The Most Expensive Turntable I've Never Heard Of

Michael James -- Sun, 06/05/2011 - 16:54

This is not a serious discussion.

First ClearAudio came out with their $150,000.00 turntable called the "Statement". Which was then the most expensive turntable made.

Then Goldmund came out with their $300,000.00 "Reference ll - Turntable", which was hailed as now the most expenisive turntable made.

Now, like the preceeding two German companys, a third German company has come out with the ulitmate turntable for those with discriminating tastes:
AV Design Haus has created  the $650,000.00  Dereneville VPM

(photo captured from a site selling this turntable)
I must admit, these turntables are interesting to see, but really, how much more in playback reproduction are  you getting  for  your dollar or deutschmark?

cmalak -- Sun, 06/05/2011 - 17:10

Like everything else in high-end audio, turntable design adheres to the law of diminishing returns, meaning to get the last ounce or 1% of performance, the design/engineering required becomes so complex and so expensive that you have to spend large $ increments for small amounts of improved performance. But here's the rub, for the enthusiast with deep pockets, that last ounce or 1% performance may be worth an incremental $100K, whereas for you or me or someone else it may not. Usually there are other factors that come in to play, including prestige, bragging rights, etc...Finally, state of the art components today, usually deliver trickle down benefits to a  manufacturer's more entry- or mid-level offerings over time, so statement products deliver positive benefits to the rank and file audiophile down the road as well.

Michael James -- Sun, 06/05/2011 - 17:42

I think that your last sentence makes a very good  point..
Although, on a lighter note, I can't imagine "Scanner-camera to the empty groove recognition" technology, working it's way down to those who can't afford a Zonda.

Do you want to better or do you want to be good?

returnstackerror -- Mon, 06/06/2011 - 02:32

but.....  can the person purchasing said turntable actually hear the 0.1% "advantage" this turntable might present.
Using the Zonda as a continuing example, owing one and being able to drive the car to its limit are two distinct things.

john195 -- Wed, 06/08/2011 - 06:48


Derainer -- Sat, 07/02/2011 - 16:32

Dear friends of high end audio,

please let me explain something about this Phonomaschine and the price. I’m designing, developing and manufacturing this Phonomaschine (TT) all by myself!!!

I started more than7 years ago with researching and studying the market. Since 3 years I’m manufacturing and testing this TT.
I have taken the best parts, treat them and put together all the best components, what high tech industry offers today.
(Sorry, but my English is nor very good.)

I’m not a Company, like all the others. I have no employees, just two friends, who work with me.
They both work at a big electronic-company and they designed a totally new electronic-control-unit with special microcontrollers.

This company designed and developed special microchip-technology to run this machine. For example: the stepper-motor for the tangential unit does 800 steps/one turn.
The especially for me new developed microprocessors-chips now treat this motor with 256 micro steps.
So we are now able to move the tangential unit very smooth, with the smallest movement of 0,000024 mm !!!

The Platter has magnetic bearings and it has 20,5 kg of weight and underneath is a magnetic coded ring with 24.000 impulses.
This help us to get a speed tolerance of only 0,01 %
And, yes it works very smooth with the two frequency controlled motors and the drive belts.

That may be enough highlights for now.

Something to the costs: I spent about 180.000 $ for all that material and electronic developing.
And it took me more than 3.000 hrs work until today. More than 500 hrs we will need to complete this machine.
If you now count all this together, you will understand, why this TT will cost that much.

And this is also important to know: It is just a study, only this one exist, and perhaps it will be manufactured, only by order, and only one per year.

But maybe, I will keep this Phonomachine VPM2010-1 only for myself.
Because this project is the only one and the greatest target of my life.
If you now call me a crazy fool, I agree with you.
But please be patient with me and my English, until this machine is completed.

With my best regards

The way is the target... (Wernherr von Braun)

Aleks -- Wed, 07/06/2011 - 14:40

Dear Sir Derainer,

how many degrees of freedom does your tonearm have? How many of these degrees of freedom are motorized? Are any of these degrees of freedom rotational or all of them are translational?

Derainer -- Wed, 07/06/2011 - 15:27

Dear Aleks,
as I wrote in my post, my english is not the very best, sorry.
I will try to explane, how my tonearm works. The tonarm is gimbal-mounted and has nearly 15 degrees freedom in all directions.
The length of the tonearm, from the gimbal to the cartridge is 145 mm or nearly 6 inch. It has a special hydraulic damping-sytem to eliminate all vibrations.
On the same level sidewise the cartridge, is a laser in exakt position. this laser measures the distance to the cartridge.
It must be exactly 16 mm +- 0,1 mm. If now the cartridge follows the groove, the laser will recognise this, an he gives this information to the microcontrolled
elektronik board. Than a stepper motor moves the tangential linear guide unit.
The stepper has 800 full steps/one turn and is controlled with 265 microsteps/full step This means, that the smallest movement is 0,000024 mm
The result of this technique is: that absolutely no force is treating the needle at any time. And the tracking-angle ist mostly 0,02 to 0,05 dergrees.
The VTA is adjustable from 15 to 30 degrees.  Sorry, but I hope, I could help you...
Best regards Rainer

