Acoustic Signature Ascona Turntable

Acoustic Signature Ascona
Acoustic Signature Ascona Turntable

The world of turntables is in a constant state of flux. Designs and philosophies come and go over the years, and what was once popular has no guarantee of staying that way. Not so long ago, it was felt the turntable world was divided neatly between those turntables that featured a suspended sub-chassis, and those that didn’t. All else, it seemed, was a secondary concern; even the choice of motor. How times have changed…

Now, it seems the main distinction is the mass of the platter, and – by extension – the turntable itself. We already have low, medium and high-mass designs, but the Acoustic Signature Ascona introduces a new category – the Super Heavy turntable. Acoustic Signature has long been a power user of aluminium, with a growing range of progressively more intricate and ambitious designs, all apparently constructed from sheets of extremely thick aluminium alloy. But the Ascona model tops the company’s other designs fairly, squarely and very heavily. Tipping the scales at more than 80kg (put another way, 176lb, or a typical match fit six-foot tall rugby player), that’s not an unheard of weight in audio, but it’s extremely uncommon in products designed to turn at 33.33 rpm.

At first glance, it’s hard to think about anything apart from the word ‘big’ when it comes to the Ascona, because it makes so physical a presence in the listening room. But appearances can be deceptive. It features three motors driving a heavy platter via a flywheel, which is not a design found elsewhere in the audio world. And the more you dig, the more the innovations become apparent. Let’s start with the platter. Machined from a 50mm slab of soft aluminium alloy, there are two significant features that set it apart from the norm. The first is its oversized, 350mm diameter, designed to increase rotational inertia. The second is what Acoustic Signature refers to as its ‘Silencer Technology’. While this sounds like something out of a Bond movie, the technology in the Ascona comprises three rings of concentric gold-plated brass rods sunk into the platter itself.

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