The Rock 7 turntable
Though relatively inexpensive, the Townshend Rock 7 turntable surpasses most conventional turntables, regardless of cost. The Rock 7 is supplied without a tonearm, but with the armboard of your choice. Boards for Rega, Linn, SME, and Townshend Excalibur II arms are available "off the shelf," while others are available by special order.
The Rock 7 comprises a very substantial sub-chassis upon which is mounted the platter bearing, leveling counterweight, and the cartridge damping trough, all of which are suspended symmetrically on three spring/bellows feet. The motor box, which houses a 24-pole 250-RPM synchronous motor with its two-speed drive pulley, IEC power socket, and on/off switch, is positioned independently of the main turntable assembly. This arrangement ensures exceptional isolation between the motor and the turntable. Further vibration reduction is accomplished by suspending the motor on Nytrol elastic bands.
The damping trough, a feature that has appeared on all Townshend turntables since the original Townshend Rock of the early 1980s, is unique to Townshend turntables. Because playing an LP creates vibration, excess vibration must be controlled or it will cause smearing, and thus a loss of focus and detail. Many tonearms offer damping at the rear of the arm, but this means that the spurious vibration has already affected the sound. The Rock 7’s trough damps vibration at the headshell, which means that it is removed before it travels down the arm. The result is that you hear every bit of the rock-solid imaging that the turntable’s name implies, along with a startling amount of detail and clarity.
The platter bearing is a unique, one-piece, precision-ground steel shaft with a hardened bottom end resting on a steel ball. The bearing is lubricated with state-of-the-art synthetic oil as developed for Formula 1 racing cars. It sits in the bottom of a brass journal that is fixed to the main chassis. The bearing shaft extends through the sub-platter and the main platter, emerging at the top to form the spindle that centers the record. The top of the spindle has a threaded hole to take the Rock record clamp. The platter is made of high-density polyethylene, chosen to have virtually the same physical properties as a vinyl LP.
The metal parts of the Rock 7 are made of solid steel that is powder-coated with very tough, fine-textured black polyester. All the fixings are heavy-duty, industrial-grade stainless steel to ensure maximum strength and long life in today’s polluted environment.
The sound of the Rock 7 with the trough and a good cartridge is astounding. The sound is naturally balanced over the entire frequency range, with powerful, deep bass, fast transients, silky-smooth highs, a beautifully clear midband, and a wide, deep soundstage. Clicks, pops, scratches and all of the artefacts associated with vinyl playback are enormously reduced. This allows unprecedented access to the music, resulting in hours of listening pleasure.
Versatile Seismic Sink Stand
The Versatile Seismic Sink Stand is the latest vibration isolation equipment support by Townshend Audio. Based on the award-winning Seismic Sink Stand, first introduced in 1996, VSSS sets a new level of performance, style, and practicality. The concept of the Seismic Sink Stand was derived from that of the original Seismic Sink, which showed the hi-fi world how absolutely vital it is to thoroughly isolate all source components from ground-borne vibration.
Our extensive research, and that of others, revealed that the most prominent vibrations in the earth's surface lie in the lateral plane (i.e., side-to-side), and are strongest within the frequency range of 3Hz to 80Hz, decreasing gently to 150Hz, and (in some instances) present up to 550Hz. Vibrations are caused by natural phenomena (wind, tide, waves, and distant earthquakes) and by myriad human activities such as traffic, pumps, compressors, trains, elevators, large crowds—and, of course, your hi-fi! These vibrations, though small, couple from the ground to the floor through the equipment support legs, and from there to the shelves upon which the audio equipment sits. They affect record players directly. With a CD player, especially a high-resolution SACD and/or DVD-Audio player, vibrations cause the laser to vibrate, introducing serious sound-degrading jitter. In a vacuum tube amplifier, vibrations rattle the microphonic tube electrodes, especially the grids, degrading the delicate audio signal. Ceramic components are piezoelectric, PVC is microphonic, PCB conductors and connecting wires can move relative to one another, and all have an insidious effect. Reproduced sound becomes closed-in, grainy, indistinct, edgy, hard, sibilant and blurred. The soundstage is decreased, and subtle reverberant detail in recordings is masked. The amount of vibration varies from day to day, hour to hour, and from place to place. Have you ever noticed how much better your sound is late at night, when all is quiet? This is not simply due to decreased radio frequency interference or dirty AC power, as is commonly thought, but to the reduction in vibration due to the lack of human activity at night, plus the calm wind conditions during the hours of darkness.
