Valore, this stands for value and at the same time as a synonym for what the Italian high-end hi-fi manufacturer Gold Note wants to offer with its Gold Note Valore 425 Plus drive of the same name: lasting values, based on the experience gained from reference models, technical precision in manufacturing and, last but not least, elegant design.
HiFi is of course a deeply emotional experience overall, there is no doubt about that. However, one can pick out a few product groups where the decisions for or against a solution are rather fact-based, as they are not as emotionally charged. Others, on the other hand, are not so much about “numbers”, because they convey pure passion, like record players for example. Those who claim that they chose their record player solely on the basis of clearly comprehensible sober facts are at least not completely honest, to put it in a friendly way.
To be honest, a record player is probably chosen on the basis of numerous criteria, but hardly any of them can be justified with purely sober arguments. And that’s a good thing, period!
The fascination that emanates from a record player in general cannot really be justified on the basis of any technical data alone, it is rather a solution that can be experienced, seen, felt and heard with a wide variety of senses. It cannot be denied that design is the most important factor in the choice of a record player. And this is exactly where the Italian high-end hi-fi manufacturer Gold Note has a very good chance, because the solutions that the company from Tuscany has to offer shine with what can be described as typical Italian flair. That the drives from Gold Note are also convincing in all other respects is proven by this test, where we had a very special drive from Italy at our disposal, the Gold Note Valore 425 Plus.
Combining tradition with innovation…
Gold Note is a company that understands very well that hi-fi means passion first and foremost, but that knows how to combine this with solid equipment paired with a special feeling for aesthetics rather than with “cheap dazzling”. Sophisticated technology, impeccable production and noble design form a unity here. This is demonstrated not only by the electronic components from Gold Note, but also by the record players. This is ensured by the company’s philosophy, which has been pursued for years, namely to combine tradition with innovation. According to the company, every solution from Gold Note must have the typical tonal qualities of Gold Note and represent the musical event with absolute realism, while at the same time being easy and enjoyable to use in everyday life.
The record players do indeed follow a more classical approach in this respect, as shown by the model at the top of the Gold Note Mediterraneo product range with its solid yet elegant-looking cabinet consisting of a base in fine walnut wood combined with a lacquered MDF board and generously dimensioned turntables. The smaller models such as Gold Note Giglio and Gold Note Pianosa also follow this concept, albeit in a somewhat reduced form.
Our test candidate also shows the same constructional measures in principle, but here the developers focus on a chassis that is concentrated on the essentials, so the “substructure” of the previously mentioned models is missing. Nevertheless, the direct relationship to the other solutions can be seen above all in the walnut version, but also in the black, white and silver versions. In fact, the fourth available variant that stood out for this test was the transparent acrylic version.
Gold Note Valore 425 Lite and Gold Note Valore 425 Plus
The Gold Note Valore 425 Plus is not the smallest model in the Gold Note product range, as we would like to point out here, because under it you will also find the Gold Note Valore 425 Lite, which is almost similar to its bigger brother, but with a thinner chassis. This should be mentioned at this point for the sake of completeness.
A first glance…
At first sight, the Gold Note Valore 425 Plus appears to be a comparatively simple drive, but this model probably derives its special charm from this very fact. The German distributor TAD Audiovertrieb GmbH even describes it as an elegantly sleek drive, and is absolutely right.
The base of the drive is a 30 mm thick chassis, which is either made of MDF or, as in our case, acrylic. This chassis rests on elegantly shaped feet, which are rounded and tapered downwards to guarantee an installation. They are made of aluminium, which in the MDF models is anodised black, whereas in our test candidate it is silver. These feet give the entire drive a certain lightness, it seems to float above the base, and it also makes it look a bit more elevated, which does justice to its actual values, but more on that in a moment…
The manufacturer expressly points out that the construction of the chassis is designed in such a way that vibrations are avoided as far as possible so that optimum reproduction is guaranteed. Even though the Gold Note Valore 425 Plus does not have all the characteristics of its bigger siblings, it has of course been developed using all the knowledge gained from the development of the top models.
