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Marja & Henk
Financial Interests: click here
Sources: PS Audio PWT; PS Audio PWD; Dr. Feickert Blackbird/DFA 1o5/Zu DL-103; Phasure NOS1 DAC and PC [in for review]
Streaming sources: XXHighEnd; iTunes; Devialet AIR
Preamp/integrated/power: Tri TRV EQ3SE phono stage; Audio Note Meishu w. WE 300B (or AVVT, JJ, KR Audio 300B output tubes); Yarland FV 34 CIIISA; Qables iQube V1; Devialet D-Premier; Hypex Ncore 1200-based monoblocks; Trafomatic Kaivalya; Trafomatic Reference One [in for review]; Trafomatic Reference Phono One [in for review]
Speakers: Avantgarde Acoustic Duo Omega; Arcadian Audio Pnoe; Vaessen Aquarius
Cables: Complete loom of ASI LiveLine and Crystal Cable; Nanotec Golden Strada #79 nano 3; Nanotec Golden Strada #79; Nanotec Golden Strada #201
Power line conditioning: Omtec Power Controllers; PS Audio Powerplant Premier; PS Audio Humbuster III
Equipment racks: ASI amplifier and TT shelf
Sundry accessories: Furutech DeMag; ClearAudio Double Matrix; Nanotec Nespa #1; Exact Audio Copy software; iPod; wood, brass, ceramic and aluminum cones and pyramids; Shakti Stones; Manley Skipjack; Blue Horizon footers [in for review]
Room treatment: Acoustic System International resonators, sugar cubes, diffusers
Room size: ca. 14.5 x 7.5m with a ceiling height of 3.5m, brick walls, wooden flooring upstairs, ca. 7 x 5m with a ceiling height of 3.5m, brick walls and concrete floor downstairs.
Price of review item: €2.450, Solid9 version for 9" arms €2.250

Restoring and tweaking old turntables
is definitely a well-established niche in the audiophile world. It is not only fun to do but also a very manly activity. One can compare it to restoring vintage cars, rifles, motorcycles and what not as long as it can be done with tools. Gizmo [Harvey Rosenberg – Ed] was very right in his insistence that man is the eternal tool maker. Concentrating on turntables now, restoration is only the start of this game. In audio there is always a next step up the better ladder and turntables are an ideal subject for improvement.

Over the years turntable manufacturers have introduced an avalanche of ideas to make their constructions better than any other constructions before or present. With turntables there are precious few areas which influence the sound – rotational speed stability and immunity to electromagnetic and mechanical disturbances. All manner of drive systems were invented to achieve perfect speed constancy, from idler wheels to pulleys and belts to direct drives to multi-motor designs with or without ingenious electronic speed correction or flywheels.

Shielding them from the big bad world of vibrations came by way of materials chosen for their particular physical abilities of neutralizing or isolating unwanted oscillations. This led to exotic metal alloys, all types of plastics, carbon fiber and natural and artificial stone in any conceivable combination. Some manufacturers went after extreme weight reduction, others built complete oil rigs. Regardless of approach and materials, the one and only goal remained to provide a platform for the cartridge needle that acts as though it were mechanically absent or dead. The platter should pass beneath the needle at an absolutely constant angular speed which becomes the task of the motor system including the bearing. Plinth and platter as a linked unit control the vibrations whilst electromagnetic shielding of the motor(s) and accompanying power supply are a joint effort between motor system and/or plinth construction. Literally atop this mostly mechanical contraption come the arm and cartridge with their dozens of adjustable parameters. But our subject today is a turntable so we’ll stick to that.

In the early heydays of music in the home—we refer to the late ’50s and early ‘60s—stereo was a new phenomenon. Not only was it a very good excuse for record companies to boost sales, the hardware departments too had their glory days. With stereo a new factor that had not been heard before arose: rumble. This mechanically induced low-frequency noise affects the vertical displacement of the stylus. That unwanted vertical movement infects the stereo signal’s differential loudness to interfere with stereo imaging. In those days the idler-wheel turntable was state of the art - for mono playback to be sure. To make things worse, aside from noticeable rumble effects the loudspeakers of the emerging stereo empire grew better bass response. The lethal combination of rumble and improved bass extension led to the demise of the idler wheel table in favor of newer belt-driven models. Almost all idler wheel turntables ended up in the trash and only a few collected in attics or basements where they gathered dust to become part of potential inheritances and eventual discoveries.