Goodwin's High End

 

Basis AJ Conti Transcendence turntable

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Basis Transcendence Turntable with dual Supearm setupThe

This is the turntable that AJ Conti designed for himself. After 30 years of thinking about turntable/tonearm design and production, he finally figured out the answers to all of the questions about how best to design each part of the turntable for optimal sonic beauty and integrity. The AJ Conti Transcendence turntable is capable of performing at an astonishng level. It is like the turntable has no sound of its own. The Transcendence exudes total confidence in playback and displays a mastery with music, showing superior competence in dynamics, naturalness, harmonics, image size and specificity. Coupled with the Superarm 12.5 tonearm, the Transcendence brings vinyl reproduction closer than it has ever been to that natural, effortless, powerful sound of high-speed analog master tapes.

THE ISOLATION SYSTEM

The A.J. Conti Transcendence is isolated from the listening environment through a constrained layer damping system. By using a visco-elastic material, or a material which exhibits both a Hookean (spring-like) and a viscous response to vibration, the four suspension pods are able to attenuate outside vibrations to an extreme degree over a range greater than the ten-octave audio spectrum. Additionally, the design of the suspension pods allows for the support of a range of mass, rather than a fixed value. This allows users of multi-arm capable Transcendence models to move or adjust the positions of their tonearms without a suspension upgrade or tune. Thus, the Transcendence suspension provides by far the most stable, versatile and complete isolation available in the record player industry.

In addition to providing an extreme level of isolation, the Transcendence suspension system performs a critical function which no air or conventional isolator addresses. By coupling tightly to the subchassis the isolation system quenches both vibrational energy channeled into the subchassis by the tonearm and impingement energy of the airborne musical signal fed into the subchassis. Equally effective in either direction at converting vibrational energy into heat energy, this superior system is unique in the audio world at performing the critical subchassis damping function.

The beneficiary of this superior energy-conversion isolation system is the listener. Musical details unfold with effortless certainty, conveying the emotion of the music with profoundly convincing realism by combining delicacy, immediacy, listenability, and explosive dynamics. Note: See the technical paper on Basis isolation systems for further discussion of the Basis suspension.

 Basis Transcendence Motor, Micro-Thin Revolution Precision Ground Belt, and Super Platter close-up

THE MOTOR

The Transcendence utilizes the most speed-stable type of motor available, an AC synchronous instrument motor. Basis modifies this motor with a custom magnet assembly to further smooth the power delivery and to assure a totally balanced rotating system. The motor coils are direct driven in a dual-phase manner to maintain coil-to-coil balance and achieve an optimal phase shift condition. This represents the ideal configuration with which to operate an AC motor, yielding a standard-setting combination of fluidity of transmitted power and stability of speed.

With this custom motor, the motor temperature is stabilized at an ideal level by the housing’s high mass resulting in more precise motor bushing clearances, facilitating retention of motor lubricant, and reducing thermal aging on the motor windings.

The result of these extreme measures is a totally speed stable, quiet, cog-free drive system. Musical notes are unwaveringly solid, as expected. Additionally such exceptional levels of speed stability lend a coherence to the music and soundfield that must be heard to be believed.

SUPER PLATTER & MAIN BEARING SYSTEM

The main bearing is a new design. Increased length between bushings, enhanced rigidity, vanishingly low friction and noise, and extreme performance coating technology assure the finest, quietest, most durable bearing possible. Double grinding and diamond lapping assure a shaft that is so straight, true, and perfectly round that bushing clearances can be adjusted in one-ten thousandth of an inch increments to achieve the perfect match of the bearing parts. The Super Platter, made from carefully machined alloy with a deep dish impedance-matched precision machined record mating surface, virtually eliminates any record resonance and represents the ultimate in possible stability. The bearing and Super Platter are matched early in the platter machining process, guaranteeing a rotational roundness approaching perfection on every unit. Deviations from absolute roundness are nearly undetectable with standard precision machining instruments, falling into the low ten-thousandths of an inch range.

The sonic results of this relentless pursuit of perfection in the bearing and Super Platter system reach further than the extreme pitch stability, which the Transcendence clearly demonstrates. Such stability assures extraordinary harmonic veracity and integrity; the interplay of the harmonic structures and the subtle identifying textures of each instrument convince the listener more fully that real music is playing. Such constant speed results in a high degree of preservation of correct phase relationships, impacting not only the harmonic and tonal qualities of the music, but creating a mesmerizing imaging picture with sound sources “hanging in thin air”, totally independent of the speakers.

FEET

For the ultimate in neutral sound, the machined suspension parts must be extremely rigid with any resonant frequency falling outside the audio range. The Transcendence "feet" in each corner are massive and precisely machined from solid billet.

Basis Transcendence suspension foot close-up

THE VACUUM SYSTEM

The Basis Vacuum record hold down system applies a controlled level of negative pressure to the underside of the record guaranteeing a perfectly flat record which is so tightly coupled to the platter that record resonance is eliminated. The true musical tonality and texture captured on the record are revealed, without any added coloration of vinyl resonance. The vacuum system can even restore most warped record to virtual flatness, thus ameliorating speaker damaging and power robbing “woofer pumping” due to record warps. Dynamics, imaging, musicality, bass power, and tracking ability are all brought to levels unreachable without the Basis Vacuum system.

