** There are two versions of the Orbe - One is the Spider Edition (SE), the other is the Full version. The SE Edition costs a little less and consists of identical parts in terms of motor, platter, bearings etc. but is sold without the factory installed Acrylic plinth or dust cover. The Orbe Spider Edition can always be upgraded to full Orbe status by purchasing the Acrylic plinth and dust cover at a later date **
The story behind Michell engineering, the company responsible for this beautiful looking and sounding turntable, is like practically no other in the Hi-Fi industry.
In the late 60’s, the company started to make parts for Transcriptor Turntables (who subsequently re-located to the Michell premises). At this time, Michell Engineering were still supplying other local firms parts as well as working directly with some film studios helping make scale models and component parts for films such as Star Wars and the space ship 'Discovery' in Stanley Kubrik's 2001 - a Space Odyssey.
1977 saw the development of the first true Michell Engineering turntable – the Michell Reference Electronic Turntable. It is from here on that Michell never looked back and started making extremely high quality turntables that utilised new ideas and technologies at the time keeping the sound quality up with the best but somehow managing to look cooler and more iconic whilst doing so.
The early ‘80’s saw the introduction of one of the most iconic (and sound worthy) turntable designs of all time - The Michell GyroDec. The original GyroDec featured a heavy aluminium platter fitted with a rubber mat and the signature gold platter weights mounted below to keep momentum and lower the centre of gravity. The gold weights also helped eliminate static from the record/platter interaction. Over the next three decades, the Michell GyroDec has continued to be the company’s bestselling and most popular product. Part of the key to this success has been the numerous developments to bring it up to the level of performance offered today (which is widely considered as one of the best at up to double it's price). These include the now famous inverted oil-pumping bearing; an ingenious design that dramatically reduces the amount of friction and wear resulting in low noise and rumble as well as the now commonly accepted use of acrylic in the body of the turntable due to it's sound dampening properties. Being the modular design that it is, the company is still able to offer all of the upgrades to bring an original deck from over 30 years ago right up to the most current specification - how good is that.
Following on from the many years of success of the fantastic GyroDec, and due to increasing demands from customers and audiophiles alike for a higher end - TOTL (Top Of The Line) - turntable, Michell Engineering launched the flagship Orbe in 1995. The Michelle Orbe has been developed as a true high-end performance turntable that can compete with the best - and the many reviews back this up as mission accomplished. The Orbe features many significant engineering improvements over the multi award winning and often highly recommended GyroDec. The Orbe is still the company’s flagship reference Hi-Fi turntable and has undergone many refinements over the last 20 years. The Orbe turntable now offers a performance that is legendary, a look that is iconic and all at a quality that is way beyond its price bracket.
The design brief for the Orbe seems relatively simple, yet ultimately represents engineering challenges to achieve. Technically, all a Turntable has to do is read the grooves of a record accurately without letting any other vibration affect the signal. To this end, the Orbe's platter is made from a proprietary self-damping compound and comes with a screw down record clamp to couple the vinyl to the platter. These kind of measures help ensure a neutral sound with low noise and rumble, fewer ticks and pops, and helps make it less susceptible to blemishes and warps. The Orbe couples a heavy duty, low friction inverted bearing to a self-stabilising de-coupled floating sub chassis to help keep external vibration away from the arm/cartridge.
The 3.5 kg heavy platter is precision balanced as it acts as a large flywheel and must not be off-centre at all. The Orbe’s platter is actually made of three GyroDec platters bonded together to form one massive, heavy slab of acrylic. The extra weight ensures higher momentum and therefore tighter speed accuracy and less vibration. The GyroDec and Gyro SE employ a single-thickness acrylic platter, loaded with the gold-plated brass weights which over time have become Michell’s signature. Once up to speed, and aided by the low-friction bearing, the platter only wants to maintain its motion, and not much extra input from the motor is needed.
Speaking of the motor, the Orbe consists of a very precise, reliable, and ultra low-noise DC motor that has been selected only after extensive listening sessions and reliability tests by the Michell engineers. The Orbe models use a version of this motor with a tacho speed control loop back to the supply ensuring absolute speed accuracy. With all Michell turntables the motor is a stand-alone unit, housed in a heavy base of metal (almost 3kg for the Orbe), this is to eliminate vibrational breakthrough from the motor to the turntable. The HR and Orbe Controller NC supplies effectively isolate the motor from the potentially polluted mains network to make power and motor noise a thing of the past.
With several tonearm options available, the Orbe really deserves to be coupled to the Highly regarded Tecnoarm "A" (which is a highly modified and re-engineered version of the award winning Rega RB250). Cartridge choice is then the last decision to make - and then you'll be off enjoying one of the classiest looking, well engineered and best sounding turntables on the market.
*** Michell is a small bespoke manufacturer of high quality precision turntables. Because of several options to custom build your product please allow around 10 weeks for production and delivery of your product. Please note that this price does not include tonearm or cartridge. ***
(please don't hesitate to contact us for any advice regarding the Orbe and the set-up and options that are available.)
SAVI Systems are one of Australia's Authorised Michelle Orbe Turntable Dealers
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