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TechDAS Air Force Zero turntable: 500kg, $300,000, and pure joy

Dale Davies |
More details have emerged about turntable giant, TechDAS, and its flagship Air Force Zero turntable that weighs in at more than 500 kilograms.

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The main unit of the Air Force Zero comprises a 100kg, stainless steel base frame and a 35kg platter base. Atop that are five platters weighing in at a further total of 118kg. The platters are as follows: Bottom platter: 30 kg, ø 40cm, forged Stainless Steel SUS 316L; Second platter: 20 kg, ø 31cm, forged Stainless Steel SUS 316L; Third platter: 20 kg, ø 31 cm, cast Gunmetal; Fourth Platter: 20 kg, ø 31 cm, forged Stainless Steel SUS 316L; Top Platter: 28 kg, ø 31 cm, powder sintered Tungsten.

Driving those platters is a belt-drive with a polished and nonflexible polyurethane fibre belt. The drive motor itself is a 3-phase 12-pole AC synchronous motor manufactured by Papst, Germany. The first phase, during startup and rotation adjustment you get high torque rotation. Then, in steady rotation, there's non-servo, low torque, ultra-low vibration. Naturally, you can dial in 33.3 rpm / 45 rpm speeds, with a precise speed adjustment function. Wow & Flutter is stated at below 0.03%.

Belt drive is via a 3 phase 12 pole AC synchronous limited edition German Pabst motor. An electric motor powers the built in air suspension system. If you have to ask the cost, you cannot afford it but north of $300,000 is probably a good guess and there will be buyers. TechDAS is the house brand of Stella Inc, the premier distributor of high-end audio in Japan. Stella Inc is designing and developing TechDAS products to rediscover the joy of audio and re-activate high-end audio.

The process of manufacturing an LP record is critical to the sound. When the lathe carves a groove into a lacquer disc, the disc is held down onto the platter using a vacuum. This reduces wow and flutter, any degradation of sound quality, and also increases the signal to noise ratio, thus avoiding anything that may have a negative effect when creating a very high quality master. To re-enact the same status in record playback, all the models of the Air Force series feature a vacuum LP hold-down.

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