally exclude each other. Like it was done here – a full, slightly withdrawn sound allowed to listen in full comfort to discs, that should not sound that good. I’ll say even more – they sounded more satisfactory than on many other solid mass loaders. I am not extracting the word “better” on purpose, because it is hard for me to say what is better – straining everything to the extremes, conform to the rule “garbage in-garbage out”, or shaping the sound in a way, that is edible. Here we deal with the second strategy.

An important word is “comfort”. The German turntable places a comfy pillow under your back – because you sit already in a comfortable chair – and murmurs something to the ears. But – attention! – it does not put to sleep, but soothes nerves. The discs have a well differentiated temperature of the recordings, the energy inside them is transmitted well, as are the emotions, etc. In each case the emotions extracted from the disc resonated with my emotions, creating some additional value, something that makes a recording a true event. Well – I just remembered: I had the same chain of thoughts while reviewing the loudspeakers Hansen Audio Prince v2, which I remember as loudspeakers, which created best an illusion of the real event in my listening room. They were not as precise as for example the Ktêma Franco Serblin, or even Dobermann Harpia Acoustics, and yet they made the sound more credible, went deeper into the unconscious, not stopping on superficial impressions. If I would try to call upon a turntable, that would be closest to such a way of sounding, then it would probably be the dps-2.

It is similar with the Premier Mk2. When we analyze its sound in a cold, surgical way, it will seem warm. There is treble, sweet treble, and the upper midrange is slightly withdrawn. The midrange is most important here, because it full, thick, concise in the sense, that we have a collection of elements, that create something more than just a cloud of separate points, which we need to combine by ourselves.
And in this case we see, that this kind of analysis is only the introduction to evaluation of the sound – a valuable one, giving some information, but only an introduction. This is why in music long term listening sessions are important, this is why “blind” tests (AB, or ABX) falsify the reality and just plain lie. Just to remind you, that the members of one of the conferences of AES, the promoter of “double blind tests”, did not distinguish between mp3 and CD sound in one of those test. Does this mean, that there are no differences between those? Let’s stop joking – you do not need full concentration to hear the difference after a few seconds and diagnose it after some more. This is why longer listening sessions of this turntable is especially helpful, because it helps to show, how all those doings mentioned above translate into Music – and at the end this is what all is about.

I started my description from widely understood rock. But not the listening session – that I started with something different – I am always interested in how a human voice sounds, because although it is not the only important thing in the sound, it can define problems with other parts of the sound spectrum. And what is better than the voices of Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole? I listened to the first one from discs re-mastered by Mobile Fidelity, mostly from Live In Paris, but also from the disc The Voice re-edited by Speakers Corner, material that was first issued on shellac discs, and later issued by Columbia as a LP. The voice of Sinatra was big, warm and pleasant. Interestingly it was not pushed forward, it did not cover the rest. I would say, that its large volume created a similar volume of the sound stage, together with the instruments, and the perspective from which I was looking at the vocalist was similar to what we have during a concert, so it was not “upfront”, with a large “avatar” manifesting itself in front of us, but rather forming a greater whole behind the line connecting the loudspeakers. I think, that it is a rather important finding, because this is not fully connected with “warm” sound, which we get during the analysis of the timbre. This usually promotes the voice, but usually at some cost, mostly at the expense of clarity and other elements of the sound. I could get convinced, that it is not the case here listening to discs boxed in The Nat King Cole De Luxe Set, bought by me in mint condition (still sealed) for 10 USD. This is a selection of four discs of Cole recorded with an orchestra, with rich arrangement, etc. Scheu Analog played it just like that – a collaboration of the vocalist, piano player and orchestra, and not solo performance of the vocal with accompanying instruments. Here the voice was also strong and full, but it did not deafen anything and was not overly promoted.

In general jazz will sound super-satisfactory, because it was enough to listen to the Japanese pressing of the disc Smokin’ At The Half Note Wesa Montgomery, or the monophonic disc from Clifforda Browna and Max Roach Study In Brown (both issued on 200g vinyl in the 100 best jazz disc series) to fall in love. Not without reservations – like I said, the treble is slightly sweet and not as open, as with for example the Avid Acutus Reference. This was clearly heard on the Brown disc, where Roach’s percussion was an equal partner. Scheu rounded off the cymbals, their attack. The timbre was splendid, but it was not a precision I remembered from the Avid or Transrotor Argos. The Air Tighta PC-1 Supreme showed, that we can influence this element to a large extent with the choice of cartridge. However I think, that the Shilabe Miyajima will be a better choice here. With a brighter, clearer cartridge the cymbals will be more precise, but we will hear the softening and withdrawal of the upper midrange stronger, and that would be not a desired direction. And although usually similarities amplify themselves, in case of the Scheu Analog and Miyajima they amplified their assets and not flaws.
I did not write about it yet, but this turntable is not very easy to setup and handle – I missed the rest support for the tonearm. I am also not a fan of unipivot tonearms, because setting the azimuth in those is very hard (especially in non-damped tonearms like the Classic Mk2), but the Scheu tonearm sounded in such a perfectly coherent way, that I cannot complain.

