Audiophiles are happy to pay top dollar for the intensive research and space-age materials required to deliver ultra-high fidelity. Take a turntable, for example: endless effort is put in to reducing vibration to the tone arm, which holds the needle in a record’s grooves.
The key component in reducing vibration is the tone arm bearing. But while most turntable manufacturers go to extremes to create the ultimate in precision bearings, Well Tempered Turntable turned instead to something more prosaic: a golf ball floating in silicone fluid. It turns out golf balls are precision-made and provide just the right amount of damping.
“Other designers use elaborate, high-mass designs to try to absorb the audible distortions,” says Frank Denson, director of Denco Engineering in Christchurch and co-owner of the US-based Well Tempered. “With our revolutionary designs we stop these distortions in the first place.”
The golf-ball innovation is in use in Well Tempered’s Amadeus range and Denson says it means they can make a product at a fraction of the cost of other high-end turntables, and with arguably better performance.
“Our approach, which may on the face of it seem simplistic, is in fact the reverse and has taken countless hours of research and thinking outside the square.”
Well, there’s that, and Denson’s other source of design inspiration: “Insomnia”.
Idealog has been covering the most interesting people, businesses and issues from the fields of innovation, design, technology and urban development for over 12 years. And we're asking for your support so we can keep telling those stories, inspire more entrepreneurs to start their own businesses and keep pushing New Zealand forward. Give over $5 a month and you will not only be supporting New Zealand innovation, but you’ll also receive a print subscription, an Idealog t-shirt and a copy of the new book by David Downs and Dr. Michelle Dickinson, No. 8 Recharged (while stocks last).