My Dual CS 618Q review is about a turntable designed for experienced audiophiles for whom the sound, the quality of the parts that affect it, and its durability are important. The style, stunning build quality, and old-fashioned exterior will be appreciated by classic lovers, but prepare to empty your wallet. However, looking ahead, this expensive, high-quality plug-and-play record player won’t leave many vinyl fans indifferent.
The Dual CS 618Q has a great design. The heavy (15 lb/7 kg) MDF body, complete with an elastomer vibration absorber integrated inside the feet, provides good anti-vibration stability, further enhanced by a heavy cast aluminum platter (3 lb/1.45 kg) with a heavy rubber mat. I didn’t experience any difficulty assembling it, so I can claim that anyone can handle it.
The dust cover included in the package matches the old-fashioned style. The three colors of Vinyl Veneer/Black, Gloss/Black, and Veneer/Walnut look incredibly stylish. I had Walnut, and it looks really spectacular.
I wouldn’t say I like straight tonearms because of their lack of accuracy, but in this case, I accept that fact. Why? Because many of the finest S-shaped tonearms would ruin the look of the turntable. In any case, the manufacturer somewhat compensated for this shortcoming by placing the detachable headshell at an angle. As a result, the accuracy was also increased. It should be noted that Dual also invested in a solid aluminum construction with a precision rotary ball bearing. And also in the contents of the headshell, but more on that later.
The deck control is automatic, except you must return the tonearm to the holder after stopping the record. On the top of the case, there is a small panel with the model name and a single knob that turns the CS 618Q on, turns it off and changes speeds. You’ll find two more Phono/Line, and Autostop off-mode switches on the rear panel, ground spindle, and RCA jacks. Nothing extra, just simple control of the most necessary functions.
As you would expect, the Dual CS 618Q turntable has excellent specifications. The quartz-stabilized motor with direct drive provides the quietest possible operation. So I didn’t hear its operation, only the performer’s music and voice. It is a success because such motors usually make noise. Still, in the case of this model, the manufacturer has taken care of coreless inductors and rotor magnets with double shielding. As a result, everything works perfectly.
The manufacturer provided the CS 618Q with a phono stage. And even though external phono preamps are always better than built-in ones, you don’t have to incur additional costs. I can’t imagine an expensive thing with cheap accessories, so I highly recommend getting an external phono stage over time. Investing in all the parts is better, especially since the sound of the device and the audio system depend on the phono preamplifier.
Of the features, I would like to mention the pre-installed Ortofon 2M Blue cartridge. Considering the overall cost of the vinyl turntable, you’d expect high-quality parts. In addition, it has an anti-skating feature and a tracking force of up to 4g. So, there’s no need to talk about a quick replacement here. Instead, your record will stay in one piece for a long time. Plus, the Auto-Stop / Auto Tonarmlift feature also contributes to the preservation of both the needle and the record.
I really like that the turntable supports all three speeds of 33 1/3, 45, and 78 RPM. Unfortunately, many expensive turntables only have two speeds, so you must keep this in mind when buying new tracks on vinyl.
The Dual CS 618Q sounds excellent. Vibration dampening is not just a statement; I did not hear anything unnecessary, I confirm. Skeptics will say that the turntable should not be automatic, but you and I will not argue. Everyone should pick up the technique for themselves, especially – good quality equipment. So, wowed Wow and flutter < ±0.07% (DIN WTD), and the record of the ABBA band shone with new facets. Stunning realism. Each instrument sounded separate, creating a harmonious melody at all frequencies and low bass. I had no complaints. The vinyl player is worth its money, especially if you appreciate quality details. But still buy an external phono stage; I assure you will hear the difference, and you will never regret the additional investment.
- Drive type: direct.
- Operation type: semi-automatic.
- Speeds, RPM: 33 1/3, 45, 78.
- Phono Pre-Amp: yes.
- Bluetooth: no.
- USB: no.
- AUX: no.