CES & THE Show 2011 • TABlog

by John Crossett | January 9, 2011

"Speed stability." Those were the words Basis Audio founder A. J. Conti used to justify his fanaticism in making sure all elements of his turntables are exact. I sat down with him as he demonstrated a couple of the steps he takes to ensure his turntables are as speed-stable as possible. First, he uses a micrometer to measure the roundness of his platters, and he demonstrated a simple test anyone can perform to see how tight the tolerances are with our own 'tables. Take a credit card, hold it flat to the side of the platter, and rotate the platter. Do you notice any space between the card's edge and the platter? Conti claims that the human eye can discern down to the width of a dollar bill (about 1/4000 of an inch or 6.35 microns). When he put the micrometer up to one of his platters, the needle barely moved. Basis tolerances are within a single micron (or .00006937th of an inch).

He’s just as exacting about the belts he uses. Not being able to find a manufacturer that could meet his standards -- or even come close -- he created a way to measure and grind his own belts. He once again uses a micrometer, slipping a belt underneath it and into the slot in his custom-made jig. He showed me one of the belts he once bought, contrasting it with one of the belts he creates. The differences were obvious and illuminating to say the least.

So sure is Conti of the value of his beliefs that he told me he has a standing bet with all turntable manufacturers: $1000 says they won’t come within the thickness of a dollar bill of his tolerances. Thus far, no maker has taken him up on this wager. Given what I witnessed, I’m not surprised.

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