Official Press Release
Wilson Benesch HQ, Sheffield, England
6th July 2021
Wilson Benesch was founded in 1989 following two-years of research and development. In 1990 the company unveiled its first product, the Wilson Benesch Turntable. The Wilson Benesch Turntable became recognised as a landmark design that introduced a number of novel technologies, including carbon fibre composite structures that had not only not been seen in a high end audio product before, but indeed were seldom seen in consumer products at all in 1990. The carbon fibre / nomex core sub-chassis was developed in collaboration with Derbyshire based engineer, Neil Humpston. Humpston had worked on numerous challenging projects including the Rolls Royce RB211 carbon fibre fan blades. The final chassis design for the turntable emerged out of exhaustive where all the parameters of the design were trialed and measured. This important groundwork would pave the way for a much better understanding of exactly how carbon fibre functions. Audio applications have complex requirements beyond specific stiffness and cores are equally complex. Of all the core materials, Nomex was found to be clearly superior in all aspects of performance.
The Wilson Benesch turntable was discontinued after the Papst motor was made obsolete. But the technology that had been developed and the expertise that now existed in the company, coupled with the growing number of collaborative partners in fields of engineering excellence allowed Wilson Benesch to forge a strong ethos and unique position as the pioneers and leaders in carbon fibre composite technologies within high end audio.
In 1992, Wilson Benesch unveiled its first loudspeaker the ‘Advanced Composite Technology or ‘A.C.T.’ One. Like the Wilson Benesch Turntable, the A.C.T. One was received with considerable critical acclaim from the press, industry professionals and customers. Today, three decades on from their launch, the Wilson Benesch Turntable and the A.C.T. One loudspeaker are regarded as designs which set a new benchmark within the market, timeless classics.
Through the 1990s Wilson Benesch continued to invest in analogue technology development and subsequently released its second of only two turntables designs. The Full Circle introduced the carbon fibre unidirectional ‘U.D.’ cantilever suspension system. Amongst a number of key benefits structurally, the Full Circle also delivered a solution to unstudied or new analogue enthusiasts who had little to no previous experience of setting up and maintaining a high-end turntable and was a direct answer to the ease of the digital compact disc that was threatening the very existence of vinyl at the time.
In 2010, Wilson Benesch submitted a proposal to Her Majesty’s government in a competitive grant scheme and was awarded ‘SMART’ Research funding of £150,000 for a project that the company referred to as ‘The Mondrian Project’. It was a very ambitious project which would prove to be a step too far. However, the seeds were planted that would continue to develop over the next decade.
During this decade Wilson Benesch continued to fund cutting edge technological development. Through painstaking trial and error and iterative design, completely original ideas emerged as the analogue system defined itself through new components for the motor the tonearm, and numerous sub-assemblies. The development of these sub-systems required a completely new approach that was greatly influenced by new manufacturing technologies that were then emerging in additive manufacturing. New collaborative partners were identified at Sheffield University and the AMRC (Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre) to enable these conceptual models to be refined and optimised in time frames that would have been inconceivable with conventional manufacturing technologies.
At the close of 2020 Wilson Benesch brought together a Consortium which successfully won £327,000 of Innovate U.K. funding. The Consortium is comprised of Sheffield Hallam University - Dr F. Al-Naemi, Dr J. Travis and Professor G. Cockerham. These scientists have enabled the most nuanced and sophisticated modelling to be accomplished using state of the art 3D software and have been critical to the success of the project. And a second highly innovative SME, CAAS Audio, which is also based in South Yorkshire and is driven by the proven world class expertise of Dr C. Broomfield and N. Broomfield. Since winning this important funding the consortium has gone on to pioneer a completely new and completely novel motor and dedicated poly-phase motor power supply system that is equally innovative.
It is widely recognised that at the heart of all turntables is the motor drive and its power supply. It is also broadly accepted that to-date every turntable ever produced has suffered from one compromise or another in terms of how it is driven. The Omega Drive as a key part of the GMT® System simply concludes this unending search. The Omega Drive is completely novel and is a patent applied for system that also has multiple design registrations. It has been developed from a clean sheet for one single purpose. It isn’t an off the shelf system that has been adapted to the role. It is without exception, unlike anything seen before. Every aspect is unique and as a whole, is the subject of both a patent application and many design registrations.
All the GMT® systems will be manufactured and assembled in house within the very same building within which the product was designed and developed. This applies to the electronic systems that will be supplied by the developer Dr Broomfield and Neil Broomfield of CAAS Audio. Of course, the quality of the outcome is only as good as the measurements. The classic measuring systems used to date for measuring speed and speed fluctuations was found to be inadequate for the task and a novel new system based upon a high resolution pico-encoder was developed. The resolution was critical to the iterative design approach. The result is a truly unique, State-of-the-Art, control & drive system that delivers unprecedented levels of precision and immeasurable speed fluctuations. Poly-phase drive signals are synthesised by a sophisticated microprocessor controlled DAC module with absolute control over each and every critical variable, to ensure the ultimate performance. The control software and algorithms were also developed in tandem with CAAS Audio. These advanced systems monitor the drive technologies in real time, while pure analogue, linear amplifiers handle the transfer of the synthesised signals. These bespoke, high precision systems combine to guarantee the lowest possible levels of distortion and absolute accuracy in the motor drive system.
The GMT® System has been designed to meet the needs of the archivist. Its primary goal is to preserve valuable recordings and minimise the impact of transcription. To achieve this, the GMT® System provides unprecedented levels of control. For the first time, it is possible for each and every parameter to be controlled to extremely high levels of precision to achieve the ultimate and virtually flawless transcription of the micro groove. Significantly, these transcription parameters for the motor and the tonearm can be dialed in remotely to unprecedented levels of accuracy. No other product in the world can approach this level of accuracy, control or reliability. As such the GMT® System sets the new benchmark from which all other analogue replay systems will be judged by.
AVAILABILITY: Wilson Benesch are reviewing opportunities to present GMT® ONE SYSTEM Turntable to the public for its official launch. Possibilities for a January 2022 public launch are being explored and full details will be released via our website, social media and newsletter as details become available.