Archidee TNX turntable stand

You can blame Casey McKee for this one. I found myself sitting next to Casey, who works at Brooklyn high-end dealer Innovative Audio (footnote 1), in the Phoenix rain last March, watching the first Formula One Grand Prix of the 1990 season. A month later, in New York for the High End Hi-Fi Show, I therefore thought it appropriate to visit Innovative and say "Hi." Audio pleasantries over, Casey enthused about this new Italian turntable stand he was setting up as I walked into the store, the oddly named ArchiDee.

Now, being British, I don't have to be told about the importance of positioning your turntable on a well-designed support. I shudder to think of the supports many people use. No matter the degree of isolation offered by the 'table's suspension system, the character of the support will still influence the sound. My Linn Sondek LP12 has been sitting on first a RATA Torlyte, then a Sound Organisation table for the last five years; before that I used to sit the turntable on a wall-mounted shelf.

Now some here in Santa Fe—Dick Olsher, Guy Lemcoe, Tom Norton—are fans of the very massive supports offered by Arcici and Merrill Audio. Certainly I thought Guy's VPI HW-19/Eminent tonearm combination sounded excellent sitting on the Merrill Stable Table, which he reviewed last October. The Linn, however, seems to respond better to a rigid but much more lightweight stand, the low, $150 Sound Organisation table enabling it to reproduce music with more of that essential sense of rhythmic drive.

Which brings me to the $200 ArchiDee TNX. Although similar to the Sound Org., in being constructed from rectangular-section steel tube, the Italian table is not a complete space-frame. From the front, the two top lateral struts are missing, compared with the Sound Org., while from the side, it is the bottom two struts that are missing. In effect, the frontal view of the ArchiDee resembles two metallic U's, one behind the other and joined at the tops of the sides. It is hard, therefore, to see how it manages to be rigid enough to provide stable support for one's LP12.

But I'm forgetting the shelf. Each of the eight corners of the stand sprouts a stainless-steel spike. The four lower ones are intended to pierce the carpet and pad; the four upward-facing spikes support an MDF shelf upon which the turntable sits. Once the shelf is in place, with the spikes just piercing the material, the rather floppy steel structure appears to become suitably rigid.

Setting up the ArchiDee is applied common sense. All the stainless-steel spikes are screwed into the frame as far as they will go, then the frame is placed in the desired location and leveled by adjusting the four lower spikes. (These have a hole through them so they can be held firm while the locking nut is tightened with a wrench.) Once the frame is level and stable, the shelf is placed on the top spikes and these are adjusted to bring it level, taking care to keep as much of the threaded body of the spike in the bush. Once these spikes have been locked into place, the turntable can be placed on the shelf: time to put on a record.

Sound quality? Of a turntable table? A/B comparisons between the sound of my LP12/Ekos/Troika player sitting on the ArchiDee and Sound Organisation tables were of necessity limited, due to the cumbersome nature of the exercise. But over a weekend's auditioning, it became clear that the sound with the player sitting on the Italian support was more lightweight overall, but with better pitch definition in the upper bass. I also felt the extension at both low-frequency and high-frequency extremes to be a little better. While the latter made the sound more "airy," on some records, this sometimes came across as a little more "wispiness."

Listening to the one-step pressing of Stereophile's Poem LP, however, I felt the Linn player sitting on the ArchiDee to be that little bit closer to the original. In fact, the essential rightness of the sound of the player sitting on the ArchiDee was evidenced by the fact that listening sessions just kept on going, as I kept wanting to put one more record on before retiring for the night!

Recommended, therefore, for Linn owners. (And no matter what turntable you use, if you don't have it sitting on a suitable stand, for shame!)

Footnote 1: Casey is now the proprietor of high-end retailer Ne Plus Ultra in Austin, TX: I still have the Archidee stand that I bought back in 1990. And we are still going to the F1 Grands Prix.
No US distribution (2016)