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I will quote from a Canadian magazine published in the fall of 1989 here to further explain the physics of the design, noting that Mr. Pierre Lurne was a French physicist who cut his audio teeth on designing Goldmund record players: "For instance, nearly all turntable platters have a long metal shaft attached, with the bearing at the end of the shaft. Lurne turns things around: the shaft is fixed to the turntable, and the platter rides on it. So the bearing, instead of being at the end of the shaft, is right under the record surface, very close to the platter's centre of gravity. Why? Lurne asks you to imagine two platters (one an Audiomeca, the other conventional) suspended upside down by a string attached to the bearing. If the platters have been properly balanced both would hang straight. But the balance of the conventional platter would be tenuous: a butterfly alighting on the rim could make it tip. But the shaft-less Audiomeca platter would be stable, remaining at whatever angle you placed it at. Conclusion: the platter with the inverted bearing is much less sensitive to small errors in machining accuracy." (UHF Magazine, issue No.23)
Mr. Lurne further solves the issue of motor pulley drag by including another "passive" pulley across from the drive pulley, so that the belt contacts the platter at two side points without dragging it in any direction. In case you're wondering, I am not trying to prove the brilliance of my turntable - I own several, both suspended and non-suspended, such as the Maplenoll, an Ariston, a home-made "high-end" platter spinner, etc. - but I do like seeing credit given where it is due. The Roma is a suspended design, and I have always loved its rhythmic abilities and its near total lack of surface noise (it's platter is made from "metacrylate" damped with lead sheet).
I am a researcher and writer by profession, specializing in subtext and the media's various ways of manipulating public opinion, and I find it interesting that Pierre Lurne's designs generated quite a lot of controversy at the time, as he provided an alternative to the famed Goldmund T3-f tonearm at a more reasonable price (sacrilege) at a time when all challengers to the Linn were rablidly espoused by the one camp, and rabidly dismissed by the other... the outcome being that the inverted bearing was usually dismissed as a budget/compromise design to "proper" shafted platter designs. I enjoy all my other record players (including a modded AR-XA), but always thought his bearing design was brilliant.
Hoping this letter was not too long, and was informative,
on the Mahler Fourth
Nevertheless I must offer PF readers some corrections of sorts, for the historical record. Rather than seven Walter recordings, as stated, there are ten: 1945, 1947, 1950 (2), 1952 (2), 1953, 1955 (2) and 1960. Can any other conductor be so well represented with any single work?
Regarding the Mengelberg (1939), while Mr. Gordon did not state this outright, he seems to go along with everybody's thinking that this was the first recording. It was not. That honor goes to Hidemaro Konoye and the Tokyo New Philharmonic Orchestra, 1930 (Denon), which I've never heard myself.
Finally I would highly commend a recording he omitted entirely, one by Karel Sejna and the Czech Philharmonic (1950). There are some clumsy segues owing to poor recording technique on 78s and the micing was far from ideal -- I've heard the Czech engineers of the day do far better. (Alas I've never been able to acquire the originals, which usually are far superior to dubs.) Anyway, Mengy wins the first movement hands down, but the second and third I believe are better played in the Sejna, although who wants to argue? The fourth is again a bit sloppy until after the splice, then it takes off, although the soprano is perhaps a bit too mature-sounding.
I wonder if you could clarify something for me in your reviews?
You quote the Edgar Titan as having the "best sounding horn" at the show. And you also go on to say that the Bottlehead room had the "best sound" at the show. So overall you seem to be saying that the best sound came from speakers whose parts cost are one tenth the cost of finished Titans?! Was that really the case, or were the systems so different that the Bottlehead Climax was able to produce the best sound due to the system used?
I'd appreciate a clarification on this if you had time.
With kind regards,
1. Are they too outdated to be used in a hybrid audiophile-home theater setup? ( I currently have Vandersteen 2CE Signature fronts and a 7.1 configuration)
2. Are there any reviews available ?
3. Are parts still available ?
4. I heard that the speakers are still being made in England. Is that true ?
5. As a past owner what would be your recommendation?
To answer your questions:
1. If they're in good working order, they are certainly capable of being used as L/R fronts. You'll have to consider the level of integration with the center channel, and the fact that the TDL's have only low-moderate efficiency. If you have sufficient room to place them, and adequate amplification to drive them, their exceptional bass and extended top end should serve you in good stead.
2. The only review that I remember seeing was a Stereophile review from the very late '80s. We didn't review them formally.
3. I don't know whether parts are available or not; you'd have to check with TDL about this.
4. The last that I heard (2-3 years ago) was that TDL had been acquired upon the death of the original designer. I haven't heard anything since then.
5. I am unclear as to what sort of recommendation you are looking for. Regarding home theatre, I've listed that above. Anything else, and you would have to clarify what you were asking about.