From the start, we chose to drive Wheel's plateau with an open loop belt drive system. When all mechanical components are properly balanced, this approach is capable of very good synchronicity and thus sound quality. Most good quality 'normal' record players are built this way and these are solid performers.
But Wheel can be used in three ways: horizontal on a table, vertical on the wall, and at a slight angle, on its supplied stand. Because different positions impose different loads on the drive system, finetuning each Wheel turned out to be a challenge. While we could bring all Wheels within specification this way, we weren't entirely confident how it would perform after prolonged use. Part of what makes a design truly durable is that you can use it for years and years.
To squeeze the last bit of imprecision out of Wheel's drive system, we had only one option left: make it closed loop. In a closed-loop drive system, motor speed is constantly measured. This feedback is used to modify the output power to the motor to make it run at a consistent rate. This effectively smoothens out all speed deviations like flutter and wow*.
Better to turn halfway than to get lost
Precision motors of our first run of Wheels have been in our stock for quite a while, but we prepared to write them off if need be. Then we found out that all closed-loop capable motors in the market were too large to fit inside of Wheels constrained space. A complete Wheel redesign was obviously out of the question, and purchasing new motors was no longer an option. Ultimately we developed an advanced closed-loop system in house to use with our existing motors.
Oh, and we're on track to ship out the first Wheels at the end of Q3.
Thank you for your ongoing support!
Peter and the Wheel team
Wheel's unique closed-loop circuit, built on top of the motor. It samples and corrects motor speed 100 times per second, making Wheel sound better than ever!