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AVM Rotation R 5.3 MK2

AVM Rotation R 5.3 MK2

A Turntable For The Generation Z

The AVM brand is generally associated with future-oriented electronics, highly sophisticated media players and powerful amplifiers. At first glance, a turntable in this portfolio sticks out like a visitor from another world and era. But of course a high-end turntable like the Rotation R 5.3 MK2 has its justification – for the younger generation as well as for long-serving high-flyers.

AVM Rotation R 5.3 MK2

Does it sound better in red or pink? Oh well, I’ll take the factory-set version and let the acrylic platter shine in deep blue. As a fan of the color, I take pleasure in this, but it has just as little effect on the sound of the AVM Rotation R 5.3 MK2 as the other light effects that can be activated at the touch of a button on the mini remote control supplied – including “demo mode” with variable speed color changes.

The legend that is woven around the creation of the AVM Rotation, and not just on social media, is actually true. “The genesis of this unique project is as fascinating as it is personal: Udo wanted to create a very special gift for his son Moritz, and so the idea of creating a record player was born. The original prototype, which at the time shone in an elegant silver finish and static blue lighting, still has its place of honor in our Berlin office,” says Ekinc Ufuk, Managing Director of the company. The MK2 discussed here is the successor to that very first model, with which AVM successfully entered the ever-growing vinyl bandwagon a few years ago (accompanied by two smaller models).

AVM Rotation R 5.3 MK2

Away from the now dominant “non-physical” media, which satisfy the need for music via streaming or hard disk, analogue discs, whether black or colored, are currently easily outstripping carbon, also known as CD. A record dealer friend of mine in the Franconian university town of Erlangen recently told me that he’s on the verge of selling CDs by the kilogram, while there is still good money to be made with vinyl from pop to classical music. This is reflected in his prices: while used “black gold” is sold over the counter for high double-digit figures, CDs are available for just one euro. The paradigm shift is unmistakable.

AVM Rotation R 5.3 MK2

Those aged between 18 and 30, who for the sake of simplicity are referred to as “Generation Z”, have a different mindset to their parents or grandparents. They like to consume music on their cell phones, a “plug’n’play” mentality has replaced the fun of adjusting and tinkering. Consequently, the FIDELITY test sample of the AVM Rotation R 5.3 MK2 arrived at the editorial office as a pre-assembled partial kit. The cartridge came pre-installed and adjusted – mind you, in our version! – in the chrome-plated ten-inch tonearm. In addition to the Ortofon branding, the Ortofon Cadenza Black MC also proudly bears the AVM logo, signaling that the Malsch-based team had a major say in this special edition. Ekinc Ufuk draws parallels with the rest of the AVM portfolio: “The tonearm is a special in-house development by Udo Besser. We tested numerous models in our search for a suitable pickup that would do justice to our characteristic sound signature. In the end, we decided on the Cadenza Black from Ortofon. This cartridge harmonizes wonderfully with our high-resolution yet powerful sound philosophy, which also characterizes our amplifiers.”

AVM Rotation R 5.3 MK2

However, the bundle with the preferred pickup is not without its pitfalls, as there are several versions of the R 5.3 (not separated by name), which we would like to explain briefly: Basically, the turntable is offered for 7990 euros – then without pickup and open for the agony of choice. If you order it with Cadenza, you will have to pay a surcharge of €1990, which corresponds to a great discount of €1000. If you have to reorder a pickup because you have dismantled your own Cadenza or because you have seen the manufacturer’s optimal pre-selection, the black masterpiece costs around 2700 euros, which is still a discount of almost 300 euros. So the rule of thumb is: if the Rotation is offered for 8,000 euros, the pick-up is missing; if the price tag is just under 10,000 euros, it is included.

AVM Rotation R 5.3 MK2

In the “bundled” version, the work for the end user is limited to bringing the inertia drive with its spring feet into a horizontal position on a stable base, inserting the heavy aluminum sub-platter into the bearing that has previously been “relieved” of its transport lock, looping the drive belt of the Elipso Centric Belt Drive around both pulleys (which reduce the “tilting moment” to zero) and the sub-platter and finally setting the support weight using the tonearm counterweight, which can be taken from the pickup instructions if necessary. All in all, it takes a maximum of a fairly relaxed quarter of an hour before the AVM, which was clad in brushed aluminum on the test specimen, plays as it should. The aforementioned illumination can be switched on using the membrane button remote control – a central feature of the Mark Two version of the turntable – and the play of colors can be enjoyed. Or find it annoying and turn it off straight away. The turntable is smart enough to remember the last setting for all eternity. So you only have to do it once. In my private listening room, I found a discreet glow from the turntable helpful when I didn’t feel like switching on the room lighting in the dark of the evening.

