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.
Kidding aside, these are beautiful tables. Vacuum hold downs systems do cause me pause because of complications and noise. Perhaps it is not at this show but the new Music Hall Ikura table ($1,200 with an Ortofon 2M Blue Phone Cartridge) looks very intriguing and is affordable to mere mortals. Any chance you could review? Thanks.
To be honest, the Music Hall is a bit more my speed. Nothing wrong with uber-tables, but I can’t swing that hard. As for getting one in for review, I have absolutely no idea. Roy Hall might smite me if I ask.
Do they include pilot’s licenses?
You missed a life changing experience, yes these turntables are really that kind of good..