Tag Archives: Turntables

Pro-Ject Announces New Debut Pro Turntable

The following is a press release issued by Sumiko and Pro-Ject.

MAPLE GROVE, MN (July 15, 2021) – Sumiko and Pro-Ject USA are proud to announce the new Debut PRO Turntable from Pro-Ject Audio Systems. The original Pro-Ject 1 and its successor, the Debut series, revolutionized the music listening experience while reinvigorating a passion for analog playback – a turning point for the industry. Pro-Ject continues to satisfy music lovers and vinyl enthusiasts with continued innovation in performance and value that bring the joy of stereo hi-fi to life in your own home.

The Debut PRO extends the tradition of the Debut collection with a new striking design, featuring a satin black and brushed-nickel color scheme that emphasizes the strengths of the technologies within the turntable. Tracking performance is enhanced by an all new 8.6” tonearm that features a one-piece carbon fiber wrapped aluminum arm tube for excellent rigidity and reduction of harmful resonances. A heavy-duty, nickel-plated machined aluminum bearing block ensures the tight tolerance tonearm bearings move freely, allowing the tonearm to track precisely across the entire surface of the record. The Debut PRO also features a die-cast aluminum platter with integrated TPE damping, resulting in the perfect combination of mass and low internal resonance.

New to the Debut series, the tonearm height and azimuth are both adjustable, allowing for the use of a wide range of cartridges. The critically acclaimed Sumiko Rainier phono cartridge is included with the Debut PRO and has been mounted by our experts and precision-aligned at the factory. Height adjustable leveling feet with integrated resonance damping, electronic speed selection, a detachable acrylic dust cover and a premium semi-symmetrical phono cable (Connect It E) round out the Debut PRO’s robust feature set.

Like all Pro-Ject Audio Systems turntables, the special-edition Debut PRO is hand crafted in Europe and will be available in the US in limited quantities at select Pro-Ject dealers beginning in August 2021, with a suggested retail price of $899 USD.

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Original Resource is Articles – The Absolute Sound

Wilson Benesch Introduces GMT ONE SYSTEM Turntable

The following is a press release issued by Wilson Benesch.

July 2021 – Wilson Benesch was founded in 1989 following two-years of research and development. In 1990 the company unveiled its first product, the Wilson Benesch Turntable. The Wilson Benesch Turntable became recognised as a landmark design that introduced a number of novel technologies, including carbon fibre composite structures that had not only not been seen in a high end audio product before, but indeed were seldom seen in consumer products at all in 1990. The carbon fibre / nomex core sub-chassis was developed in collaboration with Derbyshire based engineer, Neil Humpston. Humpston had worked on numerous challenging projects including the Rolls Royce RB211 carbon fibre fan blades. The final chassis design for the turntable emerged out of exhaustive where all the parameters of the design were trialed and measured. This important groundwork would pave the way for a much better understanding of exactly how carbon fibre functions. Audio applications have complex requirements beyond specific stiffness and cores are equally complex. Of all the core materials, Nomex was found to be clearly superior in all aspects of performance. 

The Wilson Benesch turntable was discontinued after the Papst motor was made obsolete. But the technology that had been developed and the expertise that now existed in the company, coupled with the growing number of collaborative partners in fields of engineering excellence allowed Wilson Benesch to forge a strong ethos and unique position as the pioneers and leaders in carbon fibre composite technologies within high end audio. 

In 1992, Wilson Benesch unveiled its first loudspeaker the ‘Advanced Composite Technology or ‘A.C.T.’ One. Like the Wilson Benesch Turntable, the A.C.T. One was received with considerable critical acclaim from the press, industry professionals and customers. Today, three decades on from their launch, the Wilson Benesch Turntable and the A.C.T. One loudspeaker are regarded as designs which set a new benchmark within the market, timeless classics.

Through the 1990s Wilson Benesch continued to invest in analogue technology development and subsequently released its second of only two turntables designs. The Full Circle introduced the carbon fibre unidirectional ‘U.D.’ cantilever suspension system. Amongst a number of key benefits structurally, the Full Circle also delivered a solution to unstudied or new analogue enthusiasts who had little to no previous experience of setting up and maintaining a high-end turntable and was a direct answer to the ease of the digital compact disc that was threatening the very existence of vinyl at the time.

In 2010, Wilson Benesch submitted a proposal to Her Majesty’s government in a competitive grant scheme and was awarded ‘SMART’ Research funding of £150,000 for a project that the company referred to as ‘The Mondrian Project’. It was a very ambitious project which would prove to be a step too far. However, the seeds were planted that would continue to develop over the next decade. 

