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Turntable & tonearm

Pear Audio Blue

Price (when reviewed): 28 990 + 8990 PLN

Cankarjevo Nabrežje 15
1000 Ljubljana | SLOVENIJA


Provided for test by: AUDIO ATELIER


Images: Wojciech Pacuła
Translation: Marek Dyba

No 204

May 1, 2021

PEAR AUDIO BLUE is a Slovenian company, founded by PETER MEZEK, specializing in the production of turntables and tonearms. Its offer currently includes six turntable models, with the tested KID THOMAS being the second one from the top, and the CORNET 2 tonearm sits at the top of the price list.

HERE IS SOMETHING SPECIAL ABOUT SLOVENIA, ISN’T THERE? At least when we think about high-end audio. The KUZMA turntables, a company run by FRANC KUZMA, is well-known worldwide, and the Mr. BOSTJAN HOLCA’s HOLBO, whose advertisements I see regularly in the Japanese magazine "Stereo Sound", and I cannot ignore the UBIQ AUDIO, whose loudspeakers Marek Dyba uses, or ERZETICH AUDIO specialized in headphones.

Perhaps the most international venture, however, is the PEAR AUDIO BLUE, with its headquarters in the capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana, a city with roots dating back to 2000 B.C. The history of this manufacturer is an interesting sequence of cooperation of its founder, Mr. Mezek, with the most interesting, extremely charismatic turntable designers. It cannot be denied that he knew how to choose his mentors and friends ...

SCENE ONE The beginning of his fascination with the analogue music playback dates back to the 1980s, when he was a distributor of Linn Sondek LP12 turntables, and later of the Well Tempered Lab’s. In 1985, Peter developed his first product, the Rational Audio TT a turntable with a tangential arm, designed by JIŘE JANDA. The turntable was built in Czechoslovakia exclusively for Peter's company and featured many interesting and innovative technical solutions.

And no wonder - Jiří (or "Jirka") was a famous, extremely talented Czech engineer specializing in gramophone technology. Working in the Czechoslovakian TESLA plant in Litovel, he developed the Tesla NC470 model, which, after minor modifications, was sold all over the world with the NAD logo (NAD 5120). What's more, he was also part of the team designing the company's legendary 3020 integrated amplifier. As you know, the Litovel plant was bought by Heinz Lichtenegger and it is there that Pro-Ject turntables are now manufactured. Earlier, in 1988, Janda left Tesla and founded the AU/RA company, also known in Poland. This remarkable inventor and designer left us in 2000.

The importance of Jiří's products and the respect for its designs can be proved by an anecdote once quoted by the owner of Pear Audio:

Mezek told me that his store was once visited by Linn Product founder Ivor Tiefenbrun. In one of the rooms someone was playing a Rational turntable. When Tiefenbrun entered there and heard the sound, he made eyes as wide as wheels. Mezek said that Tiefenbrun took the Rational turntable to Scotland with him, put it on the engineer's desk, and asked why Linn couldn't make a similar turntable.

⸜ MICHAEL FREMER, Pear Audio Blue Kid Thomas turntable & Cornet 2 tonearm, “Stereophile” Jan. 1st 2015,, accessed: 31.03.2021.

SCENE TWO Peter owes the current shape of his firm to another important figure of the audio world - Mr. TOM FLETCHER, founder and designer of the NOTTINGHAM ANALOGUE. As we read on the Pear Audio website, "with Tom Fletcher turntables, Peter discovered previously inaudible layers in music that no other turntable could reveal with such incredible musicality and realism."

When the Nottingham Analogue was sold to new owners and spare parts became unavailable, Fletcher decided to help Peter. He designed and built a turntable for him and the Pear Audio Analogue company was born. Initially, its turntables were made in the old Nottingham Analogue factory, after which production was moved to Slovenia. The manufacturer's website says about this unique partnership:

Working closely together for many years, Tom Fletcher shared his design secrets and techniques with Peter. Before Tom died, he passed the torch to Peter so that Tom Fletcher's design ideas and ideology would continue. The latest generation of Pear Audio Blue, designed by Tom Fletcher, is the triumphant culmination of the continuous development of turntables and tonearms. Each individual model is hand-assembled by Peter Mezek in Slovenia and undergoes a thorough quality control before leaving his workshop.

