It was the Stabi M that first introduced a DC motor to the Kuzma line, a deft technological sidestep that delivered some serious sonic and practical benefits – and one that in the short term at least, challenged the XL’s status at the top of the Kuzma tree. So it was only a matter of time until DC drive arrived on the flagship ‘table, as officially recognized with the launch of the Stabi XL DC, a step that coincides with a reduction in the asking price from £22,000 to just under £20,000. A high-end audio price reduction? The end of the world is nigh!
The XL DC sports but a single motor, which reduces the amount of metal and machining considerably. Mind you, what a motor… The XL DC might only use one motor pod, but that pod is even bigger than its already impressive AC predecessors. Along with it, you get the substantial power supply used by the Stabi M, built into the same large, shoebox chassis as the existing XL4 supply, providing fine speed adjustment for both 33 and 45, with a “hidden” 78 facility too. But the best thing about implementing the DC evolution on the flagship is that the XL’s modular design is easily upgradeable; the entire AC drive system can be replaced lock, stock, and barrel with the DC set-up – albeit at the not-inconsiderable cost of £7,500. Which seems like a lot until you see the size and then heft the weight of the box in which the upgrade kit arrives.
Open the box and what you find inside is the aforementioned power supply, the large diameter drum that houses the motor – now fitted with an attractive top-plate that integrates its appearance much better with the rest of the deck – two XLR equipped umbilicals and a large, flat disc. Machined from solid brass (like the rest of the XL, except the platter) this sits beside the ‘table and gives you control over stop/start, 33 and 45, allowing you to site the main power supply and speed-controller well away from the ‘table itself, but execute basic control without groveling on the floor.
There’s also a special polymer belt. The part played by this stiff, flat, bright blue belt in establishing and maintaining the ‘table’s speed stability is not to be underestimated, its lack of elasticity crucial to maintaining the stable relationship between motor pulley and sub-platter. Precisely spaced using one of Kuzma’s trademark cylindrical spacers, the heavy motor pod stays put and the belt’s constant tension maintains both consistent stiction and distance, with no tendency to ‘walk’ the separate motor housing.