During this decade Wilson Benesch continued to fund cutting edge technological development. Through painstaking trial and error and iterative design, completely original ideas emerged as the analogue system defined itself through new components for the motor the tonearm, and numerous sub-assemblies. The development of these sub-systems required a completely new approach that was greatly influenced by new manufacturing technologies that were then emerging in additive manufacturing. New collaborative partners were identified at Sheffield University and the AMRC (Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre) to enable these conceptual models to be refined and optimised in time frames that would have been inconceivable with conventional manufacturing technologies. 

At the close of 2020 Wilson Benesch brought together a Consortium which successfully won £327,000 of Innovate U.K. funding. The Consortium is comprised of Sheffield Hallam University – Dr F. Al-Naemi, Dr J. Travis and Professor G. Cockerham. These scientists have enabled the most nuanced and sophisticated modelling to be accomplished using state of the art 3D software and have been critical to the success of the project. And a second highly innovative SME, CAAS Audio, which is also based in South Yorkshire and is driven by the proven world class expertise of Dr C. Broomfield and N. Broomfield. Since winning this important funding the consortium has gone on to pioneer a completely new and completely novel motor and dedicated poly-phase motor power supply system that is equally innovative.

It is widely recognised that at the heart of all turntables is the motor drive and its power supply. It is also broadly accepted that to-date every turntable ever produced has suffered from one compromise or another in terms of how it is driven. The Omega Drive as a key part of the GMT® System simply concludes this unending search. The Omega Drive is completely novel and is a patent applied for system that also has multiple design registrations. It has been developed from a clean sheet for one single purpose. It isn’t an off the shelf system that has been adapted to the role. It is without exception, unlike anything seen before. Every aspect is unique and as a whole, is the subject of both a patent application and many design registrations. 

All the GMT® systems will be manufactured and assembled in house within the very same building within which the product was designed and developed. This applies to the electronic systems that will be supplied by the developer Dr Broomfield and Neil Broomfield of CAAS Audio. Of course, the quality of the outcome is only as good as the measurements. The classic measuring systems used to date for measuring speed and speed fluctuations was found to be inadequate for the task and a novel new system based upon a high resolution pico-encoder was developed. The resolution was critical to the iterative design approach. The result is a truly unique, State-of-the-Art, control & drive system that delivers unprecedented levels of precision and immeasurable speed fluctuations. Poly-phase drive signals are synthesised by a sophisticated microprocessor controlled DAC module with absolute control over each and every critical variable, to ensure the ultimate performance. The control software and algorithms were also developed in tandem with CAAS Audio. These advanced systems monitor the drive technologies in real time, while pure analogue, linear amplifiers handle the transfer of the synthesised signals. These bespoke, high precision systems combine to guarantee the lowest possible levels of distortion and absolute accuracy in the motor drive system.

The GMT® System has been designed to meet the needs of the archivist. Its primary goal is to preserve valuable recordings and minimise the impact of transcription. To achieve this, the GMT® System provides unprecedented levels of control. For the first time, it is possible for each and every parameter to be controlled to extremely high levels of precision to achieve the ultimate and virtually flawless transcription of the micro groove. Significantly, these transcription parameters for the motor and the tonearm can be dialed in remotely to unprecedented levels of accuracy. No other product in the world can approach this level of accuracy, control or reliability. As such the GMT® System sets the new benchmark from which all other analogue replay systems will be judged by. 

AVAILABILITY: Wilson Benesch are reviewing opportunities to present GMT® ONE SYSTEM Turntable to the public for its official launch. Possibilities for a January 2022 public launch are being explored and full details will be released via our website, social media and newsletter as details become available.

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Original Resource is Articles – The Absolute Sound

Wilson Benesch GMT® ONE SYSTEM Turntable

Wilson Benesch GMT® ONE SYSTEM Turntable

Official Press Release Wilson Benesch HQ, Sheffield, England 6th July 2021 Wilson Benesch was founded in 1989 following two-years of research and development. In 1990 the company unveiled its first product, the Wilson Benesch Turntable. The Wilson Benesch Turntable became recognised as a landmark design that introduced a number of novel technologies, including carbon fibre composite structures that had not only not been seen in a high end audio product before, but indeed were seldom seen in consumer products at all in 1990. The carbon fibre / nomex core sub-chassis was developed in collaboration with Derbyshire based engineer, Neil Humpston. ...

Original Resource is Hi-Fi+ Articles

Sota Cosmos Eclipse Upgrade

My turntable occupies a unique place in my audio life. It’s a Sota Cosmos that I acquired, barely used, in the mid-1990s, and it’s the oldest piece of gear that I own. The Cosmos and I have been through a lot over the years—witnessed and weathered some major shifts in audio, from the adoption of the CD, the subsequent collapse of analog, the home theater scare of the 90s, the surge of high-resolution digital-streaming services, crumbling CD sales, and then (surprise!) the upswing of analog and return of vinyl and LP playback. Through it all my Cosmos has been a workhorse, stalwart and untemperamental. Thanks to Sota’s faithful factory support, there have been a few upgrades along the way (the last one in 2011), but these refreshes were little more than tweaks around the performance edges. While I remained aware of today’s flourishing selection of fine turntables, nothing else offered the superb isolation and vacuum hold-down features that define the Cosmos. And as a personal aside, Cosmos and I had our rituals; I knew its quirks and had a feel for its mechanics. I could place a record on its platter, clamp it down and cue up the first track in the dark. As silly as this sounds, we’d forged a bond that I think only owners of turntables and LP playback understand. 

