Audio Show 2016 • Hot Product

The charming, deeply knowledgeable and enthusiastic Rui Borges started producing parts for turntables nearly 30 years ago, quickly graduating to complete units, all built personally, completely in-house, in Portugal. The Pendulum is a new flagship design, sitting above two other existing models. Incorporating its own stand -- essential to provide clearance for the unusual feature that gives the ‘table its name -- it bears an uncanny visual resemblance to the original Goldmund Reference, although its substantial footprint is closer to that of the later, bigger and far more costly Reference II. A massive, rigidly coupled chassis is constructed from multiple materials and interfaces arranged to create a dispersive “cascade.” The huge aluminum platter is topped by an acrylic layer and is machined in two parts to prevent ringing. It rotates on a 16mm standing bearing, running in a bronze sleeve and tipped with a ruby ball. This is a plain bearing (without thrust pads) the oil film that covers its surface ensuring super-smooth rotation and absolute lateral stability. The platter is driven by a flat belt and DC motor -- and it’s here that things get a little unusual. Look at the photo and you’ll see that the motor plinth pivots on a pair of point-contact bearings, the tension of the belt counterbalanced by the long bronze pendulum that extends below it. The mechanism is designed to prevent judder or slippage in the drive system, the motor rocking in response to any hesitation, rather than introducing audible inconsistencies or hesitations in the sound -- rather like the rotating motor fitted to the original Roksan Xerxes turntable.

Fitted with a Kuzma 4Point tonearm and Ikeda Kai cartridge, the Pendulum was responsible for supplying signal to the best-sounding system at the show. But perhaps the most surprising thing about this ‘table, especially given its sheer size and material content, is the price: €30,000 (without tonearm and cartridge), which looks comparatively cheap these days.

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