Rebirth of a very special vinyl playing turntable
WHERE DID IT ALL START?
Fifty years ago and some, vinyl records were pretty well the only medium to play music in the home.
There were also cassette tapes and reel to reel recorders, the former developing through the 80s to a very acceptable standard albeit vinyl in those days held the top position. There were one or two names synonymous with top vinyl playback, many of them still with us today. Linn, SME, Michell to name just a few, all worthy of very special merit. However, being an enthusiast and always searching for the very best or indeed any improvements possible, I had some ideas from my engineering background that there may just be a different way and maybe even a better way of retrieving whatever is in vinyl record grooves. Solidity has always been something I have been interested in concerning many commodity products and that is how the Stratosphere has emerged, from looking at the solution from a slightly different angle. Many turntables of the day used a fairly lightweight philosophy to achieve the results desired, perfect timing with minimal wow and flutter, quietness of bearing and motor, low rumble and most of all, serious dynamics.
ENTER THE STRATOSPHERE, A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE.
The Stratosphere was firstly conceived nearly 40 years ago and the philosophy I used then was down the solidity road. My theory was, as it is now, solidity has less chance of adding any unwanted problems or frequencies or what is know in the Hi-Fi world as ‘colouration’. In other words, deviation from the original program material. The world is full of vibrations. Even the ground we stand on can deliver measurable vibrations that can in the world of vinyl reproduction be detected albeit in very small quantities through the record grooves up to the stylus that retrieves the music from the grooves and then further up the chain, to the pickarm, cables and just about anything that may interfere with a true and accurate musical signal. My theory was if you start with solidity, there will be less corruption and less additives to the sound, the true music on the record being delivered in full.
That was the start of the Stratosphere some time ago. There are many users of the first MK 1 and MK2 versions which have been running successfully for many years and still are to this day. The Stratosphere is built to last. Although I believed at the time that the original Stratosphere was pretty good for it’s day, I have over the last few years realised that it needed updating and over the last 18 months I have been working on every aspect of the turntables performance raising it to Stratospheric levels (sorry) and I am now confident that it stands superior to many of today’s reference products where vinyl production is the most important part of an enthusiast’s life. The Stratosphere is a life product and hopefully the MK3 will be so for another 40 years.
ENTER THE STRATOSPHERE MK 3
So, how have these latest improvements materialised? Basically solidity of materials is the key plus the use of the quietest inert materials currently available. The Stratosphere has always been substantially solid but some of these latest improvements have taken solidity coupled with technical refinement to another level.
STRATOSPHERE MK 3 – updating finally completed
It’s all been worth it. As you can see from other articles on this web site about the Stratosphere high performance turntable, the evolution of this rather special MK3 turntable has been substantial to say the least. Not just with performance reaching a new level but also the efforts to achieve the goal I was looking for have been somewhat over whelming. Nevertheless, it’s been worth it. As you can see from these new pictures, it now looks like what it is, something pretty special. Available in several different colours and with upmarket aesthetics to complement it’s performance and design, the Stratosphere now reaches a new level in just about every way. The STRATOSPHERE MK 3. The quietest, most dynamic, most startling, most colourful and just about the best UK made turntable ever? Without doubt !!!
Please click on the images below to see larger versions
GREAT NEWS FOR THE STRATOSPHERE
I now have a tonearm. Yes, the Lumley Stratosphere turntable now is complemented with a new super high quality tonearm and the performance takes the Stratosphere MK3 to another completely new level. Designed in Holland by Douwe Medema, a metallurgist, jeweller and music enthusiast to the most exacting standards, it is a world class product. As you can see from the picture, it is available in 9 ” or 12″ and I am absolutely staggered at the results experienced so far. It is a most beautiful product and will surely raise the Stratosphere performance to great new heights.
Don’t just take my word for it, come a see and hear it at the Munich Hi-Fi show in May (19th till 22nd, room F211) or call me for a demonstration in our new showroom in Sussex. (Details to follow.)
The stand base and top plate have been upgraded with even more solidity with solid aluminium. This stand supports the main turntable using 3 legs that can also be filled with sand if the situation permits rendering the operational part of the turntable to be sitting on an incredibly sturdy base offering maximum solidity.
MAIN TURNTABLE FLOATING SUPPORT
The main turntable is further isolated from the stand by an in house designed supporting device which are known as ‘Air Pods.’ These clever items enable the main turntable to literally hover in air the connection from the stand to the turntable itself being almost 99% free without any vibration being transmitted from the ground.
After considerable research over the last few years, a very special plating material is used here (as used by Nasa in some space products) which is incredibly quiet offering almost zero friction lowering the noise floor to be virtually un-detectable . A truly substantial development.
The main flywheel weighing in at around 25lbs has a series of spikes on its upper surface. This substantial weight of this flywheel plus the platter spikes offer a further stage of isolation. The final level of isolation comes from a new 20m nylatron platter which sits on the spikes on the top of the flywheel the record to be played resting on this platter and it is then held firmly to the platter by a record weight.
ELECTRONIC SPEED CONTROL
The main flywheel encompasses a sensor which supplies information to the power supply that controls the accuracy of speed ensuring any deviation or varience is kept to the absolute minimum. Another major improvement.
Lastly a new electrically speed controlled DC motor is housed in a substantial motor pod which then stands on a separate pillar on the base stand preventing any further vibration being transferred from one of the quietest motors current available.
All in all, the Stratosphere MK 3 is one of the quietest turntables ever designed
Vinyl over the years has had a very up and down journey up to its present position with music reproduction in the home. The emergence of the CD temporarily blurred the scene to some extent with superb performances delivered from the most modest of Hi-Fi systems.
However, if nothing but the best music retrieval bringing the music and artist right into the domestic environment will do, vinyl still holds the number one spot. It delivers what the enthusiast describes as truth, dynamics, alarming detail retrieval but most of all, just about the most musical sounds you can achieve.
The jury is still out for many a serious listener, CDs and music servers challenging the Vinyl medium very strongly. However, one listen to the Stratosphere will confirm that Vinyl done correctly is the only way to listen to real music. Vinyl rules !!!
Bring music at its best into your life. The STRATOSPHERE MK 3. It takes you into another world.
SPEEDS: 33 / 45
MOTOR: Sensor controlled DC motor
Arm pod capable of taking most arms on the market
Dual arm pod available if required
Complete weight with stand approx. 200 pounds
Std. colours black and chrome. Others to order
Running in time 300 hours
The STRATOSPHERE can be used on other suitable stands if accommodation is difficult.
“In 40 years of HiFi I’ve never enjoyed listening more. John’s system building and room tuning advice has been invaluable. The upgraded Strat? Simply the most natural and dynamic record deck you’re ever likely to hear. Brilliant!”
– PH, A very satisfied customer.