Devices with AC motors, such as turntables and tape players, are often designed to work only within the region where they were manufactured. Many US-based turntable manufacturers produce units equipped to operate with 115V AC at 60Hz. When operated outside the USA, even if the voltage is transformer stepped down from 230V AC to 115V AC, the lower frequency of 50Hz will result in turntable speed that is much too slow—and this speed difference is very, very noticeable!
We have provided customers with products for this application many times. In fact, if you wish to use a U-Turn turntable outside North America, the solution is Apollo. It will plug in anywhere in the world, and provide the 60Hz power that the U-Turn equipment requires. We’ve sold many Apollos to customers who wish to purchase U-Turn equipment and power it outside of North America.
The other very popular product with vintage turntable and tape players is Athena. Just as above, we had a customer come to us with no way to power his prized European audio turntable in North America. In this case, the turntable was designed with a motor to operate properly at 230V AC at 50Hz. When plugged into the North America mains power system at 115V AC at 60Hz, the equipment was playing back at a speed 20% higher, and the pitch of the music was very noticeably off! With Athena, this customer was thrilled. The speed returned to normal since the unit converts the North American mains power of 115V AC at 60Hz to the required 230V AC at 50Hz to power the European equipment. Our customer didn’t think it was possible to find a device to solve this problem. But since Athena, the problem is easily and economically solved.
Thor has also turned out to be a favorite among audiophiles. When we were in the process of developing Thor, a young lady (Tina) contacted us after having purchased a CJ Walker turntable while visiting in Europe. The Swiss-made motors were no longer available for use in North America and she had no option for powering the unit here in the USA since she required 230V AC at 50Hz. We actually worked with her to provide her with an early prototype of Thor. When she installed it, her comment was “…it works like a charm! I love it!” Since then, Tina has been very happy and the unit (even though it was a prototype) continues to function beautifully.
We had a similar experience with a customer, Uwe, trying to power a Grundig vintage tape player in Canada. The Grundig tape player requires 230V AC at 50Hz in order to operate at the proper speed. Uwe was very frustrated because he could not power his player here in Canada, even with a step up transformer. Like Tina, we had a prototype Thor that we shipped to him. We waited anxiously for the results of his testing
After Uwe tried his Thor, we received this comment from him: “Thanks for an excellent working piece of equipment!” His vintage European tape player was finally working in his new Canadian home.
Finally, at a recent audio show, one of the proud exhibitors came to us concerned that his prized turntable “just didn’t sound right.” He complained the speed (and thus the pitch) was changing. Because we had equipment to demonstrate our products, we had noticed earlier that the mains power line frequency was unusually lively that day. In other words, it was varying between extremes (it turns out this is more common than we thought). We suggested he try our Thor since its frequency stability is an incredible 0.0002%. He came back later quite excited that Thor had solved the issue and his turntable was now operating precisely on pitch and stable.
Other customers have successfully powered Akai, multiple Philips models, Thorens, Lenco, Technics, Rega, and other model turntables and vintage hi-fi sets with Thor and Athena–and of course, Apollo for U-Turn and Rega 24V AC models.