Designed to be 100 per cent maintenance-free and manufactured to the highest standards, the Versatile Seismic Sink Stand is designed to last for more than a lifetime. Four maintenance-free, dual-tensioned polymer load cells at each corner, in conjunction with the mass of the stand (plus equipment), form a stable, suspended mass/spring low-pass filter with an attenuation of about 20dB per decade above 2Hz. This ensures that deleterious ground-borne vibrations from 4Hz and above are virtually eliminated. Isolating audio/video components from vibration increases fidelity and imparts an openness and clarity to the sound, with gains in focus and solidity of image that a non-suspended stand simply cannot approach.
The positioning of shelves in the Versatile Seismic Sink Stand is infinitely adjustable, to accommodate the varying heights of components. Shelves can be added or removed without dismantling the stand, and because the Versatile Seismic Sink Stand is on level-adjustable “glides” rather than permanently spiked to the floor, it can easily be moved around. Because the Versatile Seismic Sink Stand breaks the coupling between floor and the equipment at very low frequencies, it eliminates the common footfall problems associated with suspended wooden floors, and is essential if you are coupling your loudspeakers rigidly to the floor.
Many anti-vibration devices are now marketed, ranging from virtually ineffective spikes and cones to rigid or floppy, light- or heavyweight platforms and tables to vibration-absorbing polymers. These devices have an audible effect that is sometimes beneficial and sometimes deleterious. They do NOT, however, address the problem rationally. Engineering science tells us that a properly designed isolating equipment support should be a mechanical low-pass filter. Such a filter must comprise a mass supported by a suitable spring arranged to resonate, or bounce, at a frequency below that which needs to be blocked. The lowest frequency to be attenuated is 3Hz, which means that the mass/spring combination should resonate at about 0.5Hz. A moment's thought will show that common rigid supports such as spiked platforms, with resonant frequencies around 80 to 150Hz and higher, come nowhere near this ideal, as they are amplifying vibration within the audio band.
The proof is in the listening. A whole new layer of fine detail is revealed that was previously masked by the effects of noise. Whether you play LPs, CDs, SACDs, DVD-Video discs, or DVD Audio discs, whether your amplification uses tubes or solid state, whether your sources are digital or analog, the results are always the same. So convincing is the effect that we have coined the phrase "The one-note dem" to describe the phenomenon. It only takes an instant for all to hear the improvements—first time, every time. The improvements are not subtle! If your goal is better sound, a Versatile Seismic Sink Stand must be your next purchase. You probably have a great system already, and don't know it!
There are three standard widths of Versatile Seismic Sink Stand: Size 1 for 17-inch components, Size 2 for 19- to 20-inch components, Size 3 for 22-inch components. Versatile Seismic Sink Stands are made to order, and the height of the top shelf can be 9 inches to 43 inches. The maximum weight that may be safely handled by the standard Versatile Seismic Sink Stand is 180 pounds. The best performance is achieved when the load is as close to the maximum as possible—the higher the load, the lower the resonant frequency. Special custom-width and depth stands can be made to accommodate any audio/video components.
The Versatile Seismic Sink Stand employs the “machine clamp” principle to hold the glass shelves, which can accommodate a wide range of thicknesses. The minimum recommended thickness for the shelves (not supplied with stands sold in the U.S.) is ¼-inch. Shelves intended for heavier components can be thicker as desired. Although air-borne vibration and vibration generated by the audio/video components is dissipated by the constrained-layer-damping design of the clamps securing the shelves, listening tests have shown that thicker glass further improves sound quality. Consequently, the Versatile Seismic Sink Stand is the ideal choice of equipment rack for serious audiophiles, who can experiment with different thicknesses, and with shelf materials of their own design and construction.
Don’t take our word for it. Hi-Fi Choice (November 2005) responded to the Versatile Seismic Sink Stand as follows: “Place a product on the Versatile Seismic Sink Stand and you can instantly hear the change…. The bass on any 'sunk' product is both tighter and deeper, the integration across the frequency range is better and the overall coherence of the sound is transformed…. How this presents itself is by sorting out the soundstage, bringing new depth and height to the image and considerably more space around the instruments. Even lo-fi recordings just sound like they have been remastered for the better. This is an exceptionally neutral presentation, showing exactly what your electronics are capable of. In the 1990s the Seismic Sink set a reference point for equipment support. Now, a decade later, Townshend Audio is setting standards once again."
Seismic Sink Stands are made to order. Total stand height must be specified. Glass shelves are not provided.