Tom Fletcher passed away on October 18th 2010, and the turntables and tonearms developed for Pear Audio were his latest designs, extensions of what he did at Nottingham Analogue and then at FLETCHER AUDIO.


IN THE REVIEW OF KID THOMAS TURNTABLE published in the American magazine "Positive Feedback" one finds an important sentence:

All of this flows from the powerful connection between Peter Mezek and Tom Fletcher. Michael Vamos (an American Pear Audio distributor - ed.) was at pains to make this quite clear:  The Pear Audio Blue products rest upon the design legacy of Fletcher's Nottingham Analogue. (…)  Pear Audio Blue products like the Kid Thomas and Cornet 2 are the only authentic new Tom Fletcher/Nottingham Analogue designs. 

⸜ DAVID W. ROBINSON, Impressions:  The Pear Audio Blue Kid Thomas Turntable/Cornet 2 Tonearm System, „Positive Feedback” Issue 96, 04-02-2018,; accessed: 31.03.2021.

It suggests that in this turntable the founder of Nottingham Analogue incorporated all his knowledge and experience, but also that they are a continuation of his ideas from both of the aforementioned brands. It is not surprising then, that the Kid Thomas is a suspended turntable, but not quite so, and a mass-loader, but also not entirely. It is certain, however, that we are talking about a belt-drive design with a 10’’ uni-pivot tonearm.

The turntable is made mainly of natural materials that are supposed to harmonize with the controlled damping of vibrations. The rectangular base with a cutout for the motor on the left side is made of wood. It is available in a natural finish or - as in the tested unit - painted black. The feet are made of a material called POM (polyoxymethylene copolymer; it is used by many other companies, including Transrotor) with rubber pads, and the platter is made of aluminum.

CHASSIS I hesitated when mentioning a suspended design, because it is usually associated with sub-chassis movements of considerable amplitude, for example when springs are used as the lossy elements (see - Linn Sondek LP12). In the tested design, we actually have a base with a main bearing, to which three feet are screwed, used to level the base, and an auxiliary base with armboard fixed to it. However, they are not permanently connected to each other, but placed on top of each other and decoupled by rubber (polymer?) spacers.

This is an unusual solution, because in classic turntable designs, the goal is to ensure that the platter and arm are as rigidly connected as possible - see the metal reinforcing elements in Rega turntables. To tell the truth, I know this type of solution from a few designs, an example of a similar - but not the same - solution may be found in the MUSIC HALL turntables.

PLATTER Hesitating about the word "mass-loader" was due to the fact that the base of the tested turntable is relatively light, while the platter is heavy. Made of a single piece of aluminum, it is as high as 6.35 cm (2.5”) and has six grooves milled around its perimeter. In the four extreme, larger ones, there are thick strips with a round cross-section to damp vibrations of the metal mass. In turn, the two middle ones are used for the belt. They reflect the setting of a large pulley (or rather cylinder) on the motor shaft for 33 1/3 and 45 revolutions per minute.

MOTOR With the basic power supply, the speed change is done manually - it is very easy - but you can buy a higher-class power supply, designed by MARTIN BASTIN, a British designer who renews Garrard turntables, with electronic speed change - and the turntable was tested in such configuration.

The motor in question is placed separately in the cutout I mentioned. Fletcher was a supporter of designs where torque should be kept as low as possible so that motor vibrations were not transferred to the platter; it was the mass of the latter that allowed to maintain a stable speed. The motor in the Kid Thomas model has so little torque that without our help, it will not move the platter by itself - we have to help him by accelerating it by hand. It is housed in a POM casing and decoupled inside from it. Its task is to provide the heavy platter with a gentle "boost" to keep the flywheel in motion.

A foam mat should be put on the platter, which does not look very nice, or even less so solid. However, as we can read in the company materials, it was selected especially due to its damping and antistatic properties. It is called Spacemat. And indeed - the records played on this turntable are almost static free. I would like to add that the bottom of the platter is gently touched by a roller made of rubber. This is the first time I see something like this, but - as I assume - it is supposed to additionally extinguish the unevenness of platter’s rotation.