These include the platter bearing of the Gold Note Valore 425 Plus, which measures 60 mm in diameter and uses a chrome steel bearing ball and a stainless steel axle with patented split-spindle clamping. One glance reveals to the trained eye that this turntable was manufactured with the highest precision and therefore there is no doubt that this is the basis for impeccable running smoothness.
Another special feature is that the turntable rotates very close to the chassis, the distance between turntable and case is only 3 mm. This is to guarantee that no turbulences disturb the smooth running, the manufacturer is convinced.
While the turntable of the model variants with MDF chassis is kept in black, it is of course semi-transparent in our test candidate. In any case, it is made of PTE, i.e. polyethylene terephthalate, a material that has proven to have optimal damping properties. After all, this turntable presents itself with a thickness of 23 mm.
Powerful and precisely driven
The turntable is driven by an external belt which leads to the motor integrated in the case with its pulley. What’s striking about this pulley is that it’s not as slim as some other turntables, but is comparatively solid. The manufacturer compares it with the shape of an hourglass, which is supposed to guarantee a very precise guidance of the belt without the much quoted wow & flutter.
The motor is a 12 V synchronous motor, whereby it is noticeable that its metal housing is quite massive. In our Gold Note Valore 425 Plus in acrylic, of course, the motor is also silver, whereas in the models with MDF chassis it is black.
The motor is controlled by a microprocessor motor control system developed by Gold Note itself, which is here available in the latest generation. The special feature of this motor control system is that a high power output is initially provided in order to bring the turntable up to the appropriate speed as quickly as possible. Once this desired speed is reached, the power is reduced. In fact, the Gold Note Valore 425 Plus can be “revved up” very quickly, so much should be said at this point before we describe our impressions.
Of course, with the Gold Note Valore 425 Plus you can choose between 33 1/3 and 45 revolutions per minute at the touch of a button, and the user is also offered the option of electronic fine adjustment. The power supply is provided by an 18 V power supply unit, this should be mentioned for the sake of completeness, whereby the Gold Note PST-10 and Gold Note PST-1 solutions are offered as optional upgrades.
Gold Note B-5.1 Tonearm
The Gold Note Valore 425 Plus is already equipped with a tonearm at the factory, whereby a very fine model from the company’s own production was chosen, namely the Gold Note B-5-1 tonearm.
The Gold Note B-5-1 tonearm is a high-precision tonearm, as the manufacturer describes it, which, like the whole drive, is handmade in Italy. The Gold Note B-5-1 Tonearm is a 9 inch ball bearing tonearm and has an effective tonearm length of 242 mm with 19 mm overhang. The arm is made of aluminium, as is the tonearm base, both being anodized in black. Therefore the stainless steel counterweight, which is “natural”, stands out particularly strikingly and creates an attractive visual contrast. The anti-skating is realized here by means of a small weight on a thread.
For the Gold Note B-5-1 tone arm one trusts in micro ball bearings of the German specialist GRW, which are manufactured especially for Gold Note. The internal cabling is based on so-called AWG36 Hyper Litz shielded 99.99% OFC cables.
Of course the Gold Note B-5-1 tonearm allows the adjustment of all important parameters, so that it can be used for a variety of different pickup systems. This directly benefits the flexibility of the Gold Note Valore 425 Plus.
Of course, one must not forget to mention the banal numbers. The Gold Note Valore 425 Plus is 425 mm wide, 360 mm deep and 170 mm high. The drive weighs 9.5 kg. These figures refer to the drive itself and do not include the transparent dust cover that is part of the Gold Note Valore 425 Plus.
From practical experience
First of all, we would like to emphasize once again that a record player is usually a true marvel of precision mechanics, and a very precise instrument, there are certainly some things to be considered, but ultimately the construction, the correct adjustment and the everyday operation is no miracle. With a little willingness to get to grips with the subject matter, no one should be faced with insurmountable hurdles to get started. This is especially important because the Gold Note Valore 425 Plus is a drive that represents the entry level for the Italian high-end hi-fi manufacturer.
