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Well Tempered Labs Amadeus GTA Turntable

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New, improved GTA model with dual layer, aluminum sandwich plinth for improved isolation and even lower noise floor.  

Well Tempered Lab manufactures the quietest, most musical turntables available using William Firebaugh's revolutionary fluid damped, zero clearance table bearing and tonearm design.   

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Testimonials

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Winner - Absolute Sound Golden Ear Award

"The new Well Tempered Amadeus reaches stratospheric heights of performance at a moderate price... The Amadeus seems simultaneously a bargain and something of a miracle... it is hard to fault the smooth, silent, dynamically linear, undistorted, speed stable, vinyl damped sound of this turntable"
 - Robert E. Green, The Absolute Sound

"One could spend a lot more money, but I would listen carefully to the Amadeus first. It is something exceeding fine, far beyond its modest price."
 
 - Robert E. Green, The Absolute Sound (read the review)

"I can say two things. The first is that the Amadeus sounds better than any turntable I've heard. The second is that, given its low price compared to many turntables, the Amadeus is the best value turntable out there. The quality of sound for the price is outstanding. The Well Tempered Amadeus is special. It's one of those products that makes reviewing hi-fi so very exciting. The Amadeus is my product of the year."
 - Michael Jones, AudioEnz, Dec (read the review)

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Overview

The Well Tempered Amadeus - New music from your records!

The Well Tempered Amadeus turntables are built with one goal in mind; maximum enjoyment from your record collection. Well Tempered unique designs, most of which are patent registered, let nothing stand in the way of you and your music. Their approach, which may on the face seem simplistic, is in fact the reverse and has taken countless hours and research of thinking outside the square. For instance, while many manufacturers labor labor endlessly to design the perfect tonearm bearing, Well Tempered just eliminates it.

The Well Tempered tonearm (included with the turntable) features a fully internally damped aluminum tube and a precision made golf ball suspended in silicone fluid for perfect damping.

The acrylic platter spins in a Zero Tolerance bearing rather like a round peg in a square hole, coupled with their unrivaled .004m polyester thread belt ensuring vanishingly low wow and flutter figures.  

Audio Revelation is pleased to be a full line Well Tempered turntable dealer.

Technical
by William Firebaugh, Chief Designer for Well Tempered

Design Principles

In 1977, The Bruel and Kjær Company of Denmark published a land-mark paper concerning the mechanical stability of high fidelity turntables: The Audible Effects of Mechanical Resonances in Turntables. Using the then new technology of Fast Fourier Transform analysis, Bruel and Kjær analyzed a high end turntable to determine the importance of a turntable's mechanical stability. The conclusion of the B&K research was that a high fidelity tone-arm should have a low effective mass and be mechanically damped to a Q of 0.5 to eliminate the side-band distortion caused by mechanical instability. Side-band distortion is particularly objectionable to human hearing. As a result of this conclusion, many light weight tonearms were developed but the issue of damping was largely or completely ignored. There is a good reason for ignoring this requirement, damping is not simple to implement and requires a new approach to tone-arm design. During my research when designing Amadeus I have concentrated on achieving a very high degree of mechanical stability and have been required to use novel techniques and materials. I am pleased to report that my efforts have resulted in a stable turntable design that is simple in appearance but has a deep foundation of experiments and technology. During my experiments, I have constructed many prototypes, perhaps as many as fifty.

Controlling The Mechanical Resonances Of The Tone-Arm

The Amadeus tone-arm does not have a bearing in the normal sense. Many tone-arm bearings use high quality ball bearings that have clearances in the low micron range. However, that is where all the action takes place. The Amadeus bearing has zero clearance and damping for un-rivaled performance. The tone-arm is constructed with a golf ball partially immersed in high viscosity silicone fluid. Golf balls are very precisely made and are well-suited for this application. The degree of damping is adjustable. A tone-arm without damping will cause the cone of a subwoofer to pump markedly.

Controlling The Resonance Within The Arm Tube

The 10.5 inch arm tube of Amadeus is filled with a special grade of sand to eliminate any resonances within the tube. This technique is very effective and is unique to all Well Tempered designs.

Rotational Stability Of The Spindle

The Amadeus round spindle rotates in a square hole of Teflon and the corner of the square is oriented to the motor. This arrangement causes the spindle to rotate in a zero clearance bearing. If the spindle is in the normal round hole, the contact with the bearing surface is made of one point, a condition which can cause rotational instability. With the round spindle rotating in a square hole, contact is made at two points resulting in zero clearance and a high degree of stability.