THE CORNET 2 IS A 10” TONEARM with a uni-pivot bearing, and effective length of 239 mm. Just like the Kid Thomas turntable, it is the last construction made by Fletcher, based on the Space Arm from his first company. Company materials speak of a length of 10", but in the test of the" Stereophile "magazine we read that with a base distance from the main bearing axis of 222 mm and a classic 12 mm overhang, it would be a 9.2" arm, which is not much longer than classic 9" arms.

More important than the length of the Cornet 2 arm, however, is its unusual design with two support points, thanks to which it is very stable and could be mistaken for a gimballed arm. This solution stabilizes its azimuth, which the classic solutions with a single point of support cannot cope with. I would like to add that the azimuth is adjusted by gently twisting the headshell, which is attached to the arm tube using a „push-in” assembly.

And the tube is made of carbon fiber. Unlike it is usually done, its fibers are not braided around the axis, but rather run along the arm, which - as we can read in the company materials - improves its rigidness. Cartridge is mounted to an aluminum headshell. There is finger lift on it because, as Peter Mezek says, it introduces a load on one side, which in the uni-pivot design is not advisable.

We have at our disposal a fairly simple VTA mechanism, using an Allen screw, and an anti-skating. Some of the longer spindles have what appears to be a heat shrink tubing.

Again, I assume it was about vibration damping, although this does not improve the aesthetics of the arm. The VTF is adjusted atypically - a brass cylinder is inserted into a POM sleeve with an open bottom. It is not a comfortable solution to use, but thanks to this arrangement the counterweight is well damped and at the same time firmly attached to the arm mechanically.

To sum up - the turntable looks very nice, has a natural "look", although it is not a high-tech design. You can see that every element of it was tuned by ear and it took a long time before the tested turntable arrived at its current form. There is relatively little metal in the entire structure, because many elements are made of POM and wood, and almost all screws are made of nylon.

I would like to add that this turntable has been in production for many years, but from time to time small improvements are made to its design. Michael Fremer in his review published in 2015 mentions the residual technical data on the manufacturer's website and the insufficiently detailed manual - unfortunately, nothing has changed in this respect over the last six years.


How we listened

The PEAR AUDIO BLUE KID THOMAS turntable with the CORNET 2 arm was placed on the top shelf of the Finite Elemente Master Reference Pagode Edition rack. I placed its controller on the power supply of the line preamplifier, and next to the turntable, on the Acoustic Revive RAF48H platform, I placed the phono stage. As always, I used the RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC preamplifier, but also tested the PRO-JECT BOX RS2 preamplifier with it.

Signal from the cartridge was carried by the cable supplied with the tonearm. For the test, I used the SHELTER HARMONY cartridge with a load of 200 Ω and a VTF of 2 g. The Slovenian design was compared to the TRANSROTOR ALTO TMD turntable with the SME M2 arm and the MUARAH MT-1 EVO with the MØRCH DP-6 Mk II arm. Additionally, I listened to the HANA UMAMI RED and MIYAJIMA LABORATORY MADAKE cartridges.

Records used for the test | a selection

⸜ CANNONBALL ADDERLEY, Somethin’ Else, Blue Note/Analogue Productions, AP-81595, „The Blue Note Reissues | 45 RPM Special Edition #2468”, 45 rpm, 2 x 180 g LP (1958/2008)
⸜ DEPECHE MODE, People Are People (ON-USound Remix By Adrian Sherwood), Mute L 12 BONG 5, 45 RPM, Maxi-Single, Special Edition | № T / 1098, LP (1984)
⸜ DIANA KRALL, This Dream Of You, Verve Records 602507445416, TEST PRESS, 2 x 180 g LP (2020);
⸜ ERASURE, Fallen Angel, Mute 12MUTE625, 12” maxi-single, NEON ORANGE WAX LP (2021)
⸜ JOSCHO STEPHAN TRIO, Paris-Berlin, Berliner Meister Schallplatten BMS 1817 V, „Limited Edition | No. 53”, 180 g Direct-To-Disc LP (2018);
⸜ MIE JOKÉ, 11 Songs for Music and Sound Lovers, Ultra Art Records UA-1005, „Numbered Edition | № 1016”, 180 g LP (2019)
⸜ PORTICO QUARTET/HANIA RANI, Portico Quartet/Hania Rani, Gondwana Records GOND121003, „Limited Edition of 500”, Maxi-LP, CLEAR WAX, 180 g LP (2021)
⸜ WES MONTGOMERY & WYNTON KELLY TRIO, Smokin’ At The Half Note, Verve/Universal Music K.K. [Japan] UCJU-9083, 200 g LP (1965/2007)


