Vinyl

TechDAS Premium is coming. Dream Turntables for 2018 by Rom Beyerle

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The Worlds Best Turntables 2018?

Announced briefly late last year, TechDAS are following the 2017 release of Air Force One Premium, with premium versions of both Air Force Two and Air Force Three. 

TechDAS Who?

Whilst now a well established company in its own right following its launch of the TechDAS Air Force One in 2013, taking the high end audio world by storm, TechDAS cemented themselves at the forefront of turntable technology, design and manufacturing. Their first class build, performance and innovative features does also have a strong heritage proceeding it.

TechDAS designer Hideaki Nisikawa-san was a product designer and technical manager at none other than the famed Micro-Seiki of Japan who were responsible for manufacturing amazing quality and state of the turntables from the mid 70's up until their last unit shipped in 2001. With an almost cult like following many Micro-Seiki models are still highly regarded in the audio world today. The collectable flagship models still fetching very high prices when seen (rarely) on the used market. After the closure of turntable production at Micro Seiki, Nishikawa-san, still involved with analogue audio, bided time until the technologies for better implementing features like the innovative air bearing, and vacuum hold down had matured to the point he was happy to accept the challenge put to him by TechDAS parent company Stella Inc. of creating simply the best reasonably sized turntable in the world. In late 2013 he completed just that with the release of Air Force One. 2018 looks to be another very exciting landmark year for TechDAS.

Amongst the second to none build quality, outstanding technical and aesthetic design and stellar ergonomic usability are TechDAS's unique core underpinning technologies.

  • All TechDAS Turntables use an Air Bearing system. The foundations for this sophisticated technology are housed in a seperate box containing the audio quality PSU's, silent air pump & compressor, condenser and regulators. This isolated and extremely well regulated piped air supply connects to the rear of the turntable chassis and floats the weight of the heavy rotating platter on a tiny pocket of air. The advantage of this is to effectively eliminate the bearing noise, one of the largest remaining potential sources of noise in high end turntables. This also facilitates the use of the very high mass platters on TechDAS Turntables.
  • All TechDAS Turntables also implement an air fed vacuum system integrated into the surface of the platter. The record is placed on the platter where soft rubber inner and outer seals couple to the underside of the record, a press of the suction button on the turntable then creates an airtight seal and sucks the record firmly onto the platter. This has the effect of drastically reducing any playback caused vibration or resonance within the record from the stylus contact, whilst also firmly locking the record in place in a perfectly flat position. Slightly warped or bent records are no longer and issue and firmly held flat for playback. This has the effect of further and significantly lowering the noise-floor, creating blacker backrounds, more audible detail retrieval and an exceptionally spacious and lifelike soundstage.

Air Force Premium, What?

Both "Premium" version upgrades are far more significant than some simple cosmetic changes, and signal TechDAS's continuing pursuits in state of the art vinyl replay. These Premium editions clearly include very welcomed trickle down technology from the Air Force One Premium and their continuing R&D work for the quietly discussed, yet to come Air Force Zero (projected pricing ~$400,000.00AUD)

New features and Improvements are listed within the attached press release but to detail what we know exactly regarding the AF2 Premium and AF3 Premium so far.

A brand new upgraded single box power supply unit, this time containing a large capacity air condenser very similar to that of Air Force One Premium. The condenser allowing for better regulation and isolation from any potential fluctuations in pressure or flow in the air streams. Both Air Force Two Premium and Air Force Three Premium gain the dual air pumps design from Air Force One Premium, meaning completely seperate pumps running one pump for the Air Bearing and one for the Vacuum hold down.

Both models gain revised and extremely heavy new platters designed and created from a gunmetal material and a new material for the top inlay. These platters are hugely increased in mass from the already heavy platters on the regular Air Force versions. At 34kg for AF2 Premium and 29kg for AF3 premium, these platters will have extremely high rotational energy for even further improved speed stability. For reference sake that is twice the weight of competing flagship products from other manufacturers like Kronos Pro & Dohmann Helix and substantially heavier than the monster on the Kuzma Stabi XL. Further improvements to the air bearing allows the use of these extremely heavy platters which would be completely impractical on a regular mechanical bearing.

The suspension system has also been tweaked and improved to accommodate the much heavier platters. All these improvements, many directly taken or derived from improvements made to Air Force One Premium, will undoubtedly take these TechDAS turntables even higher in performance and closer than ever to the music.

Hear it, WHERE?

Sonic Purity retail showroom and store in Moorabbin, Melbourne is a constantly evolving space for high end audio and music. Sharing the experience with discerning customers on a daily basis of what is achievable in 2018 for the best sound for their home, apartment or studio is why we love what we do. We welcome visitors local and interstate to make a time to see, hear and touch our exclusive product range.

