back to article This maglev turntable costs more than an average luxury electric car

Things are a bit financially tight right now – we get it – but sometimes an audiophile has to treat themselves, and what better way to do it than with a turntable priced higher than a top electric car? High-end audio equipment company Esoteric, the luxury subsidiary of Japanese electronics firm TEAC, lately launched its first …

  1. Someone Else Silver badge

    Meh

    OK, so a maglev turntable. Cute. But according to the PR pic, it still uses a stylus. Call me back when it comes with a 0g laser pickup (that can eliminate the pops, clicks and crackles endemic to vinyl), and then maybe we'll talk.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Hah. but...

      Wouldn't have that "Warm" sound. Lasers are based on photons, which due to quantum effects are too close to digital signals for my delicate ears.

      Only a Z bosun based system could possibly faithfully reproduce the essential Plank length sub-harmonics to drive my vintage first generation Beat's by Dr Dre bluetooth headphones.

      Nothing less can possibly suffice for anyone with "refined" tastes.

      1. BebopWeBop
        Devil

        Re: Hah. but...

        I vaguely remember a laser 'stylus' being used to demonstrate tracking vinyl 20+ years ago.

        1. David 132 Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: Hah. but...

          I was about to ask "by Judith Hann?" and then realized that era was closer to 30-40 years ago.

          Damn, I hate getting old.

          1. Vometia has insomnia. Again. Bronze badge

            Re: Hah. but...

            Huh, I was thinking of Judith Hann too, which would've been about 40 years back IIRC, back in the days when Tomorrow's World was still good. 30 years ago it was becoming more like Yesterday's World...

      2. Scotthva5

        Re: Hah. but...

        Don't forget the $4000 power cord that "re-aligns the power flow" to provide maximum precision.

        1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

          Re: Hah. but...

          Or the pure silver audio cables.

          1. Kane Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: Hah. but...

            "Or the pure silver audio cables."

            Gold. Silver's for cheap losers.

            1. badflorist Bronze badge

              Re: Hah. but...

              Personally I know vinyl is inferior to a demagnetized CD but, if you use gold plated optical cables it's hard to feel the difference.

              1. Kane Silver badge
                Devil

                Re: Hah. but...

                "if you use gold plated optical cables it's hard to feel the difference."

                Depends where you're inserting them.

      3. Cuddles Silver badge

        Re: Hah. but...

        "Only a Z bosun based system could possibly"

        Presumably that's for turntables intended for use at sea?

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Meh

      Not only that. The picture would suggest that the stylus is not part of the magnetically levitated frame and so presumably the evil vibrations can come through there instead.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: Meh

        And the magnetic levitation / rotation field does what exactly to the, er, magnetically sensitive pickup coils?

        1. steelpillow Silver badge

          Re: Meh

          And at these claimed signal-to-noise ratios, what does the pickup coil current do the the zero-point field noise maglev circuitry? We don't want EMI feeding back into the control amplifier's input wiring, now do we.

          Ultimately, the forces which cause mechanical vibration are just electromagnetic forces between the atoms involved. All this clever shit really does is replace one source of electromagnetic noise with another.

          1. doesnothingwell

            Re: Meh

            Don't mention the motor platter combo used to cut the master disc. It will have left its ugly distortion behind on all the pressed copies.

        2. Michael Strorm Silver badge

          Re: Meh

          Bang on. That's *exactly* what I was going to suggest.

          It might or might not have an effect in practice, but you can bet your life that it'll open up a whole new avenue for audiophiles to obsess over regardless.

          Even if it gets proven that it has no effect on the sound via double-blind tests, those pseudoscientific weirdoes will ignore that and swear they can hear a difference regardless.

        3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Meh

          "the, er, magnetically sensitive pickup coils?"

          Maybe it's a crystal pickup?

          1. badflorist Bronze badge

            Re: Meh

            "Maybe it's a crystal pickup?"

            This maglev turntable was a Arudino project about a decade ago and the main pro argument for the project was that it was much cheaper/smaller than magleving the entire table. Sorry, I never read how the stylus itself worked or if you could use a regular stylus but, the reason I was looking at it was the timings in which it can level itself. These things can adjust very quickly even with economy MCU's like ATMEGA256, around 1/100 of the time it takes between 2 outer pits on vinyl at 78 RPMs. I wanted to control the motion of cameras using this technique but, it starts to cost a butt load once you want to do more than spin something in a 1ft x 1ft area... like a LOT of money.

            FWIW, for about $400usd you can DIY and put an entire turntable on a maglev plate and get greater results since the entire system is then closed and the entire system can utilize the maglev with the 1 large drawback of that it takes a very large footprint (or a fancy/expensive larger coils).

      2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: Meh

        The picture would suggest that the stylus is not part of the magnetically levitated frame...

        When I was a neophyte engineer, I was intrigued and puzzled by audiophile stuff. And discovered that for most 'high end' turntables (ie not good'ol SL1200's) the stylus and cartridge were not included. So you could drop another $10k for those components to get the perfect listening experience.

        What puzzled me most was looking into studio recording technology and thinking that was the limiting factor. So no matter how much you waste.. I mean spend on playback stuff, you'll never be able to reproduce sound that wasn't there.

        1. Juan Inamillion

          Re: Meh

          What puzzled me most was looking into studio recording technology and thinking that was the limiting factor. So no matter how much you waste.. I mean spend on playback stuff, you'll never be able to reproduce sound that wasn't there.

