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Gold Note Giglio Turntable + B7 Tonearm + Dynavector 10X5 M/C Cartridge Review

Gold Note Giglio Turntable Review.indd

With nearly 25 years of experience in manufacturing 2-channel components, today Gold Note of Florence, Italy makes a range of turntables, cartridges, phono stages, amplifiers, speakers, and other music products.

Having recently reviewed Gold Note’s value-packed Valore Plus 425 turntable (now online at, when the opportunity to audition their higher-end Giglio (pronounced Gee-Leo) ‘table arrived, I dove on it like Oprah on a baked ham.

The Giglio turntable ($5,200 US, equipped with the B5.1 tonearm) sits in the middle of Gold Note’s turntable range and features a plinth that’s comprised of three separate layers: real wood; stainless steel; and acrylic. The Italian walnut or Tuscan olive woods used in the base are aged in hardwood slats for 8 years and then cooked in an autoclave to ensure structural integrity.
Once the wood’s cured and hand carved into its unique vibration-deadening shape, it’s finished with a natural lacquer. The wood base is attached to a 3mm thick stainless steel middle plate and then bolted via 16 strategic points to a 2cm thick polished black acrylic top plate.

This tri-layer sandwich construction adds noticeable mass and ensures superior resistance to air born and mechanical vibrations. Plinths can also be ordered with a black or white lacquered MDF base. The walnut plinth of my review ‘table added a formidable class and sexiness that reminded me of a smouldering 1960’s era Gina Lollobrigida. Like the lady, this ‘table has curves in all the right places.


All elements of the drive mechanism are designed to minimize vibration. The Giglio comes standard with a polished bronze bearing and an 8cm long spindle that’s made out of carbon-rectified hardened steel. The 2.3cm thick platter is formed out of a PTE polymer-based material called black Sustarin.

The ‘table features a 12 volt synchronous motor that converts voltage in an A/C to D/C and then back again to A/C fashion. Users can make precision adjustments to the platter’s 33⅓ RPM and 45 RPM rotational speeds via the electronic speed control buttons on the top left side of the plinth.

Manufactured by Gold Note, the B7 is a 9” long pivoting tonearm and retails for $1,700 US.  The B7 is an upgrade to the B5.1 tonearm which comes standard with the Giglio turntable.

To reduce vibration, the B7’s arm wand is made out of 6 different diameter titanium sections and uses four custom-fabricated ceramic micro ball bearings: two for the vertical plain and two for the horizontal axis. The counterweight is machined out of aluminum and can handle cartridges up to 20 grams.

The internal wiring is an AWG 36 Hyper Litz shielded 99.9999% Oxygen Free Copper (OFC) cable. The Vertical Tracking Angle (VTA) can be adjusted via 2 set screws on the arm’s base and the cartridge’s azimuth can also be fine-tuned by a micro-sized screw.

Overall, the B7 is a superbly engineered tonearm with an impressive level of micro adjustability.


The very first 10X cartridge was released in 1978. The 10X5 is the fifth incarnation and retails for $660 US. It weighs 7.3 grams, has an elliptical stylus, and an aluminum cantilever.

Offering a high output of 2.5mV, this Moving Coil (M/C) cartridge can be used with the 47k Ohm load setting that most Moving Magnet (M/M) phono stages use.

With the Giglio rig, the 10X5 created a beautifully full, warm, and natural sound. The soundstage was deep and wide, and yet also focused and palpable. It never sounded harsh or thin. Germane to its incisive low-level detail retrieval and profound ability at capturing micro dynamic shifts, the 10X5 consistently made music sound coherent, powerful, and involving. Amazingly, this is Dynavector’s lowest priced M/C cartridge.

Flaws…? The 10X5 has some extra weight in the lower mid-range and upper bass. To get even better sound, try Dynavector’s higher echelon Te Kaitora Rua or DRT XV-1T M/C cartridges. To my ears, a Sumiko Pearwood Celebration Mk2 M/C cartridge created the best sonics.

Overall, if you’re looking for a High Output Moving Coil (HOMC) cartridge that makes beautiful music at a reasonable price, Dynavector’s 10X5 should be at the top of your list.



We live in a digital world and the DS-1000 makes it easier than ever before to enjoy your digital music, at the highest possible quality. The DS-1000 combines an amazing DSD Digital Music Streamer with a top notch DAC, allowing you to play music from you digital library, USB key or internet radio stations.