Many people have never heard vinyl sound as detailed and resolute, as immediate and present or with the type of authentic musical timbre and energy which we coax out of every turntable system we supply. The question often beckons, will I hear the difference? Is vinyl really that much better? Well as always that is for the listener to decide, but the process of listening, learning an appreciating the qualities of good sound, can not be done without first hearing a range of well put together and setup systems. Our showroom is just the place to do that. TechDAS is always featured in Sonic Purity Showroom, alongside our other premium turntables from Kuzma, SME, Thales & Dr. Feickert.

Ok, WHEN?

Air Force Two & Three Premium are due to arrive sometime in February. We always have TechDAS in stock to demonstrate and regular Air Force One, Two and Three will remain in the TechDAS Lineup and are all brilliant performers in their own right.  A launch Event will be held when the new premium models arrive for new and existing customers and vinylphiles to have an aural taste of truly otherworldly vinyl replay available from the Air Force Turntables. Please sign up to our newsletter should you wish to be notified, or simply make a booking to come and hear a TechDAS turntable today.

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*MUNICH NEWS* Slim V2 - Thales Tonarm Introduces the TTT-Slim II by Rom Beyerle

Another huge weekend for the audio world at Munich High End trade show 2017 has come to a close. We are busily updating our website to reflect the many new additions to product lines, and excitedly fielding enquiries from those already in the know.

Thales Tonarm's innovative minimalist battery powered turntable designs have been a favourite of ours for quite some time. The updated TTT-Compact II released last year was widely applauded for its next level performance, in our demonstration system at the Melbourne International HiFi Show 2016. Together with their highly popular Tonearms "Simplicity" and "Easy", Thales turntables have found homes with many Australian music lovers, who appreciate the very dynamic, detailed performance and minimal design. By compressing every element of the turntable construction, Thales are able to create extraordinary mechanical stability, unobtainable by many larger more elaborate designs; all within a compact footprint.

This year Thales have shown their brand new TTT-Slim II Turntable. The smaller sibling to the TTT-Compact II has received a comprehensive facelift and is stunning in both visual appeal, performance and ergonomics. New transport spacers, high density platter inlay and updated motor decoupling dampening system are just a few of the latest improvements over the original TTT-Slim.

Updated TTT-S II Product Page, and downloads HERE

The Slovenian High End Audio Experience - Kuzma Analogue Academy by Rom Beyerle

Hotel Zaplata Preddvor, Slovenia

THE SLOVENIAN HIGH END AUDIO EXPERIENCE - KUZMA ANALOGUE ACADEMY

With the excitement building towards the Munich High End show- just a little under two weeks away, my thoughts are cast back to around this time last year. I was lucky enough to be invited, and attend the inaugural Kuzma Analogue Academy, an amazing concept of Kuzma Analogue owner and founder Franc Kuzma.

Kuzma Analogue have long cemented themselves as one of the world’s leading high end turntable designers and manufacturers, with legendary analogue reference equipment. Such as; the Kuzma Stabi Reference turntable, XLDC and most recent, Stabi M turntable. Not to be forgotten are the exceptional reference tonearms such as the renowned Kuzma 4Point, Airline and the many variants of the Stogi S and Stogi Reference. Kuzma has forged a huge reputation for their tremendous build quality, iconic design and superb technical, ergonomic and of course sonic performance.

With distributors on six continents and dealers in more countries than I care to count, Franc Kuzma extended the generous invitation for a limited number of distributors, press and dealers to visit the home of Kuzma Analogue in Slovenia. An opportunity to bring expertise together and explore and learn Franc's own tricks, techniques and philosophy on turntable setup, with an official exam and certification from the Analogue Academy at the end.

For many of the twenty odd attendees from as far afield as Brazil, Thailand, Japan, Malaysia and Australia. It was our first time to Slovenia, and a real pleasure to experience 4-5 days of Slovenian hospitality, humour and tradition. Arriving mid afternoon to Hotel Zaplata, where the entire small traditional style Slovenian hotel had been booked out by Kuzma following the huge interest in the Analogue Academy (originally numbers were predicted for 8-12people). We were greeted by the fantastically friendly staff at the hotel, a huge Kuzma banner at the front door, flagged by the giant taxidermy animal window display, boy do they like hunting and animal wall hangings there! Before I could sit my bags down I was greeted by Franc and invited to meet the many attendees who had already arrived. Basking in the afternoon spring sunshine, looking up to the nearby snow sprinkled peak from the quaint roadside hotel; everyone enjoyed some local brews or wine and got acquainted.

