Striking "upside-down" turntable gets special Black Wheel edition
Back in 2017, a family business in the Netherlands launched a successful Kickstarter for a minimalist turntable that played the underside of a record via a linear tonearm. Now Miniot has launched a limited audiophile version called the Black Wheel.
Development of the Wheel turntable has taken quite a bit longer than expected, and the original offering has now been superseded by a second-generation build. Each unit is hand-built by a small team in the company's Schagen facility, and a significant number of backers report that they are yet to receive the novel disc spinner.
However, those who have received their turntable appear to be satisfied despite the long wait, and the company has elected to open the direct-to-consumer order books for general sale. As well as the Wheel 2 model, a small production run of a special edition called the Black Wheel has been announced.
The wooden enclosure of the standard turntable has been replaced by a brushed aluminum chassis with black accenting, with the team's signatures laser-etched in the bottom.
The vinyl lover pops the record on the unit's mini platter, which spins counter-clockwise at the selected speed and the side facing down is played. When the turntable is sat horizontally, Miniot reports that the record doesn't need to be clamped on, but if the unit is hung on a wall or mounted to the included vertical stand then a magnetic disk clamp will need to be employed. This can also serve as an adapter for popped-out 7-inch singles.
The up-facing digitally controlled linear tonearm rocks a high-end Audio Technica Nude Shibata cartridge, and features a built-in audiophile-grade phono premap that "delivers a pure RIAA-equalized signal straight to your amplifier, headphones, active speakers or wireless setup."
The system auto detects the 7-, 10- or 12-inch record and the device's three closed-loop motors allow the stylus to precisely follow the grooves. A technology dubbed Constant Groove Speed uses "data gathered from the tonearm, stylus and drive position" to make on-the-fly 33.3/45-rpm playback speed corrections for optimum listening.
Track selection, volume control, stylus weight and so on can all be controlled via the smart Slide Track to the side, which offers visual feedback via a simple line display.
The Black Wheel is hand-built at the company's lab in Schagen, Noord-Holland, and has a limited production run of five units per month. It ships with an included stand for vertical playback, and is priced at €3,799 (about US$4,000). The standard Wheel 2 model has been given a general sale price of €1,999.
Product page: Black Wheel