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Townshend Audios Rock 7 MKII Turntable, Merlin PSU IV and Excalibur IV Tonearm-Out of Stock

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New Model Coming March 2017

The Rock 7

  • Unique damping technology produces the most accurate bass available from vinyl
  • Clear, smooth sound with complete control over the whole audio range
  • Allows old records to be played with far less surface noise and virtually no rumble
  • Almost completely immune to external vibration, especially footfall
  • Enhanced tracking security results in lower distortion and more musical detail
The Rock 7 is an open frame, two speed, belt drive turntable mounted on three Seismic Load Cells™. It is the latest evolution of Townshend Audio’s legendary Rock turntables, so named because of the solidity of the bass they can deliver. This is a result of the unique front end damping trough which greatly diminishes vibration in the arm and cartridge and results in the cleanest sound available with vinyl.

The Rock 7 is built around an extremely stiff subchassis that supports the platter bearing, levelling counterweight and damping trough. The motor is free-standing to maximise isolation and has a two-speed drive pulley for 33/45rpm.

The platter bearing is a one-piece steel shaft with a tungsten-carbon steel thrust pad which rests on a precision steel ball. This sits in the bottom of a brass bearing-journal which is fixed to the main chassis. The bearing shaft extends right through the sub- and main platter, emerging at the top to form the centre spindle.

The platter is machined from high density polyethylene (HDPE) that was chosen for its virtually identical physical properties to the vinyl LP. This sits on a precision machined aluminium sub-platter.

The turntable is supported on our spring bellows isolation feet, the forerunner of the Seismic Load Cell™, these provide the ideal suspension for the Rock 7 and make it immune to external vibration.


Outrigger and Paddle in position whilst playing

Front end damping

The front end damping trough contains viscous silicone fluid which works in combination with a small paddle that’s clamped between the headshell and cartridge. The paddle sits in the damping fluid as the cartridge traces the record.

The fluid allows the cartridge and paddle to move without resistance as it follows the groove up and down and across the record. At 10Hz where the combination of stylus, cartridge and tonearm has a natural resonance, the fluid significantly damps any movement. Killing vibration in the arm and cartridge in this way means that the signal picked up by the stylus is far cleaner than in other turntables.

Damping low frequency movement has the benefit of reducing non-linearity in the replay chain because the phono stage is no longer trying to amplify subsonic sounds produced by warps, which usually result in pumping bass cones.

Optional extra Just as it’s much easier to walk in deep water than it is to run the fluid allows the paddle to move at slow speeds but resists higher speed or frequency movement.

The effect of front end damping

A convenient analogy is demonstrated in the two images of the same scene. The first is a hand-held shot where the movement of the camera adds unwanted "jiggles" to the image, which are absent from the actual scene. This is equivalent to the conventional turntable with no trough, where the arm and cartridge can flap around, adding unwanted artifacts to the signal from the record.
In the right hand shot, where the camera is mounted on a tripod, the image shows virtually no "jiggles", and provides a far more accurate and detailed view of the scene. This is now equivalent to the arm and cartridge being locked steady by the paddle in the trough, while still tracking the groove as the record plays.

Camera hand-held.


Camera mounted on tripod.


Graph 1

Graph 1, low frequency response, shows how the arm-cartridge resonance peak is calmed to insignificance by the damping action of the trough assembly.


Graph 2

Graph 2 shows how rumble artefacts at around 8 Hz, caused by the arm/cartridge flapping around, are virtually eliminated when the trough is introduced. Once you have experienced music played on a Rock Turntable with the trough, the thought of returning to a conventional turntable is masochism!
  • Positive Feedback ISSUE 62 - Rock 7 reviewed by Mike Wechsberg

     How does the Rock 7 sound? For large-scale orchestral music, it redefined what I thought an orchestra could sound like on my stereo system, and on other types of music, it brought me closer to the performers than I had ever experienced prior. Moreover, this feeling of discovery persisted every time I put on a different record. Each experience was a new one. The Rock 7 had the most profound impact on the sound of reproduced music in my home than did any other equipment change I had ever made, including changing speakers!

    Positive Feedback ISSUE 58 november/december 2011

    The 8th Annual Positive Feedback Online’s Writers’ Choice Awards for 2011 – The Best of the Best!

    The Townshend Rock 7 Turntable has been my reference for over a year now, well before it started receiving attention in the U.S. audio press and mentions at many audiophile shows. I’ve sat down to write a review of this turntable several times over the last year, but I was forced to stop due to continuing changes in my reference system, involving the turntable or other components. Each change resulted in better and better sound enabled by the transparency of the Rock 7. A full review is forthcoming but I didn’t want to wait another year before giving this special turntable the recognition it deserves.

    The Rock 7 ranks with other turntables that cost $10K or more yet has a list price of about $3000 (without tonearm). Think of all the extra LPs you could buy for this difference! The Rock 7 has a unique suspension system that effectively isolates the turntable from outside disturbances, but its most noteworthy feature is the amazing “trough”, filled with damping fluid, that the tonearm headshell floats in. Damping provided by the trough smooths the bass response and controls other resonances in the cartridge/tonearm system that muddy the sound.

    Music through the Rock 7 emanates from a dead silent background and the action of the trough sharpens transients and lifts veils that otherwise obscure inner detail. The result is that music literally explodes from the groove and provides a sense of musical flow that I was never aware of before. Whether you have a $100 cartridge or a $5000 cartridge the Rock 7 will get the best out of it. It requires some tinkering to sound its best but worth the effort. Highest recommendation!

     by Dave Robertson

    Spin Doctor

    “Rafael Todes introduces a turntable with ingenius solutions”

    November, 2011 — Rafael Todes

    Source: Opera Now

    Rock 7 - Golden Ear award

    Townshend Audio Rock 7 Turntable receives Golden Ear award from The Absolute Sound magazine.


    “The latest incarnation of Townshend’s unique ideas of turntable design, including damping of the arm at the front end via a trough of damping fluid, offers truly remarkable performance at a rational price. With its silent background, stability, neutrality, and purity, and control of the arm in a way not otherwise available, the sound is reminiscent of mastertape or even live mike feed. And the front-of-the-arm damping also gives extraordinary bass. Combine it with the Moerch DP-8 anisotropic tonearm (one of my Golden Ear Awards of 2010), and you will hear all the bass and all the rest, that is really on your records. The Rock 7 is a triumph of engineering insight, with performance at the very top level but at a moderate price. (Reviewed in Issue 209)”

    Robert E. Greene, 2011.

    Rock 7 - The Absolute Sound review

    One of the world’s most respected reviewers, Robert E Greene,  has given The Rock 7 the most compelling review in The Absolute Sound magazine. 

    “The Rock VII is one amazing turntable design.”

    “Perhaps there are people who admire vinyl not for its real virtues but for its potential failings—resonances, ringing, and the like—who might prefer the sound sans trough more. But anyone who knows the sound of mike feeds or mastertapes—or music—will want the trough back in use instantly.”

    “…….the Townshend Rock VII shows what remarkable results can be obtained, not by flinging mass and money at the problem, but by inspired engineering. And some of the sonic virtues of the Rock VII are otherwise unavailable elsewhere at any price. The trough rules!”

    Trough Luck

    December 28th, 2010 — by Robert E. Greene

    Source: The Absolute Sound

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