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Dream deck?

Discussion in 'audio' started by Hook, Oct 15, 2020.

  1. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    The thing that makes me laugh is all this and more was addressed way back in the late-50s:


    I realise mine is a 1966 spec deck, but everything below applies to a MkI 124 and Series I SME, so in 1959 it was done right:

    • All 4 speeds, this turntable can play absolutely any record.
    • Fine speed adjustment with built-in strobe.
    • Built-in ‘dinked’ 45 adapter.
    • Clutch system for easy-changing/fast starting in a broadcast environment.
    • Built-in spirit level and easily levelled from above via thumb-wheels.
    • Can take a 9” or 12” arm even in a compact LP12-size plinth as pictured.
    • Arm/arm-board assembly easily swappable from above in a matter of minutes, just three easy access bolts.
    • Easy VTF adjustment without need for a stylus scale.
    • Easy calibrated anti-skate adjustment.
    • Easy VTA adjustment.
    • Easy azimuth adjustment.

    It astonishes me just how much practicality and user-friendliness has been lost over the past 60 years. To be honest pretty much every current deck is just utter bollocks from an ergonomic perspective. A whole design language has been lost. The runner up is likely the Technics SL-1200, but it still misses a lot of core functionality compared to the above.
    Paul L, joe9407, Hook and 4 others like this.
  2. Iceman16

    Iceman16 pfm Member

    How does it sound compared to current decks?
  3. chartz

    chartz pfm Member

    Likely every bit as good. The cartridge will make the difference more than the deck.
  4. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Surprisingly good. I compared it to a Technics SL-1200G a few years back, the £2.5k one, and I far preferred it. It will never be as quiet as a top-end direct or belt drive, plus you do definitely need to learn to service/maintain these decks so not for everyone, but it just sounds so alive and musical. It sings! There is a reason so many jazz freaks own these things! It is one of those hi-fi products I absolutely love but I’m far from convinced I could recommend as there are just so many variables in owning such an ancient piece of machinery. I’m in my element with it, but even so it took me literally years to rebuild it to a level where I was genuinely content (I am extraordinarily picky).
    Mr Pig and Iceman16 like this.
  5. G T Audio

    G T Audio Trade: Manufacturer and Distributor

    I am not suggesting anything.

    Take a turntable, for example a Nottingham Analogue. The speed of the turntable platter is based on the machining accuracy of the motor pulley and the circumference of the platter, as well as the speed of the AC motor driving the platter around. The motor gets its speed from the mains voltage frequency i.e.50 Hz which is not that accurate! The components made by most manufacturers will be machined to a certain tolerance, so the speed will be dependant on the accuracy of the parts and the frequency of the motor, the frequency of the mains as well as the drag from all moving parts. If you take an accurate measuring speed device and not mains driven, but independent of the mains frequency you can now see there could, and would be some deviation in speed between any of the decks in a production batch. It will be the same for any turntable using an AC synchronous motor. If the turntable has an AC synchronous supply that can be adjusted, or one that is synced with the speed of the platter, then correct speed can be set. If not then there will be a very good chance speed accuracy will not be 100% accurate. In the case of the Nottingham Analogue, they developed an AC power supply called the Wave Mechanic. This supplies the turntable with a synthesised AC mains supply which gives the motor a smoother more accurate 50Hz supply for better speed accuracy and lower motor noise.

    Turntables with DC motors usually have separate power supplies that do have an adjustments built in for calibration and adjusting for the correct speed. These need to be checked at servicing intervals to ensure the platter speed is kept within tolerances. The most basic adjustments of any turntable is: being able to level the turntable and being able to check and adjust the speed.
  6. G T Audio

    G T Audio Trade: Manufacturer and Distributor

    Anyone with a high performance turntable should be able to check the speed of their turntable. Just as you would if you were fitting a cartridge, you would need a decent protractor and an accurate set of digital scales. I bet some would be very surprised if they were able to accurately measure the turntable speed.
  7. G T Audio

    G T Audio Trade: Manufacturer and Distributor

    Yes I agree. I only mentioned this because the thread is about "Dream Decks". Therefore I would expect those mentioned to be able to have all adjustments accessible, including those on the tonearm too. The ability to adjust VTA, HTA, tracking force and anti skate.
  8. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig ^'- -'^

    So what's the largest deviation in speed you've heard on a high performance turntable? What did it sound like?
  9. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    FWIW the thing I hear is eccentric records, of which there are far too many, including some high-priced audiophile cuts. Depending on the music between 1 and 2mm is audible as wow to my ears. I don’t have perfect (i.e. absolute) pitch so I don’t notice if the deck is just a little fast or slow as long as it is rock solid.
  10. Hook

    Hook Blackbeard's former bo'sun.

    Agreed. Both of my decks (WT and TD-124) can be adjusted for speed, and both my tonearms (WT Mk II with EMT JSD 6 and Ortofon RMG-212 with Ortofon Royal GM Mk II SPU) can be adjusted for VTA. The WT has a rudimentary anti-skate control, but no means of changing tonearm geometry. The Ortofon offers no anti-skate, but I can set geometry when using a head shell. So far, none of these limitations bother me, as both decks track extremely well and I can only very ever rarely hear any end-of-side distortion.

