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High-end turntable puts component shopping to bed

High-end turntable puts component shopping to bed
The Synergy turntable is SME's first integrated turntable
The Synergy turntable is SME's first integrated turntable
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The Synergy turntable is SME's first integrated turntable
The Synergy turntable is SME's first integrated turntable

Vinyl music is riding the crest of a popularity wave at the moment, with Nielsen Music recently confirming growth in the US for the 12th consecutive year. While there are many affordable turntables available on which to play new and old singles and albums, heading into audiophile territory can quickly prove to be a very costly exercise. Particularly when you find that your high-end turntable doesn't work out of the box, needing additional components like a tonearm, a cartridge or even a power supply. The UK's SME has you covered with its complete Synergy solution.

The first integrated turntable from SME, the Synergy's main chassis is made from a solid block of machined aluminum, hand finished and painted black, and mounted on four polymer isolators inside height-adjustable feet. The subchassis is also fashioned from a single block of aluminum and isolated via three suspension columns. This is where the Series IV magnesium tonearm and main bearing system find their homes.

The chrome steel main spindle rises up through the center and supports the dampened aluminum alloy platter, which weighs in at 10 lb (4.6 kg). The 3-phase brushless motor that drives the belt is reported to be contained within a "virtually vibration-less" assembly that's isolated from the chassis by urethane mounts and spikes. The Synergy turntable supports playback at 33.3, 45 and 78 rpm, with fine adjustment included.

At the end of the one-piece pressure die-cast magnesium tonearm you will find an Ortofon MC Windfield Ti moving magnet cartridge. SME says that the built-in, battery-powered phono stage was specifically designed for the Synergy system by Nagra and is connected to the tonearm by Crystal Cable to reduce the risk of interference.

Taking isolation even further, SME has loaded all of the system's electronic control circuitry and its power supply unit into a separate machined case, which sports playback speed controls and LED indicators.

Even though SME has packaged everything you need to hook up the turntable to an amplifier and speakers, and get the audiophile party started straight away, the Synergy system will still cost you £14,950 (about US$20,000) when it goes on sale in September.

Source: SME

Turntable prices have always astonished me. Even having seen and listened to 6 digit Goldmund gear, I can’t fathom anyone buying this stuff. Back when I had an embarrassingly expensive audio set up, I thought my $1000 SME tonearm was hard to justify. My system did provide (to my ears) very true to recorded sound, but that whole system was about half the cost of this turntable.
It is not commonly known that in the mid-1970s there was a videodisk system that employed a grooved vinyl disk that was read by a tangential tracking arm with a capacitative pickup.
If you believe that Hi-Fi turntables, tone arms and pickups running at 33 1/3 RPM with a bandwidth of 20Hz - 20KHz are pushing the limits of technology, the specifications make interesting reading.
Here are the technical specifications for the RCA VideoDisc System, derived from various sources:
Disc System: CED 525/60Hz NTSC(US) 625/50Hz PAL(European) Playback System: Mechanical tracking grooved capacitance Playback Sensor: Diamond stylus with titanium electrode Max Playback Time (in 1983) : 63 min/side (NTSC), 75 min/side (PAL) Video Signal to Noise Ratio: >46dB (CCIR) Chrominance Signal-to-Noise Ratio: >40dB Chrominance Bandwidth: 0.5MHz Luminance Bandwidth: 3.0MHz Horizontal Resolution: 240-270 lines (magazine reviews) Audio Signal-to-Noise Ratio: >50dB (USASI), 70 dB (with CX) Audio Bandwidth: 15KHz Stereo Separation at 1KHz: 26dB Dynamic Range Mono: 50dB Dynamic Range Stereo: 70dB Audio FM Signal Deviation: +/- 50KHz Audio Carrier, Mono: 716KHz Audio Carrier, Additional Stereo: 905KHz Disc Diameter: 12 inches Disc material: PVC, carbon-doped Rotation Rate: 450RPM (525/60Hz), 375RPM (625/50Hz) Groove Density: 9,541 grooves/inch Recorded Band: 2.83 inches @ 60 minutes recording Still Frame Capability: 27,000 frames/side @ 60 minutes http://www.cedmagic.com/home/cedfaq.html
Expanded Viewpoint
20 large for that thing?!?! Are they kidding us or what? What kind of dope are they smoking over there?? One would have to have some serious kind of addiction to spending money or one for listening to music all day long for years on end to come up with any kind of justification for a system like that!! Doesn't anyone besides me ever consider the cost to benefit ratio?? Just how acute is anyone's hearing to say that it's worth it?
it is meant to keep upper class money out of the hands of the "useless eaters." actual music appreciation is strictly secondary.
IvanWashington, I agree with you; I saw a recent video of a guy who had $60K. speakers! ANY good turntable should be able to isolate/dampen to be able to listen to a record through a GOOD cartidge. But, if you got the money...