iota Prima

Not some minor Demi-God, but our new turntable, its a design directly inspired by the spirit and objectives of our iota jot SP & iota QT turntables, so the iota Prima is imbued with similar design principals, but in a more elementary form, and also at a lower cost.

Constructed using a range of selected high quality materials including solid Beech hardwood,carbon fibre,brass, MDF, stainless steel, Acetal, ABS, and die cast aluminium.

The heavily damped motor / bearing module is supported on a chassis of “Birch ply” with a tough textured finish,the chassis is stiffened & cross braced with ultra strong aluminium strut profiles. This whole assembly is mounted on solid Beech hardwood feet, and these are fitted with height adjustable furniture protecting anti slip pads.

This turntable construction is designed to minimises the storage & transmission of vibration, while not compromising structural integrity. This free standing turntable design while occupying the minimum of space is still able to offer a big performance. Resulting in a turntable that is both easy to setup and site, without physically dominating your listening space.

The iota Prima can be supplied either with our dedicated Satori Prima tonearm, or for use with other manufacturers arms.

To accommodate this we supply a standard arm board for use with any regular “Rega geometry” arm. Alternative arm boards for other types of tonearms are available; and to cater for different lengths and geometry the arm board is mounted on “Tee” slots, allowing for the correct positioning of any type of tonearm.

The arm boards are a composite construction using carbon fibre & Birch Ply, supported on solid Beech hardwood,& stainless steel spacers and fixings.

We supply the iota Prima with our outboard iota MFP1 mains filter power supply, with 33 to 45 rpm speed change simply by moving the belt on the stepped pulley. Or alternatively by upgrading and substituting the MFP1 for the iota T/T – 2 speed psu, this unit offers direct digital synthesis speed control, with the convenience of speed change at the flick of a switch.

To further enhance the control and damping of vibration within the vinyl record, the high density MDF Prima platter is faced with a bonded mat of cork/ Nitrile composite and around the circumference of the platter with a ribbed vibration control band.

The turntable bearing consists of a brass sleeve mounted in a substantial Acetal outer bush,with a polished stainless steel bearing shaft that runs on a grade 5 Silicon Nitride (Si3N4) ceramic ball, this is in contact with a thrust pad made from the ultra high performance PEEK polymer (Polyether ether ketone). The bearing assembly is lubricated with a high performance fully synthetic oil that ensures a long noise free life for the bearing.

All of these materials are selected to ensure the quietest and most reliable bearing. However as the sub platter forms the link between the motor to the platter, and therefore to the vinyl record, consequently it is essential that the sub platter is constructed from materials that are as inert as possible to minimise the transmission of vibration.

To achieve this and to further isolate the vinyl record within the playback system the sub platter hub is constructed from ABS, with bonded carbon fibre,and polymer damping materials,with a record spindle boss in brass.

**** New developments  for 2018/19****

A new small thing that matters.....the iota Prima

 In addition to the existing Phase III iota turntables !

  • iota iota QT
  • iota  jot S-P
  • iota QT Ultra
  • iota QT Ultra SP

Our current  range of turntable products represent our third phase of product development, they offer an ascending level of engineering complexity, cost, and  performance.

Design details and principals.

Since the beginning of 1990's we have produced a number of turntable models bearing the name of QT. These have varied in design, materials, and the performance levels. The original QT designs were conventional in appearance, with hardwood plinths and solid top plate.  ** See About US **

Around 1999/2000 the QT Evolution range was launched with a hardwood support frame, or with aircraft grade aluminium tensioned side rails,  removable arm plates, and a granite base board.

The phase three range  are very different in both appearance and materials from the original, but the design goals remain the same, we aim to provide the maximum musical enjoyment from vinyl records with an accurate and honest portrayal of what was actually recorded.

The turntables.

iota jot S-P

The starting point for this product was the aim to develop a turntable that despite its diminutive stature must still to be capable of producing excellent performance.

