Thunder is the first turntable we have
manufactured with our new revolutionary ‘Silencer Platter 3’ design, one of the
most significant improvements in our turntable designs. The Thunder is designed
and built for exceptional music reproduction, outperforming turntables costing
much more. A 70mm solid aluminium chassis forms the base of the turntable, on
which up to three arm attachments can be fitted for either 9” or 12” tone-arms
of any make.
The 50mm thick platter is driven by its remotely sited motor and AlphaDIG electronic control offers a perfect supply to the motor. The turntable
base has been designed for optimum stability; the large footprint of the table
generates more stability, to increase the weight concentration at the base of
the turntable. The Thunder is engineered to provide exceptional sound, but its
form is also attractively contemporary.
A 50mm solid turntable platter made of aluminium with Silencer inserts. The
platter is made of a very soft alloy to optimize its periodic resonance, and is
coated on the rear side with resonance-reducing material. For the Silencer-
Platter3 the development target was clearly defined: Elimination of vibration
due to impacting airborne sound. Elimination of bearing noise, increase of the
gyrating mass. Serious elimination of all frequencies, especially in the range
400-6000Hz. This was achieved by drilling 24 holes into the turntable. The
manufacturing process for the precision of these holes was once more refined.
The holes are drilled and afterwards separately “line-bored”. This allows a
clearance of less than 1/100mm.
Perfect conditions for the force-fitting of
the 24 silencer modules. The “silencers" are now an integral part of the
turntable - but highly absorbing. Existing vibration energy is quickly reduced
and the Platter is immediately steadied. To avoid unbalances through the
additional holes these are manufactured in the same setting as the outer
contour. In this way the holes are absolutely true to the centre of the
turntable. As you can see, we have done everything to develop a potentially
The bearing is the heart of every
turntable. Through fundamental research and development, we have invented a
bearing with the ideal performance characteristics of exact fit, extremely low
noise, very low friction and long term stability. The platter bearing component
is manufactured from special hardened and polished steel, with an extremely hard
tungsten carbide ball at its base. The bearing housing uses perfectly matched
and ‘aged’ sinter bronze inserts which are self-lubricating; and therefore
maintenance free. At the base of the bearing, we use our specially developed
‘high-tech’ material TIDORFOLON. Our bearing runs dry - without oil.
The external drive motor of the turntable
is run by its own electronic controller, called the AlphaDIG. It is a brand new
design where fully digital output stages and a quartz locked technology is used.
It is impervious to the negative effects of mains voltage fluctuations and
household appliances that produce ‘noisy’ mains that can have a very great
detrimental effect on AC motors and therefore the turntable performance and
ultimately the sound. And a quartz precision DSP then produces a perfect sine
wave at 24VAC to run the motor, resulting in a perfectly steady and constant
platter rotation. The AlphaDIG control is the perfect design solution.
The tone arm mounting plates are
adjustable. The mounting of any desired tone arm is possible, with a maximum of
3 tone arm mounting plates on one turntable.
Three adjustable feet for simple
macro and micro adjustments to level the turntable.
The high mass platter (with its inertia)
is an integral part of the turntable concept. Very low bearing friction, perfect
motor drive control and large platter inertia guarantee perfect synchronization
and the best sound. Highest precision manufacturing in Germany guarantees
reliability of this turntable. To make sure that every Thunder is exactly the
same we produce nearly every part on high precision computer controlled
Dr Hi-Fi's Technical Review and listening
tests coming Soon...
State-Of-The-Art in German
precision engineering. The Thunder is an awesome and most
impressive example of a World class Reference Turntable that
will never be outdated. Both technically and aesthetically.
This is by far the most
attractive and thoroughly well designed Table which I have ever
had the pleasure of using. Un-boxing the Thunder for the first
time, I still remember that day. Getting blown away and
awestruck at the uncompromising manufacturing quality and
precision which every part was machined and meticulously
finished. It is truly a thing of emeses beauty.
