ISOkinetik Modular 1.5 Turntable - Turning The Tables (Part 1)

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ISOkinetik has recently launched a new turntable – the Modular 1.5. We are the lucky one taking it for a spin...

ISOkinetik is a name that has been around for a few years. The company first earned an excellent reputation for its enhancements and upgrades to existing audio products, in particular record decks. Its design philosophy is simple: “If it sounds better, it is better!” Later, it went on to produce its own turntable, the Modular One. Now it has added a second turntable to its range – the Modular 1.5, which is also available as an upgrade to the Modular One.

The Modular 1.5 is designed to be fully customizable and upgradable so that it can be built according to the user’s budget and personal taste. It can be purchased with a full range of enhancements and upgrades fitted, or it can be supplied as an entry-level unit, which can then be upgraded in stages, as funds permit. The Modular 1.5 can be supplied on its own or complete with a Jelco or an OEM Rega arm. The end result, it is claimed, will compete favorably with more expensive competitors.

ISOkinetik Modular 1.5 Turntable

ISOkinetik Modular 1.5 Turntable

The black plinth looks superb and is CNC machined from highly polished 20mm thick billet acrylic. This plinth is essentially the Modular One turntable and it is upgraded to the Modular 1.5 by adding the M1.5 sub-plinth, which is also made from 20mm-thick acrylic, and supported by four dense absorb thane anti-vibration pads. The feet are machined from Delrin and also have absorbed thane anti-vibration pads built into them. Absorb thane is great at absorbing vibrations and has superb anti-slip properties. In fact, it feels quite sticky to the touch (even though it isn’t) and tends to adhere firmly to any smooth surface, making the unit rather difficult to move.

the Modular One turntable

The Modular One turntable

Spinning around

The turntable bearing assembly is made from phosphor-bronze and incorporates a ceramic ball. It is fitted to an aluminum and ground-steel sub-platter, which is engineered to exacting tolerances with 0.001mm concentricity between axle and hub.

A high-quality asynchronous motor spins the platter at either 33rpm or 45rpm. Like many other turntables in its class, this speed change is accomplished by moving the drive belt on the pulley. However, better results are achieved by using the ISOdrive quadrature-quartz speed an upgrade to bring greater pitch stability and speed accuracy, as well as a push button speed change facility.

This allows the user to fit almost any tonearm to the turntable

This allows the user to fit almost any tone arm to the turntable

One of the particular features of the design that I find especially useful when reviewing audio equipment is the tonearm transfer plate. This is a removable rectangular plate that’s just 10mm thick and fitted neatly into the plinth and secured by four Allen bolts. This allows the user to fit almost any tonearm to the turntable. It also facilitates the comparison of various combinations of tonearm and cartridge which, once mounted on a transfer plate, are simply dropped into place. Changing a tonearm that has a completely different mounting arrangement simply involves obtaining an additional tone arm plate from ISOkinetik (which can be pre-drilled as required), meaning that no additional modification to your precious turntable is necessary.

The basic model is supplied with a 12mm diamond polished acrylic platter, which is said to have a neutral character. Upgrades include a 25mm-thick acrylic platter, or platters made from Delrin or ply materials, together with a number of color options.

The model reviewed here has all the upgrades fitted, including the ISOdek S1 clear acrylic isolation platform, the ISOsub GT2 S sub-platter, the 25mm clear acrylic platter and the ISOdrive off-board turntable power supply. The ceramic ball in the bearing assembly has also been upgraded with the ISObear Ruby Sapphire bearing ball. For the purposes of the review, I fitted my own Kiseki Blue NOS moving coil cartridge into the arm.

Incidentally, the ISOdrive is an external power supply that takes your noisy 240V AC mains, converts it to a 24V DC, uses this to power a quartz oscillator to produce switchable 50Hz or 67.5Hz and then steps the result up to 115V AC to run the synchronous motor. The drive belt can then be left on the upper 33rpm pulley as depressing the button on the front of the ISOdrive changes the indicator LED from red to green and increases the oscillator frequency from 50Hz to 67.5Hz, thus increasing the turntable rotation to 45rpm. As with all the other upgrades, the ISOdrive can be fitted later to the base model turntable by swapping a little printed circuit board without having to change the motor.

As previously mentioned, the turntable is beautifully finished and it is very apparent that everything has been manufactured to an extremely high standard. The style is simple and uncomplicated and looks very modern and elegant with just the right use of black and transparent acrylic with splashes of silver aluminum around the motor pulley assembly. The turntable is no lightweight, weighing in at around 10.5kg, which rises to 13.5Kg when you add the ISOdek isolation platform.

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