THE SOUND PROVIDED BY THE KID THOMAS TURNTABLE WITH CORNET 2 ARM is quite easy to get used to. Regardless of what cartridge I listened to it with, what phono preamplifier I used, its sound remained pleasant, “analog”, warm and friendly.

After such an introduction, one would expect information regarding a "reduced resolution", "good, but not extraordinary selectivity", and also, at most, "decent amount of details". After thinking about this sentence for a moment, I came to the conclusion that there was no reason not to leave it here. This is how one perceives this sound at first - just listen to any well-released album, say, the one I am listening right now - WES MONTGOMERY & WYNTON KELLY TRIO’s Smokin 'At The Half Note, and you'll see what I mean.

But it would be, at least, an understatement, and in the long run - not true. It is so, it is really so, that at the first with the reviewed turntable you mainly hear fullness, scale, smoothness and warmth, which I have already mentioned. But when I listened to other cartridges with it, I was struck by how perfectly it showed changes in their timbre, dynamics, resolution, and finally - class.

The brighter, but also smoother sound of the Hana UMAMI RED as well as the lower, darker, but also more selective, sound of the Shelter HARMONY were clear to me. The prices of both of these Japanese pickups are similar, almost identical, and yet they are so different that they will find a specific system for themselves, a specific recipient. When I mounted the MIYAJIMA LABORATORY MADAKE cartridge on the Cornet 2 arm, I knew that everything I heard before could be pushed even further, that I cen get even more with it.

So we have a very good resolution. It's an "inherent" feature of this turntable that comes out after a lot of listening and that will never hit us in the first moment. We will come to understand it gradually, discovering new albums for ourselves, regardless of their origin and physical state. It's not that the Slovenian turntable makes them sound similar and "smooths them out”, it's just not the case. The sound is warm, true, it is also soft. But both of these elements are extracted from the recordings by the turntable, not superimposed by the latter on them.

It seems that the designer wanted to best render the complex structure of the sound, even at the expense of clarity. I am talking about the fact that the sound that came from my loudspeakers contained a lot of information, it had a very large scale, it was also incredibly dynamic. And yet, the thing we will appreciate immediately will be exactly what I'm talking about - smoothness and warmth.

So we have resolution, smoothness and softness. The timbre of this turntable is, not surprisingly, concentrated around the midrange and upper bass. I mean, that’s how it seems. The DEPECHE MODE from the limited version vinyl containing a remix of People Are People by ADRIAN SHERWOOD, and listened right after that remixes of tracks from the Neon of the founder of Depeche Mode, and now a member of the ERASURE duo, they both had a beat, a punch and a very good "presence" of treble.

I had already noticed this before, listening to the re-issue of the CANNONBALL ADDERLEY’s Somethin ’Else and the 11 Songs for Music and Sound Lovers by the Japanese jazz singer MIE JOKÉ. In both cases the cymbals had excellent impact and filling. Admittedly, they did not seem very selective, but not because they lacked a definition, but because the beat was slightly hidden in them, as if sustain and rich harmonic were more important than a dry slam of a stick.

Low tones, on the other hand, are dense, full and strong with the Kid Thomas model. Regardless of which cartridge I used, I had a very good extension and fullness - both with the Tsuyoshi Yamamoto piano on the Mie Joké album and with the electronics from another maxi-single, PORTICO QUARTET / HANIA RANI. It is the bass that builds such a large volume of sound, thanks to which the presentation has incredible energy and power. It seems slightly rounded and soft, yet it hits precisely, rhythmically, properly setting the rhythm.