          Yep, I worked in recording studios most of my working life and can vouch for that. Always especially enlightening when some audiophile named Tarquin rabbits on about things he (it's always he) can allegedly hear on a disc on his Turbo ZXZ1000 Mega system, when I was there at the recording and I know he's talking complete and utterly bolleaux.

    3. toejam++

      Re: Meh

      Actually, the problem with laser turntables is that you have to wash them prior to use since a laser will pick up every bit of debris in a groove. Where they excel is regarding rumble, tracking errors, inner-grove distortion, or cartridge distortion.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laser_turntable#Performance

    4. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Meh

      Turntables with lasers instead of stylish exist, but they're aimed at archivists, judging from their size and industrial appearance.

      They allow you to digitise a recording from a vinyl, wax, shellac or acetate disc without fear of damaging them.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Meh

      Call me back when it comes with a 0g laser pickup

      Wouldn't it be hard to remove the resulting spiral from the turntable?

      :)

    6. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Meh

      Not maglev (doesn't say it doesn't suffer from bearing rumble etc.) but magnetic induction - probably very similar to the Strathearn STM4 Electronic Servo direct drive turntable of the 1980's...

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Meh

        interesting article here: https://www.esoteric.jp/en/product/t1/top

        From the diagram, its not motorless, unlike the Strathearn, but does use a magno-float magnet bearing.

        From my recollections of the STM4, I wonder if it can handle all grades of vinyl... The STM4 struggled with the heavier audiophile vinyl...

        1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

          Re: Meh

          I used an STM4 for many years, and the problem with the platter+disk weight was only during the start-up of the turntable.

          I put an OSAWA OM-10 heavy rubber mat on mine, mainly to kill the ring from the very resonant platter (but also because the very pretty, but very flawed mat that it came with did not support the record enough), which probably nearly doubled the platter mass.

          What tended to happen was that when you turned it on, it initially struggled to decide which direction to move, although it never went backwards for long. This meant that it took up to 10 seconds to get to speed, and produced a quiet groaning sound until it got there (other people also said this happened if you tracked it too heavy, or if the music was particularly heavily modulated, but I never noticed that, and I'm a pretty discerning listener). You could speed the startup by spinning the platter in the right direction before switching it on.

          The heavy mat also improved speed stability by adding more momentum, something that improved the stereo image.

          But it was a very flawed turntable. The only suspension was the sprung rubber feet, the arm was barely long enough to avoid the cosmetic pivot fairing touching the edge of the LP, the headshell was some awful piece of plastic bonded to the aluminium arm, and the pivots and arm bearings were just dimpled spring steel with conical ends on the pivot shaft held in nylon moldings, not proper jeweled needle bearings. Yes, it worked reasonably well, but once you looked at it in detail, it is what it was, and that was made very cheaply.

          But the interesting thing was the cartridge they used. The STM4 came with an Ortofon F15EO mkII (The O suffix indicates an OEM version of the cartridge) and the more expensive STA2 cam with a VMS 20EO mkII. The arm for all it's flaws was actually light enough to take the F15E, and even a VMS 20E, and would track even the toughest HiFi test disk surprisingly well, down to just over 1G for the VMS. When they started discounting the turntables, it was worth buying them just for the cartridges.

          I was fairly happy with my modified STM4 for many years, but I eventually decided to replace it and ended up with a Pro-Ject Debut 2, which has also had it's share of modifications (replacing the OM-5E for my VMS 20, replacing the belt and motor suspension, changing the arm for one from a Debut 3, and augmenting the platter with a 6mm secondaty acrylic one because th VMS 20 is a shallower cartridge than the OM-5).

          I'm shocked at the price of modern turntables, and wold never even consider the one in this article, nor any other so-called transcription turntable. I'm quite happy with what I have, thank-you-very-much. You really don't need to spend mega-bucks to get good sound from a turntable (I would recommend anyone who wanted to get into vinyl cheaply to wait for Lidl to have the Dual turntable [not the real Dual, unfortunately] they've had in the past. It is surprisingly good for the money).

          1. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: Meh

            I brought the STM4 to replace my 1970's Garrard SP25. Like you it served its purpose, but was ultimately found wanting, so was replaced by a Technic's belt drive deck which I still have today, but like the LP collection is in storage (the other half is happy to have the amp and CD player in the lounge...)

    7. Michael Strorm Silver badge

      Re: Meh

      Interestingly, laser pickups *don't* necessarily eliminate pops and crackles; quite the opposite in the case of noise from the inevitable dust and dirt that a stylus would often be able to push out of the way with much less noticeable effect.

      Remember, it's still analogue when it comes down to it, whether you're using a stylus or a laser to read the disc.

    8. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

      Re: Meh

      There used to be just such a device. It too cost and arm and a leg but at least you could claim being able to play your records without wearing them out. I'd say this would be especially important for archival purposes.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Egoteric?

    Is it just my 9 year old laptop's outdated display or does that "s" REALLY look like a "g"?

    74k for a turntable certainly is an ego trip. On one hand I am inclined to say whatever makes you happy, but high end audio is so full of quackery, lies, and bullshit that I really can't stomach it.

    At the end of the day, you hit diminishing returns pretty fast past the 800$ mark(for a whole system, not just a turntable). North of 10k you are paying for design aesthetics more than sound. This has that in spades, but fair warning, you may be able to hear quiet sobbing of the family of starving refugees living in your landscaping over all that silent operation. Your conscience may vary as widely as the size of your wallet.

