I think (and hope!) that you will find this turntable intriguing.
In my analog journey I progressed from a few REGA's to a Well-Tempered Reference. I absolutely loved it and the sound it made and thought the entire design was ingenious. However, though the Reference Arm was rock-stable when set up, I found myself constantly tempted to "fiddle" with its settings (which is very easy with its design!). I ended up selling it to get another "fix-and-forget" REGA hoping to get back to just enjoying records.
When the upgrade bug came around again, I wanted the design, physics, and elegance of the Well-Tempered without adding back lots of other adjustment "variables." I thought that if I could combine the best WT components with a REGA arm, then I could always upgrade with one of the many REGA compatible arms in the future if I "had" too. The folks at Transparent (then the distributor of WT) were actually very nice and willing to sell me a complete set of components ("hi-fi like the good old days"), so I set about designing, re-visiting my undergraduate physics work, learning all about extensional and constrained-layer damping, etc. I wanted absolute rigidity of the plinth, perfect maintenance of alignment between components, ease of set-up, optimal damping, minimization of spring constants, etc.
I knew that Rockport used pneumatic isolation stands for their Sirius turntable, but didn't know where they sourced them and thought I had a stroke of innovation with my final design until I contacted Newport and they told me they supplied them for Rockport and then I found an old picture in Stereophile of transcription tables they had designed and built for Sony that looked very similar to my design! The stand is a 30" x 30" Newport vibration isolation workstation. It has a pneumatic isolator in each leg that isolates the plinth from vibrations down to 1.8 Hz in the vertical plane and 1.3 Hz in the horizontal plane. It automatically re-levels (i.e., after pushing down on one side of the plinth). The stands are typically used to support electron microscopes and the tables on which laser experiments are conducted.
The plinth is made of alternating layers of aircraft grade aluminum plate and isodamp, an advanced constrained-layer-damping polymer (also used to damp the hulls of nuclear submarines). The platform begins from the bottom with a 5/8" aluminum plate, then 3/8" isodamp layer, then 1/4" aluminum plate. The central section has four layers: 3/8" isodamp alternating with 1/4" aluminum. All of these layers are bonded together with aircraft epoxy. The rigidly mounted motor support is made up of aluminum plate topped by isodamp (i.e. is extensionally damped). The plinth was finished in gloss black paint with a clear-coat by an automotive body-shop.
The turntable components (aside from the arm) are all from Well Tempered Labs and those used in the Reference record player - reference motor, bearing cup, spindle-bearing, black-damped platter, and reference clamp. I have a new, unused belt and bearing fluid.The tonearm is a REGA RB-600, re-wired by the importer with the Incognito re-wire kit. The plinth is designed and precisely machined for any Rega-compatible tonearm.
This turntable is fabulous! The plinth is fantastically isolated from the outside world by the base (to everything except an earthquake!), and it is massive, extremely dense, and completely dead. The Well Tempered components are brilliantly designed and of reference caliber. The tonearm is solid, reliable, and wonderful-sounding with the Incognito wire.
I went back through all of my receipts from the assembly and include the price-breakdown for reference:
Newport 3030B workstation $1,475
aluminum plate and machining $ 975
isodamp $ 260
plinth finishing $ 225
Black-damped platter $ 425
Bearing cup $ 100
Spindle $ 75
Reference Clamp $ 75
Motor $ 440
Belt $ 50
RB-600 $ 650
Incognito wire $ 240
I can't imagine you not being thrilled with this table. Though I suppose its size, weight, and design are and will be fairly surprising!
My wife, family and I are preparing to move to Central America to do medical mission work. I have archived much of my collection to high-resolution digital over the years, and would greatly prefer not to store this while we are gone (at least two years). I can envision several scenarios where this would be a great buy:
- someone who wants a reference caliber table for a great price to use and enjoy as-is, upgrading (or not) the REGA arm in the future (I envision a Basis Vector :) )
- a WT Reference owner who wants to have spare parts on hand, who could sell the arm and use the stand for isolation of his TT or other components.
- someone who wants to use the parts for their own (perhaps more sane!) DIY project.
I am certainly willing to drive to meet/deliver the table as needed (I am just north of Houston). We are in the process of preparing our household, getting things in storage, house on the market, etc. but have flexibility in this regard. The stand initially came by truck on a palate, the plinth is very, very heavy, and the sub-components have their original box.
Please don't hesitate to let me know if I can answer any questions!