From laser styli to a four-armed behemoth, Paul Rigby looks at some of the more outlandish turntables you can buy and draws a very firm line between the sublime and the ridiculous.
Words: Paul Rigby
Turntables have been a fixture in the field of Hi-Fi for many years. As a mature element within the industry, turntables have been the focus of a wide range of applied ideas and theories promoted by many talented, skilled and, on occasion, peculiarly misguided individuals and engineers.
Of course, in the beginning, designers merely wanted to support a record and produce the best sound possible from their turntable design. But then, someone said, “I wonder what would happen if…” and the floodgates opened.
The result, over the years has been a raft of turntables in many shapes and sizes. We have seen turntables that have served as the platform for a range of innovative and sometimes bizarre technologies, we have seen turntables that have been the recipient of a number of intriguing, failed and blatantly wacky theories on sound reproduction as well turntables that have been used to hold a range of additional, third party, technologies.
While we could have easily listed a host of eccentric turntables dating from the 50s and 60s, we thought we’d concentrate upon those designs that you can obtain, with various degrees of difficulty, right now.
Also, while the following selection of decks do not, by any means, provide the definitive list of eccentric turntable designs, it does provide a good example of what you can come across. Have you seen, heard about or, indeed, do you own other eccentric turntables? Please tell us about it. Post an image if you can too. Maybe you have a few ideas that you’d like to implement yourself? We’d love to hear from you.