    1. David 132 Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Egoteric?

      No, no, it's not your outdated display (PS: you can now get screens in colour! and the latest ones eschew glass vacuum flasks/electron beams altogether and use LCDs... 'tes witchcraft, I tell you...). The S definitely resembles a G. Egoteric. That is somehow very, very apposite.

      1. BebopWeBop
        Pint

        Re: Egoteric?

        Shurely S for sucker? But after two beers I'll take five.

        1. steelpillow Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Egoteric?

          What, five more beers?

    2. Martipar

      Re: Egoteric?

      >but high end audio is so full of quackery, lies, and bullshit that I really can't stomach it.

      Two recent Techmoan youtube videos featured a CD shaver and a CD de-magnetiser. Luckily Techmoan is above such things but gave them a fair attempt before giving them the derision they deserved, it's fun to watch someone who knows something is bollocks use a product as directed only to reinforce the view that it's bollocks.

      1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

        Re: Egoteric?

        I watched both of those. I recall some HiFi snob friend talking about the device that shaved and chamfered back in the day, and telling them it was horse manure. They had only seen it in a magazine though, but decided they only needed to colour in the edges of their CD to get the desired effect, so just did that, and claimed it gave positive results. I'm not sure if HiFi snobbery is self hypnosis, or the placebo effect, or both.

    3. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge

      Re: Egoteric?

      Many years ago one of the Hi-Fi review magazines compared a large number of different speaker cables - as a comparison it also included 2.5mm mains cable (which was far cheaper than the speaker cables) - the verdict was that the 2.5mm mains cable was at least as good as any of the "audiophile" cables.

      For some reason the speaker cable makers never refer to that article !!!

      Assuming good source material (eg a well produced CD), the limiting component in the vast majority of Hi-Fi systems is the speakers. Even a moderately priced set of headphones can produce clearer sound than a quite expensive set of speakers.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: Egoteric?

        Back in the day when I was designing and installing radio studios for the BBC, mains cable was regularly used for speaker connections.

        (Always struck me as slightly odd that, given that an amplifier plus loudspeaker is actually a servo system, there are vanishingly few systems where positional feedback from the active moving element is included... very open ended, they are, and then people wonder why they sound different!)

        1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

          Re: Egoteric?

          Interesting, a mare of mine who also works for the BBC used mains cable to wire up his speakers at one point iirc. It must have been a hot tip doing the rounds back then. I guess it was also inexpensive.

          1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

            Re: Egoteric?

            I'm sure I've told the tale here before: at the Beeb I was asked by a local hifi group if they could borrow a studio for some blind speaker cable testing. I said sure, if they'd like to include one of my cables in the test. That cable had a one ohm resistor in parallel with a 1N4001 diode in one leg... none of the group detected it.

          2. Allan George Dyer
            Coat

            Re: Egoteric?

            @GruntyMcPugh - "a mare of mine who also works for the BBC"

            Very clever horse, does she also do gig work?

            1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

              Re: Egoteric?

              I really should check spell check for typos before I press submit. He's worked at the BBC for ~36 years though, so you could say it's a stable job.

        2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: Egoteric?

          Back in the day when I was designing and installing radio studios for the BBC, mains cable was regularly used for speaker connections.

          Yup. I used the finest 30A cooker cable from that well-known audiophile supplier, Homebase. I pondered that there might be some benefit in reducing cross-talk if the pairs are wider spaced, but then realised if that was going to be a problem, then you'd likely need to replace your amp and speakers anyway. Unidirectional cables still amaze me for still being sold.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Egoteric?

        I used to work on small gigs (audience size less than 1,000) and the speaker cables were always bog standard mains cable.

      3. Kristian Walsh

        Re: Egoteric?

        The problem with mains cable for speakers is only that it’s solid cable, and so the larger cross-section means it can crack or snap relatively easily, which would create actual, audible (or, more to the point, nothing audible at all) problems when it comes to driving a loudspeaker. It's great if you're doing fixed, in-wall installs (the exact purpose solid-core mains cable was designed for, albeit for power-supply rather than speaker driving), but not so great if the cables get moved a lot.

        I go for copper flex cable, no more than £2~3/metre instead. I’m prepared to shell out a tiny bit extra for “pretty” (the speaker cables are visible in my system) or for silver-plated copper, as silver is a better electrical conductor than copper, and it oxidises less badly than Cu (not an issue if you solder your terminals, though), but higher-priced speaker cables are mostly powered by snake-oil...

        In addition to the woo mains cables, you’ll all be saddened to hear that there are companies selling solid-silver USB and Ethernet cables for use with streamers and DACs. The realities of digital transmission, checksums, packetisation and buffering are no match for the placebo effect of spending four figures on a bit of wire...

        1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

          Re: Egoteric?

          I should have specified: mains flex cable, not solid core twin and earth.

        2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: Egoteric?

          It's great if you're doing fixed, in-wall installs (the exact purpose solid-core mains cable was designed for, albeit for power-supply rather than speaker driving), but not so great if the cables get moved a lot.

          But.. but.. any serious audiophile isn't going to move anything. They'll have a 'listening room', with surfaces, furniture and seat carefully chosen and positioned so the listener is seated in the optimum location. Probably not in a comfy massage chair with built-in beer fridge.

          I had a client once that did audio mixing for movies. They showed me a 5.1 studio and was fun seeing (ok, hearing) how they could move audio around the 'stage'. Was rather fun, and disconcerting when a character's voice moved so it was behind me rather than where it should be on screen. Plus they had a couple of reference lounges set up so they could test mixes in typical home environments.

          1. Kristian Walsh

            Re: Egoteric?

