The Michell Gyro SE Turntable - Review 2010

Discover the classic Michell Gyro SE Turntable - An iconic turntable

Back in 2010 my turntable was the Michell Gyro SE. It was to be one of my statement turntables before I migrated to the Thorens TD124 MKII. The Gyro SE is now, as was then, a legendary turntable. 

From its design to its performance, the Gyro SE stood out from the crowd. It certainly moved the goalposts. That is, it wasn't another ugly wooden orange crate box like the LP12 (controversial). This turntable for me brought it all together in design, looks and sound.

Michell Gyro SE Turntable

The Michell Gyro SE was released in 2005, taking technology from previous Michell turntables such as the Reference released in 1977 and the Gyrodec, released in the early 1980s.

  • The SE incorporates:
  • Three-point spring suspension
  • Weighted Pendulum chassis
  • Inverted Oil platter bearing
  • Freestanding motor unit

The brass weights give the platter more spinning momentum giving rock-solid stability.

The Setup

The SE isn't the easiest turntable to set up correctly. It does take some attention, care and quite a bit of time to get it right. Also, I found my deck to sound better on a wall plinth rather than a table or any other floor-based furniture. But if you are someone who likes to move your hi-fi or room around often then I'd certainly not recommend the SE. It's a turntable to be set up as little as possible.

The Sound

Originally, my SE was partnered with the Rega RB300 tonearm and Ortofon Rhondo Red MC cartridge. Although the arm and cartridge were entry-level, they gave a great all-around performance.

Compared to my Thorens TD124. The SE performed really well.  The presentation was fluid, with plenty of ease and very precise timing. Everything I played with this deck sounded wonderful.

What was there not to like about this turntable? A simple answer would be, nothing much... But there was one thing. Although it's precision sounded flawless, it didn't give me a full sense of realism. That is, the music was almost too precise. So, I found myself becoming a little tired of its presentation.

Comparing the presentation with the TD124/SME 3009 (none improved) it was easy to understand what was missing, Soul. The SE simply lacked a little soul. Yes, it was locked-solid and authoritative but in the end, for me, the feeling just wasn't there.

After a while, I found myself considering selling the deck but before I made that decision, I decided to do a couple of mods to the SE. There were two mods available for the SE in 2010 which were said to improve things.

The first mod I did was to replace the main ball bearing with one made from Delrin. This was a simple job to do and I also replaced the oil which was recommended by Michell.

The next mod was to fill all of the casting gaps on the underside of the subframe with a very sticky black dampening material. This was to reduce ringing throughout the frame.

After both modifications were complete there was a slight improvement. The bass felt more engaging and the highs had an improved sense of realism which was a nice surprise. But, the old problem was still there.

The next thing to do was to change the arm. The Rega RB300 is an entry-level and capable arm but I wanted to know if the arm on my Thorens, the SME 3009 S2 (NI) would bring some soul to the SE.

Fitting the SME was easy enough and although a bit fiddly to set up, once you've done it a few times its pretty easy. I decided to use the Rhondo Red again with this arm and although not really suited, it was a great cartridge.

After the first few needle drops I felt like the turntable took on a new lease of life. The feeling of the SE was certainly improved and we had a more loose feeling which brought an improved balance of feeling.

So, my advice in regards to the SE would be to choose the arm you use with utmost care. My experience with the REGA and SME was a game-changer for the deck and, of course, there are plenty of other arm/cart combinations which you could choose.

Don't get me wrong, the SE isn't 'soul-less, it's only when you hear something which exudes soul like the TD124, you immediately realise what your missing.

Regardless, I would still highly recommend the Gyro SE. It's an amazing turntable and is very flexible in terms to how you choose to use it. For me, it's wasn't the last word in soul nor is it the easiest to set up but once you have a deck like this, it's very difficult to better it within its price bracket.