Well Tempered Lab "Record Player," Denon DL-110
Well Tempered Lab was founded in 1977 by a few creative New Zealand engineers, led by company President, William Firebaugh. The principle behind the company's first designs was to reduce or eliminate resonances that could be transmitted through the tonearm and into the stylus' pick up point. The company experimented with several unconventional designs that included oddly suspended tone-arms that looked more like a trapeze from a flea circus than a serious turntable. But, make no mistake, these are serious turntables!
The Well Tempered Lab Record Player we have here is a prime example of that WT philosophy. The whole thing starts with a solid foundation: a low-resonance, 3-layer MDF sandwich with rubberized feet to provide a solid foundation for all of the components above it. Next, the spindle and tonearm pivot housings are machined out of the plinth and fitted with recessed hardware to support those downstream components. Of course, neither the spindle nor the tonearm are at all conventional.
The spindle consists of a piece of columnar machined aluminum that is held in place in part by four nylon contact points and the other part by the tension of the drive belt itself. The A/C motor sits on its own, mid-ship within a hole in the plinth. The whole situation is some kind of magical balancing act, but somehow it works.
The tonearm is some kind of sorcery we have rarely seen! The lightweight aluminum arm, and extremely delicate wires are held up at the pivot point by triangulated fishing line and weight. The alignment of the arm, including adjustable azimuth are all dictated by the positioning of these strings in space. The pivot mechanism is filled with damping oil to smooth out oscillations. The cartridge counterbalance weight finishes the setup.
This table is ready to roll with a new belt and a recently retipped Denon DL-110 Moving Coil cartridge. The sound is crystal clear, clean, and free of resonances from what we can tell!
*Note, there are some marks on the surface of the plinth, which are shown in photos. These of course do not affect playback in the least.
Demos are available in Lawrence, MA.
$1,299 (plus applicable shipping and/or MA sales tax)