Clearaudio Master Innovation Assembly pics

The Master is in the house. The sound is glorious. Saving you all the short the table is very dynamic, noticeable at lower playing volumes especially when compared to my innovation compact. Bass is tight, extended and articulate. It really seems like a well balanced table throughout the frequency range. Huge sound stage depth and precise imaging with lots of air around the instruments, vocals. The drive...aka PRAT is there. I think I should be satisfied for a long time to come. I'm using a Graham Phantom Supreme 10" (Mint LP setup), A90 and XP-25 phono stage.

Here is a link to my photo's of the assembly process.
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'I think I should be satisfied for a long time to come.' This is delusional thinking for any audiophile. Best you enter rehab at once.
This is delusional thinking for any audiophile. Best you enter rehab at once.
I agree. My second cousin (twice removed) is a therapist, I'll get you an appointment at his center if you'd like. BTW, he does have a special "Audiophile" rate !!!! All kidding aside, the Innovation looks superb, enjoy.
That looks awesome! I hope someday to own one of those. Congrats and many hours of great listening!
Thanks for posting the beautiful pics.
All I can say is beautiful.
I may have to look into one.
Very nice rug. Turkish?
Dear Rockitman,
Have you ever compared the sound with the Master Reference?
If not, has anyone had, either in an exhibition or in a written review (English or German)?
Many thanks for any relevant info
^^^ Sorry Kostas..I have no listening experience with the Master Reference.
Dear Rockitman,
So as far as I can determine, that lower platter, which appears to be made of acrylic, has magnets imbedded in it. It is driven by the belt. The upper platter assembly is driven by the magnetic attraction between its base and the magnets in the lower driver platter, i.e., magnetic coupling. Is that correct? As a consequence, a magnetic force pulls the lower platter up toward the upper one and also pulls the upper platter downward, reciprocally. Is that the case?
Whilst making your decision to purchase, did you also consider the EAR turntable that apparently works by a similar principle?
Or the Verdier?

The lower acrylic platter has magnets as does the top acrylic platter. The bottom platter sits where it is due to the weight of it and the heavy stainless sub platter riding on a traditional brass bushing bearing. The upper acrylic magentic platter is attached via a shaft to the record platter up top and they both ride (Float) on one ceramic magnetic bearing. The magnetic bearing levitates both the record platter and the upper acrylic magnetic drive platter so the magnets between both magnetic drive platters never touch....the magnetic force is not that strong between the two. The speed accuracy is stunning for a belt drive. I suspect that even though there is a low compliant issue with magnetic force (ie: play), in my mind it helps the speed consistency as we are talking about almost zero friction with the magnetic bearing, optical speed control and a lot of spinning mass....close to 50lbs. Any micro speed deviation happening with the belt/motor driven platter are offset by the rotational mass, frictionless bearing and the compliance of the magnetic force which imo, helps to absorb any micro speed variation by the belt driven platter.

I did not consider any other turntable.
it's a beautiful piece of workmanship. Use it in good health.
I am still trying to understand the drive system. You wrote, "The upper acrylic magentic platter is attached via a shaft to the record platter up top and they both ride (Float) on one ceramic magnetic bearing. The magnetic bearing levitates both the record platter and the upper acrylic magnetic drive platter so the magnets between both magnetic drive platters never touch....the magnetic force is not that strong between the two."
I don't quite get what is levitated and what is driving what (because in the photos I don't see any open space between the stainless steel part of the lower platter and the white acrylic part and similarly for the two parts of the upper platter), but I will take a look at the Clearaudio website. The idea I get from what you wrote above is that BOTH platters are magnetically levitated in the vertical direction and that the lower platter drives the upper platter via magnetic interaction in the horizontal plane, but in the vertical plane the space between the two composite platters is effected by mechanical means (a shaft). Thus the upper composite platter (ss and black acrylic) is constrained mechanically from moving out of line with the lower one (by the shaft), but is rotated magnetically. Anyway, it is obviously ingenious.
Hi Lewm...hard to put it in words. If you are familiar with the CA Innovation, you know when you put downward force on the platter, the platter goes down a bit, then pops back up when you remove the downward force, hence the platter magnetic floating concept I alluded to. With the Master, the CMB is sealed so I could not see it. There is a rigid shaft that holds the upper magentic patter to the delrin record platter. It's a rigid connection. Some how that shaft that rigidly couples to upper mag platter with the record platter is supported by the magnetic bearing, hence the float. When I put downward force on the record platter, the upper mag platter also moves down, but not far enough to make physical contact with the lower acrylic drive platter that has the belt on it.

