AVID's Diva II turntable is impressive in terms of neutrality and musicality. Will this formula 1 version of the 'DIVA II SP' keep its promises?
It features the main chassis of the DIVA II. It is made of one piece of aluminium with damping. It has amazing rigidity and neutrality thanks to its design and structure.
It rests on 3 posts damped by a TPE layer, unlike the spring suspension on the manufacturer's more ambitious models. The bearing housing and bearing are different from the Diva II. In fact, this 'SP' version does not have a hub. The platter is driven by two belts that surround a ring that is cast in the platter. It is not in MDF, it is made of a magnificent piece of aluminium cast iron. It is covered with a thick cork platter mat. Another advantage is that the bearing (carbide/sapphire) is lubricated as standard. All the parts are made with great precision. The powerful synchronous motor sits in a solid steel housing that offers great stability and wards off any vibration. The separate power supply is bigger than on the DIVA II and features electronic playback speed change (33/45 RPM). It manages the speed and torque via a digital circuit (DSP). It controls and stabilises the motor's rotation by reducing wow and flutter. Like with the manufacturer's other turntable models, it comes with a beautiful record clamp. It is attached to the spindle and wards off the vibration generated at the surface of the record. Playback is more precise and more vibrant.
In this version, we have opted for the great and famous SME 309 tonearm! Savvy audiophiles are fully aware of its build quality and musicality. Its association with this turntable is fully justified and homogeneous. It is fitted with a 9-inch (233.20 mm) tube made in one piece of magnesium. The detachable headshell is also cast in magnesium. It includes azimuth adjustment. Despite being quite light, it boasts outstanding rigidity. Its internal damping reduces colouration and vibration. The ball bearings and bearings are built with great care. The SME tonearm wards off friction and mechanical noise. This SME 309 is compatible with a wide selection of MM and MC cartridges. The phono cable that comes with it (Din/Rca) is detachable and can therefore be replaced with a better model.
It was tempting to compare this AVID Diva II SP turntable to its competitors and to its little sister the DIVA II! We paired it with the same MC cartridge with a medium mass and compliance for an affordable price (subjective!? Less than €1,000). From the opening bars, you can clearly tell that this is a premium turntable. And it is easy to spot the difference between the Diva II and the SP! It features the neutrality and timbre quality except that the dynamics and articulation have been improved! The dynamics are more present and the bass lines are clearer. But the bass is not harsh! Quite the opposite, it has all the range and warmth of analogue, but without trailing or unnecessary bulk. It is also silent, which is pleasant. The silences and pianissimos of the music are not interfered with. The mids are very rich and precise. An authentic sound! The instruments are perfectly separated and in their place. There is more space between the sections, which makes them more readily identifiable. The soundstage is both deep and wide. With complex pieces and large orchestras alike. The Diva SP turntable departs from the Diva II and competitor models.
The combination of the Diva II SP and SME 309 is a hit! The two elements are a perfect match and deliver a truly Hi-Fi sound quality. Avid definitely prefers a neutral and subtle sound to colouration and display. We are also in favour of this because you will not grow bored with your turntable and will be able to safely pair it with cartridges and preamps!
Avid's Diva II SP is a revelation and we can only recommend it! The build quality and SME 309 tonearm make it a safe buy!
Avid's Diva II SP is great, both visually and sonically! We view it as a benchmark in this price range… Well done Avid!
HI-FI WORLD: +++++
DIVA II SP
Principle: Rigid vibration damping turntable
Drive principle: 2 belts
Speed: 33 and 45 rpm DSP electronic change
Platter: Heavy aluminium
Platter weight: 6.3 kg in Aluminium
Platter mat: Cork
Bearing: Inverted stainless steel
Bearing: Tungsten Carbide/Sapphire
Damping: 3 elastomer feet
Tonearm: SME 309
Record clamp: Steel/aluminium
Motor: 24 v AC Synchronous
Power supply: Regulated, stabilised with speed controller (separated)
Turntable dimensions: 450x390x140 mm
Power supply dimensions: 158x283x60 mm
Weight: 12.8 kg
Effective length: 232.32 mm (9.18 inches)
Effective mass: 9.5 g
Compatibility: 6-17 g cartridge
Tracking force: 0-2.5 g
Playback error: 0.013
Internal wiring: Litz LCOFC
Connector: Din 5br
Phono cable: 120 cm