It seems as though a new turntable is launched every day such is the plethora of new decks hitting the marketplace. Many are true Goliath’s, incredibly sophisticated designs made of the most exotic materials costing ever more outlandish sums of money and many more are clearly ‘wannabes’ cashing in on a buoyant market.
First announced more than four years ago, Audio Note (UK) started work on what would be their first in-house all newly designed ‘affordable’ turntable. Many of the design principles have been taken from their ultimate deck, the Reference but as with all good engineering projects, simplified; thus proving the original concept to be sound.
Finally after many supplier set-backs and delays the final result, the TT3 is with us and oh boy was it worth the wait?
Outwardly the deck looks very simple; a solid plinth on top of which are mounted not one, or even two, but three motors! These turn a lightweight acrylic platter by means of a flat belt around its circumference, each of the three high torque AC motors being mounted equidistant from each other. Within the gaps between each motor is the suspended sub-chassis that is ‘Y’ shaped; one leg of which is mounted the arm and the other two terminates with a weight the mass of which is exactly that of the former. This sub-chassis is suspended buy means of three ‘Pram’ springs mounted on hidden turrets beneath the sub-chassis each of which is adjustable for levelling but no ‘tuning’ is needed as the weight is evenly distributed.
Power is provided by one of three external power supply options PSU1, 2 & 3, each more sophisticated, accurate and costly than its predecessor; all have switchable 33 & 45.
Unlike the vast majority of turntable designs that feature ever more massive platters that rely on the flywheel effect to keep the rotational speed at a constant, the TT3’s platter is intentionally light to reduce the flywheel effect to the minimum. The overriding principal here is total control of the platter’s rotation via high torque motors and a highly accurate power supply governing them. This may seem at first an easy task but in practice is anything but, as the motors must be very finely toleranced and the power supply equally so or the motors will oscillate with disastrous results.
With this arrangement the platter’s equivalent mass is many times greater but without the potential over-shoot associated with the flywheel effect.
First listen immediately confirms that they have got it right such is the absolute solidity of the presentation. There are very few decks at any price that can produce such incredible pitch accuracy in my experience let alone in such a compact and easy to live with design.
From such an impressive foundation every other element of the sound reproduction sits. Pitch and timing are flawless as is the pace. Weight of sound when called for is in abundance, which is especially necessary for large scale orchestral work or rock music, yet the most delicate of sounds are easily rendered, such are the dynamics on offer. Sound-staging is rock solid too.
When asked by Audio Note (UK) MD ‘ how does it sound’ I replied ‘I can’t hear it’ which is the best compliment I can think of as the TT3 just allows you to be immersed in the music
One of only two in the U.K. at present, the TT3 is now available for demo with either PSU1 or PSU3.
£5950-£10450 excl. arm & cartridge
Audio Note arms from £806
Audio Note cartridges from £380
Come on in and have a listen at Audio T Reading.