The construction and setup of the Gold Note Valore 425 Plus is indeed extremely simple, especially since many things are self-explanatory, and the manual describes everything step by step, and everything you need is included in the delivery. And for the really more complex steps, such as assembling the pick-up system, the dealer can help if necessary.
But what has to be mentioned in this context is that the construction of a record player conveys exactly what we mentioned in the introduction. It is a product that needs to be “understood” with all senses, and that starts with the construction and is, at least in our humble estimation, a very important aspect. You build something up yourself, had all the essential components in your hands, in contrast to other products that you unpack, set up and put into operation…
We tested the Gold Note Valore 425 Plus of course in various configurations, first of all in a version that completely reflected the sound character of the Italians, equipped with a fine MC pickup system from Gold Note, the Gold Note Donatello Gold, and connected to the Gold Note PH-10 Phono Stage in combination with the external power supply Gold Note PSU-10 Power Supply. Since we have also been using the Gold Note IS-1000 as the central interface of our HiFI chain for quite some time, everything was really from one source, only the speakers, they are from England… In addition, during the course of the test of course other pickups were used, such as the Excalibur Gold or an Ortofon Quintet Black.
After the Gold Note Valore 425 Plus had been placed in its place in the editorial offices, it was immediately clear that this is simply beautiful, I would buy it. And this was exactly the impulse we meant when we talked about a purely subjective decision when choosing a record player…
In this case, the drive, especially the tonearm, also conveys in terms of feel that it is a proven high-end, even if it is the entry level for Gold Note. Every fingering here conveys value.
What does it sound like?
The Gold Note Valore 425 Plus had to prove itself over weeks as our primary drive, so countless records across all genres landed on its platter. In our opinion, it makes a big difference whether you subject a device to an intensive but ultimately short test, or whether you simply use it for a certain period of time in exactly the same way it was designed, in your own living room, to enjoy music at your whim.
It was noticed that the Gold Note Valore 425 Plus shows a certain tendency to lightness, almost regardless of which pickup system is mounted. It seems as if everything is easy and playful, as if everything has to sound exactly as it is presented. The performance is always coherent, so you never have the impression that something is missing. At the same time, it delivers the precision that is appropriate for its price range, and even more, we would rate the performance potential of the Gold Note Valore 425 Plus even a tad higher when you compare it directly to other drives in this class. This becomes particularly apparent when a really fine pickup system is used. The Gold Note Valore 425 Plus offers a very good basis to bring out its potential. However, it cannot offer the absolute depth, which would be expected in its price range, as well as the absolute perfection in timing. But this is only possible if you really want to enjoy it and know how such recordings sound on drives of the reference class. In this respect, one simply has to keep an eye on the price that Gold Note calls for the Gold Note Valore 425 Plus. Thus, the Gold Note Valore 425 Plus offers no reason for criticism. On the contrary, we can give a clear recommendation without any doubt.
Getting to the Point
Valore, this stands for value, and the Gold Note Valore 425 Plus offers this without a doubt in pure culture. The elegance alone, which the turntable offers in all available variants, coupled with impeccable workmanship, speak for this solution in comparison to the attractive price. Added to this is the musical performance, which is presented with almost effortless ease, making the Gold Note Valore 425 Plus a universal solution for entering the world of high-end record reproduction.
|Elegance, this is probably the first impression that the Gold Note Valore 425 Plus makes. It demonstrates musical sensitivity as soon as the tone arm lowers onto the record.|
|Distribution:||TAD Audiovertrieb GmbH|
|Price:||Gold Note Valore 425 Plus Walnut or Acryl € 1.590,-|
Gold Note Valore 425 Plus Black or White € 1.390,-
Gold Note PST-1 € 180,-
Gold Note PST-10 € 950,-
|The Good||– Very fine musically credible performance|
– harmonizes with various pickup systems
– exclusive design
– various completely different design variants available
– outstanding price/performance ratio
|The Bad||– No disadvantage apparent|