            Au contraire, the “serious audiophiles” are the ones who are constantly tinkering with their setup. There are definitely those for whom the greatest pleasure comes from calibrating and tuning the equipment, rather than actually listening to music.

            Not knocking them: if it makes them happy I’m all for it, but personally, I don’t have the patience for it.

      4. Sudosu

        Re: Egoteric?

        Being a sparky back in the day I started using the twisted red/black stranded wires meant for stringing lights at a job site for my speaker wire.

        I still use it on my modest system today.

      5. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        Re: Egoteric?

        I tended to use figure-of-8 5A lighting circuit cable for speakers, until they decided that light circuits needed to be earthed and double-insulated.

        Suddenly you could not buy it, and you had to go for the similar stuff, although often with fewer strands, that was re-branded as speaker cable at a much higher price!

        Now, you're lucky if you can even buy multi-strand copper cable. Most comes from China, and is copper plated aluminium, even the multi-strand stuff.

    4. ColonelDare

      Re: Egoteric?

      8000$ ? Shouldn't that be something like:

      7000/ap + 100 $. Where ap = age of punter.

      Some years ago while demoing a signal generator to a bunch of young physics students I asked them all to hold theirs hands up if they could hear the tone and to drop them when they no longer could.

      Carefully winding the frequency knob up until I got to 'silence' then stopping - I looked around the class to see every hand still up.

      Anybody what to buy a nice pair of tweeters?

      1. MiguelC Silver badge

        Re: Egoteric?

        Do you know those phone apps that produce high pitched sounds and are meant to repel mosquitoes? I don't know if they really work with mosquitoes, but they enable grown-ups to have quiet conversations without pesky kids around (although we can't use it when we're joined by a friend in her late 40's who's still able to ear those high frequencies - she works at a club and says she's always the first to detect any problems with their sound equipment)

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Egoteric?

        "Carefully winding the frequency knob up until I got to 'silence' then stopping - I looked around the class to see every hand still up."

        That sounds exactly like the sort of situation where the competition nature of humans takes over from reality. No one wants to be the first to admit their hearing is not as "good" as their peers. Or maybe they all had tinnitus?

        It's probably work a little better if starting from silence and then introducing a high frequency and ramping down. But not much better since once the first hand goes up, the rest will follow very quickly :-)

      3. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

        Re: Egoteric?

        "Carefully winding the frequency knob up"

        I was car shopping recently, and the dealership had an 'ultrasonic' deterrent, a PIR security light that also played a high pitched tone. It was a Sunday, but they were open, and I walked around the cars on display outside, and the damned thing went off. A sales lady appeared, I pointed and said 'that's really annoying' and she said 'what is?' I explained and she looked at me like I was demented.

      4. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        Re: Egoteric?

        I was thinking about this a while back, and I realised that because pitch and frequency has a logarithmic scale, the situation is not nearly as bad as you might think.

        So. HiFi, normally rolls off at about 20KHz. and it is normal for people's hearing to drop to 15Khz or lower by the time their in their mid-50s.

        But, think on this. The closest note I can see to 20KHz in an even temprement scale is something like D#10, which is something like 6 octaves and 3 semi-tones above middle C, and a very high note, unachievable by even the harmonics of most acoustic instruments or the human voice.

        Dropping this to 10Hhz is just one octave but still pretty high, so close to D#9, and most music will be well below this. So in reality, for the purposes of music, losing the ability to hear over 10KHz is not going to make a huge difference to what you hear in musical arrangements.

        It's not completely unimportant, but even though it is half of the frequence range of the best human hearing, most people will not even notice that it's not there. Of course, when I was trying to adapt the environment for my father, who had spent entirely too long on a rifle range with no ear defenders as an instructor during his national service, I found he was incapable of hearing much over 1.5KHz, or around G6, which caused huge problems as he didn't hear things like smoke detectors and other devices that make the assumption that a high-pitched alarm will be more audible.

        I have tinnitus, in my case a constant high pitched whistle around F7. I can actually hear that frequency, but below a certain volume, it's masked by the tinnitus (so I like listening to music a little louder than many, just so I can hear certain cymbal sounds - which I miss at lower volumes). This is a much bigger problem than not hearing much above 14KHz (at last check), although it is really useful to have a reference tone built in to my hearing to tune my guitars to!

    5. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Egoteric?

      "At the end of the day, you hit diminishing returns pretty fast"

      Exactly! After all, just how well made is the actual record itself? If the reproduction equipment is orders of magnitude better than the recording equipment, are you getting more quality out than was put in in the first place? Does GIGO apply?

      1. Kristian Walsh

        Re: Egoteric?

        Actually, it’s not a problem with recording equipment, and not a problem with older releases (old recording systems were fully analogue, so there's a lot of information that can still be dragged out of the noise floor by careful processing of the original tapes).

        The real problems are newer: there are a number of pop and rock releases from the 2000-2015 period that are almost unlistenable on good reproduction equipment, because the final disc mastering crushed all of the signal into the top 10% of the dynamic range. That makes the music sound louder on very cheap equipment (table radios, car stereos, etc), but when you listen to it on something that can actually reproduce dynamics, it gets tiring very quickly, like listening to someone WHO SHOUTS ALL THE TIME FOR NO REASON!

        Look up “loudness war” or “dynamic range day” for more information about why this happened, and what was done to stop it.

  3. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    How about...

    How about they invented a device - and hear me out on this - that could somehow read the waveform of the music off the record and automatically get rid of any errors caused by dust, scratches etc? Of course the record would have to be specially pressed with some sort of waveform redundancy to allow this to happen. It would probably have to run faster, too.

