TechDAS splashed across the radar with their Air Force One mega turntable, a tour-de-force vinyl system which clocked in at condo prices (aka, somewhere around $100k), and that was before you've invested in a tonearm or cartridge.
While the styling is a bit too mod for my taste (not that I'd kick it out of bed or anything), to all reports -- at least among those who've actually used the table for any particular length of time -- the AF1 is a total show stopper. At 175+ lbs, it's also something of a back breaker, but I'm guessing that most owners won't be schlepping it about with any regularity. This is a big, big ... big turntable.
The new Air Force Two ($TBD, but should be about half what the Air Force One retails for) may be a bit closer to the orbit of more audiophiles. An air bearing and vacuum hold-down come directly from the larger table, and there's room for two different (and different-sized) tonearms, ranging from 9" up to 12". The weight has come down a bit, too, to a relatively svelte 100lbs. And yes, the air pump and power supply unit is separate (and adds another 20+ lbs).
The TDC01 is a new moving coil cartridge from TechDAS, and also took a bow here at Newport. 12g in weight and with 45mV of output, the cart also has 1.4Ω internal impedance, a recommended load of 100-200Ω and a tracking force of 2-2.3g. The tip is a semi-line contact (3µm x 30µm) on a super duralumin cantilever. Channel balance is .5dB and a separation is +30dB. I missed the price on the cart, however.
Graham Engineering, the US Distributor for TechDAS, was showing their Phantom Elite tonearms on the tables. The traditional unipivot/magnetic stabilizers is still there, but with improved performance and tolerances.
This room was more in static display while I was here; if there was any other gear, or playback, I didn’t write it down. This was all about the oohing and the ahhing over these two vinyl playback leviathans.
T.H.E. Show at Newport 2014 Show Sponsor