The iota jot S-P represents a distillation of all our basic design principles that we have adopted in our other phase three products, and still using the same modular design principles, simply a smaller package.

The modular design has each separate section using ultra rigid pressure die cast aluminium modules to enclose the key components of the unit. The tonearm and motor occupy a module that has the tonearm at one end (using the same mounting geometry & fixing size as any standard Rega pattern arm), and at the other a damped and decoupled structure encapsulates the high quality AC motor .

The Arm /Motor module is semi decoupled from the Bearing module to further reduce the transmission of unwanted motor energy.

This second semi-decoupled module, contains the two part turntable bearing assembly, consisting of a bronze inner sleeve surrounded by a large diameter outer sleeve, this second sleeve ensures structural integrity, as well as applying damping, which is enhanced by an external top decoupling gasket, there by separating the bronze bearing from the module, this whole bearing assembly is securely mounted, and finally completely “potted” with various damping materials and sealed into the bearing module.

The turntable chassis is supported by three parabolic shaped feet, one at the front of the bearing module on an extended outrigger, that is constructed from carbon fibre and stainless steel, this additional length of the outrigger aids the stability of the whole turntable structure.

The most unconventional aspect of our iota jot S-P   design is that it is supplied with our new Paradox Spindle Platter. This is a development of our original peripheral weight Spindle Platter used on our flagship product The iota QT Ultra.

The new iota S-P design uses a combination of a central hub & outer support spindles that we machine from solid extruded Polyoxymethylene (POM) also known as Acetal or Delrin. We use this material for many parts of the turntable and tonearm as it offers so many advantages over other materials. The arms of the spindles are made from a combination of carbon fibre and 316 stainless steel.

When vinyl records are supported on different types of platter materials, in each case this will result in a sound with a different tonal balance. We believe the aim of a true Hi Fidelity product should be to resolve what was actually pressed into the vinyl record and nothing else.

As such the role of the platter should be to adequately support the vinyl record to enable the stylus to properly “read” the groove, but beyond that the platter and the material its made from should actually influence the sound as little as possible, neither adding or subtracting to the tonal balance. In this respect unfortunately no material can be seen as totally neutral , however by minimising the material as much as is practically possible, the resulting diminished area of contact should consequently reduce the overall tonal modulating effect of the platter.

While it is entirely possible to use the Paradox Spindle Platter without a mat of any sort, in most cases we consider the best results are produced when used with an interface mat, and our standard natural cork mat is supplied for this purpose. We believe this ensures that vinyl reproduction is presented in a tonally neutral way, and for those customers concerned with even the remote chance of damaging their vinyl, the cork mat prevents even that remote possibility.

We use the mat  in combination with the iota V-R-S vinyl record stabiliser, this additional mass when combined with the mass of the spindle platter ensures rotational speed stability, plus even contact with the mat & the central hub and the spindle supports, this can also help with moderately warped records The constrained layer damping of pure carbon fibre on the face of the VRS applies a degree of damping.

All our turntables are supplied as standard with our  iota MFP 1 mains filter power supply, with the option of  upgrading to our alternative, simply plug and play, two speed, direct digital synthesis power supply!  See ***Power supplies***

iota QT  (ph3)

The iota QT (Ph3) is much more than simply a scaled up  version of the iota jot, in fact it includes many of the design aspects of our top models.

 It is a full size free standing turntable, with an L shaped structure; in standard form it is supplied with a base board. To form the "L" shape of the turntable it uses large super ridged, extruded aluminium support rails of a similar design to that used in some of our other models.

This turntable has been developed over a number of years using design principles from other products both in our current and previous model ranges as a basis for this development. Consequently many of the materials and techniques have been further tuned and defined to produce these.