The way is the target... (Wernherr von Braun)

Michael James -- Wed, 07/06/2011 - 16:12

Hello Derainer,
Thank you for taking the time to provide information about your turntable that you have developed.
Your English is very good and I know that all here appreciate the effort you took to communicate to us in another language..
Research and development, as you have stated, can be very expensive and often times is the reason why not just audio equipment (like your turntable) electronics, watches, cars, etc. can cost so much.
But as always in audio, the big question is the sound...
We know that the quaility of sound from an mc  cartridges can correlate to the cost of the cartridge, until it reaches a certain point, where it then seems the cost to sound quality ration appears to plateau. At that certain cost level (one reviewer put a specific dollar amount to that threshold as being $4k) sound differences are very subtle to some people and nonexistent to others. And then of course that sound quality can also depend on tone arm, phonostage, amp, cables, etc. as to how pronounced those differences are.
My question was (and I applied that to this discussion), how much more music is  a $20,000.00. cartridge providing over a $9000.00 cartridge?

I know that there are people who are wealthy collectors and willing to pay upwards of $3000.00 for a rare LP, that find the cost of the turntable of little concern. That is if they think that they are able to hear even certain nuances that no other table can wring out of a recording.... Others are willing to pay that price for a turntable, if it is only for the workmanship that went into it's construction. Watch collectors have that mindset.
You have techonologies that you have introduced that are nonexistent in other tables, so there is the appeal of the workmanship to some as well the uniqueness of the limited production of your turntable.
You have invested a lot of thought, time, money and more importantly, pride into your turntable.
My question here, is still, the sound..
I know someone who has the ClearAudio Statement and I've heard a record played on it.. Their choice of music that they played, was on old mono jazz record and to me, it sounded like an old mono jazz recording on that turntable. There just simply wasn't more "information" that the Statement  could reveal over any other turntable with that record.
Thank you once again for taking the time to come here and tell us about your tt.
My best regards,

Do you want to better or do you want to be good?

Aleks -- Thu, 07/07/2011 - 09:31

Dear Michael,

I agree with you, and not only I. Everybody knows that the real high end sound is not the strong point of the analog turntables, does not matter how expensive they might be. The strong point of the analog sound is the absence of the digital distortion, jitter, which causes fast fatigue. Most of great music for listening was recorded in the analog era. When they are being digitized the result is almost the same: digital distortion. That is why many recording artists still record their music on the analog gear.
I did hear $20K Koetsu cartridge on the Frank Schroder's tonearm (~$17K) and Giro turntable ($44K) that made Brahms's violin concerto, played by Nathan Milstein sound brand new. It was magic.
As a mechanical engineer I can see a lot of room for improvement in the design of all analog gear. The effort of our German friend Derainer is very understandable. As a matter of fact, I think the price of his turntable is much too low. The machine in the test lab of the similar design and function would cost $3.5 million. However the market of high end audio is still growing. We have not seen the prices that reflect the real effort and investment of the designers. It is not fair to judge the price of the audio turntable by comparison with the cheap gimmicks.

Derainer -- Thu, 07/07/2011 - 01:14

Good morning Michael,
at first I wont to say thank you for your comment and for your understanding of my idea and my work about this Phonomachine.
Well, You are absolutly right in talking about the chain behind the turntable, beginning with the cartridge, then the amplifire and at least the speakers.
My intentions are to construct the almost very best technic, that is possible today. It is very important for me to have the feeling in my Mind and in my stomach, that I have done the very best, that is possible. To know, that every cartridge can play at its best conditions, to show whats really in it, is one of my targets.

I designed and build this TT without any compromise. This has no one, no company, done before. The platter bearing ist unique, the angel control is unique, the scanning of the emty grooves to elect different titels is unique, the remote control via I-Pad or other touchscreen is unique... and so on.
So this all is dissertation and developing for just one TT. And perhaps I will build one or two more in the future, but just by order.

But I'm thinking of the Lathe-Cutting machines of today. They all are very old, and there is no idea, what will be in maybe 5 or 10 years, when the last Cutting-Machines will quit working. And you should know, all those Cuttin-Machines work with old technic from the 70th or the 80th. It's like a museum, I think...

