Teres Turntable

I came across the Teres when round two of platters and bearings were being made at the begining of 2001 but didn’t pick it up until late September. It represents the best platter/bearing combination I could wish for. Shortly after, an acrylic round base became available and as it was exactly what I had on paper, I bought that too as no way could I have done it for the price.

Thinking on the design or why I selected it goes something like … if the platter is acrylic due to its good match with vinyl, then it must be a good thing for the base. I don’t believe you can damp vibration or resonance but you can minimise it by spreading it around however it seems that highly damped designs have a damped sound. Acrylic seems to have a relatively benign resonance especially in big lumps as used here.

It might be possible to find a synergistic combination of base and acrylic platter but I wanted to have a base that would accept the resonance of the platter rather than have a different material that would reflect and accept vibration over differing parts of the frequency spectrum. The armboard is also acrylic so to my way of thinking, the arm and record are seeing the same resonance so providing a common solid foundation. To introduce yet more materials would be too much. I look at material resonance like electronic circuit resonance such as that found in LC power supplies. When cascading 3 LC networks it is very hard to get them to be stable unless their natural resonances are cascaded. To do that with materials is way outside my understanding so it’s been kept super simple. Two of the original Teres participants have produced designs that take the combination of materials approach further – Galibier Design and another Teres founder here – Teres as Product

Putting it together was easy especially as the base and armboard have all the holes drilled. The Triplanar is a breeze to mount with it’s supplied jig and as it has a flat plate, it only needed 3 holes drilled to bolt it down. Being lazy, I didn’t finish the base – too keen to hear it go but the machining marks are minimal and as its not on show, it looks OK to me.

The motor unit is a superb performer and with the controller, designed by Manfred Huber and donated to the Teres project, makes the TT a joy to use – spin the platter and away it goes. I was lucky and got a first generation stepped pulley and so have been able to try magnetic tape as a belt too. I was convinced this would be the way to go as it is non-stretch and so will impart perfect motor rotation to the platter. Well it might do that but it is inferior to the silk string supplied with the motor kit. I cannot believe the difference but somehow the tape lost the ends of words, like the hard ‘t’ in past or the ‘sss’ at the end of pass. With the string I can hear it tail off into the acoustic, with the tape, I’m lucky to hear it at all. Also rythmically, the tape doesn’t cut it.

Running the motor off a motorcycle battery provided a slight improvement which proves just how good the controller is as in the past, on other TTs, this has made a huge difference. I hope to make a proper battery/charger unit – maybe then my motorcycle can go again.

Have tried a number of different supports – 3 hard foam blocks, 2 foam blocks with cone under arm section, wood blocks and finally settling on 3 aluminium cones. This was not how I thought it would turn out but with this design, the 3 cones were way superiour to the other methods. Sitting directly on the sand may even prove beneficial.

It is an absolute joy to listen to. Where most TTs are like door to door salesmen – always with some “feature” that stands out, the Teres is a big invitation to listen. Nothing seems to stand out yet the presentation is dynamic, full, rythmically solid and involving. Noise is very low which enables detail to be heard that is breathtaking. It is a design that pleases on so many levels presenting each recording differently so it is very hard to ascribe a sound to the TT itself but then I’ve not compared it to anything else. I was worried that it would have a tough time beating the modified Alphason – no problem there! At present I have no desire to fiddle with it to extract more performance – very unusual for me but that might change.

Check the Teres site and especially the hall of fame. There is no such thing as a standard implimentation.

From left – Front view , TT and preamp (Pre PSU below) and view of system.

Update – December 10th 2002

The TT remains virtually unchanged but now resides on a proper wall shelf which came about as the system moved into a different room. The cartridge is now a Clearaudio Signature.

Front view of wall shelf, top view of TT.

Update – March 3rd 2003

Teres now sits on a 80kg/176lb slab of granite – a set out and measuring plate from Axminster.

The motor was upgraded to signature spec with incredible results. The combination of these two has brought this TT into another league. I would love to be able to express the transformation but it is very difficult. Incredible solidity coupled with very low noise in comparison yet I was already impressed with those aspects; the lowering of noise by the motor upgrade being quite amazing.

Front views of wall shelf and TT.

Update – July 20th 2003

Drive changed to half inch magnetic tape and Anvil record weight. The Anvil and tape pulley were sourced from Galbier Design. Been using the Anvil for a few months and very happy with the results. My aim all along was to use mag tape as it is non-stretch so imparts the motor rotation faithfully to the platter.

In addition, I wanted to couple the motor to the granite as well as possible. That meant moving the motor and power supply connection from underneath the motor pod. This was done by installing a sub miniature connector on the back of the motor pod and I wanted something as unobtrusive as possible.

The motor pod has a small quantity of lead shot in it to give it enough mass to resist the mag tape. I suspect too much mass would put undue strain on the motor shaft.

The tape drive works brilliantly. Not only is speed more stable but the noise floor has dropped tremendously. This is the hardest part to understand as it is the surface noise off the record that has virtually disappeared from good pressings and reduced significantly for all others as have ticks and pops.

The more I fiddle with TT drive systems, the more it seems to be one of the most important aspects of the design in obtaining low noise off the record. In effect, the motor is now tightly coupled to 80kg of mass.

new connector on motor pod, view of new plug and tape pulley, mag tape drive

Update – March 4th 2007

The pulley was changed to a straight sided version. This provides unambiguous transfer of rotation from the motor to the platter. Curved pulleys, must be there very nature have slip and so there will be variation in speed. The straight pulley improves timing, dynamics, involvement and oddly enough, noise. Very well worth the effort.

The system has now moved down a floor into an identical room, the dining room. We now have music in the living space rather than an isolation pod and we’re the better for it. Behind the records is a void for cabling. There is plastic plumbing waste tubes under the floor, running from the front end to each speaker. There are power points at each speaker.

Front end unit, normal setup, view from listening chair and rear of speaker