The iota QT  (Ph3) turntable uses large, super ridged, extruded aluminium support rails of a similar design to that used in other models to form the structure of the turntable, in  standard form  supplied  with a base board constructed from either MDF or solid 27mm Beech Block board, with radius edges and corners, finished in a durable finish. The support feet that are fitted to the base board are adjustable for levelling and the metal chassis is resiliently mounted from the baseboards.The iota  (Ph3) uses the MLM multi laminated material platter 

Chassis, & motor/bearing module of our turntables.

To achieve our basic design goals it is desirable that the chassis of a turntable be a stiff, strong, resilient structure that offers excellent control of resonance and ringing. We have chosen to use both die cast aluminium, and  anodised extruded aluminium structures in our designs as these are both immensely strong and stable under all normal conditions.

The complex external shape of the extrusion, as well as its internal stiffening ribs, increases the rigidity of the beam rails that makes up the main chassis components of our current range. This provides a structure that has enormous strength and stiffness when compared to a solid material while at the same time offering a lower mass, thus reducing the storage and release of unwanted vibrations.

To house the motor & main bearing we have created a module for which we have used a high quality rugged, die cast aluminium alloy box, this offers an enclosure that is both exceptionally rigid and strong and it also provides for improved EMI/RFI shielding, and its material structure is extremely consistent in all other respects. The main bearing of the turntable is made from bronze, this is rigidly mounted into this module, and it is then heavily damped and braced with a number of different damping materials and compounds used. In a separate section of the module the high quality AC synchronous motor is resiliently mounted and enclosed by damping materials. The whole module is fitted to the chassis with decoupling gaskets and then mechanically fixed to the rear and front chassis beams to form the basic  shape of the turntable.

The arm board module is again a similar high quality die cast aluminium alloy enclosure, this is mechanically secured to form a cantilever to the rear chassis beam of the turntable. The aluminium extrusion beams that make up the turntable chassis have “T” slots and the fixing mounts that hold the arm board module are located within this “T slot”, this allows arms of different effective lengths to be easily accommodated by simply loosing the arm board mount and then sliding the whole assembly along the chassis rail to the desired position, thus achieving the correct tonearm geometry, and then simply locking the arm board in place.

The whole QT turntable is supported on a baseboard with height adjustable feet, these are made from Solid Beech hardwood faced with anti slip & furniture protecting material. This combination provides a stable support with excellent acoustic properties, and the turntable can be easily levelled if the surface upon which is to be used is not level.
Selection of Platter material

Over the years numerous different materials have been used by countless different turntable manufactures for the production of the platter that supports the vinyl record. The platter on a turntable not only acts as a suitable flat and even support for the vinyl record itself, it also has the body and tip of the main bearing in the form of the centre spindle embedded in the middle of the platter. As a result even with the finest main bearings there must inevitably be vibrations as a result of rotation of the platter and bearing, and these must pass into the body of the platter and therefore into the vinyl itself in addition there is also the noise of motor breakthrough transmitted to the platter through the belt or simply the structure of the turntable.

There is also acoustic feed back from the musical noise produced from the speakers that is also acting upon the turntable. Therefore the cartridge which is by design a device to produce electrical signals as a result of vibration will reproduce all these extraneous signals in the form of low level noise. Therefore a platter material that could offer good damping, and is to a greater or lesser extent an “inert” material may therefore be considered desirable.

Another factor often used to select the substance from which a platter may be fabricated is the mass of the material. Dense heavy platters although initially slow to get to accurate speed may be pitch stable as a result of inertia once up to speed. Unfortunately high mass also produces more strain on the main bearing, and hence more noise when compared to lower mass materials, and once noise has been induced in a high mass material it is released for a longer duration.

Our previous platter solutions.

Previously our turntables like many others used either acrylic or similar materials for the platters, with the aim that using a material that closely emulates the mechanical properties of vinyl itself would offer a close to neutral support to the record surface.

A platter made purely from vinyl is impractical for many reasons. Vinyl itself lacks structural integrity and therefore many designers try to achieve a close match to vinyl, whilst avoiding the limitations of vinyl itself, and acrylic is a very good compromise material for the purpose.

