Well Tempered Lab on AudioCircle

•February 25, 2010 • Comments Off on Well Tempered Lab on AudioCircle

The Well Tempered Lab now has a circle on AudioCircle, follow this link to join the community of Well Tempered fans and owners.


Amadeus Videos

•August 25, 2009 • Comments Off on Amadeus Videos

WTL US Distributor, Mike Pranka has posted a couple of videos showing operation of the Amadeus turntable.

Flipping an LP on the Amadeus while it’s spinning.

Cueing the Amadeus tone arm without a finger lift

Well Tempered Amadeus GT in Hi-Fi+ Magazine

•August 6, 2009 • Comments Off on Well Tempered Amadeus GT in Hi-Fi+ Magazine

The Well Tempered Amadeus GT has received another rave review, this time from Hi-Fi+ Magazine in the UK. Reviewer Malcolm Steward writes:

“Amadeus GT truly is a wonderful machine to behold: a record player whose design elegantly combines genuine innovation and extreme pragmatism… and a complete absence of BS.”

Download full review here Hi-Fi+ Issue 66 Amadeus GT

Amadeus Wins The Absolute Sound Golden Ear Award

•June 12, 2009 • Comments Off on Amadeus Wins The Absolute Sound Golden Ear Award

The Well Tempered Amadeus has received “The Absolute Sound, 2009 Golden Ear Award” as a follow up to the excellent review it received in The Absolute Sound earlier in the year.

Amadeus reaches stratospheric heights of performance at a moderate price”

Please see a link to the original Absolute Sound review on an earlier post in this blog.

How to Make a Replacement WTL Amadeus Drive Belt

•May 8, 2009 • Comments Off on How to Make a Replacement WTL Amadeus Drive Belt

Please follow this link for information on how to make a replacement drive belt for the Well Tempered Amadeus.

How to make an Amadeus drive belt

WTL Amadeus in The Absolute Sound

•March 20, 2009 • Comments Off on WTL Amadeus in The Absolute Sound

The Well Tempered Lab Amadeus received a stellar review in the March 2009 issue of The Absolute Sound. The full review is now available online here

Reviewer Robert E Green writes:  “At anywhere near the price point, it is hard to fault the Amadeus. The combination of superbly quiet, stable, solid, low-distortion playback with unusually good bass performance…   One could spend a lot more money, but I would listen carefully to the Amadeus first. It is something exceeding fine, far beyond its modest price.”

TAS 191

Tracking Angle Error

•February 27, 2009 • Comments Off on Tracking Angle Error

There are three parameters involved in the geometry of tracking angle error that can be considered when designing a tonearm.

1. Arm Length

2. Overhang

3. Tracking Angle

These three factors can be examined very effectively using our Tracking Angle Analyzer (featured in this post) and a sensible judgment made by the designer that best suits his ideals concerning tonearms and tracking angle error. There are numerous excellent mathematical approaches to resolve this issue but none, I believe, give the understanding and insight that will be had by using our Tracking Angle Analyzer.

There is another non-geometrical factor that must be considered in an over-all understanding of tracking angle error. That other factor is the linear velocity of the groove. The linear velocity of the outermost grooves can be more that 3 times the linear velocity of the innermost grooves and this increased velocity reduces the generation of tracking angle error proportionately, by as much as 3 times. This reduction can be readily understood by examining the graphical presentation of the 2nd harmonic generation presented earlier in this blog (Fig. 1, Tone Arm Geometry, 18 Feb 09). Basically, the grooves going by the stylus faster reduce the difference between line OA and line OB and this, of course, reduces the 2nd harmonic. For a radical example, suppose we chose an overhang of zero and have a 10.5 inch tonearm. Using the Tracking Angle Analyzer, we will see a tracking angle of about 5 degrees will give zero error at the innermost grooves. However, at the outermost grooves, the tracking angle is about 17 degrees. This gives a tracking angle error of 17-5= 12 degrees. This is reduced by a factor of 3 times because of increased groove velocity at the outermost grooves for an effective error of 12/3 = 4 degrees. Now, if we wish, we can split the difference and set the tracking angle to 7 degrees for a tracking angle error of 2 degrees on the inner grooves and a tracking angle error of (12-7)/3 = 1.7 degrees effective on the outermost grooves.

