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This review first appeared in the March 2009 issue of hifi & stereo magazine You can also read this review of the Scheu Analog Cello in its original German version. We translated it through a syndication arrangement with our German colleagues. As is customary for our own reviews, the writer's signature at review's end shows an e-mail address should you have questions or wish to send feedback. All images contained in this review are the property of or Scheu. - Ed.

Reviewer: Ralph Werner
Sources: Analog – deck - Acoustic Solid MPX; tone arms - Phonotools Vivid-Two, SME M2 12 Zoll; pickups - Denon DL-103, Ortofon MC Rondo Bronce, Shelter 201, Zu Audio DL-103; digital – CDP - audiolab 8000CD, Audiomeca Obsession II, Fonel Simplicité; Computer & Co - Logitech Squeezebox, Readynas Duo NAS-Server, HP Notebook; DA-converters - Aqvox USB2DA-MKII, Benchmark DAC1 USB
Amplification: Phono - Aqvox 2 CI MKII; preamp - Octave HP 300 MK2; power amp - SAC il piccolo monos; integrated - Lua 4040 C, Myryad MXI 2080
Loudspeakers: Audium Comp 5, Quadral Rondo, Zu Audio Druid mk4
Racks & Stands: Creactiv, Taoc, Liedtke Metalldesign Stand, Shale audio base
... plus diverse cables
Review Component Retail: €1.150

Scheu Analog is no firm to release new record players every few months. In business for outside two decades already, their present lineup still includes only four decks. The company's mantra seems to be evolutionary refinements of existing platforms rather than short-lived turnover of endless models. The Premiere is the most well-known bestseller and show piece of this vinyl specialist of Solingen despite Das Laufwerk, an outright monster in two flavors, sitting above it in the lineup. Then there's the -- optionally very colorful -- Diamond...

...and the entry-level Cello, the latter chez nous for some time now to be reviewed. Scheu's Cello is a basic plinth design but basic needn't be synonymous with inferior. Au contraire. Visually, it's often an asset. Technically, it can be. The plinth here is a 425 x 330 WxD acrylic slab of 15mm. Appearing in 30mm thickness also on the actual platter, acrylic is regarded as 'acoustically dead' and often employed also by other manufacturers - and by Scheu, in all their decks, suggesting a committed philosophy. Check out the Cantus tone arm below to make the point. Back to the Cello plinth. It sits on three feet or better, two small rubber bumpers upfront and one height-adjustable metal spike in the back. Since this deck's horizontality can only be calibrated in the front/aft direction, the vertical level of your support becomes critical unless you wish to shim the deck with beer bottle caps which would crimp the style.

The left foot doubles as motor enclosure. To keep vibration from leaking into the plinth -- which Mrs. Scheu calls quite resonance resistant in its own right -- two rubber rings act as decouplers (mimicked of course also with the right footer). The actual motor is inherited from the bigger Premiere, a capacitor-less DC design with PLL steering. Scheu Analog regards it as critical to sonic performance and until two years ago, actually sold it solo to DIYers. With the rocker switch depressed left, the platter spins at 33.3RPM, at 45 to the right. Two unfussy rotary adjustments allow speed calibration which is best gauged with the included strobe disc.

For speed stability, Scheu is adamant about using the lowest possible string tension to arrive at optimal drive evenness. Unduly high tension can incur permanent self corrections of the motor steering. In real life, this is no issue. To wit, I naturally had failed to read the owner's manual and simply tied up the string. The speed locked perfectly and hasn't drifted since. You'll have caught on to the string theory by now which begs a why. Mrs. Scheu: "After exploring various drive options, we arrived at the string which avoids the material variations of comparably thicker rubber belts and speed instability from stretching. We also heard sonic advantages and offer the optional string drive now also on our redesigned Das Laufwerk motor." The Cello comes with a 200m spool of invisible sewing thread to go the distance.

A second Premiere inheritance is the bearing. Not without pride, we're told of other domestic and foreign makers using it - without divulging specifics of such OEM contracts of course. It's an inverted design with hardened steel axle whose ceramic ball bearing faces up into the Teflon cup of the sleeve. Claimed advantages are a lowering of the gravitational center and a concomitant self stabilization of the platter.

Prior to installation, you lubricate the ceramic sphere in oil via the included syringe dispenser sufficiently to establish a small reservoir in the lower oil pan. Then cap the bearing with its sleeve and place the platter atop the sleeve's small sub platter. Presto. As stated, the platter is acrylic, about 2.5kg in mass, sports a record label depression and, per Scheu, is machined with 1/100mm tolerance. Standard outfit for the Cello deck are the old familiars of Rega 250 arm and Ortofon Super OM10 cart, i.e. a MM pickup system. The record player arrives preset and merely tracking weight (ca. 1.5g) needs calibrating before the fun can begin. This package rings up at €1.150 and is available in black or clear as the loaner. Those with preexisting arm/cart combos can acquire the Cello as pure spinner for €990 (your arm needs to be a 9-incher as a 12er won't fit). A suitable arm boards adds €25. At the moment, Mrs. Scheu also offers a special edition Blue Cello crafted from transparent blue Acrylic fitted with an S-shaped Jelco arm and Denon's DL-103 MC cartridge for €1.790. But enough figures. Time to audition.