Bearing Noise

The Amadeus bearing uses a Teflon thrust bearing. The stainless steel spindle has a precision point and rests into a small hole in the Teflon thrust bearing to achieve a very low noise.

Acrylic Platter

The Amadeus platter is acrylic which I have found to be very suitable for this purpose. In addition to having desirable mechanical properties, this material is relatively heavy resulting in increased moment of inertia for lower flutter and wow..

Drive Belt

During my research, I have measured hundreds of belts of various types, using flutter and wow as the criteria. None have the excellent characteristics of the Amadeus belt. The Amadeus is a polyester filament and has a diameter of 0.004 inches. To use this belt requires a knot and this may normally cause a problem. I have overcome this problem with a motor pulley of a special design to accommodate the knot. In addition to being a superior belt, this material is widely available and easy to replace. I tested the durability of this belt with a test of fifty days continuous operation with no effect.

Motor and Motor Drive

Amadeus uses a small dc motor and is driven by a torque servo of my own design. The motor is mounted to the plinth and is very effectively mechanically decoupled by a ring of isolation material. The combination of belt, motor, motor drive electronics, and isolation results in low flutter and wow.

Plinth & Isolation Base

The Amadeus GTA features a dual layer aluminum sandwich construction plinth iand nclude an isolation base featuring proprietary feet.

Amadeus Technical Measurements

Rumble

Rumble is another name for bearing and motor noise. The bearing designed for Amadeus is unique in that there is no metal-to-metal contact on the spindle but rather the contact is metal-to-teflon. The small dc motor is mounted on a neoprene vibration absorbing damper. This results in a very low total noise. There is no widely used standard to describe the level of bearing noise in turntables. As a result, there are widely varying numbers published. In March 1965, Edgar Villchur, the designer and inventor of the famous AR turntable, published a land-mark paper describing how to measure turntable rumble. In this paper, he reveals that the lowest rumble noise he ever measured was -40 db using NAB standards of reference. WTL have measured the rumble level of Amadeus with a test record that compares the total rumble noise to a 100 hz tone recorded at a 1 cm/sec velocity. The 100 hz tone is recorded at levels of -50 db, -40 db, -30 db and - 20 db. When played back, it is possible to determine the level at which the tone can be heard. With Amadeus, one can just barely hear the 100 hz tone at the -50 db recorded level so WTL can safely say that the rumble level of Amadeus is lower than -50 db compared to a 100 hz tone recorded at a level of 1 cm/sec. When comparing rumble noise levels, it is mandatory to know the reference level.

Wow/Flutter

A very important part of Amadeus' overall musical quality is low wow/flutter. Wow is the low frequency tone variation and flutter is variation at higher frequencies. WTL have spent many hours looking at the W/F meter and optimizing the factors that affect frequency stability. These factors include the motor, the belt, the spindle bearing, the concentricity of the platter to the spindle, and the contribution of the cartridge to frequency instability. I use as a reference the results of an investigation by the Japanese researcher H. Saki in 1970, published in JAES vol 18. He and his team learned that human hearing can detect as little as 0.06% wow/flutter on a complex 5 khz signal when the modulation frequency is 3 hz! Amadeus has wow/flutter of 0.03% to 0.04% using the Japan Industrial Standard (JIS).

Tonearm Geometry

When I was researching Amadeus, I decided to try a non-standard tonearm geometry. I introduced a tracking angle error of 15 degrees and was surprised to find the musical result was better!! This led me to investigate tonearm geometry further with unexpected results. To make a very long story rather short, tracking angle errors generate 2nd harmonic components to the musical signal and many people interpret this as "sweeter music". I have written a computer program to show the amount of 2nd harmonic as a function of tracking angle error. At tracking angle errors less than 5 degrees, the 2nd harmonic level is essentially negligible. I have 21 phono cartridges. I used these cartridges to determine a statistically valid fixed tonearm geometry so the user is relieved of a complex set-up. All who have used this approach have commented on the ease of set-up and all have been more than satisfied with the result. Users of Amadeus simply mount the cartridge on the tonearm and proceed to the music.

Features

  • Aluminium base
  • "Zero Tolerance" platter bearing
  • Servo controlled motor, with vibration controlled mounting
  • 0.004mm Polyester thread belt
  • Fully damped tonearm featuring precision made golf ball suspended in silicone fluid for optimum variable damping.
  • Easy azimuth adjustment
  • Fixed headshell with no fussy setup
  • Acrylic platter
  • Dual layer aluminum sandwich construction plinth



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