Townshend Rock 7 Turnable

MSRP: $3,200

I’m simply at a loss to identify any sonic shortcomings. I’ve heard one $25,000 turntable/arm that sounded quieter, but it was lifeless. Another $20,000 table I’m familiar with, and using the same arm and cartridge, sounds about the same in terms of impact, involvement and sonic accuracy, but no better. Mike Wechsberg –

Product Description

The Rock 7 has evolved from a number of earlier turntables from Townshend Audio all featuring the famous front end damping trough. The turntable is an open frame basic two speed belt drive mounted on unique Seismic Load Cells. The flexible design makes it a good table for most tonearms.The unique trough is a rigid curved piece with a bath containing viscous silicone fluid and associated with this is an extension piece attached to the end of the pick-up arm with a small paddle extending down. After the record is placed on the platter, the trough is swung over the record and the stylus is placed on the record and the paddle immerses in the trough fluid.

While playing, the paddle moves without resistance from the fluid as it moves up and down and in towards the record centre. At the 10Hz critical frequency where pick-up arms wobble, the resistance of the paddle in the fluid is organised to reduce this movement significantly. At audio frequencies, the paddle is held very rigidly by the fluid thus preventing the cartridge from vibrating due to the music.

The huge reduction of movement at the 10Hz reduces non-linearity in the cartridge and phono stage, reduces the huge low frequency circulating over-heating current in the power amplifier and the all too common woofer-cone pumping.

Without the trough, when the needle moves back and forth, the cartridge is forced to follow at audio frequencies. Imagine a stationary record with a moving cartridge, it is clear that there will be a sound reproduced. So, without the trough, there are two sounds; the music plus the vibrating cartridge sound. With the trough, there is just the sound of the music. The truth!

We think that the Townshend Rock 7 is one of the great hidden treasures in the audio world. Well designed and with a long track record, the Rock 7 is a steal at $3,200. Coupled with a Helius tonearm, the package dominates any table in its price point and competes well with those costing much more. If you aren’t afraid to think outside of the box, evaluate a Rock 7. You will be blown away by the performance.