This year’s most expensive turntable is…

The job of a turntable is pretty straightforward. It has to spin a vinyl record at an exact speed while imparting as little vibration and noise to the sensitive stylus being dragged through the grooves.

If you want get into/get back into vinyl, there are many good reasonably-priced turntables from manufactures like Pro-Ject (my favourite), Rega, Audio-Technica and a few others. You can get up and running, complete with a good cartridge for well under $400.

But if you have the means and the obsession, why stop there?

Digital Trends has gone through the world’s most expensive turntables. They’re not only machines that spin records with insane precision but are also works of art.

The second most-expensive turntable currently available is the Goldmund Reference II which retails fo US$300,000.

Wow, that’s pretty. Only 25 have been hand-crafted in Geneva with each model featuring “a motor that has been vibration-shielded by over 30 pounds of brass, wiring insulated with Teflon, and a liquid nitrogen-rectified belt.”

But this year Most Expensive Crown goes to the AV Design Haus Dereneville VPM. It looks…weird.

It has a solid Corian chassis, a platter that weighs 45 pounds, the rotation of which is monitored 24,000 per revolution. And just in case you really want to watch your records being played, there’s a miniature camera that lets you watch the stylus track in the grooves as the record plays.

How much? Just US$650,000.

Too rich? There are a few slightly, uh, cheaper turntables here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

4 thoughts on “This year’s most expensive turntable is…

  • February 24, 2020 at 12:35 pm
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    I assume that for $650k it’s a fully automatic model?

    Reply
  • February 24, 2020 at 1:03 pm
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    These turntables are using mass loading to inhibit or avert unwanted micro-vibrations reaching the stylus/cartridge/tonearm. As noted, those vibrations either add to or cancel out the wanted micro-micro-vibration of the stylus as it tracks the record groove. We should also note that this is overkill, rather like using a sledgehammer to crack a walnut OK, walnuts are hard to crack …. but i digress. A simpler and highly effective method is to isolate the arm/cartridge stylus as well as the platter via a tuned spring suspension. The method was famously originated by AR and later improved upon by Thorens and, most notably, the Linn Sondek LP12. Machine the platter so that it’s main weight is around the outer rim to help ensure stable speed via the flywheel effect. Rigidly couple the platter and tonearm/cartridge/stylus assembly together then suspend them from the chassis. Tapered coil springs with a tuned resonance below 10Hz ensures the suspension can effectively eliminate unwanted vibration. Using three such springs allows for easy leveling. Further isolating the entire turntable by placing it on a non-resonant shelf and, if possible, some distance away from the speakers may offer further benefit.
    You can still buy the basic version of the Linn Sondek for about $2,500. Musically, rhythmically, it’s matches up well against the humongous turntables shown in this article. BUT, to match these big guys on an absolute level in speed control and inhibiting vibration from any source including the floor, you would need to go for Linn’s most refined iteration of the LP12 turntable which costs around $25,000. Still, that’s a bargain price compared to the items showcased here. Wouldn’t be fun to have them all at home for a comparison? Oh, boy ….

    Reply
  • February 24, 2020 at 11:28 pm
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    🙂 I’m using a gramophone and also an 8 track stereo turntable console and both are grooving great!

    Reply
  • February 25, 2020 at 9:41 am
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    What you forgot to mention is thst you still need a phono cartridge that will mate, quality wise to this table and a great phono stage/step-up transformer to boost the milluvolt signals. Certainly another $50k will be needed for that.

    Or buy an SME model 12 with an Ortofan black with a Sutherland phono stage snd with the savings buy you kids a nice house.

    Reply

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