There are people who casually collect vintage records, and then there are people who spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on vintage records. If you happen to fall into the second category, you probably already know that a run-of-the-mill turntable isn’t going to work well for a special copy or first edition record.
If you’re serious about your record collection and you’ve got some money to burn, there are plenty of expensive turntables out there.
Coming in last place at $150,000 is Transrotor’s Artus FMD. We hesitate to simply call this unit a turntable, as once a deck reaches a height of almost 4 feet tall, it transcends the common moniker. This beast, as we will politely refer to it, weighs in at a staggering 485 pounds, but its price accounts for more than just its physical dimensions and weight. While the solid aluminum construction certainly dampens vibrations, Transrotor has a few other tricks up its sleeve. The turntable features cardanic suspension, essentially placing the platter in a gimbal to keep it stable. Other features include a contactless magnetic drive and a specially built power supply for only the cleanest of signals.
It’s not a flying saucer made of wood; it’s Audio Consulting’s R-evolution Meteor. It isn’t very easy to talk about this turntable without first turning our attention to its design. The R-evolution is constructed “using one entire tree that was dried for at least 20 years.” The wood is then CNC milled, and “two more weeks of hand labor” are needed before it begins to take its final form. Organic wax is applied to give it a smooth appearance, and the company notes it can deliver the product in black, “aged bronze,” or any color desired. From an acoustic standpoint, the turntable features an ax-shaft assembly and optimized platter to reduce airborne vibrations, in addition to an active anti-vibration system.
Transrotor is back again an our list, but this time the company has upped its game by delivering a $250,000 turntable. The Argos features some of the same features as its brother, the Artus FMD, including a robust aluminum design, a contactless magnetic drive, and a “special” power supply. Making this unit unique is its chrome-plated finish and its ability to handle two 12-inch tonearms at once, so you can ensure your favorite cartridges are always at the ready. The Argos comes in at the same height and weight as the Artus FMD, at 3.9 feet and 485 pounds.
If you are seeking an exclusive turntable, look no further. Only 25 Reference II turntables have ever been crafted. These turntables weren’t entirely assembled by machine either — the Reference II is handcrafted in Geneva, Switzerland. The turntable features aluminum and steel construction, creating a modern yet refined appearance. Inside, Goldmund includes a motor that has been vibration-shielded by over 30 pounds of brass, wiring insulated with Teflon, and a liquid nitrogen-rectified belt.
This is it — the top of the vinyl mountain. The most expensive turntable in the world is AV Design Haus’ Dereneville VPM, ringing in at well over half a million dollars. If you’ve got $650,000 lying around one of your homes, this true beauty of German engineering can be yours to own. Featuring a solid Corian chassis weighing more than 130 pounds, the unit sits upon air suspension feet, which can be adjusted via a stepper motor and monitored using laser measurements. The plate itself comes in at around 45 pounds and uses Neodyn magnetic disks, while the speed is measured via a pulse ring at over 24,000 times per revolution. A built-in miniature camera allows music listeners to carefully examine the grooves of their records, along with the cartridge and stylus, during playback. The Dereneville VPM is controlled by two built-in microprocessors and a touchscreen remote, which can all be easily updated via the turntable’s integrated Ethernet connection. Now, that’s cool.
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