Bauer Audio dps turntable Page 2

That turned out to be a good thing. Ultimately, Ayre developed a pure analog oscillator—a digital supply would have been a snap, but it would have dumped RFI into the system—with three outputs, spaced 120° from one another and amplified by a zero-feedback amp (an Ayre hallmark, after all). And because no motor is perfect, the individual levels for all three sets of windings can be adjusted to match the motor. Neat.

Installation and setup
My review sample of the dps turntable was installed by Willi Bauer, during a time when he and Ayre Acoustics' Steve Silberman were traveling through my area on their way to New York City. But, with respect for the designer's expertise, nothing about the setup of the dps seemed beyond the capabilities of the average hobbyist. In fact, during the review period, I had cause both to change tonearms and to temporarily move the turntable out of the way—and none of that was very hard at all.

That said, the current dps owner's manual covers only the Ayre-built power supply, with no information at all about the turntable itself. Unless and until a more comprehensive manual is published, the buyer should expect his or her dealer to perform all setup chores.

As with so many very good turntables—and a few bad ones—the design of the dps is such that the thing must virtually be assembled in situ. That in itself didn't take long, and the process began with one element I haven't mentioned until now: a thin, pliant, foam-rubber–like mat of the same dimensions as the dps itself, which is spread over the user's equipment support, under the aluminum plinth. The Shindo-green mat—too bad you can't see it in use!—didn't react in any way with the finished surface of my wooden Box Furniture Company rack, and was easy to remove when the time came.

From there, installing the dps was a straightforward matter of: lining up the various strata with one another; leveling the surfaces; adding the viscous oil, thrust ball, and hub to the bearing well; installing the platter and belt; and connecting the power supply to AC socket and turntable alike.

As first installed, my review sample was equipped with Bauer Audio's brand-new dps tonearm, a well-conceived and -made unipivot with a carbon-fiber armtube and a neat trough for oil damping. Given the newness of the Bauer arm and my interest in assessing one component at a time, I soon switched over to my own well-loved Naim Aro tonearm, the use of which can be considered the basis for all the observations that follow. (With Bauer's and Ayre's indulgence, I may report on the dps arm at some other time.) That Willi Bauer also has a great deal of experience with the Naim arm was obvious in a number of ways: The opening for the Naim's mount was located and milled perfectly on the spare acrylic top supplied, and the correct opening—with the correct subminiature screw holes—was made for the Aro's electrical disconnect plug. According to their website, Bauer can even supply a totally Naim-friendly top, the underside of which is milled to accept Naim's onboard Prefix phono stage.

During assembly I noted that literally all of the dps's component parts were apparently very well made. Notwithstanding the small gap between the motor and the acrylic top, all of the layers lined up perfectly with one another. And neither the motor pulley nor the acrylic platter—the latter supplied without a mat, and with a spin-on acrylic record clamp—showed any signs of runout error. The only wrinkle was that, on the coldest and hence driest days here, the acrylic was more than slightly prone to static electricity.

The Ayre power supply was a breeze to use: It didn't hum, it didn't overheat, and it was easy to select between 33.33 and 45rpm; the latter speed simply required me to press and hold the supply's combination pilot light and power switch for longer than two seconds.

The dps sounded like the most precisely made, brilliantly set-up Linn or Roksan turntable I'd ever heard. Its musical tightness and rightness, in terms of pitches and rhythms alike, were unsurpassed in my experience: If there exists a domestic playback product that can do a better job of nailing those musical essentials, I have yet to hear it.

Bauer Audio
US distributor: Ayre Acoustics, Inc.
2300-B Central Avenue
Boulder, CO 80301
(303) 442-7300