If you are at all
interested in achieving the very best in reference level vinyl
playback then the Thunder from Acoustic Signature should be on
your final short-list. It is my personal Turntable of choice to
use in my system daily. The natural competitor to the Thunder is
Model 30 Table. Not only does
the Thunder outstrip the famed Model 30 at a fraction of the price,
but when you stop to consider what A.S. has achieved
in terms of both performance and value you will appreciate what
you are getting all the more. I cannot think of another high
mass table in this league which we could accurately compare.
Yes, the Thunder has a
higher mass than the SME Model 30 but also it is constructed to
a smaller footprint. So measuring less in area but weighing more
gives a double benefit to the Thunder. The result is an even
greater and more rigid chassis because of it's increased mass
and also a more dense chassis design.
So while paying less you
are actually getting more in real terms. More Mass, More
Rigidity and More Performance.
Below extract is taken from
common with this arm the design of the Model 30/2 takes special
account of sonic considerations and with equipment of comparable
quality can provide a listening experience that allows L.P.
sound to be re-assessed. Detail, resolution, and neutrality are
of a new order with a dynamic range that does justice to the
The laws of physics decree that the higher the mass and
stiffness of a body the less it will flex and vibrate - and this
is reflected throughout the Model 30/2."
The Thunder is very much
all about over specifying each critical component in the Deck to
insane Overkill levels. Nothing has been economised on or
shortcut to save a dollar here or there to make the Thunder less
expensive. It costs what it needs to cost in order to get the
As a perfectionist, I
strongly dislike the thought or even the idea, that a product can
and is made more cheaply and of poorer quality and care in order
to produce an inferior component and for it to fit a lower price point.
Never the less this is very much an economic reality in today's
Having said that and having
used them all I can attest that each Acoustic Signature Table is
made to the same degree of perfection and what I would call,
personal pride & care. Even in their more entry level models
such as the Challenger MK.II the customer is never
disappointed. Attention to detail and manufacturing perfection
is not compromised at all.
That is something which Master
Engineer and owner Gunther Frohnhöfer would not have any other
way. He has personally communicated to me that everything must
be perfectly matched and built to the same 'No Compromise'
standard for each of their respective models in the range. Only
the degree of excessive over engineered extravagance is limited
but strictly never compromised upon at the expense of
I have not found this to be
the case before in other brands. With Acoustic Signature only
the scale of the design has been dialled back as to bring the
product into a more reachable market sector for a greater volume
of customers to enjoy without infringing on the outright
performance and quality per dollar spent. From my studies in
marketing I will tell you that this is one of the most
complicated and difficult accomplishments which many
manufacturers have attempted but failed.
Bigger and heavier with a fully enclosed
Tonearm mounting housing which deviates from the Storm and Challenger MK.II
models. If this is not the most rigid uncompromising
over-engineered chassis you have ever seen on a Turntable in
this class, I look forward to reviewing any competing products
which may want to compete at the level.
You will carefully notice that the extra
mass over the Storm and Challenger MK.II is basically achieved with an
enlarged base chassis which keeps the centre of gravity as low
as possible. The basic footprint of the Table is approximately
the same but the rigidity has been increased even further. This
is in contrast to other manufacturers who's offerings take up a
considerable larger table top area which makes them susceptible
to greater resonant interference. From an engineering view point
you with to keep the centre of gravity and the physical
dimensions as low as possible and the mass index as high as
possible. This creates the perfect combination.
315mm x 50mm Solid Aluminium Drive
Platter. Complete with 24 Brass silencer inserts fitted into the
platter assembly, to further reduce resonance and the bottom
face is coated with resonance-reducing material. This is up from
8 that are featured on Acoustic Signature's Storm.
The Silencer Platter
Since we invented the `Silencer Platter' in 2000 we have
continuously improved the performance results and have now
achieved platter damping that is unbeaten by any other product.
The gold plated Silencers are of course visually attractive and
make the Acoustic Signature turntables even more desirable than
without them but good looks was not the reason to implement them
into our products.