However when the platter is made from a singular and uniform material (like acrylic) its response when excited by vibration will be uniform, and this will occur specifically at the materials fundamental resonant frequency. Simply making a platter of a greater thickness, and therefore higher mass, but still from a single uniform material will not change that characteristic, only the amount of energy stored. As vibration can only be dissipated in the form of motion or heat, and acrylic no matter how great its dimensions will still therefore be subject to resonance and unwanted vibration.

In the case of a metal platter this will produce a “bell like” ringing mode, and any manufacturer using such a material must add some additional damping to try to avoid this. Rubber mats were often used in the past for this purpose. However the many detrimental affects on the vinyl record of rubber and similar materials were found to be undesirable. The same is true for felt mats, felt is also attracted and sticks to the vinyl record due to the static charge in many records, and felt is not particularly effective material for damping a ringing metal object like a metal platter.

External Turntable power supplies.   See ***Power supplies***

The illustrated iota T/T-2 speed turntable power supply is based upon a design that has been available & in service for many years, the original commercially available versions of this power supply were sold at the beginning of 1997, the prototypes having been developed by us and used for some years before that (1992)!

The power supply was developed in response to the large number of major manufactures T/T power supplies that were proving to be unreliable. Therefore reliability was a major factor that we considered when developing this product. Not only did we want maximum performance but did not want to sacrifice reliability, and this has proved to be the case. We invested in good quality components and the results and longevity of the product speak for them selves.

The unit acts as a mains regenerator and affectively isolates the turntable from variations in mains frequency, and voltage. Frequency stability is now crystal locked to +/- 30 parts per million. In fact in order to provide both 33 and 45 RPM for this two-speed model we commissioned specific crystals, these were ground to our exact specification, as we found the standard commercially available items (often used by a number of other manufactures) do not actually provide true 45 RPM! Speed change is now of course achieved by the "flick" of a switch.

The sine wave to drive the motor is generated by direct digital synthesis, and the output is defined for both source impedance and voltage. The unit has been designed to offer excellent "headroom" with regard to the applied turntable motor load. The output from this unit offers five times the maximum load on a continuous basis. With more than eight times the maximum load available short term. This of course ensures that the power supply can be used with a large number of other suitable turntables on the market. The unit is also available for all other international mains supplies. None UK/ EEC voltages P.O.A.

iota QT Ultra

How is the Ultra specification different from  QT turntable?

The QT Ultra builds upon the same essential elements used in the Phase 3 iota QT, in that it is constructed from the same style of exceptionally strong anodised extruded aluminium sections, however rather than being configured simply as an open frame “L” shape it is formed as a closed and massively double braced “H” where each side of the main bearing and motor module are attached to cross rails, and a front rail is added to form the “H”, this front rail is then also further braced by die cast aluminium 90 degree corner braces.

In addition to these changes to the chassis, the arm board that is still cantilevered from the rear rail as before, but is also firmly braced and attached by dual supports to the front rail chassis members of the frame that form the “H”. Despite this additional bracing the arm board is still able to be adjusted in position to allow tonearms of different effective lengths to be accommodated.

The other significant difference is that the turntable is resiliently mounted upon a baseboard, that is in turn fitted with height adjustable feet of similar construction to the
other QT designs.

iota QT Ultra-SP

The Spindle Platter & more!

There are two different versions of the QT Ultra one uses a baseboard manufactured from high quality birch lap ply, and on this version is also the MLM platter. Whilst the SP version has a 10kg diamond polished granite baseboard as well as our Spindle Platter, and a number of other options, including upgraded PSU & bearing, and many custom finish options....

The Spindle Platter was developed as an alternative improved platter design, and as such is substituted for the MLM platter. The Spindle Platter is made up from 126 individual components,  including eight centrifugal high mass weights in polished 316 stainless steel fitted onto eight internally damped 12mm polished support arms. The mass weights are fitted with silicon rubber outer “O”rings.

