I spoke Sunday via email with Peter Qvortrup, head of Audio Note UK regarding a turntable photo that recently surfaced of what was being referred to online as the Audio Note UK “TT-3 .3 Reference” or just the “TT Three.”
Qvortrup was kind enough to share a wealth of information regarding the turntable’s design, issues he and his design team were dealing with in regard to QC of motor manufacture and the possible release date for the new ‘table which should slot in somewhere between the TT-3 Half Reference and TT-2 Deluxe in both price (approximately £5,000) and performance.
The following are some excerpts of my back and forth with Qvortrup, some of which has been edited:
“In regard to the photo: The TT Three as this one is called, is in its final pre-production stages.
“We have hit a snag with the available motors, which is proving a greater obstacle than I had ever imagined, I now better understand why everyone is making high-mass turntables, as the motors you can get are not very good quality in terms of speed constancy, which a heavy platter “smooths” out so to speak.
“We have two more motors to try, and if they do not work then we will have to make our own. Work on that is already in progress, as this is going to be needed at some point, as commercially available motors are not of a consistent quality; Like I said, fine with a single motor pushing a heavy platter where the platter [helps] keep the speed constant [but otherwise, not so much].”
In regards to the TT Three’s use of a low-mass platter, Qvortrup touches on a subject I’m sure will tweak some vinyl cognoscenti:
“The problems of energy storage and release in TTs with heavy platters is well known, although not much discussed, at least not yet.
“In our designs we rely on the motors to provide torque and that allows us to use a light platter which has minimal energy storage, the TT Three design is designed to optimize the 3-point suspended chassis principle to its ultimate conclusion, and combine it with the 3-motor concept which provides torque with minimal platter mass.
“The TT Three design is based on the work I did several years ago that culminated in the TT Three Reference, where the suspension and the motor-drive have the same centre point which prevents any conflict between the motors and the suspension – where the motors set up a resonance in the suspension which interferes with the stylus replay – because the platter is moving constantly, and as a result of the suspension’s reaction to the drag of the stylus in the groove and the pull of the motor.”
Qvortrup said this problem is greatly reduced in the two-motor design of the TT-2 , but it is the three-motor design of the TT Three that delivers the best solution.
Qvortrup wanted it to be made perfectly clear that the TT Three is not ready for sale yet, but if modified motors from Papst or another supplier the AN UK design team has tapped are up to scratch then the ‘table could be shipping by Christmas.
If this current motor plan doesn’t work to the team’s satisfaction, then Audio Note UK will have to finalize development of an in-house motor design which uses Lorentz force rather than the common Tesla to drive the motors.
A challenge that could take at least six months according to Qvortrup.