Read about the Ascona. Jonathan Valin Executive Editor of Absolute Sounds writes about his Experience with the Ascona.
Review Absolute SOunds USA [622 KB]
Welcome to the superb Ascona.
We set out to design a new milestone in turntable performance, an ‘ultimate’ high mass turntable, but still elegant and stylish. The Ascona has been designed using our considerable in-house design knowledge and development expertise built up over 15 years. The Ascona story starts with the platter on which the record sits – because we know that the perfect turntable requires a resonance free platter rotating perfectly, with great stability. A very high mass platter is the answer, but needs designing carefully to achieve the desired result, high mass on its own is not enough. Then there is the motor to perfectly rotate the platter and the ‘arm board’ to perfectly hold the arm – all needed radical re-thinking to achieve our goal – the best sounding turntable we have ever produced, the best turntable ever perhaps? Here are the technical features that make the Ascona so good:
• The record platter (Silencer-Platter3) design brief was clear: Elimination of vibration due to impacting airborne vibration and elimination of bearing noise - to remove resonance at all frequencies, especially in the range 400-6000Hz; and to increase of the rotating mass of the platter to aid stability.
This desired performance brief has been achieved in the following way: A 50mm thick solid aluminium turntable platter is made from a very soft alloy to optimize its periodic resonance and a resonance-reducing material is also applied to the bottom face. Solid brass ‘Silencer’ inserts are used to eliminate resonance. Ascona employs 30 small Silencer’s on the very outer diameter of the platter; we needed to increase the platter diameter to nearly 350mm to achieve this. A further 24 larger Silencers are used within the body of the platter. The manufacturing process for the precision of the holes to accept the silencers was once more refined. The holes are drilled and “line-bored” with a clearance of less than 0.01mm to achieve a perfect fit. The Silencers become an integral part of the turntable - highly absorbing of all vibration energy, the platter remains inert and resonance free. To ensure perfect platter balance, the holes are absolutely true about the centre of the turntable.
•The platter bearing is the heart of every turntable. Through fundamental research and development, we have invented a bearing with the ideal performance characteristics of exact fit, extremely low noise, very low friction and long term stability. The platter bearing component is manufactured from special hardened and polished steel, with an extremely hard tungsten carbide ball at its base. The bearing housing uses perfectly matched and ‘aged’ sinter bronze inserts which are self-lubricating; and therefore maintenance free. At the base of the bearing, we use our specially developed ‘high-tech’ material TIDORFOLON.
•The bearing chassis is milled out from a 70mm thick block of aluminium and forms part of the integrated turntable ground-plate. Combined with the new platter the Ascona has a weight of 80kg.
We grind the surfaces by hand, a lengthy but essential process to achieve visual perfection.
•The external platter drive motor has 3 motors built into one housing. They drive a subplatter on which the Flywheel is placed. So we have much more power and stability than normal. Also the motor is run by its own electronic controller (AlphaDIG), a design we developed for the Ascona, where fully digital output stages and quartz locked technology, produce a perfect sine wave at 24VAC to run the motor, resulting in a perfectly steady and constant platter rotation. It is totally impervious to the negative effects of mains voltage fluctuations, and household appliances that produce ‘noisy’ mains that can have a very great detrimental effect on AC motors, and therefore the turntable performance and the sound you hear.
•The tone arm mounting plates are the most rigid versions we ever designed. They are adjustable to suit tone arms with lengths from 9 to 12 inches. The mounting of any desired tone arm make is possible, and two tone arm mounting plates can be fitted on the Ascona.
• Three adjustable feet for simple macro and micro adjustments to level the turntable.
As you can see, we have done everything to develop a potentially perfect product. The high mass, low resonance platter (with its inertia) is an integral part of the turntable concept. Very low bearing friction and noise and perfect motor drive control guarantee perfect synchronization and the best sound. Highest precision manufacturing in Germany guarantees reliability of this turntable. To make sure that every ASCONA is exactly the same we produce nearly every part on high precision computer controlled machines in-house.
Total weight ca. 78 kg
Dimension: BxW 550mmx470mm