Tunable Platter Interface©
The Stelvio TPI
Introduced at the 2005 Rocky Mountain Audiofest, the Stelvio TPI © is the logical outcome of our research into modular platter construction - allowing the end-user to re-configure their platter "on the fly". Changing the platter interface with the Stelvio TPI© is easier than swapping a pair of 6SN7s in your preamp.
The Stelvio TPI © platter is evolutionary in construction. It uses the same outer carrier and damping arrangement as our Gavia composite platter. With the addition of a brass flywheel, its mass has increased to 44 Lbs (from the 32 Lbs. of the Gavia).
During evaluation of this platter, we recognized an opportunity to better tailor a platter to different systems. No audio system is perfect, and peoples' systems evolve over time. The "best" platter on one system is not necessarily the best platter on another one.
The skillful designer must accept that flaws exist in all systems. Surely, the goal for any system is neutrality, but the reality of it is that this goal is physically impossible. Our planet Earth has a resonant frequency. The person who claims that all resonance has been eliminated is either lying to you or is deluded.
One of the distinguishing characteristics of an audio system is its resonant signature - whether it be mechanical or electrical. Yes! Power supplies in amplification as well as the reactive components in speaker crossovers have carefully tuned electrical resonances. Of course, speaker drivers themselves have mechanical resonances.
The goal of the TPI © concept is to allow the end-user to tune these flaws - shifting resonance to where the ear is least sensitive to them. This cannot be done at the factory - anymore than locating a pair of speakers can be done anywhere but in your listening room.
Rather than compromise our design by masking information, we looked to the model of "tube rolling" in amplification components. By introducing a flexible architecture, we were freed to begin investigating materials that best compliment different systems.
The first of our "interfaces" is made of graphite. Over the coming months, we will be certifying additional materials.
- Mass: 44 Lbs.
- Aluminum carrier (same as Teflon/Aluminum Composite Platter)
- Oil and lead damping (same as Teflon/Aluminum Composite Platter)
- Brass flywheel (adds 14 Lbs. of rotating mass to that of the Gavia Composite Platter)
- TPI (Tunable Platter Interface)© is currently available in Graphite with more interfaces to follow.
As difficult to describe as your first kiss. The Stelvio TPI© builds on the virtues of the Teflon/Aluminum Composite Platter.
The best way of putting it is that you don't know what better is until you hear it. One person described the characteristics of this platter as the sound for people who like triodes.
The Gavia TPI
Externally identical to the Stelvio, it shares several of the Stelvio's components (see construction details, below).
Those of you who have been following the evolution of our platters will note that the characteristic white Teflon top with the 60 screw-hole is gone. The development of the Stelvio filtered down into this design.
Our earlier customers have benefited from the flexible architecture by converting their Teflon composite platters to the Graphite-TPI© architecture.
Our goal as always, is to support our existing customer base while moving the bar ever higher for everyone.
The first thing people notice about this platter is how the music emanates from a silent, black background. This only begins to tell the story however:
- There is a clarity of presentation and articulation of musical lines.
- Subtle musical phrasing becomes more intelligible - the music makes more sense.
- Space is portrayed with palpability.
- Harmonics and dynamics breathe and grow together in concert with each other - bringing a unified life to the presentation.
It is this concept of a unified whole which perhaps best describes all of our platter offerings - essentially building on the inherent characteristics of an analog presentation and taking them to new heights.
Upon first exposure, the most common reaction is one of disorientation. The listener is presented with a seeming paradox, because the detail retrieval is accompanied with such a natural ease of presentation - as if the performance is a living, breathing entity.
The most common feedback we receive about this platter is that we understate its virtues. Hearing is believing.
- Mass: 32 Lbs.
- Aluminum carrier (same as on Stelvio TPI©)
- Oil and lead damping (same as on Stelvio TPI©)
- Graphite-TPI© top
The Serac Platter
This is the platter that started it all. Yes, our other platters are more ambitious, but evaluate this platter for what it is - a world-class component. The most fair assessment of this platter is to compare it against our competition and not with our own composite platters.
- PVC is 30% heavier than an equivalent platter fabricated from Acrylic.
- It has superior damping properties which result in better resolution and reduced groove noise.
- It has an evenness of presentation, and harmonic richness which makes Acrylic platters sound brittle in comparison.
- The increased mass brings with it a bass response that once and for all settles the argument of the supposed superiority of digitally reproduced bass.
- Mass: 14 Lbs.
- Solid PVC
All of our products most definitely have a "Galibier sound". We approach our task the way a good background musician does - to go unnoticed, and to serve the music.
We consider the "accuracy vs. musicality" argument to be a flawed one, and when you hear our products, we think you'll agree. A component that is truly accurate also serves the music.
Reproduction of music is not about highs, mids, and lows. It is about reproducing a living, breathing performance - cut from a single piece of fabric.
When we design a component, it must correctly address the following critical question:
"Does this component help me to make better sense of the musical intent of the composer and the artist?"
When you listen to a Galibier component, this will all begin to make sense to you.
Terminology and Background:
It is difficult to describe effects in audio without resorting to over used and often misunderstood jargon. Superlatives are used too generously and haphazardly. While we try to resist this tendency, we also realize that it is impossible to characterize our platters in any meaningful way. Words are all we have to work with until you can hear our offerings.
Principles & Observations:
The following principles have evolved from our research:
The platter to record interface affects the sonic signature, but the platter to bearing interface is equally important. One cannot be sacrificed at the expense of the other.
- Mass counts. All things being equal, the more mass, the better the quality of the bass.
- Material choice and combination matters.
- Damping can be used to great advantage.
- Mechanical joining composite layers with screws is superior to adhesive bonding.