If we wish, we can adjust the tracking angle for a small tracking error that is essentially constant over the span of the grooves. There are other factors that are beyond the control of the designer. These factors include the frequencies recorded in the groove, the amplitude of the recorded groove and thus the transverse velocity of the stylus in the groove.

William Firebaugh

Instructions on how to make your own Tracking Angle Analyzer

Tracking Analyzer Parts

Tracking Angle Analyzer

ToneArm Geometry

•February 18, 2009 • Comments Off on ToneArm Geometry

During the many years I have been investigating and designing turntables and tonearms, I have asked many serious audiophiles this question many times:  “What kind of distortion is caused by tonearm tracking angle error?”  Nobody, not a single audiophile or any other person, has given me the correct answer.  Many look at me with a puzzled expression, as though they have never thought about this problem before.  Others, don’t know why they use a particular geometry or how much overhang they use.  I knew the answer because I had read about this subject in The Radiotron  Designer’s Handbook, Fourth Edition, 1953 pages 723 to 727.  The subject of tonearm tracking is intensively covered in References 52 and 226.  The English reference book Audio Frequency Engineering, 1961 by E.H. Jones, pages 204 to 209, also gives an excellent mathematical explanation of the tonearm tracking error.  These references clearly present the answer to “What kind of distortion is caused by tracking angle error”: an increase in 2nd harmonic musical content.

I struggled through the mathematics of these references and many times had to refer back to my college mathematics books to understand the equations and the author’s explanations.  I decided to develop a different way of looking at this problem and yet come to the same conclusion.  I have used a graphical technique with excellent results. The tracking angle error used for this analysis is 20° to make the results easy to see.

Consider the Figure 1 of a sine wave and consider that this sine wave is on a phono record.  The line O-A (blue) is the cartridge stylus excursion path of a parallel tracking tonearm aligned for zero tracking angle error.  The line O-B (red) is the cartridge stylus excursion path of a tonearm with a tracking angle error of  Θ.  Notice that line O-B is longer that line O-A.  Using a strictly graphical approach, repeat these lines several times and then plot the differences of the excursion paths as shown.  The result is a clearly defined even harmonic waveform, predominantly 2nd harmonic.

In addition to the graphical approach, I wrote a program for the TI-84 graphing hand calculator and this program yields the same results.  This program permits the tracking angle error to be varied over a considerable range and clearly shows the relation between tracking angle error and the amount of even harmonic musical content.  Figure 2 shows the percent of even harmonic caused by tracking angle error.  Notice that a tracking angle error of 5 degrees yields even harmonic content less that 0.2% and this amount of error is not considered to be small.  Most experts agree that an increase of the even harmonic of musical content is not injurious of musical quality but rather, makes for a richer and more enjoyable musical experience.  However, it is doubtful that our hearing is able to discern an increase of even harmonic musical content of this level.

After my investigations, I decided to relieve users of Amadeus of the issue of setting tonearm geometry and to use a fixed geometry.  Based on the comprehensive analysis of J.K. Stevenson in the May and June 1966 article Pickup Arm Design and based on the dimensions of several phono cartridges in my inventory, I designed the tonearm for Amadeus to have a fixed tracking angle of 19 degrees and an overhang of 0.5”.

In a future edition of this blog ,I will describe how to make a low-cost tracking angle analyzer.  This device will permit the user to determine the tracking angle error caused by cartridges different dimensions.

Please see this link for the Well Tempered Lab Headshell Alignment Guide for all Well Tempered turntable models.

William Firebaugh

Figure 1: Graphical Analysis of Tracking Error

Figure 2: 2nd Harmonic vs Tracking Angle Error

WTL Amadeus Wins Product of the Year

•December 3, 2008 • Comments Off on WTL Amadeus Wins Product of the Year

The Amadeus has just been given “Product of the Year” on New Zealand’s most read Hi-Fi publication “AudioEnz”.

Editor Michael Jones wrote “The Well Tempered Amadeus is special. It’s one of those products that makes reviewing hi-fi so very exciting. The Amadeus is my product of the year.”

Read the full review here.

WTL Digital Stylus Force Gauge

•November 21, 2008 • Comments Off on WTL Digital Stylus Force Gauge

The WTL Touchscreen Digital Stylus Force Gauge is now available as an accessory from your local Well Tempered Lab dealer.