First Look: The Mag-Lev ML1 levitating turntable
March 10, 2019
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There is a sense of spectacle about the Mag-Lev ML1 Turntable. In a market where Vinyl is truly back in the consumer mindset, the founders of Maglev Audio decided on a unique positioning for the device. The end result is a product that combines a sense of intrigue, engineering chops and audiophile bragging rights.

Mag-Lev Audio unveiled the device exclusively to the Arab world in Dubai last week, and I was there, interacting with the founders, as they took me through the engineering challenges, the 3-year development period and their successful Kickstarter campaign. Qualia Gadgets will be the official distributors for Mag-Lev in the region.

In many ways, the ML1 levitating turntable concept goes into new territory. It’s first and foremost a statement, with a sense of going where few have gone before. A 3 year engineering process brought this existential ‘Why Not’ concept to fruition with a very successful Kickstarter campaign. Interestingly enough the designers have countered the technology highlights with classic retro vinyl design aesthetics.

Come to the basics and the ML1 is a magnetic Coil Drive turntable that supports 33 RPM and 45 RPM. Enclosed within a mainly ABS plastic plinth available in a number of finishes are the tonearm mount, the signature magnet system, a circular lighting visual accent and a platter support system. These include a Pro-Ject 9cc 9-inch carbon fibre tonearm and the included German Sommer 1m RCA cable. In other words, they have gone the distance on the component front.

Which brings us to the key highlight, the ecosystem of magnets that enable the levitating magic. Embedded within a ridge, the platter’s magnet system mates with a number of small, yet powerful magnets which are evenly arrayed around the bottom perimeter of the platter and the plinth area directly below. The magnetic coil drive means there is no motor driving the turntable, only electricity and magnets. Interestingly, the software is key to the process, as it takes care of reading signals, adjusts the speed by controlling the power in the coils and takes care of the UPS system and semi-automatic tonearm lift.

The actual visual of an LP being played is honestly rather magical. Switch the main controller to select your platter speed, place your record, and then the platter support posts slowly descend into the plinth’s body, till you have a floating platter. Interestingly, the tonearm doesn’t come onto the record, as it waits for the record to spin at the proper rpm.

Once done, tonearm descended, you look on, as the record plays levitating in space, the only point of contact being the tonearm needle. It doesn’t get more exciting than this!

Want to have a look at this device? Head to Dubai Mall, where they have an interesting showcase of the ML-1!

by Anil George
Avid follower of all things tech. In between his quest for the ultimate gizmo, Anil fiddles with light meters, collects rare books and feeds his fetish for Jap horror movies. As Managing Editor of T3 Middle East for the GCC, Anil oversees content direction across print and digital. He was a CES 2018 Innovation Awards Judge, reprising his role as an Innovation Awards Judge at CES 2017, 2016. and 2015. Anil is also the Middle East's first Brand Ambassador for Ashdown Engineering. Reach him at: editor@t3me.com.
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