Mag Lev Turntable. Your Thoughts?


One is for sale on Audiogon. Very cool BUT, I can think of a bunch of potential problems. My instinct says it is showmanship but not having actually played with one who knows? Anybody have any experience with the Mag Lev?
The first problem would be that magnetic fields are not solid. They are squishy. What happens when you play different weight records. What about a record clamp? The tonearm is fixed to the plinth. If the height of the platter changes the VTA changes. If the platter bounces at all it will cause rather rapid speed variations. What about those powerful magnetic fields right under cartridges. Looking at the video the platter certainly is not machined very well.
Is it really worth the trouble. Good tables make very little noise. 99% of it is coming from the record itself. My inclination is that the platter should be on a solid footing.
E30bfe46 c951 4f07 8d5f 08b0a596e00dmijostyn
I was intrigued by the same one for sale But mostly dismissed it as a gimmick.
Who knows though.
Intriguing it is, spectacularly so. Without having heard it I'd guess it's as good as anything under $1000. Why wouldn't it be?

If it can be made to work properly it could get rid of two of vinyl's inherent bugbears (rumble + wow and flutter) in one stroke.

Isolation of the platter/record from the outside world has been a perennial challenge for all designers from almost day one. Everything from rubber/springs to reverse thrust magnetic bearings has been tried. 

I think audiophiles will naturally be suspicious of anything as radical or as visually dramatic as the Mag Lev ML1.

Perhaps the Mag-Lev MLS as shown on the website is the one aimed at serious audiophiles? 

https://www.maglevaudio.com/mag-lev-mls/



Seen at the Monaco Hi-end time ago, the idea is good but the platter starts to run very slow and fluctuates dramatically before reaching 33 rpm.
Ihmo there are still some details to perfect.
Saw it at AXPONA 2019. Listened to it on headphones and it sounded very good. They allowed us to touch the platter enough to cause it to wobble while playing and it recovered very well and did not skip. Looked and felt very well made. Not for me but definitely did what it claimed. I spoke to the manufacturers and they were knowledgeable and very funny. Good guys.
Seems like more of a conversational piece, when you're  entertaining  non audio friends- especially those who like to listen to their phones.

Lets see this concept on a SERIOUS platform, by one of the established manufacturers. Not holding my breath.
It is the solution to a problem that only exists in the minds of a few crazy audiophiles who hear things the rest of us can not fathom. But, it is cool none the less and would make a great conversation piece.
I can find a LOT cheaper conversation pieces I am afraid.

So if one ever ended up in my hovel it most definitely would have to do more than just look the part!
At its current price point (around $4K) it will be completely outclassed by more traditional solutions. Also realize that it can't run MC cartridges.
Bob Levi for one is convinced -- he makes an interesting case (I've never heard one and the caveats about compatibility would rule it out for me) but clearly more than a gimmick in this reviewer's opinion

https://positive-feedback.com/reviews/hardware-reviews/mag-lev-audio-ml1-levitating-turntable/
No MC cartridges? That certainly was not made clear on their web site not that I would have ever purchased one.  
Come on uberwaltz. It sure beats that $5000 print your wife was looking at!
No it is not clear on the website although the reviews all stated no MC cartridge at this time but it was a work in progress.
Guess the magnetic fields from the Maglev really screws with the MC signals at this time.
So yes limited functionality with people not being able to use their top flight MC carts is likely going to rule it out simply on that aspect.
@folkfreak , good link. Glowing review with lots of positive signs already. Interesting also to read the following:

"I also know companies around the world are looking at upgrades for the ML1 and the engineers at Maglevaudio.com are also working late hours to improve performance."

One obvious area would be to improve the wow and flutter measurements, which are given at .17%. The signal to noise figures of -73dB are impressive, but that's to be expected with no bearing present.

All manual turntables are a faff, but at least this one gives you ample time to get comfortably seated as well as not worry about unnecessary stylus wear if you fall asleep (say during a marathon Steely Dan session for example).

Definitely one to watch. 
If the numbers had come up last night I would have bought one just to see.
But a bit too much to take the plunge until a few more do and give feedback or it gets a few improvements made.
Interesting concept nevertheless.
Cool concept, stupid product.  Why?  Two reasons:

1- By using a magnetic "bearing", the platter is not held completely captive as if by using a hard bearing.  The platter slips and slides around.  They have done a fair job of isolating the platter but if you demo one push against the platter.  It moves.  This is cool but it aint good turntable design.

2- The last thing you want anywhere near any phono cartridge (other than a strain gauge type) is a strong magnetic field.  What holds this platter up in the air?  TWO strong magnetic fields.  'nuff said.

The coupling between the platter surface and the base of the tone arm must be as rigid and dead as possible. To this end, the bearing can have no slop (but at the same time can't make noise and has to be free) and the plinth be as rigid and dead as possible. Anything short of this will be interpreted by the pickup as coloration should any vibration be introduced. IOW the base of the arm has to vibrate in the same plane and rate as the platter so as to be unable to interpret the vibration as a signal.

