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Merrill Williams R.E.A.L. 101 Turntable

Explanation of Design

A NEW APPROACH - A NEW STANDARD
With a clean sheet of paper and the Energy Management Discipline in mind, a new approach to turntable design emerged.

The Turntable consists of a rotating platter that supports a phonograph record, a drive source for this platter (motor, pulleys and belt), a plate to mount the bearing which accommodates the platter shaft, mounting for the motor and pickup arm. This mounting plate is called the plinth, base or chassis. Some type of feet are used for support of this plinth.

explanationThe turntable must cope with four types of energy intrusion:
One: Self generation and internal coupling of energy produced by the motor, drive system, platter support bearing and tonearm.
Two: Mechanically coupled energy that enters the support feet.
Three: Airborne energy contained within the operating environment.
Four: Energy generated by the stylus to groove contact during tracing (playing of the record).
•  The R.E.A.L. Turntables major innovation is the construction of the plinth (base).
•  Design by Merrill – Williams (Patent Pending).
•  The plinth is the heart of the turntable and supports all three energy generating parts (motor, bearing/spindle and tone arm).

The plinth was designed using a technique called “Energy Management Design”. The base is designed as a laminate. Construction consists of a specific formula 14 lb rubber compound elastomer faced with aluminum or acrylic. Areas are isolated with Energy Isolation Valleys (breaches in the laminate) in such a manner that the operating parts (motor, platter spindle/bearing and the tonearm) are not allowed to transmit energy through the laminate material. Energy isolation and dissipation occurs only within the core elastomer. The advantage to this system is the energy developed by each of these operating part is absorbed and dissipated by the core elastomer before it can intrude and affect the performance of other parts. For example the motor energy is dissipated before it can contaminate the energy release from the tonearm.
To keep the rigidity integrity intact seven struts are placed in calculated locations within the plinth forming a support truss system.
The use of an energy transfer tonearm mounting platform coupled to the damping elastomer accomplishes a most important function the dissipation of Tonearm Release Energy.
Integrated in the design of the tonearm mounting platform is the ability to azimuth align the platform with the platter.

The second type of energy intrusion (mechanical transfer from the stand used to support the turntable) is managed by a system called the Isolation Foot which contains a Special Polymer Inverted Hemisphere.
An adjustable support column attached to the rubber elastomer is resting upon an inverted hemisphere of highly absorbent rubber. This support column utilizes a positioning pin to hold the foot in place. The column consists of two parts, the height adjustment collar and the hemisphere coupler with positioning pin. A bolt is inserted through a compressing washer and the plinth elastomer (energy blocking holes are drilled around the mounting point of the foot bolt) into the hemispherical coupler, drawing the adjuster collar and hemispherical coupler tightly together (this system is another first). The resulting support column is extremely solid while still having height adjustment capabilities. The curved face on the hemispherical coupler allows shallow contact with the hemisphere which helps to subdue energy transmission. The flat of the hemisphere is placed in a support base (fitted on the surface contact area with three feet) to allow retention of its shape and for uniform input of energy into the foot.

The third type of energy (airborne) is damped by the over all energy absorbing capability of the laminate, feet and platter. The total package is virtually impervious to airborne energy encountered in the listening environment.   

The platter design and material consideration along with the mat control the fourth type of energy.  The platter is manufactured from a compound containing bakelite cellulose and resin (another first). The characteristics of the material, high density, low resonance top and dimension stability make an ideal platter. A rubber cork compound mat is used to place the record upon, thus quelling vibrations within the vinyl as the stylus is tracing (playing) the record. An optional clamping system enhances LP damping to the highest order.
The platter shaft is manufactured from precision ground stainless steel (3/4 inch) with a hardened thrust ball placed at the end. The platter is supported in an oil well bearing manufactured from MDS impregnated nylon (another first). A hardened surface is provided at the bottom of this bearing to allow the shaft thrust ball to ride with virtually no friction (i.e. no noise).

The R.E.A.L. 101 Microprocessor Motor Drive System 33-45 RPM

Any turntable that has fixed speed (no manual variation) cannot retain speed accurately under all temperature and humidity conditions. The expansion / contraction coefficients of the drive materials will vary with the environment. For example, acrylic will grow or shrink dramatically with normal room temperature changes. A variable speed control solves this problem. The result is retention of accurate pitch.

AC line power is contaminated with multi frequency trash. Without a buffer, this trash is fed directly into the motor and coupled into the drive system and record support platter. A properly designed power supply will isolate the turntable drive system from this trash. This will help to eliminate the clouding of micro level information and lead to improved resolution culminating in better imaging, detail and musical realism.  

The Merrill-Williams Microprocessor Motor Drive uses a regulated DC power supply powering a microprocessor, employing crystal controlled adjustable dual oscillators for sine and cosine drive. The low distortion precision sine wave dual oscillators drive two high power low distortion amplifiers that power the motor. Speed sweep is plus or minus 2 percent. The turntable speed is checked with an on board strobe light driven by a short pulse square wave oscillator. A Sutherland Timeline is used to certify accuracy.  
Touch button logic control is employed.
The MD-1 is supplied with the REAL 101
The Microprocessor Motor Drive affords a noticeable improvement in performance.

Q/A what is the design difference between the original Merrill Heirloom and Merrill–Williams R.E.A.L.

FIRST GENERATION
The Merrill Heirloom was designed in late 1970.
It had many new ENERGY MANAGEMENT approaches to turntable design:

  • The first use of acrylics.
  • Cast anti magnetic fluid damped motor pod.
  • Oil well bearing.
  • Constant resonant tuning system.  
  • A subchassis integrated tonearm mounting platform for energy management control.
  • Decoupled and lead damped outer record support platter.
  • Aluminum resin driven platter.
  • Copolymer drive pulley.
  • Digital motor drive system.
  • Critical elasticity calculation for the belt’s low pass filter action.  
  • Seven layer lead damped plinth.
  • The first use of a periphery clamping ring.


SECOND GENERATION

  • After the Heirloom production had stopped for many years the design was reborn as the Merrill-Scillia MS-2 and MS21.
  • These turntables were manufactured as an absolute exact copy of the Heirloom design.
  • The major improvement to the new production was the polymer material used in the subchassis and the outer support platter. This turntable was heralded with exceptional reviews.
  • Class A in Stereophile for 3 1/2 years (review November 2007).
  • A Super review from 6 moons. (John Potis)


THIRD GENERATION

The Merrill-Williams R.E.A.L. 101 is again (as the original Heirloom) a totally new approach to turntable design. Using a patented R.ubber E.lastomeric A.coustic L.aminate along with other new innovations, the Energy Management Design principles are raised to a new level. The sonic performance overshadows the original Heirloom design by a wide margin.

Click Here for explanation of the Merrill-Williams Clamping System.


MERRILL AUDIO WILLIAMS
Manufacture of Fine Turntables
A New Approach - A New Standard
“The Suspended Plinth”
(Patten Pending)