    And another thing they could do, would be to represent the waveform as a sort of numeric pattern. I don't know - maybe using a simple encoding scheme of just two levels, say - a 1 and a 0 perhaps? And instead of a stylus, use a tightly focussed light beam.

    And while we're at it, make the discs smaller, say DVD-sized.

    Further steps could eliminate the discs altogether, storing this numeric - or "digital" signal on non-volatile storage of some kind.

    You never know, it might just take off.

    1. David 132 Silver badge

      Re: How about...

      NURSE! He's babbling again! Bring the happy juice!

      But seriously. Spin this maglev turntable too fast and it, too, might just take off.

      1. Fr. Ted Crilly Bronze badge

        Re: How about...

        Die Glocke maybe ;-)

        1. steelpillow Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: How about...

          Rings my chimes. Might pull in a few million greenbacks from NASA if you can wrap it in enough quantum-relativistic buzzwords.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Coat

      Re: How about...

      So if I get four of them can I replace my wheels and make a flying car? How many jigawatts do I need?

      1. J. Cook Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: How about...

        1.21, if I recall correctly...

    3. Geoffrey W

      Re: How about...

      My HiFi set-up involves hiring the musicians to come and play in the living room. It has a few drawbacks - that Keith Richards was a bit of a bugger, and Johnny Rotten was just obnoxious; my cat is still nervous whenever someone with elevated hair comes in the house. It's worth it though, the resulting music sounds like it's right there in the room! Amazing.

      1. Korev Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: How about...

        You had to drop those Naims didn't you...

  4. BebopWeBop

    Its platter is free from any vibration or imprecision caused by belts, rims or motors, the maker claimed,

    Hillarious - and much higher tolerance than any turntable. But I suppose unlike 'directional cables' and special marker pens for CDs they can demonstrate that it is. What is next, super (moisture-free) cool turntables to which highly engineered plastic is moved at low temperatures in order to be played once it has acclimatised?

    Looks pretty though.

    1. DJO Silver badge

      What is next?

      Well the maglev is a bit inefficient, better to use superconductors for the levitation - as long as you can keep it down to liquid nitrogen temperatures there's no power used.

      The next thing is to have an air-tight cover over the platter/tone arm area and pump out all the air so the pick-up is in a vacuum so there's no turbulence from the rotating platter to affect the pick-up.

      With a bit of imagination it should be possible to get the cost of a turntable to well north of $1m.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Changing the record might take a bit of time at your next party though. I suppose to keep the music flowing you'd need to have at least two, one playing while setting up the next record. Best stick to 12" LPs though as you don't want to be starting the next play with a substandard vacuum. Oh, the shame when your party guests leave in disgust because the vacuum was only partial!!

        1. DJO Silver badge

          No problem, make it like a giant jukebox and just store all the LPs in the evacuated area and use robotics to change or flip records.

          Also the platter needs to be heavy, the most heavy elements are a bit radioactive with really short half lives so are probably not suitable, osmium is the heaviest stable element but it is a bit reactive, iridium and platinum are almost as heavy and osmium/iridium/platinum alloy is pretty unreactive.

          Now we should be approaching the $2m mark

    2. Mongrel

      I'd be prepared to accept that they could back up their claims in the lab.

      I'd bet that, like most Audiophile gear, it'd fail an ABX test

    3. Arthur the cat Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Its platter is free from any vibration

      This reminds me of Cambridge University's Nanoscience Centre. I got a tour of the place just before it opened and they were really proud (and rightly so) of the vibration isolation systems built in to some of the labs. And then the pile driving started for the next door building.

      1. MJB7

        Re: Piledriving

        I call bullshit here. There are a number of vibration sensitive facilities on the West Cambridge site, and there is also a site management committee for discussing things exactly like "the impact of construction work on on-going experiments". I'm sure the piling work did affect the nano-science lab, but they would have been warned well in advance that it was going to happen, and how long for.

        Also the overlap between the normal waking hours of your typical building contractor and your typical grad student is not that long. (Which is no help if you want to run some experiment for a few days.)

        1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

          Re: Piledriving

          Note I said before it opened (they were still fitting out some rooms when I went round and no significant kit had been installed), and didn't say it was unexpected. My tour guide was simply miffed about the delay in being able to use the facilities.

  5. MrMerrymaker

    overrated

    Meh

  6. 45RPM Silver badge

    I just got the Pixies new album, Doggerel, on Vinyl - and it sounds epic on my Technics SL-7. And no, I don’t think that my old ears could tell the difference between a maglev and a direct drive turntable. So count me out on this one.

    1. Jan 0 Silver badge

      Vinyl is an inferior way to make the Pixies sound better. Just get Kim Deal back on board and they'll sound good on a flexidisc!

      1. 45RPM Silver badge

        I used to think they needed Kim Deal, and I love The Breeders (and The Amps for that matter), but Paz Lenchantin is doing great work and Doggerel is a marvellous album.

        For Vinyl to sound good though it really does need to be a heavy pressing (I know that you were being flippant about flexi discs, but most pressings these days are too lightweight even without being flexi), but thankfully the Pixies records are nice heavyweights.

        1. X5-332960073452
          Megaphone

          Going by your handle, is it not a little fast and high pitched? Better at 33RPM

  7. DS999 Silver badge

    Laser needle

    I thought there were already turntables that used a laser in place of the needle to avoid contacting the record at all. Wouldn't that obviate the need for a vibration free turntable, since any vibrations could be easily corrected for, as well as tracking rotation speed to correct for any discrepancies there?