Interesting that the Clearaudio site still has no info or mention of the Master Innovation.
I also have difficulty in understanding the implementation of the drive system, despite being familiar with the Clearaudio Magnetic Bearing (CMB) system.

My difficulty is this: if Clearaudio attempted to improve on the CMB vertical suspension system by adding horizontal magnetic control they did not need to have a *thick* belt-driven part that is a *sandwich* of a metal and a white acrylic drum: they could have opted for a thinner part made of heavier material.

Furthermore I cannot understand why the drive does not consist of one floor, with only one spindle, that accepts the lower thin belt-driven part underneath the Delrin platter: the CMB technology would separate both rotating parts from their common spindle; the new invention with the smaller magnets on the periphery would separate the two rotating parts from each other whilst coupling them magnetically.

Either I am missing something, or the arrangement is a very transitional one in the evolution of Clearaudio turntables.
Still, a very beautiful turntable in a 'sculptural' sort of way!

Looking a bit closer at the upper record patter assembly, this is what I have found. If you are familiar with the standard (double plinth) Innovation, the unit comes with the ceramic bearing exposed. You have to lubricate it and the inside of the bearing outer metal jacket that supports the metal sub-platter. What's different about the Master Innovation is that the bearing is sealed inside the bearing outer metal jacket. The outer jacket keeps the platter from lateral movement while at the same time floating the platter on the opposing magnetic force just as with the regular innovation. It appears the upper acrylic magnetic platter shaft is affixed to the bearing outer jacket, hence it floats in harmony with the delrin record platter when downward force is applied. The upper double plinth, upper acrylic magnetic platter and bearing/jacket are pre-assembled in the factory. The bearing appears to require no furthur lubrication maintenance. Hope this helps.

Thanks for the pictures, Rockitman. Very nice!

Looks like the Master Innovation is made of two turntables stacked on top of each other, which makes it easier to manufacture from existing parts. The lower table resembles the Innovation with magnets embedded in the platter -- I bet the lower table works just like a regular Innovation turntable with magnets removed. I assume the lower table uses Clearaudio's CMB ceramic magnetic bearing.

Here's my observation and is purely based on the visuals provided. The upper table consists of two platters with the dual-layered plinths in between. The bearing shaft has to hold the two platters--notice the set-screws -- and they are levitated by that magnetic bearing and looks like they are putting a different spin on the CMB concept as by nature the bearing for the upper table would have NO thrust plate or no contact vertically. This avoids the use of angular contact bearing a la EAR Disk Master, since the shaft does not have to meet a contact point vertically -- it just floats. The concern is that is this floating state stable since it is not mechanically grounded and how tight is the gap -- any slight vertical movement will affect VTA, dynamics and other sonic issues. It's a similar issue with air-bearing tonearm. The upper white platter is being pulled down by the lower white platter so that helps to have tighter tolerance on that magnetic gap.

Did you detect any vertical instability of the bearing? One must give credit to Clearaudio's clever use of magnet to avoid using any multi-contact bearing such as the noisier angular-contact bearing. Judging by your positive sonic result, I assume the floating bearing poses no negative effect. So, congrats and thanks again for posting all the nice pictures!

P.S. I am curious what it would sound like if the lower table is replaced with a direct-drive turntable. Hmmm....

Let me know when u get the TT upgrade bug and I'll buy your Master Innovation.

I actually am considering an Innovation as upgrade to my 10 yr old master reference, but after reading your review and great pics, I may have to save up a while longer,

Great pics and review.
Was the price for the master innovation $24,000 net or list?
Is the sound big different as compare to master ref. Amg wood?
I have not heard the amg wood. I paid $24K as an early adopter. It is now $28K.
Thanks, There is one master ref. for sale is 5 years old. Still a lot of money for TT without arms.
I have heard master ref. acrylic in one dealer place, is very nice. With TT-1.
Sorry which tone arm and cart you using?
I am waiting for my dyna xv-1s , should be here within 2 weeks.
Hi Chris,

I am using a graham phantom supreme with a Koetsu Coralstone primarily. I also have a second arm wand with an Ortofon A90 ready to go when desired.
I would not be surprised if a new Innovation sounds better than the older acrylic master reference and for less money too.
Rockitman, this is so awesome system.
What are the audio stands/racks, what brand?