You are reading the older HTML site

Positive Feedback ISSUE 10
october/november 2003


Our readers respond…we respond right back!

Send your comments to either or



Dear Mr .Stern
After reading your article,in the current issue,I have nothing more to say,than congratulations for your crystal clear thesis, on the subject of  audio and magazines .

William J.Lamprou


Dear Mr. Cox
I was reading your excellent review of the VPI Aries turntable (I do enjoy reading your on-line magazine) and could not help responding to your musings about the history of the inverted bearing. I have owned an Audiomeca (Pierre Lurne) record player since the late '80s - a "Roma" - which was designed with an inverted bearing, as were all of his record players. At that time there were three designs, but now only one is available, to my knowledge.

I will quote from a Canadian magazine published in the fall of 1989 here to further explain the physics of the design, noting that Mr. Pierre Lurne was a French physicist who cut his audio teeth on designing Goldmund record players: "For instance, nearly all turntable platters have a long metal shaft attached, with the bearing at the end of the shaft. Lurne turns things around: the shaft is fixed to the turntable, and the platter rides on it. So the bearing, instead of being at the end of the shaft, is right under the record surface, very close to the platter's centre of gravity. Why? Lurne asks you to imagine two platters (one an Audiomeca, the other conventional) suspended upside down by a string attached to the bearing.  If the platters have been properly balanced both would hang straight. But the balance of the conventional platter would be tenuous: a butterfly alighting on the rim could make it tip. But the shaft-less Audiomeca platter would be stable, remaining at whatever angle you placed it at.  Conclusion: the platter with the inverted bearing is much less sensitive to small errors in machining accuracy." (UHF Magazine, issue No.23)

Mr. Lurne further solves the issue of motor pulley drag by including another "passive" pulley across from the drive pulley, so that the belt contacts the platter at two side points without dragging it in any direction.  In case you're wondering, I am not trying to prove the brilliance of my turntable - I own several, both suspended and non-suspended, such as the Maplenoll, an Ariston, a home-made "high-end" platter spinner, etc. - but I do like seeing credit given where it is due. The Roma is a suspended design, and I have always loved its rhythmic abilities and its near total lack of surface noise (it's platter is made from "metacrylate" damped with lead sheet).

I am a researcher and writer by profession, specializing in subtext and the media's various ways of manipulating public opinion, and I find it interesting that Pierre Lurne's designs generated quite a lot of controversy at the time, as he provided an alternative to the famed Goldmund T3-f tonearm at a more reasonable price (sacrilege) at a time when all challengers to the Linn were rablidly espoused by the one camp, and rabidly dismissed by the other... the outcome being that the inverted bearing was usually dismissed as a budget/compromise design to "proper" shafted platter designs. I enjoy all my other record players (including a modded AR-XA), but always thought his bearing design was brilliant.

Hoping this letter was not too long, and was informative,

Jean Nantais
Ottawa, Ont.

More on the Mahler Fourth
Roger Gordon's article in Issue 8 (Gustav Mahler, Symphony No. 4: A Historical Perspective) represents, one hopes, the beginning of a prolonged series. If so, then Positive Feedback will fill a gap left by Stereophile when they abandoned this admirable pursuit. One must be thankful for that effort, however, because they daringly included many mono performances as well, and never hesitated to say when they were better - as they often are!

Nevertheless I must offer PF readers some corrections of sorts, for the historical record. Rather than seven Walter recordings, as stated, there are ten: 1945, 1947, 1950 (2), 1952 (2), 1953, 1955 (2) and 1960. Can any other conductor be so well represented with any single work?

Regarding the Mengelberg (1939), while Mr. Gordon did not state this outright, he seems to go along with everybody's thinking that this was the first recording. It was not. That honor goes to Hidemaro Konoye and the Tokyo New Philharmonic Orchestra, 1930 (Denon), which I've never heard myself.