    I guess this is for "traditionalists" who believe that a diamond needle adds acoustic notes you don't get or avoids the "coldness" of the listening experience with a laser cartridge lol

    1. steelpillow Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Laser needle

      Last time I checked those out (a few years ago now), everybody had given up because black vinyl covered in dust and scratches has such a widely varying optical reflectivity that it screwed the sensors/algorithms. Picture discs didn't help.

      Nowadays you'd probably put a cute AI in the processing loop and accept the kind of noticeable delay you already get with digital TVs.

      But maybe I'm out of date?

  8. xyz123

    For that price it better summon the ghosts of Elvis, Bowie, Mercury, Buddy Holly and Hendrix to give me a live collaboration show.

  9. Phil Kingston

    Sorry, TEAC, we chatted about this and I told you I wouldn't go a dollar above $74k. You're gonna need to bring something else to the table.

  10. katrinab Silver badge
    Megaphone

    I’m pretty sure my Jellyfin server will stomp all over it in terms of audio reproduction quality.

    Also, I may be getting old, but I remember the old days when vinyl records were considered to be obsolete.

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Showing my age too

      I first heard a CD in 1985 and it was a massive improvement in quality over records. I am vaguely curious about whether I would notice the same difference today but I could not be sure a reduction if the difference would mean turntables have improved or my hearing has deteriorated.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: Showing my age too

        Nah, say what you like about these new 'seventy-eights', I'm sticking to my old Edison cylinders. At least the track speed is constant.

      2. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: Showing my age too

        You would definitely notice the difference.

        A good quality reel-reel tape recording can be pretty close to CD quality, but records are not even remotely close.

      3. steelpillow Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: Showing my age too

        "I first heard a CD in 1985 and it was a massive improvement in quality over records."

        Really? Many of us found the exact opposite. Those early CDs had limited dynamic range and quiet passages went "crunchy"; some discs were remixed to reduce their dynamic range, but then the performance suffered. Harmonic distortions inherent in the digitising process were not adequately filtered, so the top end was not just bright but harsh; you had to use an older amp or speakers with limited bandwidth to smooth it back down, and that screwed any improvement in the top end and bass. A partial fix was introduced on digital cassette tape by raising the sample rate, but it was still not enough.

        Like Wendy Carlos (best known as Walter Carlos of the well-tempered synthesiser and A Clockwork Orange film music), I found that CDs did not become competitive for many years, until sampling and compression algorithms had much improved.

        But then I did return any disc which had even a slight crackle in one place, and left a long trail of dead bodies from those who dared so much as breathe on my vinyl....

        1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

          Re: Showing my age too

          Hmmm... Those early CDs had limited dynamic range

          Those early CDs had exactly the same dynamic range as the later ones; the standard didn't change. The problem was more likely that the mixing engineer was unsure of his medium. Though early _D to A_ converters weren't all that brilliant; a common problem was that they decoded left and right channels alternately instead of simultaneously

          Consider: it's a 16-bit uncompressed medium, sampled at 44.1kHz. That's 96dB dynamic range (for specialised signals!) - subtract 11dB quantisation noise (a common broadcast estimation) and leave 18dB headroom and you're still looking at 71dB dynamic range. Later producers would often tweak the levels so that the headroom disappeared, which would give even better dynamic range (though that wasn't what they wanted; they wanted *loud*).

          Which is all somewhat better than 15ips half track tape in the eighties, and significantly better than any commercial pressed vinyl was or ever will be.

          1. J. Cook Silver badge

            Re: Showing my age too

            Also consider the Loudness wars as well; Turns out when you run music with a good dynamic range through a compressor to make it sound louder, you also remove a lot of the data and subtleties in the music.

          2. steelpillow Silver badge

            Re: Showing my age too

            "Those early CDs had exactly the same dynamic range". Physically yes, but the digital encoding was less sophisticated. The later algorithms allowed more signal to be recovered more faithfully.

            "you're still looking at 71dB dynamic range." Dynamic range in a concert hall is around 80 dB and the human ear is sensitive to even more. 71 dB is naff.

            "Later producers would often tweak the levels." Yes. Later ones. But what really made the difference were higher sampling rates (over-sampling), higher ADC resolution and the aforementioned improved algorithms, these last arising out of research into digitising the mobile phone.

            "significantly better than any commercial pressed vinyl was." Ooh, now - swords, pistols or head crabs at dawn? But seriously, it depends on what qualities you value in the music. Many critics recommended CDs for rock but vinyl for classical.

            My, what are a couple of audiophiles like us doing bickering, who'd ever 'a' thunk it?!

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Showing my age too

          By the time CD players came to the masses, the difference was huge for most buyers. Even a bottom end CD player was orders of magnitude better than the a bottom end record player like a BSR or Dansette or some no-name "music centre" they were replacing.

  11. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Money wasted on the weak

    I'll stick with FLAC from a SSD. Spinning media can't handle the lung-collapsing bass punches of what I want to listen to when nobody is around.

  12. gerryg

    analogue is just a hotchpotch of compromises

    Before one spends $74,000 on a turntable...

    One starts with a 256bit/sec digitally encoded recording or 48in/sec tape if old school.

    The dynamic range is too great for vinyl so it is compressed. Bass requires too much wiggle room so the RIAA encoding curve is applied.

    You then hope the cutting engineer is having a good day to do a decent acetate.

    The LP is produced and you hope that it is flat and the hole in the middle is dead centre.

    Reproduction is another series of compromises.

