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Well Tempered Labs Reference
4 Reviews
rating  4.75 of 5
Description: High End Turntable


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Reviews 1 - 4 (4 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Jason H a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: January 21, 2003

Bottom Line:   
The Well Tempered Reference turntable and arm set a whole new standard for what I believed was possible for vinyl replay. This turntable, contrary to popular wisdom, is capable of playing music with pure emotion. In simpe terms it connects and can modify your mood with music like no other turntable I have used. Setup is not straight forward, the importer helped me but once running the system disappears leaving glorious music, it seems like a lot of money for something that tries to do nothing!
Bass: Extended with massive amounts of real texture.
Midrange: Totally grain free, low distortion and detail in abundance
Treble: Again extended and totally free of fatigue inducing problems.
But these breakdowns miss the point, the Well Tempered reference integrates everything so well that you forget the petty issues and enjoy the performance.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2002

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Paul a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: November 10, 2001

Bottom Line:   
This review is actually for the Well Tempered Reference Tonearm only, adapted for a Sota Star (vacuum hold-down) TT...
PROPERLY SET UP for a given turntable and cartridge, the Well Tempered Reference Tonearm ofers state-of-the-art performance. Set-up is DIFFICULT, and it is not a job for handy amateurs; however, once dialed in, the WTRT is simple and reliable in use.
The WTRT is unique in that it actually does what all tonearms are supposed to do -- it optimizes the cartridge it is used with. Specifically, it actively helps to keep the the stylus in the record groove at the lowest possible tracking weight; it stops warp and wow resonance; it shunts resonance from the cartridge, the turntable and the room before that resonance gets amplified; it adjusts to suit any (well, almost any) cartridge. Best of all, this arm has NO sonic signature.
I have read some of the other postings for the Well Tempered line. Although I did not use the WT 'table, I am certain that problems and faint praise both stem from set-up problems. Bass and detail are so good (meaning life-like, compared to acoustic instruments), and every other aspect of tracking so excellent, that criticism about the WTRT's "character seems specious, misguided, or misplaced.
I should also say that I have read a number of bad "tips" about WT tonearm installation and set up, including information on this site. For instance, a properly set up WTRT tracks flawlessly from start to finish. If one has tracking problems with the arm this is a red flag that cartridge overhang, alignment or anti-skate adjustments are off. There is NO NEED to lower the pivot end of the arm to aid with tracking at any point on a record, given that VTA is within range to begin with. I suspect that the "start of the record" problem stems from misaligning the arm's "gantry" so that the pivot threads are actually "reversed" relative to where they should be with the stylus in the track 1 lead-in. This would push the arm inward at the beginning of a record, even if the anti-skate was correct once the arm had passed 90 degrees relative to the long axis of its gantry. On the other hand, such a gantry misalignment would likely throw off other adjustments as well. Anyone who has set up this arm so poorly in the first place may need to have it properly explained, or h/s may never get it right without qualified help. Likewise, suspect bad set-up or other components rather than the WTRT in ANY bass, detail or dynamics problems.
Literature from Transparent Audio was not helpful, and some of it was misleading, in setting up the WTRT on my Sota. All in all, set up was a royal pain, and dialing it in was no cake walk, either. But IT IS WORTH IT!
If you are waiting to hear all about how this arm "sounds", then you are missing the point, and this is probably not the arm for you.
Ratings? An obvious 5 stars for its flawless performance. And while I find it hard to believe tjhat production and marketing costs justify the retail price of this arm, I will award it 5 stars for value as well, because it outperforms other arms that cost much more.
In closing, I will venture that the other, "lesser" Well Tempered tonearms perform on a sonic par with the "Reference" model I bought. But I am VERY glad to have the threaded damping cup, which comes, to my knowledge, only with the "Reference" model.
web site is www.weltemperedlabs.com

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   2001

Price Paid:    $2000.00

Purchased At:   Transparent Audio

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Eric Chan a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: October 29, 2001

Bottom Line:   
Upgraded it from Well-tempered Classic V, I found the main improvement is on Bass - deeper, tigter & cleaner. The treble is comparatively more extended than Classic V.

I was thinking of buying my last table/arm ever, considering Air Float Arm & table because this kind of design sounds best but they are very expensive(Rockport, air-tangent, versa dynamic, forsell etc.). Mainteance work for air floating arm/table is also pain in the ass after the experience with ET2 and they do not normally last very long. Finally I narrowed down into 6 selections within a price range of US$7000(used or new) 1)Roksan TMS, 2)Basis Debut with Triplanar IV, 3)Oracle Dephli with ACT 0.5, 4)SME 20 with SME V, 5)Well-tempered Reference 6)VPI TNT IV with JMW 12' arm

There is no way you can compare them side by side but I was able to compare both TMS & WT Reference. With the identical Clavis D.C. installed on both tables, TMS had better bass speed & overall dynamic while WT reference had better bass profile & more quite floor noise. However, the mid band transparency & richness of WT Reference won a head out of shoulder over the TMS. The unique low distortion feel of Well-tempered made all the music enjoyable. It turly is my last table.

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   2000

Price Paid:    $4200.00

Purchased At:   Sound Chamber

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Randolph Fenton a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: November 4, 1999

Bottom Line:   
For the money, Inhave not heard better. For me personally, analogue at this level is peerless. Provided of course that one can obtain a decent quality Vinyl. One is still subject to the same issues with digital anyway!
The TWR was reviewed recently in Stereophile. Despite the fact that it was awarded a Class A rating, the reviewer seemed to struggle with optimising pickup cartriges. He was more successful in an RPM turntable. The RPM does not permit VTA and Asymuth adjustment on the fly. Neither does it permit the user to calibrate damping to match the compliance of ANY cartridge available today. WOW and Rumble are measurably much lower that most if not all turntables available today. In 1997 the WTR won 1st prize in the Academy for advancement in audio. Info on the design of the WTR can be found at this web site 'www.welltemperedlab.com'.
I upgraded to this turntable because it possesses soul when you listen to it.
It is also asthestically very pleasing.
Give it a spin if you get the chance. If setup properly over time, you will be delighted.
Thank you for reading my reveiw.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   1998

Reviews 1 - 4 (4 Reviews Total)

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