When it comes to electronic paraphernalia in the home, few devices bridge the worlds of form and function as brilliantly as a good turntable. A stylish turntable is at once the centerpiece of your hi-fi system, a retro throwback to the musical days of yore, and a conversation piece that “ties the room together,” as they say. And few turntables make a statement quite as definitively as the cast iron chunk of industrial awesome from Fern & Roby, known simply as The Turntable.
Weighing in at a over 100 pounds, including a 70-pound cast iron plinth at the core, this Sherman Tank of sonic pleasure is designed to make a statement both visually, and sonically — if you can find a piece of furniture robust enough to hold it up, that is.
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The high-mass balanced platter is held down by sheer force of gravity, weighing 35 pounds on its own to ensure extreme resistance against unwanted resonance and vibration. The weight of the device is key to Fern & Roby’s single-point bearing system, designed around a “low-contact and low-friction concept.” Forged from bronze, the hefty disc is claimed to be balanced to a full 1000 rpm, running quietly on an AC motor at both 33 ⅓ and 45 rpm.
At $6,500, this system is not for the timid (or, likely, the artistically employed) among us. However, beneath that minimalist exterior, a world of complicated mechanics is at play to make The Turntable spin records at near perfect rotation without belt slip, temperature changes, or pulley wear affecting your session.
Instead of a fixed motor or drive speed, Fern & Roby’s design employs the synthesis of waveforms to measure the speed of the platter 48 times per revolution by way of a “precision-cut optical interrupter wheel” mounted on the bottom. Essentially, this allows for a smaller (and therefore quieter) motor to bring the platter’s massive weight slowly up to speed, and then reduces the motor’s power to a bare minimum as the platter spins with its own momentum, making incremental adjustments (.003 percent per spin) along the way to keep your records at speed with minimal effort. An LED at the side alternates between green and orange to indicate adjustment.
What all this means to you is a near perfect spin of your favorite wax, with virtually nothing between you and your tunes but the device’s included Rega 303 tonearm. Fern & Roby are happy to supply other tonearms upon request, too, as well as customizing a heart pine arm-board.
And even if you can’t get down with all the tech involved, there’s no question this retro mass of bronze and iron will be the crown jewel of virtually any hi-fi system. You can order your own from Fern & Roby now or, if you’re like us, simply admire (and drool) at the photos from here.