    Back to the original idea of the thread: a dream deck. IMHO, dreaming about future possibilities (and even with something as trivial as components in an audio setup) is a positive to do. It is a hopeful mental exercise that, more often than not, results in moments of clarity about the present, where we realize how good so many of us already have it (even in these horrible times).

    Anyway, just my two cents. I am finding the different views here very interesting to read, so thanks!
    G T Audio likes this.
  11. G T Audio

    G T Audio Trade: Manufacturer and Distributor

    The one I remember was quite a while ago. It was running slow and by quite a lot. Playing the turntable next to my demonstrator which was set to the correct speed there was quite a big difference in sound as you would expect. I adjusted the speed using an accurate strobe and it then performed the same. Some turntable manufacturers provide speed control down to 100th of a revolution, as well as the ability to adjust it, as shown in the turntable below.

  12. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig ^'- -'^

    If you think you need a creature like that to be able to enjoy music on vinyl I pity you.
  13. sq225917

    sq225917 Bit of this, bit of that


    Less fuss, more music
    Iain Docherty and Darren L like this.
  14. stevec67

    stevec67 pfm Member

    Oh dear. Someone needs to get out more.
  15. matt j

    matt j pfm Member

    Do you think the whole flat earth thing and British Hi-Fi press had a lot to do with that? It seems they strived for minimalist, stripped down approach where all that was left in a lot of cases was a basic bit of MDF sheet, a rubber band and a flimsy platter. We seemed to go from full on engineering solutions to 'man in his shed' type 6th form projects.
    Nagraboy likes this.
  16. Cato

    Cato pfm Member

    Oh that sounds like a great combo - One I’d like to explore as I refurbish my TD160. Owned a Moerch arm in the past as well, lovely things
  17. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Yes, though it was more a ‘belt drive is king’ rhetoric as no one in the UK had the resources and manufacturing capability to make direct drive right, which was clearly the superior technology from an engineering perspective. There was a conscious move against the Japanese decks despite the Trio L07D, Technics SP10, some of the better Luxmans, Micro Seikis, and DD EMTs retaining much respect in some circles. The only high quality UK DDs I can bring to mind was the JBE slate thing, which I never heard and always rather liked the idea of, and a pretty substantial Monitor Audio. I assume both used bought-in motors from Japan or Germany (Dual had one).

    By saying that no way in hell am I going to knock Linn, Rega, Michell or Tom Fletcher. I have nothing but respect for these products in their own individual ways. They were all good cleverly designed and well-made decks at their respective price-points and have stood the test of time, unlike their competition. With hindsight there was a load of real junk around in the ‘flat earth’ days, far too many horribly made decks, naff vinyl-wrap speakers, exploding amps etc, but the good stuff was good stuff and if I didn’t have a vintage idler deck I’d be perfectly happy with a say a nice LP12, Gyro or Dais (Rega hadn’t moved upmarket at that point, though the Planar 2 & 3 are stunningly good designs IMO).

    There was little doubt idler drive was dead by this point. It is an insanely expensive way to make a record player if one does it right, and theoretically high-torque direct drive should have all its benefits plus truly silent running. The only thing is I’m not yet convinced it sounds as good! Though I’ve never spent any quality comparison time with a Trio L07D, Pioneer Exclusive or a really good SP10. I don’t know what it is but a lot of DDs I’ve heard, like a lot of really high-mass belt drive, tends to sound a bit dead in the water to me. I just don’t connect with them, but I need far more opportunity to compare before really getting to the bottom of that one. I haven’t heard any of the really serious DDs in an system/environment I know/trust yet. I’ve ended up thoroughly enjoying idlers even though it is clearly the noisiest and most fiddly way to spin a turntable platter! I hate to think what a TD-124, Garrard 301 or EMT 930 would cost to make within the niche market of 2020 audio. If you’ve ever taken one of these things apart the build quality and sheer number of high-quality bespoke components is just astonishing. As an example I remember all the Linn crowd getting so excited about the new Keel subchassis and how solid and rigid it was...


    Err, 1957 technology folks!
    Nagraboy, Mr Pig, Darren L and 4 others like this.
  18. Beobloke

    Beobloke pfm Member

    I haven’t used my main turntable for a few months but it’s been given a fair amount of use this weekend, so I checked the speed on it a few times for interest’s sake. Each time it has been absolutely bang on.

    Honestly, it makes you wonder where the hell the fun is with these dreary Quartz Locked direct drives.

  19. G T Audio

    G T Audio Trade: Manufacturer and Distributor

    That is not what this thread is about! Its not about me either! Its about "Dream Decks" and to some, that Techdas would be a dream deck! It is not my cup of tea and I wouldn't want one, but some might, especially when some of the press have labelled it as the finest turntable in the world. The point of showing the Techdas was to answer your post about speed accuracy and this one has a digital display showing it. There are other turntables that have this facility too which are a lot cheaper and less complicated. After all its what turntables should be able to do, rotate a platter accurately at 33.33 revolutions per minute, as well as 45 rpm and possibly 78 rpm.
  20. fegs

    fegs pfm Member

    it’s not the ability to check and alter speed that I’m doubting it’s more the point of chasing supply frequency variations that puzzles me, for what it’s worth I’m not trying to be an arse here, just wondering that’s all

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