The word ‘Kronos’ comes from Ancient Greek mythology, but although more correctly directed at ‘Cronus’ (the youngest and the leader of the first generation of Titans and the father of Zeus), the term is often somewhat erroneously connected with ‘Chronos’ (the personification of time, and the root of words like ‘chronograph’). In fact, both terms fit the Kronos turntable perfectly – alongside the TechDAS Air Force One, it’s the youngest of the superdecks and is an excellent timekeeper.
Kronos (the turntable) is the brain-child of Louis Desjardins from Montreal. Just 250 Kronos turntables will be made. It’s an exercise in brushed nickel and tankwood. There’s a similarity in look between this and the SME 30/12, especially with the four rubber band sprung towers. But where the SME has just one base plate and one subchassis, the Kronos has two separate subchassis, because the Kronos uses counter-rotating platters.
The counter-rotating platters are rare (just this and the 47 Labs deck at this time), look great, and the fact the bottom one is so carefully and independently speed controlled is fantastic. From an engineering basis, the advantage of counter-rotation is that the two platters effectively cancel out any torsional force that might be generated from a single platter, reducing any inherent vibration from the action of a platter just doing its job of spinning round and thereby stripping back the introduction of anything apart from the needle running through the groove. While the vibration reduction this creates has strong precedent, the benefits are more usually associated with high-RPM systems (like contra-rotating propellers) or in higher far higher mass systems than are usually seen in the home.
Kronos rightly points out that normally any torsional forces are cancelled out by suspension systems. But, claims Kronos Audio, such systems are only part-effective, because there’s still some residual rotation in the subchassis that can be transmitted back through the tonearm to the stylus, arriving as an out-of-phase ‘blur’. The company suggests this blur is audible as an imprecise soundstage. The usual response to this is to build the turntable as high mass as its possible to make, eliminating the suspension system altogether, but this provides its own set of distortions from vibration, and the cure can end up worse than the disease with a hard-edge and bright sound quality. By hanging the whole turntable (as a complete block) from its baseplate and having the counter-rotating platters, the motor block and the tonearm in fixed geometry, this could notionally provide the best of all possible worlds.