The Basis conceived HFLV (high flow, limited vacuum) system combines rapid record pull-down with the gentlest possible handling of records. The laboratory-grade vacuum regulator and the precision indicator assure the user of consistent, gentle vacuum application while allowing total adjustability and flexibility. The remote pump allows flexibility in placement and assures silent operation of the system.

Basis Synchro-Wave power supply

BASIS “SYNCHRO-WAVE” POWER SUPPLY

The Synchro-Wave Power Supply is the finest power supply ever offered for turntables using AC synchronous motors. Delivering smooth, dual sine waves with perfect 90 degree phase difference, at audio-amplifier quality distortion levels, the Synchro-Wave power supply brings Basis turntables to further heights of musical reality. The Synchro-Wave power supply offers the following features:

1. Speed selection: 33 1/3 or 45 RPM at the flip of a switch.

2. Dual-wave motor operation: 2 individual sine waves with exact, optimal phase shift are fed independently to each motor coil.

The benefits: Far smoother motor operation, lower cogging for more relaxed, lower grain sound. Greater detail, more precise imaging, and more natural decay characteristics are easily heard.

3. Stable, generated frequency of power.

The benefits: Perfect long-term speed stability.

Summary: The Synchro-Wave Power Supply brings greater “convincing power” to the sound of any Basis turntable. With both long-term and short-term speed variations reduced to levels below the finest industry test records the musical structure, timing, texture, and character are much closer to a real musical event. The emotion and “feel” of the music is conveyed in a clearly more convincing manner, with all “mechanical artifacts” dissolving away.

The Synchro-Wave Power Supply, along with other exclusive Basis features such as the "Micro-Thin Revolution" perfectly ground belt, establish new standards for vinyl playback in terms of realism of tone, complexity and accuracy of instrumental decay, and soundspace definition. Audio industry members have commented that Basis turntables with the Super Platter, Superarm tonearm, Synchro-Wave Power Supply, and Micro-Thin Revolution precision ground belt sound more like master tapes rather than records. This is high praise, yet we at Basis agree, having always considered high quality master tapes to be the closest representation of the original musical event. Basis has now closed, and with some records virtually eliminated, that gap between vinyl playback and master tapes.

THE FORM

Extreme high performance and reliability always take precedence over form at Basis Audio. Basis products are aesthetically defined only after the “Basis Systems Approach” of product development has resulted in successful performance. Even the revolutionary visual design of the Transcendence turntable is the practical marriage of artistic shaping of structural components with the functional requirements of those components.

No part is “extra” or unnecessary and no performance concessions have been made for the sake of style. In the tradition of the finest examples of industrial design, the Transcendence is a superior performing piece of equipment as well as an aesthetically groundbreaking object of artistic expression.

Basis Transcendence - close-up of Super Platter, Motor, Base, Foot

PRODUCING THE AJ CONTI TRANSCENDENCE

Unfortunately, production of such an intricate piece of equipment as the Transcendence is not like “churning out” a mass-market consumer item.

The Transcendence is an ultimate statement of precision, performance, and the art of analog playback. The turntable itself is indeed a piece of art, sculpted from solid billet pieces of material. Not one part of shape is extruded or molded. All of the features, contours, and architectural shapes are created by precision machining operations. Further, all machining is performed by “Tool and Die-Makers”, machinists of such high caliber as to be differentiated by their ability to create the special tools, dies, and molds that are used to produce molded, cast, and stamped products. Only the best machinists ever achieve this level, working on dies that can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and yet may be ruined by one wrong move on the maker’s part. Most such machinists, after attaining this status, no longer will accept production work of components for products, reserving themselves for the more difficult job of creating tooling. Due to the challenging nature and the prestige of the Transcendence, Basis has been able to convince two Tool and Die Makers to machine all of the parts for this product. Combined, these two craftsmen have well over fifty years of experience. One has been a supplier to Basis Audio since 1984, and the other since 1987. This type of machining, consuming thousands of hours for a small production run of the Transcendence, is one of many reasons why the Transcendence will always be unique in the marketplace and will represent the pinnacle of analog playback and art for decades.

Most consumer products are designed with an eye toward “ease of production”. The Transcendence, however, is no normal production product. Instead, the Transcendence was designed to be an ultimate work, whose design is based only on the requirements of performance and unique, sculptural shape.

All of the above helps explain a few of the design attributes as well as some of the intense requirements of building the Transcendence, and why quantities of this product will necessarily remain limited for the life of the project


If you would like to upgrade your turntable and/or tonearm, please call 781-893-9000 Ext. 14 and ask for Alan Goodwin. He will be most happy to discuss the various aspects of all of this with youand what in particular would be best for your system given how you use it. Ultimately everything should be done in service of music and the closest possible, most beautiful and engaging reproduction of it!

 

   
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