Now: my Phonomachine ist the basis for a new Cutting-Machine era. With a few design changes an some aditional technics you will have a modern Cutting-Machine... with the latest onboard electronic, to produce a new era of Records-LPs. That is my real Target, my ultimate goal.
And by knowing this, it is important to test all possibilitys, whithout any comprimise, and of corse to get money for that future project.
With my best regards to you and
to all the other members in this forum.
Rainer from Germany

The way is the target... (Wernherr von Braun)

Aleks -- Thu, 07/07/2011 - 09:34

Dear Derainer
I would like to join Michael James in complimenting your English and thanking you for your effort to communicate about your amazing development. I wish you the best of luck and success.
If I understood you correctly, the tonearm has two degrees of freedom. One of them, rotation in the horizontal plane is motorized by the servo motor with the optical feedback. Is it correct?
Can you please tell anything about your approach to the platter bearing design?
It is also very interesting, how do you measure the vertical and the horizontal tracking angles?
Do you like the sound of your turntable? Are you satisfied with the sound quality? Is there an album that you have been listening all your life, and now this album sounds like you have never heard before?

Derainer -- Thu, 07/07/2011 - 13:13

Dear Aleks,
the tonearm has all directions of freedom, because it is gimbal mounted. And there ist no force, that moves the tonearm itself.
Just the bracket of the gimbal will be moved by a hightech linear guide unit.
The platter with its weight of 20 kilogramm has a magnetig bearing underneth, and it is stabilized with two small rollerbearings in the center.
This two rollerbearings have been especialy designd from a German company. They are called "No Noise Roller Bearings"
And they make absolutely no noise...!

Underneth is a coded metall ring with 24.000 magnetic impulses. This is the reference for the high precision speed.
The speed tolerances are +- 0,01 %
That have never been reached before.
The heart of all features is the electronic control unit. This is also totally new developed by two electronic engeniers.
They have used the latest computer technology.

About the sound: sorry, but I hav'nt heard the sound until now, because I'm still working at this machine. In about 4 weeks I will be able to start this TT.
And then I will have the first results in sound. But I'm shure, that it will be a great event.
I have nearly 20 LP-Records, that I produced myself some years ago. They will give me a good reference.
As you must know, I have been running my own soundstudio for more than 25 years. And of course I have produced audio-CD as well.
And, yes, I know the difference.
I'm very sorry, that it is not possible to post some drawings or pictures. So in this case it is not easy to explane with words only.
my very best regards

The way is the target... (Wernherr von Braun)

Aleks -- Thu, 07/07/2011 - 15:56

Thank you Derainer, all is clear

Derainer -- Fri, 07/08/2011 - 22:32

Hi Aleks,
thats fine... by the way, is your last name perhaps Bakman? and, do you live in Denver Colorado?
Best regards Rainer

The way is the target... (Wernherr von Braun)

Aleks -- Sat, 07/09/2011 - 08:46

Yes, Derainer, I am Aleks Bakman, who lives in Denver, Colorado.  How did you find out that?  Am I famous in Germany?

Derainer -- Sat, 07/09/2011 - 09:14

Hi Aleks, I thought so...
Well, a few days ago a German Analog-Fan was talking about Onedof in a German Audio-Forum.
I had a short look the website from Onedof and I saw the Name of the Engineer -Aleks-
And so I thought, that might be you. Well, it is nice to meet you, because no one else knows how much work it is,
to design a very good TT.
Best regards, Rainer

The way is the target... (Wernherr von Braun)

Aleks -- Sat, 07/09/2011 - 09:45

Oh, thank you very much, Derainer.
I am a mechanical engineer and have built my turntable as such. I feel that I am missing your skills of a recording specialist. For me the turntable is all about degrees of freedom, load paths, constrains, stiffness, mass and damping ratio. For you it is a musical instrument. You are closer to the music than me.
I am worshiping the music and I am trying to build the musical instrument without being a musician or a recording engineer like you.
Again the best of luck to you.
Could you please give a link to the German Analog-Fan and, if possible explain in short words what do they say about Onedof TT in German?
Danke schön (forgive my bad German)

Derainer -- Sat, 07/09/2011 - 09:47

Hi Aleks,
here is the link... I hope it works. But it is almost in German language.
By the way, I was on a four week vacationin the States, and I'm back just two weeks ago. I have'nt been to Dever, just California, Vevada, Arizona and Utha
We drove 4000 Miles whith an RV from El Monte. I took nearly 3000 pictures. My wife and me, we had a very good time.
best whishes to you also, Rainer
You can contact me at my website: Have a nice weekend.

The way is the target... (Wernherr von Braun)

Aleks -- Sat, 07/09/2011 - 14:44

Thank you, dear friend Derainer. If you think that I can possibly help solving some engineering problems, I would love to be helpful. Strictly on the friendship basis, no charge.
I have read the posts on the analog-forum. They are laughing. Well, I would be laughing with them if it was funny. I do need criticism to make my product and my site better. There is no bad criticism.
What do you think of my site and product? I promise to be grateful for any criticism.

If you are in Denver in October, you can hear my turntable at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2011.

I am glad you had a wonderful vacation in states. Did you visit any national parks? Did you post your pictures on the internet, so I could see them?

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