Solidair Audio Fact Check

I am sorry to have to make this post, but the persistent harassment of any discussion of our products on certain forums has forced my hand.

Mr Peter Newby makes claims particularly about our Pylons and gives out false information and snide smears, presumably to try get people to buy his version instead. He even has the audacity to call his products Pylons which is an original Solidair Audio product name and so a breach of copyright. I came up with the name ‘Pylons’ to go with our Speaker Suspension Bridges, continuing the civil engineering theme. You will find no mention of the word Pylons in relation to suspension towers anywhere before we went public with it early in 2018.

Around August 2018 Pete Newby contacted me several times through eBay in regard to our Pylons which we had listed along with some other Solidair products. He claimed to be poor and wanted to make his own version which would not go into commercial production. I helped him with general advice and the thread size that Michell use on most of their turntables. He has a blog which was under the name Gwernaffield on Art of Sound where he posted cheap upgrade ideas for the Orbe. He was very insistent that I looked at it, which I did. There was a long discussion about many possible ways to get small improvements, but no mention of any suspension upgrades. I suggested he put a pack together and sold them to make it easier for people to implement his suggestions, but he didn’t want to do that. Approximately six months later I was contacted by someone concerned at the nature of Pete’s blog. Upon looking it up I saw he was explaining how he set out to make a set of spring replacements having seen our Pylons and Gert Pederson’s earlier design. Sadly every mention of Solidair Audio, Gert Pederson and sometimes even Michell Engineering was entirely derogatory to the point of libellous. I found he had repeated this blog on other sites including Vinyl Engine so put up a strong retort and much of what he had written was taken down. Vinyl Engine and another site immediately deleted his whole thread. Michell Engineering also put up a rebuke of Pete’s actions. I have kept screen shots of much of what he said.

Pete has and continues to make many claims about our Pylons, some of which I want to address here. According to Pete they need our magnetic feet to work, will let the deck swing all over the place, will scratch your vinyl and cause your stylus cantilever to break should the string fail. He even posted a photo of a set of our Pylons where he had to cut the cord with knife or scissors as it would not break to illustrate his argument. Oddly he didn’t do that to his own version.

He has repeated this many times on various Facebook sites as soon as any discussion comes up about Solidair Audio. He has sent out private messages to people, some of whom have passed these messages on to me.

As I said in my initial rebuke, his behaviour is unprofessional and it is utterly contemptible to do this to someone who helped him get started. (In his reply to my rebuke on 6-5-19: “yes you did help with the size of the thread” Pete Newby. You can’t even start to develop a suspension without this basic information.)

That’s the background, so I think I need to address the erroneous statements that Pete keeps putting up.

1. The Pylons need the Solidair feet to work?
No, the Pylons work really well with or without our feet, they are not needed. Some people with True Point suspension use our feet too and rate them highly. Pete also stated that he has never tried our feet and never would, so all this is pure speculation with no basis in fact or experience.

When John Michell designed the earlier Gyrodecs, which have really changed very little, he knew where isolation was needed and put it in. Some forty years on we have new materials and new ideas to improve the isolation, which is why this such a good turntable for a few tune-up modifications. The springs are the first isolation point, the spike feet the second. They both have different jobs to do and both help with sound quality. There is also isolation under the arm board and through use of a record clamp. Whether you want to change anything is and should be up to your individual opinion and needs. We try to make our modifications unobtrusive or in keeping as we don’t want to detract from the beauty of what has been for decades, the most iconic and affordable turntable, a true masterpiece of design.

2. The Pylons let the deck swing all over the place?

No. According to Pete, Gert’s suspension does this too. Gert uses wires to prevent this and the geometry of our Pylons does not allow the deck to swing. The angle of the strings in ours means the movement is already pushing uphill. The motor and the stylus can’t put in enough force to overcome this to lift the deck further. You can move it with your hand, but it will not move in service. No wow or flutter. Our new version has elastomer suspension and uses a high performance web to stop any lateral movement, as more flexible suspension can’t stop it on it’s own. This is why True Point have sorbothane packing inside theirs (Pete’s).

3. Will the string break and break your stylus?

No, the string will not break. I can’t snap the Pylon strings and though it has been a few years since I competed in Cornwall’s strongest man, I am no slouch. The waxed cotton is very strong and has been used for sail making to drive boats around the globe for centuries, it is very tough and reliable. One strand is enough to suspend the platter, the Pylons have eighteen. I even tried Pete’s cut the thread experiment which caused a slight jump in the record playing but no damage and certainly no broken cantilever. I am not sure why they should be knife resistant anyway, perhaps it would be best to just not let Pete in if you plan to spin some vinyl.
4. Will they scratch your records?

No. Pete thinks that you will have trouble with record damage if our Pylons are used when you have suspended floors. We have not found it makes a difference. Our feet help a bit and one of our customers was extolling the virtues of our puck (the Bass Driver) as it stopped record jumping for him with his suspended floor. With modern equipment the pressure is so light you should not get record damage even if you get a skip. No one is using the old steel needles these days are they?

5. The Dark Star Pylons
Pete now seems to think we have copied him for our new design. I had to laugh but no, our concept is unique and quite different from the way his works. It doesn’t even have O rings, which was Gert’s idea anyway, not Pete’s.

As with all things HiFi different people have different ears and like different things. The True point suspension is well received and has it’s fans. I have said before you will benefit from any of the suspension upgrades available. I have also said to Pete that he should be keeping it positive and just big up his product, all this negativity is just putting people off. Unfortunately, since our eBay chat, Pete has never replied directly to any contact I have made with him. I would be happy to see an end to this constant harassment and deformation, but there seems to be no reasoning with this man. Pete gets very upset about it all, so he doesn’t seem to be doing himself any favours here. I don’t know why he is so obsessed with us, but as he says, he likes winding people up, so maybe that’s it. I guess I will have to take heart that “there is only one thing worse than being talked about…”