In general I did not expect such a refined sound from such a simple construction. I am contradicting myself a little with this statement, because I always repeat, that the person behind the project is most important, but in DIY the influence of such people count twice. But I say just as it is. Although the company Scheu Analog is a normal, commercial enterprise, a manufacturer, and not a DIY company, yet many things from DIY philosophy are present in Thomas’ doings. This is why I call upon that. Music sounds very good with it, and this is what should be remembered. The sound is very well differentiated, especially – paradoxically! – in terms of dynamics and timbre, but it is not a resolved sound in such a way, as in other turntables I mentioned. The low, strong bass, but without the moment of attack, without the “drama” only completes that.


The plinth is constructed to be as small as possible, but at the same time heavy and stable. It has an oval shape – that shape guarantees minimization of the surface. We have two kinds of platter available for choosing – one weighing 7.5kg and 80mm thick (this is the version we tested) and a smaller one, 50mm thick, weighing 4.4kg.
On the bottom we have a flat plinth with four holes – three on the circumference and one on the axis. The circumferential ones are for fastening metal feet, with big, knurled heads, sharpened on the other end, with which we set the level. The central hole is used to pass a big screw, mounting all the elements of the plinth into one whole.
On the mentioned flat element we place a round “bowl” and fill it with ballast – small, heavy pellets. From the top we cover the chamber with a half-round, flat element, which extends to one side forming the armboard. From the top this is all is bolted with a brass block, with a steel pin, on which we have a ceramic ball. This ball should be covered with an oil film. The tonearm is mounted on a socket – it is supported on metal pins. The plinth has a long hole allowing to mount SME tonearms.
The motor is placed separately. It is a heavy, solid element with a metal cylinder with small diameter, prepared to use a thread to drive the platter – instead of commonly used rubber belts. We choose the speed with a small switch. We have here also two knobs, used to adjust the speed – separately for 33 1/3rpm and 45rpm. We plug the power from the side. This is an asynchronous motor – the supply voltage provided from a small wall-wart power supply is 12V DC.

The tonearm Classic Mk2 can be delivered in two lengths: 10” – spindle to pivot length is 227mm (the effective mass is 11g) and 12” – spindle to pivot is 293mm (effective mass is 14g). We can set the VTA, but classically – using a single screw mounting the pivot to the plinth. I will repeat – the tonearm is incredibly simple – this is a usual, aluminum channel bar, ending with a flat plate cut in the shape of a headshell.
On the back there are three slots – one on the horizontal part and two on the vertical. The horizontal one is used for putting a screw through, that mounts the counterweight, made from chrome plated brass. This is not a very precise mounting, because the counterweight, in the shape of a thick plate, has quite some free-play. On its end there is a threaded pin, where we can move a roller to precisely set the tracking force.
Scheu Classic is a unipivot tonearm, non-damped. The pivot is a steel blade, the bed is also from steel – this a specially formed bolt. From the sides there are two, threaded pins, where wide nuts are moved, used to set the azimuth. On one of the bolts there is a classic anti-skating thread. It has no scale, so we need to set it by trial and error.

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  • CD player: Ancient Audio Lektor Air (previous it was Prime, tested HERE)
  • Phono preamplifier: RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC (tested HERE)
  • Cartridges: Air Tight Supreme, tested HERE, Miyajima Laboratory Waza, tested HERE.
  • Preamplifier: Ayon Audio Polaris III with Re-generator Power Supply; version II tested HERE)
  • Power amplifier: Tenor Audio 175S, tested HERE and Soulution 710
  • Integrated amplifier/headphone amplifier: Leben CS300 XS Custom version (reviewed HERE)
  • Loudspeakers: Harpia Acoustics Dobermann (tested HERE)
  • Headphones: Sennheiser HD800, AKG K701, Ultrasone PROLine 2500, Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro, 600 Ω version (reviewed HERE, HERE, and HERE)
  • Interconnect: CD-preamp: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-DA6300, article HERE), preamp-power amp: Wireworld Platinum Eclipse
  • Speaker cable: Tara Labs Omega Onyx, tested HERE
  • Power cables AC (all equipment): Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC9300
  • Power conditioning: Gigawatt PF-2 Filtering Power Strip (reviewed HERE)
  • Audio stand Base – under all components
  • Resonance control: Finite Elemente Ceraball under the CD (article HERE)
  • Pro Audio Bono platform under CD