Our friend Gary Koh visits the well known Torlai Roberto, famous for his The Pick Up Serice...
I first heard of The Pickup Service Torlai Roberto a couple of years ago as the "world's best" repair service for phono cartridges. You get the cartridge back fixed, and most often sounding better (much better) than brand new.
Not satisfied with what's commercially available and affordable on the market to evaluate his cartridges, Roberto built his own turntable - driven by a direct-drive Technics, it had huge torque and consequently great drive and dynamics.
His other table was a "direct drive" Forsell Air Force. Instead of using a rubber belt that would resonate, Roberto spins a knot-less, seamless loop of wool.
Besides repairing cartridges, Roberto also makes a line of cartridges. He developed innovative new technology in the damping and suspension of the coils and reports improved dynamics and articulation. From what I heard of his Jade model (above) I would have to concur, but would need to give them a listen in my own system.
His entry-level model uses a semi-precious stone - turchese (Italian for turquoise).
The "graveyard" of rejected prototypes on his way to developing his cartridge.
I spotted a very special cartridge on his workbench and asked about it. It is the best - but not for sale. Too much money. Very good...... I have to buy a cartridge and break it to make it.
Needless to say, its already inside my backpack.