Dinner was a traditional Slovenian feast of many mainstay dishes, Franc was the ultimate host in opening the Analogue Academy, welcoming us all and giving thorough introduction for us to Slovenian lifestyle, food(Franc himself had played a big part in designing the menu for the evening) and their slight inclination for a beer or wine. A few bets, taunts and challenges were made regarding passing the Academy setup exam for a few days time and we all hit the hay.

Friday began with a very thorough outline of the course content and practical plans. Followed by a valuable series of comprehensive theoretical lectures from Franc and his team on analogue design, challenges, Kuzma products and their own setup methods, tools and techniques.

 Franc, whilst at the top of his game and an absolute expert in the field, graciously remains very open to other opinions, set-up tools and people’s hands-on experiences with different equipment. Many of the distributors have been working closely with Kuzma for many years. These are professionals with vast analogue experience, who are dealing with real world system setups, and troubleshooting on a daily basis. Analogue setup experts who provide the very best service possible, to supply and support Kuzma products all over the world. Whilst many customers have experience and skills on analogue setup, to extract the very best from an analogue source, there are very tight tolerances to adhere to. When available, it is always suggested that turntable setup is carried out by Kuzma product specialists. This is, and should be your retailers mission, to setup, oversee and ensure that you are getting the absolute best you can from your precision instrument!

Moving on, with hugely filled stomachs we were given the opportunity to work on all Kuzma products, and practice the Kuzma setup techniques. In-between, small groups were ferried off to visit Frank Kuzma's own office. His astounding record collection, and amazing high end system were showcased, and we enjoyed a taste of his own reference system used for testing and comparing new designs.

A luxurious dinner in a nearby village saw us all rolling out of the bus for bed after a feast of locally sourced ingredients. This included a head chef who hunts and cures his own salamis, sausages and many other meats…A carnivore’s paradise!

Saturday was much more practical, with testing and exams. All attendees passing with flying colours (of course), but not without strict assessment, triple checking by the fastidious production manager and employees. These gentlemen eat, live and breathe the precision that goes into each and every part, process and innovation of the Kuzma products, and expect it will be maximised with a setup of exacting standards.

Some interesting new products were discussed and shown by various distributors, including the AFI FLAT record flattener, and an audio specific piezoelectric vibration platform. Some varying ideals and analogue techniques were discussed. A great talk was given by journalist Roy Gregory, on his own take on analogue audio; which held some terrific discussion points for everyone in the industry, and audio passionates alike.

A visit to the Kuzma production house was extremely interesting, seeing the many production parts laid out in mass, vintage machining lathes still in service-better quality than what you buy new today. Assembly desks, electronics and wiring construction all in an extremely clean and well laid out light filled workshop, still buzzing with some late minute operations at around 6pm on a Saturday. Vinyl audiophiles wait for no man.

A celebration dinner at one of Ljubljana’s finest restaurants was spectacular and rather theatrical in its unfolding. Franc Kuzma continued to offer bus ride commentary, about the history and insights into Slovenia, and the surrounding areas as we went by. We met outside in a quirky outdoor beer garden, filled with antique machinery and interestingly repurposed and recycled furniture. Welcome drinks were already on order.

Inside the ambient lit “antique shop” feel restaurant, rows of records lined the back bar, and on a wall platform was nothing less than an original Kuzma reference turntable. After the greeting from the staff, it was apparent that Franc Kuzma is somewhat of a celebrity here, and from all reports, all over Slovenia. The charismatic, pride filled person that he is, it's easy to see why. 

 A huge feast saw us take over the entire restaurant, forming one giant horseshoe shaped table where the staff brought dish after dish and the head chef came to carve his way into everyone’s memories forever. Such was the performance and enthusiasm all night, no wonder Franc loves this place.

Terrific hospitality, new friends and stories aside, the opportunity to visit Slovenia alone was well worth the trip across the world. But the content, thorough planning and execution combined with the melting pot of knowledge amassed from all over the world, shared so openly for the benefit of all involved, made the first Kuzma Analogue Academy simply an outstanding event. All credit to Kuzma for creating such a terrific concept, and executing it with such style and thought. One can only hope we will see another KAA someday soon.

All the best to the Kuzma team at Munich High End 2017. I believe they have some exciting new product announcements to share in the coming weeks. Now to find a recipe for that famous Slovenian "Layer Cake".

*Kuzma were kind enough to provide a digital copy of the textbook theory from the academy you can download here. There is also plenty of other reading on the Kuzma website.