Look... I don't do declarations of better or best. So many things I haven't heard and audio is just too subjective. Normally I just do the most I can to objectively lay out the benefits and merits of any given piece of gear and let folks draw their own conclusions. So I won't say the WT is the best. But I WILL evangelize it a bit and say it's unequivocally very unlike any other table, vintage or current. I have profound admiration for the clever engineering that has gone into it (more on that in a minute) and an even deeper appreciation for what that yields musically. For the right listener who values the things it does supremely well, I know it will be revealing and rewarding in ways that aren't just really, really good by the standards of more conventional tables, but can be fundamentally game changing...
* Reference Arm - so I'm sitting here with a big smile on my face as I write this. You're going to look at this arm and just about immediately reach the conclusion that there's NO possible freakin' way the thing should work. It's suspended from an aluminum gantry at the top by a short length of mono filament (aka fishing line : ) The bottom is attached to a "paddle" that extends below into a trough filled with a viscous silicone fluid. The net of that is the arm literally has no bearing and therefore literally no actual rigid mechanical connection to the plinth of any kind! If that sounds interesting conceptually, you should hear it in practice. It's difficult to describe exactly. The best I can come up with is, in the absence of any noise from the table being transmitted back through the bearing or "chatter" from the bearing itself, there is simply unparalleled ability to hoover micro detail out of the grooves. The effect on imaging, tone saturation, dynamic contrast, etc. is NOT subtle and not like any other competing solution I know. Spooky quiet and real, especially on voices and acoustic instruments. The other major side benefit, which audiophiles probably don't give enough consideration to, is the ability to calibrate the damping to match the compliance of any cartridge and actively help keep the stylus in the groove at the lowest possible tracking force. The benefit in being kinder and gentler to your delicate cart and valuable records can't be overstated. It's a philosophically different approach in recovering the most possible information, without plowing through the grooves like a John Deere tractor to do it : ) So..., is there any downside to this marvel of modern engineering you ask? Well, I'd say it's probably not the ideal choice for set-up novices. While it's easily and infinitely adjustable for VTA, damping, anti-skate, azimuth, tracking force, etc., the initial set-up requires more than average patience and know-how. In the WT's defense though, once set it's totally stable and STAYS aligned without really any further messing around with it.
* Reference Table - an unsuspended design that definitely subscribes to the brute force, mass loaded school of dealing with resonance, through almost 60lbs of alternating layers of fountainhead synthetic granite and elastomeric Isodamp. To look at it, there isn't the flash of an Oracle or Michell Orbe to wow the audio buddies, but nonetheless it still radiates a kind of understated sophistication that's in keeping with the rest of the presentation. But the real story here is the "zero clearance" platter bearing. It's another logic defying contraption where the spindle isn't fully captured in the bearing, but as the platter spins is instead held firmly against five teflon points that protrude into a well filled with silicone to lubricate the contact and damp vibration... with two points at the top on the motor side, two at the bottom on the opposite side and the fifth underneath supporting the spindle's weight. It's a uniquely elegant solution to a very real challenge. Combined with the machined delrin Black Damped platter filled with Isodamp, and dished in the middle to work with the Reference clamp as well as any vacuum hold down system, the table fully lives up to the reference standard set by the arm. It's a thoughtfully engineered platform to extract the absolute most amount of musical information from your LPs, with the least amount of external interference or extraneous internal noise. Describing it doesn't do it justice. It's a level of quiet that has serious, easily heard dividends in almost every important area of music reproduction. At its considerable best, with a really capable MC mounted, the sound is captivating in the kinds of ways... all the little nuances, and silences between the notes, that aren't typical in even otherwise excellent competing designs.
At the end of the day, I think the WT Reference exemplifies exactly what the high-end is supposed to be but doesn't always quite accomplish. It's wildly innovative, great looking, durable, and, most of all, musically thrilling. This particular WT is in exceptional working and cosmetic condition. Hell, even the dust cover looks new! Comes complete with everything noted below and, at the asking price, will also include a custom, spiked Vermont marble/sorbothane/steel isolation base that adds another ~60lbs of damped mass to the proceedings. Asking $3300+ shipping/PayPal (if applicable) or best offer. I will accept a check, with sufficient time to clear, or PayPal at buyers expense. Am willing to meet half way to deliver within a ~couple hour radius of Columbus, OH but also have all of the original factory cartons and packing to ship within the continental U.S. Buyer responsible for shipping cost. I am just starting to transact on USAM but have a wealth of feedback on Audiogon (user ID = Markraile).
Reference table including Black Damped platter & Reference record clamp, Reference arm, Signet MC cart, smoked dust cover, extra belt, additional silicone and bearing oil, all factory boxes & packing materials, copy of owner's manuals (table and arm), and custom Vermont marble isolation base (at asking price ONLY)
Re: Well Tempered Reference; flawless world-class turntable & arm w/Signet MC + EXTRAS
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