Anvil Turntables Alloy Convertible turntable with new magnetic footer


I have been using the Detroit made Alloy Convertible turntable for over two years and wanted to post a formal review.  Anvil Turntables is a one man operation run by the mad genius, Bruce McDougall.  I contacted Bruce when I was in the market for a new turntable because I read a review of his product by Micheal Fremer in this Analog Planet link: http://www.analogplanet.com/content/anvil-alloy-convertible-turntable%E2%80%94motor-city-metal-machine-magic#FkxcVDLbRt4XjKXH.97

Bruce has continued to optimize his design but the essential elements of the turntable remain; high mass, low friction, belt drive with speed stability.  The high mass comes from the use of metal alloys that employ mixes of material to reduce transmission of vibrations.  The platter and plinth weigh close to fifty pounds but do not take up much space.  Lots of attention is paid to the bearing and spindle interface.  Opposing circular magnets inserted in the plinth and platter reduce the force of the sapphire tipped spindle on the highly polished bearing.  This table will spin for several minutes at low speed due to the very small amounts of friction and the high mass of the platter.  The materials are sourced and then machined at various shops in Detroit that have been around to support the auto industry.  Another important design feature is the tonearm mount.  This mount is inserted into the plinth of the table and held in place by strong magnets.  This allows for rapid changing of tonearm/cartridge combinations which I now take advantage of on a regular basis. Turntables are made to order and involve design discussions with Bruce who is a pleasure to work with.  

When I purchased my table, Bruce had just updated his motor pod to a circular version that was heavier (14 pounds) than the aluminum box it replaced.  The motor string interface was also modified to prevent slipping of the belt drive.  My turntable plinth and motor pod were powder coated a beautiful "jollypop" red.  Just like the one on the Anvil website. http://www.anvilturntables.com/index.html

This speed stability of this table along with its utter lack of motor noise/vibration probably accounts for the immediate improvement in sound from my previous Systemdek table.  Accurate stable tones and low noise allows whatever tonearm/cartridge combo I have used to display their true colors.  I am currently enjoying three different arm/cartridge combinations.  First, the Zu DL-103/Jelco 750 9" combination.  Bruce turned me on to the DL-103.  I love it's dynamics and midrange presence. I still remember the first time hearing Sonny Rollins "Way Out West" belting out from my stereo with this combo.  Second,  the Lyra Delos/Audiomods Series V combination.  This is what I listen to the most.  Just amazing detail and leading edge clarity that makes music really grab your attention.  Third, the Mørch DP-6/ZYX Yatra combination.  Although I have had the most difficulty getting this combination to sync, when it is right it is amazing.  So smooth, quiet and amazing bass depth and control.  Will absolutely tame any harsh forward sounding recording.  

A couple months ago, Bruce demonstrated his new footers in my system.  I have the Anvil on the top shelf of a SolidSteel rack near the front wall, behind and to the left of the left speaker.  The standard footers are ball cup footers where aluminum cups screw into the plinth and contain cork or rubber balls.  These work well and I have never detected the transmission of footfalls.  However, given the position of the table and the use of powered subwoofers in the Vandersteen Quatros, some tracks would produce acoustic feedback when played at louder levels.  So I was interested in a new vibration isolation system that would allow me to keep my current rack and positioning.  The new footer are interesting.  They employ several magnetic bearings which are floating in a metal scaffolding on the top of an aluminum cup with a cork liner. Pictures are better..  http://www.anvilturntables.com/new-product.html
In order to get the footers to support the table and allow the bearings that contact the plinth to float in a magnetic field, you remove enough of the bearings from the footers so that all the remaining bearings just start to compress.  This design is supposed to take advantage of the vibration damping qualities of magnetic suspensions without the spring-like effect of opposing magnets which could actually transmit vibrations. In this footers design, the magnets loose force when that are pushed away from the metal scaffold and do not "spring" back toward the center.  

These footers worked in my system.  I can now play the troublesome tracks louder than I want with no evident feedback.  Additionally, I think these footers have expanded the imaging capabilities of the turntable and let more detail from the recordings come through.  Very pleased with them as a new tweak.  I am considering getting more footers to use under my electronics.  

I am happy to be able to buy from a small, passionate designer like Bruce. I have no financial relationship with Anvil other than being a customer.  I write this review because I realize it may be a small way to bring attention to product that would otherwise be a well kept Detroit secret.  

-Karl
System Details: Pass Labs XP-15 phonostage, Pass Labs XP-10 preamp, Pass Labs XA 30.5 amplifier and Vandersteen Quatro Wood loudspeakers.  


karl_desch
I concur with the quality of the footers. I use a set of three Anvil Turntable magnetic footers under my PS Audio Direct Stream cdp and dac (stacked) and the results are fantastic. I upgraded from Herbie's Audio Lab Iso balls which, at their price point, are also worthy of consideration. The price of the Anvil footers has been reduced from $360 to $210 (Bruce, update your website), so they're now only $90 more expensive than the Iso balls. The Anvil footers took my system to another level. Basically, I can hear more into the music. I have ordered another set from Bruce.
I think they are a really smart design and also clearly audibly effective under the turntable.  I have also ordered more to place under other components. 
Oops, my mistake, price is $295/three.