My experimentation over the years has finalised in the design you see here.
This deck uses a simple 30mm thick bed of slate functionally shaped with 3 spiked supports & a projection to hold the tonearm. I dont feel there would be any benefit from making it thicker as so few vibrations are reaching the deck anyway. I used to make my decks out of wood, which is a great material to work with & looks stunning. Unfortunately, I found slate sounds so much better & projects detail contained within the record grooves that wood seems to supress.
The Orbe platter is supported on its bearing by an alloy plate bonded to the slate. The deck rests on a granite slab supported by squashballs. In my setup, this was found to provide the best isolation.
Many experiments with belt drives, idler drives & AC/DC motors led me to the Teres VERUS. This uses a quality DC motor rotating at very low revs with inherently low vibrations. Consider to drive the platter the idler must be in intimate contact with it & is therefore suseptable to picking up all the noise within the motor. This ultimately finds its way to the stylus & affects the sound. I believe AC motors to be too noisy in this application (unless isolated by belts a la VPI). This particular Verus has been modified with a brass pod, the extra mass of which helps to absorb any vibrations & adds extra control, punch & dynamics over the original aluminium offering. It rests on a cam operated platform which lifts the motor away from the platter when not in use.
I first made an MDF template accurately cut to the size & shape I wanted:
This was taken to my local stonemason who converted to slate. We also see the bearing mounted on an alloy plate & epoxy bonded to the plinth:
A few more pics of the finished deck:
The Verus motor is housed in a custom made brass pod. The platform it sits on is a tilting mechanism, details of which can be found HERE
How does it sound?
Well, what can I say? This deck appears to have everything. Before the Verus I was using an idler drive system based on an Origin Live Advanced motor & controller (see here). I thought it sounded good, but the Verus is in another league. Most noticeable is the way the bass has tightened to such an extent that the starts of the notes are percussive & dynamic, almost as if electronic processing is being used to compress it. This level of control has allowed the textures & timbres within the bass note to become obviously apparent, whereas before it was just masked by bass plume. Having this type of control has also freed the other frequencies allowing more texture & detail to come to the surface.
The Verus seems to be adding nothing to the performance in terms of rumble or vibration. Any rumble present is from the record cutting machine, which varies from pressing to pressing.
I cannot say the Verus motor was without it problems. The direct coupling system this motor uses means the O-ring contacting the platter must be flawless. It took a while to achieve this, but now its sorted, it sounds magical!
I am just waiting for a siutable time to compare the Verus with VPI's offering.....hopefully in the next few weeks.