Describing the mechanical design of the Pear Audio Blue turntable, I mentioned "tuning" of its sound by selecting individual elements and materials. I think that the features I mentioned come from such careful, thoughtful "painting with sound". I don't know if that was the case as well, or if it is a side effect of this process, but Kid Thomas is a design that makes pops and cracks much less annoying. I would even say that they are not a problem at all.

It seems that the cracks attack, i.e. signals with a fast signal rise and a narrow Q, are very effectively suppressed here. In non-decoupled, mass-loader designs - let it be TRANSROTOR MASSIMO and TECHDAS AIR FORCE III PREMIUM - designers deal with this problem differently. There the pops and cracks are not muffled, but seem to come from a different reality, they are not shown along with the music.

In the Kid Thomas turntable, such an arrangement of music and non-musical elements results in a slightly more mechanically "active" presentation, which our brain handles, however, perfectly - we focus entirely on music, and non-musical elements are ignored. The tested turntable shows it all together, it does not separate anything, but the aforementioned mechanical aspects of the reproduction have a much smaller volume with it, they are simply quieter.

And there is one more element of this sound, which I have already touched upon, but which I have not elaborated on yet - the dynamics. Warmth, smoothness, rounding of the attack etc. are features attributed to rather calm sound. But not in this case, not with this turntable. The Kid Thomas sounds explosive. The energy transfer is excellent with it, absolutely above average, similar to what we hear with mass-loader turntables costing twice as much.

This makes imaging unique as well. We get a big presentation - I have already talked about it - but also a presentation with very well defined planes and instruments' bodies. They have a bit oval shape, they are not "cut out" from the background, and they do not seem less credible because of it. The width of the stereo base is not extraordinary, we focus our attention primarily on the listening axis, although there is no reason to complain about too narrow soundstage. I think it is rather about such a saturation with information that the edges of the stage escape our attention.


IT WILL BE EASY FOR ME TO RECOMMEND the Kid Thomas turntable by Pear Audio Blue to you as a tool for conveying the emotions recorded in the grooves of a vinyl record. If you need to get more information here and now, you will have to look for another turntable. However, the emotions in question are built from information, which is why this presentation contains everything that constitutes high-end sound.

The Slovenian turntable is therefore, next to the Polish design, the MUARAH MT-1 EVO, one of the nicest-sounding turntables I have come across recently. It offers high dynamics, resolution and low bass, and it will seem warm and smooth anyway. A beautiful combination which will allow you to listen to the music for hours without any fatigue.


Reference system 2021

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2) Line preamplifier: AYON AUDIO Spheris III Linestage |REVIEW|
3) Super Audio CD Player: AYON AUDIO CD-35 HF Edition No. 01/50 |REVIEW|
4) Stands (loudspeakers): ACOUSTIC REVIVE (custom) |ABOUT|
5) Power amplifier: SOULUTION 710
6) Loudspeaker filter: SPEC REAL-SOUND PROCESSOR RSP-AZ9EX (prototype) |REVIEW|
7) Hi-Fi rack: FINITE ELEMENTE Pagode Edition |ABOUT|


Analog interconnect SACD Player - Line preamplifier: SILTECH Triple Crown (1 m) |ABOUT|
Analog interconnect Line preamplifier - Power amplifier: ACOUSTIC REVIVE RCA-1.0 Absolute-FM (1 m) |REVIEW|
Speaker cable: SILTECH Triple Crown (2.5 m) |ABOUT|

AC Power

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Power (2 m) |ARTICLE|
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Power cable | Power Receptacle - Mains Power Distribution Block: ACROLINK Mexcel 7N-PC9500 (2 m) |ARTICLE|
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Power Supply Conditioner: Acoustic Revive RPC-1 |REVIEW|
Power Supply Conditioner: Acoustic Revive RAS-14 Triple-C |REVIEW|
Passive filter EMI/RFI: VERICTUM Block |REVIEW|


Speaker stands: ACOUSTIC REVIVE (custom)
Hi-Fi rack: FINITE ELEMENTE Pagode Edition |ABOUT|
Anti-vibration platforms: ACOUSTIC REVIVE RAF-48H |ARTICLE|

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Record mats:


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Headphones: Headphone Cables: Forza AudioWorks NOIR HYBRID HPC