The Silencers absorb and reduce vibrations whilst the vinyl
disk is playing and you are listening. So, where do the
vibrations come from, that we so wish to remove from the
platter? There are several sources. First, the cartridge needle
itself, playing a record causes vibrations and resonance in the
vinyl, due to the movement of the needle tracking the record
groove. It's easy to check by simply turning the volume down on
your amplifier, you can still listen to the music directly from
the needle/vinyl with your ear close to it. The needle is
actually putting vibration back into the record as it tracks the
groove, causing vibration in the whole Vinyl record.
This leads to `micro' miss-tracking of the cartridge, when
picked up by the needle alongside the actual signal you want
from the track, with a very small time delay between the two.
The Silencers in the platter absorb some of this unwanted
vibration and improve the sound reproduction dramatically.
The second source of vibration is air waves
hitting the platter and turntable body from your loudspeakers
whilst you're listening to music. Your cartridge/stylus doesn't
care where movement comes from, be it the grooves or other
vibrations. Your cartridge simply produces an electrical signal
when vibrating and all vibrations coming through the turntable
will result in unwanted signals, resulting in a loss of detail
resolution and imaging from your precious vinyl records. The
Silencers absorb these unwanted vibrations, leading to a huge
improvement in sound fidelity, improving your listening
To give you an idea how much the Silencers will improve the
listening experience, we have conducted tests in an independent
laboratory on two identical platters, one with and one without
eight silencers fitted. The results are dramatic.
The 45kg Mass Monster with
external Motor Drive unit and external PSU.
I offer you to compare this
to the alternatives in this price range and you will be
convinced that the Acoustic-Signature Thunder offers the best
and most advanced features and is Choice # 1
Heavier and bigger 70mm Main
Chassis increased from 45mm Chassis which is featured on
Acoustic Signature's Storm and 40mm which is featured on the
Shown with optional Acoustic Signature
Grip MK.II and Rubber Mat.
The below extract from Acoustic Signature
describes their exclusive Tidorfolon Bearing better than what I can...
Ordinary bearings rely on a liquid
lubricant to allow the platter to spin smoothly. There are several reasons that
this is problematic. As the contact point of the shaft touches the bottom of the
bearing, it creates pressure, squeezing out the oil from underneath the most
critical section of the assembly. So there is no oil on the high-pressure
turning point and the wear begins. Also because of gravity the lubricant cannot
coat the entire shaft or axle leaving wear points at the top.
The solution is pure genius. The housing of the bearing is machined out of solid
aluminium, at the bottom of the shaft sits a special alloy called Tidorfolon (a
mixture of vanadium, ferrite Teflon, and titanium). It is noiseless, wear-free,
and self-lubricating. Since it is softer than standard plates it allows the axle
point to sink into it's surface a little bit, creating more surface area and
reducing friction and pressure between the axle and the base. The axle is made
of hardened antimagnetic steel and tipped with a tungsten carbide ball. Sinter
bronze bushings are used to lubricate the shaft.
The bronze is more porous than usual
bushings and is naturally lubricated in a special process. The bronze is heated,
expanding its natural pores, and soaked in oil to add even more lubricant. After
that it's cooled down and the oil then stays inside the porous parts of the
bronze like water stays in a Sponge. As the axle spins the oil impregnated
bronze allows the shaft to spin smoothly without the need for an additional
liquid lubricant. And another great advantage is that you don't need to keep
your turntable spinning.
There is no difference in sound quality
to a 15min. running turntable or one which runs 24 hours a day. This is because
of the bearing construction. This construction makes sure that from the first
second of turning the lubricant is at the place where it should be to work.
Acoustic Signature is so confidant in this product that we guarantee it for 10
years! ! The bearing comes standard on the entire line of tables. One more
reason we consider Acoustic Signature to be number one!
Shown with SME Series V Tonearm.
Tonearm's are sold separately.
Shown above is the Thunder in it's
ultimate configuration complete with the optional triple
Price is currently $1,620.00 for an
additional two motors.