    We'll skip over keeping the LP pristine or that there is slight degradation each time it is played.

    Mechanical coupling between the LP and the turntable to suppress acoustic feedback/resonance

    Wow/flutter/rumble/digital jitter.

    Tone arm

    Parallel tracking never really worked however hard B&O tried, and the pantograph thing produced by Garrard never caught on, as it introduced as many problems as it solved.

    So the tone arm is set at an on average compromise. Then there's the counterbalance weight operating precisely.

    The cartridge need to have as low momentum as possible, preferably zero, good luck with that and zero mass. The stylus is somehow dependent upon being attached to and decoupled from the tone arm. And shaped correctly and in perfect condition.

    The moving magnet/moving coil transducer needs flat response and sufficient dynamic range.

    No acoustic feedback from the record or the room you are listening in.

    No electrical pickup in the wires to the preamplifier

    Accurate decoding of the RIAA curve (John Linsley-Hood circa 1980, for the problem with that)

    Low noise high gain amplification.

    In some respects it still amazes me that LPs reproduce so well, but somehow they do.

    There is no doubt the LP invites ritual in a way that is completely absent from the alternatives (It turns out that two long hairs on Radio 4 circa 1983 on why the CD would never catch on, were sort of right)

    But the idea that the output is somehow pure is risible.

    /rant

    1. 45RPM Silver badge

      Re: analogue is just a hotchpotch of compromises

      Yes, but you can overcome all of those objections if you spend £1,000/meter on speaker cable.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: analogue is just a hotchpotch of compromises

        No, we've already established that mains cable is fine for speakers. It's the gold plated mains plugs that really make the difference.

        1. 45RPM Silver badge

          Re: analogue is just a hotchpotch of compromises

          I thought it was the specially blessed crystal, which is aligned to the date of your pet cats conception, carefully balanced on the top left corner of the amplifier which made all the difference?

          You can get them on special offer at £15,000.

          1. KBeee Silver badge

            Re: analogue is just a hotchpotch of compromises

            Drink a pint of de-ionised water before listening to improve your ears.

            1. 45RPM Silver badge

              Re: analogue is just a hotchpotch of compromises

              That doesn’t work. Deionised water isn’t costly enough. You need to drink a pint of heavy water.

              1. KBeee Silver badge

                Re: analogue is just a hotchpotch of compromises

                Fair enough. And drink it from a gold cup.

                But the drinking de-ionised water was a genuine tip recommended in some HiFi mags back in the 70's.

              2. that one in the corner Silver badge

                Re: analogue is just a hotchpotch of compromises

                Remember to wait 48 minutes after drinking before listening, so that the heavy water can reach your inner ear, where the extra mass dampens unwanted resonances.

    2. A Non e-mouse Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: analogue is just a hotchpotch of compromises

      How dare you bring facts into an audiophile discussion. Be gone with you!

  13. Winkypop Silver badge
    Meh

    How the tables have turned

    Back in the day, TEAC was the budget brand that you only found in department stores.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How the tables have turned

      Did Teac not also have the TASCAM brand?

      I recall some good studio reel tape recorders from those days. OK, not that they could beat the Revox A77 or even the B77 IMHO, but as a second option they were very acceptable.

    2. Michele.x

      Re: How the tables have turned

      Remaining department store are still selling TEAC stuff, like turntables, cassette recorders, CD players and amplifiers.

      You have to find a store first and the the hi-fi aisle. Not an easy task nowadays.

    3. steelpillow Silver badge

      Re: How the tables have turned

      Upvote for terrible pun of the week :o)

      1. Winkypop Silver badge

        Re: How the tables have turned

        Why thank you!

    4. Jan 0 Silver badge

      Re: How the tables have turned

      Back in the day TEAC made fine 1/4 inch NAB spool tape decks. They'd be a welcome comeback.

  14. Geoffrey W

    Sorry, but I'm done with vinyl. Anyone who grew up with the stuff is surely glad they don't need to muck about with cleaners and brushes and balancing the damn needles and coping with wear and tear and...oooh, a million other aggravations. I was a bit upset when a stupid hurricane came along and wiped out my entire vinyl collection but I recovered and never looked back. Good riddance! Only thing I regret is the loss of my original copy of Bowie's 'Man who sold the world'*** which had the Bowie in a frock cover! Sob!

    *** Yes, it's sad; I like to brag about having that fabulous object (which, if I still owned it I would never ever again play it. Just sit there stroking it with an idiotic smile on my face.) Still waiting to find anything digital that can generate that feeling I had when I found my copy.

    1. 45RPM Silver badge

      I’m not done with vinyl, any more than I’m done with art. I get a beautiful big picture (the album sleeve), sleeve notes big enough for my increasingly elderly eyes to read, often the vinyl is beautiful too. I enjoy listening to it a few times. And then, ahem, I listen to it from then on on the digital download.

      But I’m sure that the quality of the digital download is much improved because I have the vinyl on the shelf. Quantum interference smooths out the imperfections in the sample rate. Or something woowoo like that!

    2. tiggity Silver badge

      @Geoffrey W

      Similar, grew up with vinyl and it was a PITA.

      Still have a turntable & retained "best" of my former vinyl collection but generally listen to digital versions (though in quite a few cases I did rip vinyl to digital rather than re-purchase on CD).

      Miss album sleeves though - decent sized artwork, big enough for, on occasion, a folded poster to be included (though the Frankenchrist DKs poster was not one to put on the wall) tgough more typical was lyric sheets - miss those a lot. Sometimes the sleeve was a bit of fun in its own right, like the original School's Out cover that folded into a table). But above all, a great surface to skin up on, flat, some friction and a good size.