At the same time I was also developing an awareness that, performance-wise, my Cosmos had lost a step compared to similarly priced rigs. As with an aging athlete, the years may have taken their toll. Its reflexes didn’t seem as sharp, its sound as open or articulate. For the first time, I’d actually begun to contemplate selling the Cosmos. Before making such a big decision, I consulted the Sota website and discovered the largest single upgrade that Sota has ever offered for Cosmos owners—known as the Total Eclipse Package (TEP). It’s based around a new three-phase-motor/electronics/speed-control package, and a magnetic-levitation platter assembly, both already standard on the current Cosmos. I was informed that my older model could be retrofitted. Tempted, I pondered the next step. Was it worth it?

Sota: A Very Brief Summary

The original Sota Sapphire debuted in 1981. It was designed by the (alas) late David Fletcher, and was named for Fletcher’s innovative sapphire thrustplate and inverted bearing. Widely praised in the audio press, it was at the time considered the only legitimate, U.S.-manufactured, high-end turntable on the market. Shortly thereafter, Fletcher and his associate Rodney Herman went on to develop the first fully successful vacuum-holddown platter, which was available in the upscale Star Sapphire. Sporting a four-point hanging-spring suspension, a massive subchassis, and a damped aluminum platter, its class-leading acoustic/mechanical isolation remains to this day pretty much as Fletcher designed it. 

The Cosmos was introduced a few short years later and was the most advanced Sota available. It featured a 22-pound, one-inch-thick, single-piece, aircraft-grade-aluminum (with acrylic) subchassis, plus an optional, five-layer, acrylic/aluminum/lead armboard cross-drilled and weight-balanced to the user’s tonearm of choice. Early Cosmos versions like mine sported a cabinet material called Fountainhead, made by Nevamar. Mine lacked a drive-belt access cover, but this inconvenience was remedied on later models. Today’s Sota brings together an array of products and services, including three series of turntables—Statement, Heritage, and entry-level Urban, with turntable/tonearm packages like the Moonbeam IV beginning at $1250. (I urge readers interested in diving a bit deeper into Sota’s backstory to read Paul Seydor’s superb reviews of the Sota Cosmos Series III [Issue 145], and Sapphire Series V [Issue 210].)

The Upgrade Package

In various conversations with Sota co-owners Donna Bodinet and Christan Griego, I learned that development of the Total Eclipse package began with the idea of addressing its pre-millennium analog electronics, which they viewed as lagging behind the current state of the art in precision and stability. Shortly thereafter, in 2018, they secured a license with Bill Carlin of Phoenix Engineering for a new drive-control system—the microprocessor-controlled Condor PSU and the Road Runner Tachometer (see Andre Jennings review in 2016). It operates via a small magnet placed on the underside of the platter, which, as it spins, is read by a magnetic sensor placed on the plinth. The controller measures and displays the speed of the platter, and continuously adjusts the designated platter speed to within ±.005rpm. According to Sota, these methodical adjustments “fight the effects of thermal drift without creating sudden, audible changes in speed. The Roadrunner also logs the hours of time the platter has spent spinning, which is useful for stylus maintenance, among other things.” 

Partnering with the controller is a new, three-phase, brushless DC motor, which utilizes bearings on the top and bottom of the motor. It replaced my early-generation and vibration-prone Cosmos stepper motor. Significantly, and in a major shift, the new motor had to be relocated from the floating subchassis and onto the cabinet.  Griego explained Sota’s reasoning, “All motors produce some sort of vibration at the speeds we need. Even minimal vibration can transmit through a subchassis along with the armboard and platter. The tuned suspension keeps vibration from entering the sub-chassis. The decision to relocate the motor from the subchassis to the cabinet was entirely about removing every aspect of vibration that could possibly be there.”

 

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Original Resource is Articles – The Absolute Sound

How I inadvertently became a vinyl nerd | Engadget

Blame the pandemic. I don't consider myself an audiophile. For years, my primary pair of headphones were just the wired earbuds that came with my phone. I’m hard-pressed to tell the difference between MP3 and FLAC. Yet, I recently bought a U-Turn Audio Orbit Plus turntable, a pair of Kanto YU4 …

Original Resource is Vinyl Records