The DS-1000 features easy set up Apple iOS and Android proprietary software for full control via iPhones and iPads as well as smart phones and tablets. The App makes it easy to control the digital inputs displaying all meta data, cover and information registered on the track as well as real resolution format.

To play music files at their best and always with top quality high resolution in 24bit 192kHz, DS-1000 is equipped with a D/A converter, as well S/PDif coaxial and TOS optical digital inputs powered by the AKM receiver, and also a USB port powered by the world class XMOS U6 500MHz DSD for high speed peripherals.

A large 3.5” color display shows playback information in a clear menu that’s easy to browse, showing all USB inputs, digital inputs and radio stations.

Thanks to the exclusive SKC – Single Knob Control the unit becomes a friendly plug-and-play source fully controllable even without a remote, computer or mobile App.

The DS-1000 offers a unique modular design exclusively modelled for Gold Note’s 1000 series to expand and grow your system into a complete all-in-one high-end audio source with an optional internal preamp stage and also an analogue balanced stereo input.

Modularity is also extended to external accessories, perfect to push the performance even further, up to outstanding levels with two optional external Class-A tube output stages
(TUBE-1006 | TUBE-1012) and two different external super Inductive Power Supplies (PSU-1250 | PSU-1100).

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The CD-1000 is a state-of-the-art cd player that integrates a digital stage and an analogue stage in an single, elegant chassis. Featuring a top 24bit 192kHz high-resolution D/A converter with S/PDIF coaxial and TOS optical digital inputs and a USB 24bit 192kHz input, the CD-1000 allows you to get the best out of your computer audio.  CD-1000 features Gold Note’s improved output Zero-Clock technology for effective jitter reduction. Zero-Clock powers a T.I. CDCE906 Clock Master Generator that reshapes the clock every single time you play music. Its unique modular design allows a variety of external upgrades to push CD-1000 beyond limits, including two Class-A tube output stages, Atomic Master Clocks and High Power Supplies.

The output stage is solid state, fully balanced with Dual-Mono PCM1792A best D/A converters, the same found in the company’s Favard CD player and in the very best digital sources available today.

The CD-1000 is powered by the Gold Note Dual-Mono power supply with two transformers to keep the voltage extremely stable on all audio signal paths and avoid speed fluctuations.

In addition to all this, the CD-1000 optionally features a preamp stage based on a PGA single resistor with double mono volume control, a solution Gold Note introduced on the Demidoff line of amplifiers that can drive power amplifiers directly and with great results.

Finally, the CD-1000 also features an elegant organic-LED display.

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Gold Note – the Italian High-End manufacturer based in Firenze – recently introduced the PH-10, an incredibly innovative new phono stage designed for the most demanding music enthusiasts.

Engineered to reach the best sound possible and total control over the listening experience, the PH-10 has everything right where it belongs: on the front panel we find a large color screen showing all the setup information with a clear layout that’s easy to read at a glance. The PH-10 features Single Knob Control [SKC], an elegant solution to browse, select and change settings instantly that will let you enjoy the best out of your system — finding a perfect match between the PH-10 and your MM and MC cartridges through simple, intuitive gestures, without the need of disconnecting cables or adjusting switches.

With the PH-10 you can select the proper EQ curves to always achieve an accurate sound reproduction choosing between RIAA, Decca-London and American-CBS-Columbia as well as “enhanced” versions of each one to improve the natural sound crispness of the cartridge. Through the Single Knob Control you can quickly select between MM/MC cartridge type and then precisely adjust the settings with four GAIN options [-3dB, 0dB, +3dB, +6dB] and nine LOAD options [10Ω, 22Ω, 47Ω, 100Ω, 220Ω, 470Ω, 1KΩ, 22KΩ, 47KΩ] for a perfect match with virtually any phono cartridge available in the market.


But there’s even more, because the PH-10 features two separate, independent RCA inputs and lets you connect two different tonearms (or even turntables) and adjust the settings independently for each cartridge.

Powered by a specially designed anti-rumble high-pass filter, the PH-10 provides great control of the low frequency distortion, preventing intermodulations that would normally activate bass drivers producing inaccurate sound. Plus, all electronic boards of the PH-10 are double sided and paths are gold plated, ensuring a superior and consistent audio performance.

Every unit is built into a chassis machined from a solid block of aluminium, a choice that guarantees low vibrations and a beautiful brushed anodized finish.