AVM Rotation R 5.3 MK2

The idea of building a turntable that doesn’t make you want to change or upgrade anytime soon becomes tangible. The AVM Rotation R 5.3 MK2 revives the spirit of grandiose “ready-made players” such as those from Dual or Thorens, but is still clearly a device from the year 2023. So you will look in vain for the many automatic functions of record player times gone by. The pinnacle of luxury on the AVM is the speed preselection for 33 or 45 via pushbuttons, where small built-in LEDs flash or light up constantly to indicate whether the (electronically monitored) nominal speed has already been reached.

AVM Rotation R 5.3 MK2

Anyone speculating on an equally technoid sound in view of the technical exterior – the frame is a composite construction made of 60 millimeter thick HDF with an aluminum shell – is way off the mark. The AVM Rotation R 5.3 MK2 is homogeneous, powerful and has a decidedly contoured bass range. With the main theme from Ennio Morricone’s Marco Polo – Original Soundtrack, for example, the Rotation makes no secret of the lush production rich in reverb (it’s a Morricone – it’s supposed to be like that!), but at the same time the defined authority in the bass range helps me to map out the recording room in my mind with the utmost precision. The Ortofon Cadenza Black also extracts fine details from the grooves and organizes the relationships between the individual instrument groups in an exemplary manner: At no point do the female choir and strings threaten to blur into one another, as can easily happen with this recording in particular.

AVM Rotation R 5.3 MK2

As expected, the AVM is far removed from the rapid acceleration of a direct drive as a classic belt driven mass drive, but thanks to the carefully balanced platter it keeps its speed all the more constant. The emotionally charged melodies are pleasingly free of wow, flutter or distortion, and the timing and inner flow are always right, something that many a turntable has had its problems with.

Because 40-year-old film music is perhaps not the ideal touchstone for a record player that was explicitly developed with Generation Z in mind, Daft Punk’s “Giorgio By Moroder” (Random Access Memories), the meme soundtrack par excellence, is next on the plate. The 5.3 skillfully mediates between the synthesizer beats and Moroder’s voice, even though it clearly shows that the sampled interview excerpt and the background music are on two clearly separate levels in terms of sound and location.

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Although the drive is also available without a cartridge, thanks to the Ortofon Cadenza there is no immediate desire to “upgrade” the AVM drive to get even more out of it. The combination assembled in Malsch presents itself as absolutely coherent and is the record player for all those who don’t want to fiddle around with no end in sight, but want to rediscover the music treasures lying dormant on their LPs and (maxi) singles.

The built-in light organ provides distinctive effects – after all, you eat with your eyes, too, especially with a mechanical feast like the AVM turntable. And that is also what makes the analog record so fascinating: you can see how music is created, it doesn’t come out of nowhere, but from a disk that is visibly spinning. And with AVM, it can also shine in different colors. Something for the heart.

AVM Rotation R 5.3 MK2

Accompanying Equipment

DAC: Aune Flamingo | CD-Player/Drive: Mark Levinson 390S, Wadia 8 | Turntable: Clearaudio Innovation Compact | Cartridges: Clearaudio Da Vinci and Jubilee MC, Denon DL-103R | Phono Amplifier: Clearaudio Balance V2 | Preamplifier: Mark Levinson No. 38S, Trigon Snowwhite | Integrated amplifier: Unison Research Simply Italy | Power amplifier: Mark Levinson No. 27 | Speakers: Infinity Kappa 7.2 Series I, Quadral Shogun Mk IV | Cables: Sommer Cable, in-akustik, AudioQuest and Silnote Audio, among others

Turntable AVM Rotation R 5.3 MK2

Concept: Plug’n’Play turntable with adjustable lighting | Principle: Mass turntable | Speed: 33 or 45 rpm, electronic speed change via microprocessor | Special features: Linn standard tonearm base, supplied counterweight for cartridges from 6 to 16 g mass, external power supply unit | Dimensions (W/H/D): 47/18/39 cm | Finishes: Aluminum silver, aluminum black, Cellini chrome | Weight: 17 kg (chassis 12 kg, platter 5 kg) | Price: from € 7990 without pickup, around € 9990 incl. Ortofon Cadenza Black MC

AVM Audio Video Manufaktur GmbH

Daimlerstraße 8
76316 Malsch
Phone +49 7246 309910


The stated retail price of the reviewed device is valid as of the time of the review and is subject to change.