Functional weirdness

In 2019, Wheel earned second spot on WhatHifi’s list of '12 of the weirdest turntables ever made’. We wear that as a badge of pride. If there would be a list of exceptional tonearms, the one in Wheel 2 would certainly deserve a top rating.

Most turntables shine with beautiful tonearms. A feast of metal and carbon, with weights, levers and bearings, precisely machined and adjusted to the smallest clearances. In contrast, Wheel 2’s tonearm almost never sees the light of day. Most of the time it is at work in the shadow of a record. This update puts Wheel 2’s tonearm in the spotlights.

Bearings in tonearms are an important source of noise and vibration. In conventional tonearms, long tubes need to be used to obtain sufficient linearity, with the risk of further amplifying these vibrations. In Wheel’s confined space, its tonearm design has to be completely different.

No bearings
The base mechanism of Wheel 2’s tonearm doesn’t use bearings at all. It is milled out of a single block of high grade polyacetal. This material combines high stiffness and damping with enduring flexibility, precisely controlled in thin-walled zones. These zones create a flexible parallel mechanism. Because the entire part is made out of a single block, movements are totally free of backlash and friction.

Wheel 2’s tonearm assembly. The circuit board is a structural component of the arm and contains the preamp and controls for the infrared sensor and the tracking system. The wooden arm block holds the AT95* cartridge.

Line out
The original Wheel has a very good preamp built-in. When installing Wheels at users homes across the Netherlands, I’ve seen a wide collection of hifi equipment ranging from very modest to the most exuberant high end gear, worth tens of thousands. What struck me is that in any setup, Wheel's preamp delivered a deep and coherent soundspace, with tight lows, clean mids and sparkling highs, even compared to top quality phono stages. 

In Wheel 2, we took a bold step and built our beautiful preamp right into the tonearm. Literally. Because the preamp is now just millimeters away from the cartridge, the delicate signal path from cartridge to preamp is extremely short. This is the most effective way to prevent signal loss, noise, eliminate distortion and preserve the unique quality of your recordings.

Adaptive tracking
We designed a revolutionary and gravity defying way of controlling stylus pressure and tracking, and built Wheel 2’s tonearm around it. The real-time video shows how this works in a cut-away Wheel 2. Depicted is the stylus of an AT95, set at 2 grams. Speed is 45 rpm. Even on this extremely warped and out of center 7 inch record, you see the stylus easily stays in the groove, and the cantilever doesn’t jump. More details of this system in the next update!

Preparations for the building of Wheel 2 are on schedule. We expect the first small batch of production grade Wheels 2 to be built within two weeks. Deliveries start at September 1.

Thank you,

Peter and the team