TechDAS Air Force V Turntable Sidebar: In The Air Tonight

Sidebar: In The Air Tonight

Air bearings have held designers in thrall for decades, but my own initial exposure to the technology was with the Air Tangent tonearm from Sweden. It succeeded in eliminating the problems of linear-tracking arms that merely slid across a parallel rod or were powered by some arrangement of belts or gears, and which could exasperate with occasional sticking or jamming. As with anything using air pumps, complexity and noise were issues usually attended to by crafty location of pumps to reduce noise.


While the Air Tangent remains the pinnacle of the concept for many collectors, air-bearing turntables were original pursued, in pre-production form at least, by speaker brand Infinity. The idea was, again, about eliminating friction, as well as bearing noise and vibration entering the arm/cartridge/deck mechanical loop. Maplenoll, newcomer Holbo in Slovenia, Bergmann [HFN Jun '12] and others follow this path, some with air pumps, others with magnetic support of the platter.

Stella Inc.
Tokyo, Japan
Supplied by: Absolute Sounds Ltd
0208 971 3909