A new reference
We would like to thank the team at Stereophile for selecting the Criterion Copperhead as Analog Product of the Year 2008. Continuum Audio Labs was a relative unknown before January CES 2004 when it quietly launched the Caliburn Cobra system.
The audiophile world was shocked by the advanced performance of this and
soon learned that it was a product engineered to play music with higher fidelity
than any other system to date.
Furthermore, in 2006 the Caliburn System achieved the dual accolades of Stereophile Analogue Component of the Year and overall Product of the Year. An utterly stunning victory, especially in an age when CDs are thought to be reaching antiquity!
The success of the Caliburn System meant that the greater audiophile community was keen to see Continuum Audio Labs trickle down the technology from the Caliburn into a more accessible solution.
The original team was again assembled to discuss materials choices, functional specifications, and new design opportunities to simplify the mechanisms involved in building a quality turntable system and maintaining the signature Continuum sound of effortless musicality.
The "Dream Team" went back to the drawing board - literally. No aspect of the system was left unquestioned.
Do we need a chassis? Do we need Vacuum holdown? Do we need a nested platter?
What motion control technology can we use to effectively drive the platter
and reduce the complexity? What other materials are capable of getting the
The team was given the opportunity to start from a clean slate whilst benefiting
from the immense body of knowledge that had been gathered during the design
and production of the Caliburn-Cobra System.
At each stage all of the members of the team were able to peer-review the
various concepts and early prototypes to ensure the goals we had established
for the Criterion were being met.
We understood where this ability stems from and had built the Caliburn using very expensive techniques and materials. The new challenge was to try to reach the same standard with more affordable materials and design.
Some exciting new materials engineering was used in the development of the Criterion platter system. Again military grade materials were sourced from the world of submarine engineering and adapted to use in the Platter subsystem.
This allowed us to extend the capabilities of the platter beyond the common
off-the-shelf materials used in other designs.
By designing a "Stealth Mode" pump (which in itself set new
benchmarks for silent operation) with a new filtration system
that cut out pulsing, we could then design a more compact inverted-bearing
Using new software-driven DSP solutions for motion control enabled us to use a more cost-effective drive solution and tune it close to the performance of the unique Caliburn True Zero Cogging solution.
Again optical high-count encoding feedback solutions were utilized to deliver peerless speed accuracy.
Nested Platter Design using our new proprietary formula for Magnesium Alloy. 30kg Mass of platter assembly 330mm Diameter.
New MILSPEC Alloy used for highly damped platter ballast.
New Fully Sealed Self Lubricating Highly Damped Rigid Bearing Design with Inverted 30mm Bearing shaft of special alloy running in ultra hard steel bushings.
Vacuum Rotary Feedthrough for main bearing with low friction polymer seal.
Massive Highly damped Magnesium Alloy Chassis with internal ribbing Shape Optimised for new bearing platter assembly using www.advea.com Reshape(tm) software.
New Motor Technology Linear 3Phase AC - 24Volt DC Brushless design with integral optical encoder for motion control. Proprietary DSP software designed for ultra-low cogging and torque ripple with speed stability of 0.006%. High Torque 600 oz/inch capability continuous.
33, 45, 78 with wide range adjustment and absolute lock.
Motor is Belt Drive using Pyrathane precision oring.
New Vacuum Pump design with Stealth Mode Operation. Designed for continuous operation but quiet enough to house in room and in rack.
New proprietary design Pulse Removal and Echo Filter System (PREFS) to remove platter to record vibration signature of continuous vacuum pump systems.
New Decoupled Armboard design using Magnetic Stabilisation System (new lower cost derivative of the Caliburn Armboard System)
Criterion Copperhead Reviews