Finally I would highly commend a recording he omitted entirely, one by Karel Sejna and the Czech Philharmonic (1950). There are some clumsy segues owing to poor recording technique on 78s and the micing was far from ideal -- I've heard the Czech engineers of the day do far better. (Alas I've never been able to acquire the originals, which usually are far superior to dubs.) Anyway, Mengy wins the first movement hands down, but the second and third I believe are better played in the Sejna, although who wants to argue? The fourth is again a bit sloppy until after the splice, then it takes off, although the soprano is perhaps a bit too mature-sounding.

Clark Johnsen

I just want to say that Chip Stern's piece "From the Cornfield" is the most insightful, penetrating, and brutally honest commentary on the industry that I have read in years. It is sad, but true. Yet I do not despair. When Stereophile's time is over - and eventually it will be over - there will be others such Positive Feedback which will feed the needs of serious audiophiles, as did Stereophile 40 years ago. I never expected high end audio ever to become widespread. It always was the province of a small number of music lovers - some of them off the deep end, thank God! I think it is a fantasy to hope that the public at large has any interest in accurate sound reproduction of real music. Anyway, thanks for publishing this piece.

Gardiner McCauley

Hello Dave
Firstly to say greetings from the UK, and that I enjoyed reading your VSAC contributions. I would love to have been at the recent VSAC as a couple of people I know were able to attend.

I wonder if you could clarify something for me in your reviews?

You quote the Edgar Titan as having the "best sounding horn" at the show. And you also go on to say that the Bottlehead room had the "best sound" at the show. So overall you seem to be saying that the best sound came from speakers whose parts cost are one tenth the cost of finished Titans?! Was that really the case, or were the systems so different that the Bottlehead Climax was able to produce the best sound due to the system used?

I'd appreciate a clarification on this if you had time.

With kind regards,

Dear Jonathan,

Thanks for your question. I'd be happy to answer it. First, in order to understand the variety of awards that I give when I'm writing a really serious show report, please see my review of the 2003 CES in Positive Feedback Online, Issue 5 ( That should help to put things into perspective. In the case of VSAC, for which I did a much less formal report, I'm simply saying that the best combination of room and system was Bottlehead (a really large room, with a great deal of care put into setup, and with Paul Stubblebine's master tapes playing at times, to boot). But among the systems using horn loudspeakers, the best I heard was in the Edgarhorn room. Yes, this is really a room-and-system problem as well, so this is a subjective judgement (what's not at a show?). But I felt that the Edgarhorns really stood out among the horn loudspeakers at the show. And after a decade of covering high-end audio shows and trying to separate the wheat from the chaff, you get a lot of experience in making such judgements. I hope that clarifies the article.

Best wishes,
Dave Glackin

Dear Sirs
I have the opportunity to acquire a pair of TDL References(1993 versions). I have read that you owned a pair. My questions are several:

1. Are they too outdated to be used in a hybrid audiophile-home theater setup? ( I currently have Vandersteen 2CE Signature fronts and a 7.1 configuration)

2. Are there any reviews available ?

3. Are parts still available ?

4. I heard that the speakers are still being made in England. Is that true ?

5. As a past owner what would be your recommendation?

Thank you,

Redell Napper

Hello Redell...
Yes, I owned a late '80s version of the TDL Reference Standards for a number of years, and sold them about three years ago.

To answer your questions:

1. If they're in good working order, they are certainly capable of being used as L/R fronts. You'll have to consider the level of integration with the center channel, and the fact that the TDL's have only low-moderate efficiency. If you have sufficient room to place them, and adequate amplification to drive them, their exceptional bass and extended top end should serve you in good stead.

2. The only review that I remember seeing was a Stereophile review from the very late '80s. We didn't review them formally.

3. I don't know whether parts are available or not; you'd have to check with TDL about this.

4. The last that I heard (2-3 years ago) was that TDL had been acquired upon the death of the original designer. I haven't heard anything since then.

5. I am unclear as to what sort of recommendation you are looking for. Regarding home theatre, I've listed that above. Anything else, and you would have to clarify what you were asking about.


Editor-in-Chief, Positive Feedback Online