A Clockwork Orange Revisited
Long before the Oracle or Michell Gyrodec sent turntable connoisseurs’ pulses racing with their stunning style cues, the world’s most beautiful turntable in the 60’s and 70’s was the Transcriptor Hydraulic Reference.
For many audio collectors the Transcriptor remains stylistically if not sonically, the Holy Grail.
The New York Museum of modern art deemed it a model so beautiful and iconic and worthy of being on permanent display in its hallowed halls. Samples are also on display in the Design Museum of London, Pinakother Der Modern Munchen, Germany and several Japanese museums.
The Transcriptor Hydraulic Reference was also used as a symbol of wealth and good taste in several scenes of Stanley Kubrick’s classic movie, A Clockwork Orange.
Many audiophiles tell me they watch and rewatch this film just to get a glimpse of the Transcriptor turntable. What’s now forgotten is the large number of commercials that use one of the Trancriptor models, back in the day.
I also owned a Transcriptor for many years until I sold mine to a collector two years ago. You can’t keep everything, but the sale of my Transcriptor still hurts.
The man behind the Trancriptor range of turntables was the late David Gammon who designed the first Transcriptor model in early 1963. Old clocks and watches that date to the 17th and 18th century inspired his initial design concept.
And for all those wondering about the similarity between Transcriptor and J. A. Michell Turntables, wonder no more. Michell used to have a small engineering business next door to Transcriptors.
David Gammon did work for Michell and in 1973 when he’d moved his company to Ireland, Michell and Transcriptor signed an agreement allowing john Michell to reproduce the Hydraulic Reference model under licence until this was terminated in 1977.
According to Michael Gammon, famous luminaries who owned and might still have the original turntable are band members from Pink Floyd, Peter Noon of Herman’s Hermits and members of the Royal family.
Trancriptor say they still repair and restore for all of their existing turntable as well as carrying spare parts.
While most audiophiles believe the company no longer exists, production still continues overseen by David Gammon’s son, Michael who triggered this short trip down memory lane.
I received a short e-mail from him announcing a new Transcriptor Reference turntable called the R1. Information about the R1 is still filtering in. But it appears to have a solid plinth and aluminium feet. Transcriptor never released a model with floating suspension.
The R1’s chassis is machined from black acrylic, but clear acrylic is also on offer.
Armboards for all classic and current tonearms are available, and the platter has a 305mm diameter and 30mm thick Delrin platter. The bearing is made from silver steel with a low mass spindle and utilizes a one-piece PTFE bearing assembly. The motor is an AC synchronous model. Options comprise a flat platter and an acrylic lid.
The R1 is made to order and is priced at £2500.00 excluding inertia platter weights, lid and arm. There's also a swag of optional extras.
For more information, visit www.transcriptorslimited.com
One of the veterans of the Australian HiFi industry, Peter was formerly the Audio-Video Editor of the Herald Sun for over two decades. One of the most-respected audio journalists in Australia, Peter brings his unparalleled experience and a unique story-telling ability to StereoNET.
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