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In the Forum: Analog Playback
In the Thread: Ultimate Turntable
Post Subject: Re: Ultimate Turntable some alternatives.Posted by guy sergeant on: 8/3/2004

The Ultimate turntable only needs to provide for one arm. The ultimate arm. Why compromise its performance with various inferior arm designs.

I'm not sure that high mass is necessarily a good thing.  Yes it stores a large amount of kinetic energy when rotating but that has to be delivered across the full range of frequencies. Imagine a turntable with a light inert platter with many suspended masses hanging from it. The overall mass would be high. When it rotates the suspended masses woulkd also rotate yet when the braking effect of the stylus is applied the platter would slow and the suspended masses would continue at their normal speed. The only way to prevent this is to have those masses rigidly coupled to the platter. Unfortunately at audio frequencies this is a 2 way street. Energy can travel to and from the rotating mass only to be released in a smeared form slightly later. Most high mass turntables suffer from overblown bass performance as the mass that is there to provide speed stability stores and releases energy after the event. There is also the issue of trying to match the acoustic impedance of the record with that of the platter material. This allows the energy imparted in the vinyl by the action of driving the stylus to be dissipated away in a harmless fashion.

There are other ways of achieving the effect of high mass without the downsides of bearing wear and platter resonance (just as there are ways of of making stable amplifier power supplies without using excessive capacitance which also sounds bad)

The answers lie in developing better drive systems. It is hard to find a more stable sounding turntable than an SP10 mk2 or 3. You have to get rid of the horrible rubber mat and use something which dissipates energy away from the record more effectively. Polycarbonate or Carbon fibre both work. You also have to mount it in a plinth which provides sufficient isolation from the outside world.

This approach does give an aesthetically more pleasing and sonically more accurate presentation of what is on the record than the clumsy and imprecise high mass approach and yet still allows you to fit the arm of your choice be it a good linear tracking arm like the Kuzma or good pivoted arm like the SMEV (not using the horrible VdH wire)

You then don't have to worry about air pumps (at least for your turntable) or bearing lubrication or the threat of divorce from your beloved partner. You have something easy to use, that's well built and that doesn't cost the earth. You can get on with listening to your records.

Direct Drive. Done properly it's the only way to fly!

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