    3. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

      I miss gatefold sleeves and album art, and lyrics on the dust cover, and to a lesser degree the occasional quest to find someone selling the niche heavy metal album I wanted.

      But all the other things CD and digital media has brought us, it's kind of what I dreamed off (well, I'd like holograms of the performances too, but I can wait). Having all my music on my phone and being able to play it through my car speakers, my BT soundbar in the lounge, or just good old headphones, it's just fantastic. And while I do kinda miss that quest to find new music, I do like Spotify suggesting new stuff, and being able to just try it, right there.

      1. Korev Silver badge

        And while I do kinda miss that quest to find new music, I do like Spotify suggesting new stuff, and being able to just try it, right there.

        Yeah, in a way I miss listening to John Peel, The Evening Session etc on Radio 1 to find new music. In theory I could listen to Radio 6, but I find most of the DJs irritating....

        1. JollyJohn54

          Monday to Thursday 10pm till midnight John Peel was essential listening.

          Friday 10pm til midnight Tommy Vance was equally essential listening.

          I kept a notebook in which I listed the music that I'd heard and liked and would spend Saturday mornings in a record shop looking for albums on the list. Happy days!

  15. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

    Hummm....

    Cassette decks from TEAC are pretty well built tanks (they also made the TASCAM brand for studios), certainly not budget devices but not all out, throw every gadget at it type stuff (I've got one and the inside is fascinating of the triple head machine - the mechanism alone weighs 2.5kg) but this is just hyperbole for the sake of it.

    No turntable should cost more than £10k as the diminishing returns become none existant. Besides, half the fun of audiophile tomfoolery is tweaking and thus doesn't look to have much save messing with the tonearm and cartridge.

    1. 45RPM Silver badge

      Re: Hummm....

      Diminishing returns? Tell you what - I’m prepared to bet my car that, everything else being equal, 99.99% of the population couldn’t tell the difference between a £500 deck and one more expensive in a blind hearing.

  16. Mark in CA

    Expensive? Not really. Try one of these:

    5. Transrotor Artus FMD ($150,000)

    4. Audio Consulting R-evolution Meteor ($180,000)

    3. Transrotor Argos ($250,000)

    2. Goldmund Reference II ($300,000)

    1. AV Design Haus Dereneville VPM ($650,000)

    1. 45RPM Silver badge

      According to an article in The Times some years back, the most comfortable cars bar none were made by Citroen and Volvo. Which makes, if luxury is your prime concern, a car from Bentley, Rolls Royce, Maybach etc a colossal waste of money.

      I suspect that those decks are a similar waste of cash. It’s just willy waving for the clueless super rich. Vulgar, but not actually better.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Luxury cars are most often purchased by people who don’t notice the price.

        I would have to carefully budget to purchase a Citroen C4, but a Rolls Royce customer would not be concerned about how to pay for their new cars. Ride comfort not being the only selling point of a luxury car.

    2. phuzz Silver badge
      Happy

      It says something that I can't tell if your list is real products, or spoofs.

  17. fajensen
    Pint

    However, the money will get one laid a lot more than any esoteric HiFi system will!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nah, give me the Technics SL1200 Mk II any time

    Even now, decades later, it's still the most imitated turntable around.

    It combined technical excellence (direct drive with zero to speed in 1/3rd turn, so THE choice for fader start) with quality, usability and a mechanical robustness that was usually only found in tanks and boxy Volvos. If you had to back-cue you'd stick a Concorde element on it (or something else with a short needle stem, but Concordes were what was used most) but I have never really felt the need to go for the (more) expensive options such as the Revox turntable which looked fun but was too expensive and just too much faff without really delivering better playback.

    Not that my hearing was that spectacular (it certainly isn't now), but as a result of a lot of radio work I was indeed very good at picking up any sound quality issues, and that combination had none.

    IMHO that thing was the best turntable ever made, period.

  19. Kane Silver badge
    Facepalm

    A fool and his money...

    etc, etc...

    1. Stratman

      Re: A fool and his money...

      A phile and his money, surely?

      1. Kane Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: A fool and his money...

        Yeah, missed a trick there.

  20. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

    Ìrrelevance

    For the life of me, I never understood the revival of vinyl. I grew up with vinyl and cassette tapes and hated both, since you perennially needed to clean and maintain them to keep them in top shape and get the best sound quality. And for me, being a perfectionist, sound quality was what it was all about.

    Can you imagine how thrilled I was when CD came onto the market with its precise, analytic digital precision? Today we've evolved towards solid state audio players where you never need to clean or maintain the thing and still have perfect reproduction every time. Also, ALL my CD's fit on a single SD card, some in HiRes.

    Vinyl is merely a fad which will fade away in a couple of years when the generation Z get bored with it and return to the modern world.

  21. ske1fr
    Coat

    Pass

    I'm sorry, I speed-read the logo in the pic as "Egotistic". Or was it "Elonistic"? I'll get my coat.

  22. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

    Magnetic-Suspension Turntable

    I'm thinking this isn't truly new, as my college roomie (late 1970s) had one, but it wasn't wildly-priced or anything. Hit the power switch, and the turntable would rise up a bit. I'm very-unreliably-quasi-recalling it was made by Phillips N.V. ... (Sordello, if you're reading this, please update/correct me.)

  23. Matthew "The Worst Writer on the Internet" Saroff

    Mag Lev turntable, but they don't have a linear tracking arm? Lame!

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