Obviously a magnetic suspension flies right in the face of this.
@atmasphere 

That was my initial thought when I saw the concept as a fund it dream.

It attacks one analog negative while introducing a couple more. The price is prohibitive in my opinion, 4000 for a curiosity is too much for me and likely most informed vinylista's. .......
All good questions. Add to that speed variability and magnetic filed leakage. The only useful way to use magnetic suspension is to control (decrease) reaction force at the main thrust bearing with very heavy platters. Keeping your gyration point as close as possible to the platter/bearing assy CG is way more important.   
I can only wish them and their backers well for attempting something SO radical. Bearing noise - what bearing noise?

Hopefully the price drop indicates that an improved MK2 version is on the way soon. Still won't please everyone but that's audiophiles for you.

For others the Mag-Lev may give you an inkling of the feeling that people must have had upon hearing radio for the first time, or even the gramophone.

You see it but you still have a hard time believing it. These are (still) the days of miracle and wonder.
Forgetting about all this, the noise coming from the lath and the record itself is far in excess of that created by even a half decent modern bearing. It is a solution without a problem.

You're certainly correct mijostyn, not just an 'inclination', it's stone cold scientific fact.

The MagLev turntable is no more than a gimmick and a poor one at that. It ignores most of the simple engineering rules for turntables. The platter has no attachment to anything. The arm is fixed to the plinth. As might be expected, the platter is not held in a fixed horizontal plane and position above the plinth – it oscillates irregularly in three dimensions. The stylus therefore does not hold its position in the groove. It is free to move relative to the groove and does so in every dimension. VTA, SRA, azimuth, effective arm length are not maintained. The oscillating movement will cause wow.
Indeed the movements are considerable – see at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUlPN2A_r-g.
The platter rim rises and falls in a range of around 1cm as well as oscillating a little in the two dimensions of the horizontal plane. The distortion introduced by a 1cm oscillation will be vast. The turntable is utterly incapable of accurate reading of the groove and will perform much more poorly than any £100 player whose moving parts are all attached to the plinth.
We are told the manufacturer accepts the powerful magnetic forces generated by the turntable are too great to allow its use with MC cartridges although they allege these forces do not affect MM (really?).
This product should not be on the market or else sold as a trompe d'oeil that cannot accurately play a recording.

It is quite incredible the magazines that have reviewed it do not raise these issues but report 'the sound is good if slightly mushy at the top', or suchlike

The Mag-Lev ML1 has certainly ruffled a few audiophile feathers, but the feeling is they are definitely curious but not convinced.

I wonder if it would be possible to float the arm in a similar fashion whilst increasing stability? Or is that just begging for trouble?

The current specs for the Mag-Lev ML1 are indeed pretty impressive - 

Wow and flutter: < 0.17%
Signal-to-noise ratio:-73dB

But they cannot match those phenomenal ones of the latest Technics decks.

Wow and flutter: 0.025%
Signal-to-noise ratio:-78dB

And that's just the base models.

The top of the range Technics turntables are almost only borderline measurable -maybe already well past the point where they need to be.

Impressive stuff indeed, but they still can't fly like the Mag-Lev!
I'm gutted. Can someone help maybe? 
My Mag-Lev ML doesn't work. It's very worrying that they display an invalid phone number somewhere in Slovenia another one in USA and do not answer any emails.
Very disappointing considering the money spent. If anyone knows how to get in touch with the makers of this turntable or how to fix the problem please let me know.
It no longer levitates. The platter just spins off. Could it be a dirty sensor? I am based in London UK and would appreciate any suggestions if you have time. 
Thanks

bloke77, I doubt any of us will be able to help you with this. I think it best to go back where you bought it from. 

I have made many mistakes in the past and just swallowed the loss and chalked it up to learning and experience. I would get a new turntable if I were you. 

My guess is that the attractive field that keeps the platter centered is probably generated by an electro magnet which has stopped working for whatever reason. Permanent magnets are more expensive but they don't quit. You would have to take the table apart to figure it out. Since it is probably a total loss it cold not hurt to try. Maybe you will find a blown fuse or something easy to fix.
@bloke77 In London try andy@hifi.repair

I contacted him when I was looking for a quality repair shop for my Victor TT-101. They can fix many different turntables. He’s got a shop.
Not that this helps in any way, but the Maglev was widely described as "problematic", even during its brief period on the retail market.  There were bizarre stories circulating about destructive malfunction events, like platter flying off into space.  I'm very sorry to learn of your problems, and I hope you can find someone to fix it.
If this has been pulled from the market, shame on Touch Of Modern. I only recently saw a tv ad for this table.
Maybe I am wrong about it being off the market, but I have read about it in the past tense. I have also read that problems with the system almost preclude it’s every day use. It’s just something to show off for friends.
I believe it is called an executive toy.
A solution for which there is no problem.
Or, a problem that does not need to be solved 🤪