The Wonderful World of Turntable Design


A belt driven TT with an idler? Cool


No it’s just a fast spinning & heavy external flywheel. If I recall that deck was made by one Mick Gray now retired but formerly of GB Tools who made the Zeta arm & the Mission Mechanic.


I am suspicious of anyone naming anything ‘Dark Energy’. Not so much the execution of the devise but rather as it reminds me of a goth girl I once dated who reeked of patchouli, her curious experiments were in no way fun.


Really? It looks like the motor is back left, which drives the idler front left, which then drives the platter


Was that to overcome the slowing of the platter during bass heavy passages etc? Given the mass of the platter, it seems a bit of a belt and braces approach.

How long do these massive platter belt drive decks take to come up to speed, and do they stretch belts quickly?


??? The flywheel/pulley front left is driving the platter via a belt.

An idler drive deck usually has a rubber edged wheel in contact with the motor pulley and the inside or outside of the platter. There isn’t usually a belt involved (Thorens 124 excepted)


And idler also doesn change the ratio, which that fly wheel does. I want one, more heavy spinny things are good.





Hope it wasn’t a real Strat.


Replying to the comment that there is no need to make turntables any more complex than a cutting lathe…
The cutting lathe is a particularly sophisticated piece of electromechanical engineering. And a turntable? Well, compare an old gramophone…with a steel needle on a heavy arm, very basic stuff indeed, and sounding like a telephone conversation, to the sophistication of a modern or late 20th century turntable/arm/cartidge…so different. The sophistication and development of the design and the precision of manufacturing is the reason that they sound so much more realistic.
To some extent your thesis holds true. As long as it’s a similarly mechanically sound system, it should be fine under the same circumstances as a cutting lathe. However, the circumstances for cutting and playback ARE very different. When I play music, I don’t play it silently. So the volume in my room will affect the turntable / tonearm etc…all this feedback is what the suspension or isolation system is there to help with. Also, a cutting lathe is to a large extent a much more ‘solid’ system. The variables associated with choice of tonearm, cartridge etc mean that all combinations will contribute to differences in audible resonances, etc. And finally, it doesn’t really matter whether the cutting lathe is in a big or a small room as long as it is a silent room preferably with a solid floor. In contrast, the room that you play an album back in will affect the turntable AND the resultant sound to a huge degree.


This is a valid point. There are several ways around it though. I confess I’m surprised that turntable/plinth manufacturers often incorporate features to isolate acoustic noise (for want of a better word) which is transmitted through solid pathways but seem to do very little to shield against airborne noise. I suppose this is because the obvious thing would be to put a box made of something acoustically dense and absorbent over the whole turntable. But this would ruin the view of all that shiny metal and I can see why that might be unpopular.

When I was a teenager I used to visit the house of a very wealthy local hi-fi fan and he had the turntable for his system in a neighbouring room to which, IIRC, he had had an extra thickness of blockwork added, with a cavity between it and the party wall, to give huge isolation to airborne noise. At that stage he had the problem that it took him a few seconds after he had lowered the arm to walk round to the listening room. So he missed the first few seconds of the music. He was investigating the possibility of a remote arm-lowering jig though.



By the time the Tories have finished, you’ll be able to employ a servant to do that for the price of a potato.


Did you suggest a digital delay buffer?


I see what you did there :slight_smile: !

But if, by any chance, you meant an electronic one, well this was the early 70’s so digital audio wasn’t very far advanced. And I’d have been perhaps 15, so not really up to speed with it in any case.

For old times’ sake I just googled the guy in question and came across a report of his listening room, which doubled as a recording studio, on the 14th page of the PDF here (p394 of the mag) He could clearly have afforded someone to raise and lower his tonearm if he’d wanted to.



I stumbled across this earlier on the Vinyl Factory YouTube account. Interesting look at how Rega make the RP8


Wow! Is that the room you saw then?




Yes, it doubled up as a large and very impressive living room. This chap was also on the committee of the local concert club (we were a subscription club which organised six classical music concerts in the town each year) and since he had far and away the biggest room we held committee meetings there. I didn’t know very much at all about his recording activities but he did have a decent concert grand piano in the room.