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Gold Note Valore Plus 425 Turntable

Gold Note’s origin dates back to 1992, near Florence Italy, when the company began manufacturing innovative audio accessories under the BlueNote brand.  Throughout the 90s the company produced circuit boards for numerous high-end audio companies from abroad, and in 2000 began manufacturing its own audio components under the BlueNote/Goldenote label.  Fast forward to 2013 and the company was once again reborn with the name Gold Note.  Today, with plenty of experience under its belt, Gold Note manufactures high-end turntables, tonearms, cartridges, phono stages, amplifiers, speakers and more. Their flagship Bellagio Black King ‘table is an irrationally beautiful example of modern Italian engineering at its finest.  Luckily, Gold Note makes hifi products for all wallet sizes.

When my editor asked if I’d like to review the Gold Note Valore Plus 425 turntable, along with the PH-7 phono stage, I wanted to hear how much of the cutting-edge technology which their cost-no-object vinyl rigs offer has trickled down to their more affordable products.

The Valore Plus 425 is one step up from Gold Note’s entry-level Valore 400 turntable, and comes equipped with a B5.1 tonearm, a Babel moving magnet cartridge as well as an acrylic dust cover.  The price for the package?  A reasonable $2,000 for the leather finish that was supplied for this review.  The Valore Plus 425 is also available in a lacquer version for $1,700 and an acrylic version for $2,100.

Based on the original Valore 400 turntable, the Valore Plus 425 has a wider 42.5 cm plinth. This extra 2.5 cm width allows the ‘table to use 9” tonearms. The deck features a 3 cm thick plinth which is made of a “high damped” lacquered Medium Density Fibreboard (MDF). Three large acrylic spikes screwed into the bottom in a tri-pod geometry act as feet and isolate the plinth from external vibrations.

The Valore Plus 425 I was supplied with was set-up with a Gold Note B5.1 aluminium tonearm and a Gold Note Babel MM cartridge. The ‘table came with a stunning red leather plinth wrap.
The Valore Plus 425’s platter is made of 2 cm thick translucent acrylic and comes with a 6 cm long spindle which is CNC-machined from stainless steel. The ‘table uses a 12 volt synchronous motor that was developed in house. This motor utilizes what Gold Note calls a “Pulse Width Modulator” which converts voltage from AC to DC and then back again to AC.

The outboard power supply has an electronic speed control which allows users to make precision adjustments to the platter’s 33⅓ and 45 RPM rotational speeds.

Manufactured by GRW-Germany, Gold Note also uses the B5.1 tonearm on their higher-end Mediterraneo and Giglio turntables. Including the B5.1 in the Valore Plus 425 package offers music fans a higher-end tonearm at a bargain price.  The B5.1 is a 9” tonearm internally wired with an AWG 36 Hyper Litz shielded 99.9999% Oxygen Free Copper (OFC) cable.

The B5.1 is made out of 6000-grade alloy aluminum and features four custom fabricated teflon/graphite micro ball bearings: two for the vertical plane and two for the horizontal axis. Its stock counterweight can handle MM and MC cartridges weighing up to 15 grams.

The arm’s internal wiring is connected to a 4-pin DIN female output connector on the bottom of the plinth. The output interconnect (IC) included with the ‘table does not have a ground pin and seemed out of place for such an exquisite tonearm. If you have a 4-pin DIN to 5-pin DIN adaptor, it’s simple to upgrade the stock 4-pin output IC to a higher caliber phono IC.

Through my extensive listening tests, I tried numerous high-end phono ICs to hear how much sound the Valore Plus 425 turntable was capable of producing. In my opinion, this ‘table benefits greatly from a higher quality phono IC.  For the majority of my listening sessions, I used an Audio Sensibility Statement Silver 5-pin DIN phono IC. Doing so allowed the Valore Plus 425 to deliver noticeably better sound.

Gold Note has clearly designed the B5.1 tonearm to be upgraded with better sounding MC cartridges and phono ICs. Overall, the B5.1 is a superbly engineered tonearm with impressive looks and a level of micro adjustability that’s uncommon with ‘tables in this price range.

The Babele is Gold Note’s entry-level MM phono cartridge ($150), equipped with a light aluminum cantilever. Featuring a 3.0 mV output, it can be easily matched with any phono pre-amplifier that has a 47 kOhm setting.

I was also supplied with a Gold Note Bobolino MM cartridge ($650) for this review. Similar to the Babele, the Bobolino has a 3.0 mV output which has been designed to mate with any phono pre-amp that has a 47 kOhm load setting. The Bobolino’s cantilever is made of a light aluminum alloy and features an elliptical shaped stylus.