The Willi Bauer DPS3 Turntable

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Willi Bauer DPS3 Turntable
The Willi Bauer DPS3 Turntable

Willi Bauer, maker of the dps turntable takes "does what it says on the tin" product naming to new heights of clarity, or at least he does when you realise that dps stands for der plattenspieler or the record player. Willi is a Bavarian from Munich, home of Europe’s finest high-end show and blokes who wear leather shorts. Willi as far as I know, does not wear lederhosen, but he does have a fascination for turntables, setting up his first one at the tender age of 15, culminating in 1999 when he started producing der plattenspieler.

The path that led to this result started with a Linn LP12 in 1978, replaced by a Pink Triangle Anniversary that arrived some fifteen or so years later. When PT went out of business he made a new bearing for the turntable but also invested in Bill Firebaugh’s radical Well Tempered design, with its tonearm suspended on fishing line and a bearing that was propped in a box of oil. Looking at the dps you can see how Willi combined ideas from both of those designs. You have a similar approach to the WT plinth in the dps sandwich, along with a PT style acrylic platter.

But look a little closer and you will find there is plenty to distinguish the dps. The inverted bearing is composed of a tungsten shaft supporting an engineering plastic sleeve and uses a ruby ball to take the weight of the platter. The bearing shaft uses rubber O rings and a high viscosity oil/silicone mix to provide a specific and high level of resistance to the efforts of the motor. The idea here is to combat dynamic wow. This is the notion that variations in the signal create variations in drag at the stylus/vinyl interface, supposedly because friction varies with signal. Others get around this by making the platter very heavy so that its inertia can overcome this issue, but there are those that dislike mass because of its ability to store energy. Acrylic platters are also extremely stiff and have a relatively high resonant frequency, something which the heavily damped bearing on the dps attempts t o control or at least ameliorate. Acrylic platters of yore have often produced a highly dynamic and exciting sound but one can’t help feel that this is due to resonance within the material being transmitted through the vinyl into the stylus. Listening to the dps 3 it seemed that the combination of bearing design, the threaded plastic record clamp and plinth design managed to retain the speed associated with acrylic without the associated resonance, it’s still a more lively deck than my SME 20 reference but then again, most things are.

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