The central hub sits on top of a mass loaded and damped sub platter. Manufactured in aircraft grade aluminium and stainless steel, this has the central 100mm filled with a combination of constrained layer damping materials and is faced with sealed cork. The centre spindle fitted to the main bearing is machined from 20mm  gunmetal. This platter and its extra long gunmetal spindle allows the user to experiment with a variety of different platter mats.

The Spindle Platter was developed to extend further our ideas of reducing the impact of platter colourisations & the negative affects on the playback of vinyl. This Spindle Platter and its  126 individual components include a combination of highly polished stainless steel (type 316) high mass peripheral weights, and aluminium alloy components as well as natural cork, Acetal turned components and advanced polymer resin bonding agents.

Our aim was to create a structure that offers high rotational mass, but to position the majority of the mass at its extreme outer edge, therefore to gain the maximum benefit of centrifugal force. In addition whilst the structure is designed so that it supports the vinyl record where it is most required, at its outer edge, but also at the centre around the turntable bearing spindle. The result is this configuration also helps to control any influence or noise from the turntable main bearing.

The addition of a effective clamp then holds the vinyl flat to this damped area at the centre of the Spindle Platter. However the area of the vinyl that contains the groove from which all the musical information is extracted will be devoid of any platter reflections or interactions. The interface mat is left to do its job, and nothing else, and again as its not fixed, alternatives can be exchanged to the preferences of the owner if desired.

The design uses the high mass peripheral weights mounted at the extreme end of turned and damped support spindles, each weight is effectively decoupled as much as possible from its support mount, and wrapped around the weights are damping rings that are the only outer edge contact with the natural cork interface mat. The position of the eight high mass weights allows the full positive affect of centrifugal force to be applied to the Spindle Platter; this helps to maintain rotational speed stability, whilst at the same time reducing to a minimum the deleterious effects that would have resulted had we simply applied mass uniformly to the whole platter. The eight separate weight/supports ensure the vinyl is not allowed to deflect at its edge whilst the central record label area has total support and damping applied to the gunmetal centre spindle, this is further enhanced by the use of a suitable record clamp.

The iota QT Ultra and the Spindle Platter were also part of our development programme to produce our own somewhat unique Satori Tonearm . This uses bearing and support techniques as well as materials not previously applied or used in other tonearm designs, so we believe a new and fresh approach to a set of very old and familiar problems?
 iota V-R-S vinyl record stabiliser.

We have developed the iota V-R-S our vinyl record stabiliser, this is CNC machined from billet stainless steel, and is the correct size to fit onto the recessed label area of a vinyl LP record. For ease of handling the top of the stabiliser has a turned “stadium” shaped handle faced with our logo. The underside of the stabiliser has a constrained layer of carbon fibre.

The combination of the mass of the stainless steel material and the damping effect of the constrained layer of carbon fibre act upon vibrations within the vinyl record, both from the action of the styli on the record surface as well as any structural noise derived from any turntable, the stabiliser also ensures the LP record has even contact with the platter.

The iota V-R-S stabiliser with a mass of 800 grams (1lb.12oz) does not apply an excessive bearing load to any of our turntable designs. Our standard bearing uses a polished stainless steel shaft running in a bronze sleeve set in a substantial outer Acetal sleeve. The bearing shaft runs on a Grade 5, Silicon Nitride (Si3N4) ceramic ball, which in turn is in contact with a bottom thrust pad made from the ultra high performance PEEK polymer (Polyether ether ketone). The bearing assembly is also lubricated with an exceptional, fully synthetic bearing oil that also ensures a long noise free life for the bearing.

Supplied with all our current turntables, & also available separately for use on other suitable equipment.

See also the  VRS-Vinyl Record Stabiliser page.

Constrained-layer damping is a mechanical engineering technique for suppression of vibration. Typically a viscoelastic or other damping material, is sandwiched between two sheets of stiff materials that lack sufficient damping by themselves. ….......... Wikipedia