Wilson Benesch Continues to Innovate Analogue Replay - GMT One System
Wilson Benesch has research and development at its very heart and was founded in 1989 following two years of such work. The company unveiled its first product in 1990, the Wilson Benesch Turntable (WBT).
Following Wilson Benesch's innovative work that introduced the use of carbon fibre composite structures in high-end audio, it has continued to pioneer novel solutions to getting the most of analogue systems. It has now announced the GMT One System turntable, which it believes will become the benchmark for all other analogue playback systems.
Through the 1990s, South Yorkshire-based Wilson Benesch continued to invest in analogue technology development and subsequently released its second of only two turntables designs. The Full Circle introduced the carbon fibre unidirectional 'UD' cantilever suspension system.
In 2010, Wilson Benesch submitted a proposal to Her Majesty's government in a competitive grant scheme and was awarded 'SMART' Research funding of £150,000 for a project that the company referred to as 'The Mondrian Project'.
During the following decade, Wilson Benesch continued to fund cutting edge technological development. Original ideas emerged as the analogue system defined itself through new components for the motor, the tonearm, and numerous sub-assemblies. The development of these sub-systems required a completely new approach that was greatly influenced by emerging technologies in additive manufacturing at the time. New collaborative partners were identified at Sheffield University and the AMRC (Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre) to enable these conceptual models to be refined and optimised in time frames that would have been inconceivable with conventional manufacturing technologies.
One result of this is the Graviton Tonearm (below) which features a highly complex latticed structure created by laser-sintered titanium. The specific stiffness of this component is said to be beyond anything seen previously.
More Funding - Further Innovation
At the close of 2020, Wilson Benesch brought together a consortium that successfully won £327,000 of Innovate UK funding.
The consortium is comprised of Sheffield Hallam University - Dr F. Al-Naemi, Dr J. Travis and Professor G. Cockerham. These scientists have enabled the most nuanced and sophisticated modelling to be accomplished using state of the art 3D software and have been critical to the success of the project. Secondly, the highly innovative CAAS Audio, which is also based in South Yorkshire and is driven by the proven world-class expertise of Dr C. Broomfield and N. Broomfield. Since winning this essential funding, the consortium has pioneered a completely new motor and dedicated poly-phase motor power supply system.
GMT System One and Omega Drive
The GMT System has been designed to meet the needs of the archivist. Its primary goal is to preserve valuable recordings and minimise the impact of transcription.
It is widely recognised that at the heart of all turntables is the motor drive and its power supply. The Omega Drive presents a crucial part of the GMT System, which was announced back in 2019 and developed for one purpose. We are told that it is without exception, unlike anything seen before. Every aspect is unique and, as a whole, is the subject of both a patent application and many design registrations.
All the GMT systems will be manufactured and assembled in-house within the same building where the product was designed and developed. This applies to the electronic systems supplied by the developer Dr Broomfield and Neil Broomfield of CAAS Audio. But, of course, the quality of the outcome is only as good as the measurements.
The classic measuring systems used to measure speed and speed fluctuations were inadequate for the task, and a novel new system based upon a high-resolution pico-encoder was developed.
The resolution was critical to the iterative design approach. The result is a genuinely unique, state-of-the-art control and drive system that promises unprecedented levels of precision and immeasurable speed fluctuations. Poly-phase drive signals are synthesised by a sophisticated microprocessor-controlled DAC module that apparently has absolute control over each critical variable. It certainly appeared to be impressive when we saw it at High End Munich in 2019.
The control software and algorithms were also developed in tandem with CAAS Audio. These advanced systems monitor the drive technologies in real-time, while pure analogue, linear amplifiers handle the transfer of the synthesised signals. These combined result of these bespoke, high precision systems, according to Wilson Benesch, guarantees the lowest possible levels of distortion and absolute accuracy in the motor drive system.
We are reliably informed that, for the first time, each parameter can be controlled to extremely high levels of precision to achieve the ultimate and virtually flawless transcription of the microgroove.
Significantly, these transcription parameters for the motor and the tonearm can apparently be dialled in remotely to unprecedented levels of accuracy.
Wilson Benesch is pretty confident that no other product in the world can approach this level of accuracy, control or reliability. This gives the manufacturer bragging rights as it feels the GMT System sets the new benchmark by which all other analogue replay systems will be judged.
Wilson Benesch is hoping to publicly launch the GMT One System turntable in January 2022. Full details will be released as more information becomes available.
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