Frequently Asked Questions
Please click on a question to see the answer. Let us know if you have a question that isn’t answered here.
Please click on a question to see the answer. Let us know if you have a question that isn’t answered here.
We love meeting our customers and we consider them part of our ‘Döhmann family’.
We love talking to our growing community of Helix users at shows, when we visit our dealers or through email.
Apart from sharing music and stories, the feedback we receive from our customers helps us to learn, improve and innovate.
If you happen to be at a show or an event we’re attending, please come and say hello!
In terms of sales, delivery and set-up, after sales support, servicing and simply having a local person that you can develop a great relationship with, we support a carefully selected network of dealers around the world and we will direct you to the dealer nearest you. If there is no official dealer in your country, please contact us directly.
The Helix Two incorporates most of the Helix One technology in a compact body, with a compact footprint and facility for one tonearm. It is a highly accomplished single chassis self-contained turntable that according to the audio press and experienced audiophile customers, completely out performs any turntable at and well beyond its price range.
The Helix One has a larger footprint, facilities for two tonearms and is the ultimate execution of the Helix technologies. It is considered by many to be the ultimate expression of contemporary turntable design and until recently, was our statement product. We believe that it takes the sonic attributes of the Helix Two and takes them to a higher level.
Our vision is not simply to make a good turntable or tonearm. There are plenty of well-reputed audio brands already doing that. Our vision is to make the very best analogue equipment in the world and then to bring it to you.
This requires an investment in research, design, technology, materials science and precision engineering that most companies would consider too risky or too expensive to commit to.
This is very understandable, because if you want to sell a large volume of product and properly support it, you need to keep your manufacturing costs down otherwise, it will be impossible to achieve commercial success. For example, the motors that we are now using in our Helix One cost forty times (x40) more than the motors used in another popular high-end turntable model that retails for over USD 60,000. If we also used that cheaper motor, we could save money and most people may not hear the difference. But in keeping with our vision, we tested both motors, measured their performance and listened to both in our turntable. We could tell that there was a positive sound quality difference with the higher specified motor. So we used it, accepting that our build cost would be higher.
At Döhmann Audio, we are not aspiring to sell high volumes of product every year. We exist so that those audiophiles who want to experience the ultimate execution of an analogue system based on the best technology available at that time can have a range of products to choose from. We create low volume, hand-made industrial works of art that simply out-perform any custom or commercially available turntable system in the world.
An example in the car world is Koenigsegg, a small Swedish boutique sports car manufacturer who through an uncompromising process of re-engineering every aspect of design to be lighter, stronger and better performing, have now built the fastest sports car in the world. If you would like to buy one of these cars, or for example a Patek Philippe watch, the extra investment made in the design, selection of materials, build quality and craftmanship comes at a cost.
We believe that from an audiophile perspective, our products represent great value and our customers often remark about this. If the performance is at a very high level and listening comparisons indicate that the sound quality is much better than other similarly priced alternatives, then there is logic as well as emotion in the acquisition. In addition, if our customers receive great pleasure from listening to music and they own a turntable for many years, then over the longer-term ownership can be more cost effective than changing or ‘upgrading’ to another turntable every few years, as audiophile are known to do. Ultimately, we’ve observed that our customers tend to have a strong passion for music and we hope that by buying a Döhmann turntable, they experience a great pleasure of ownership and a closer connection with their music collection.
Back in 2015, the newly formed Audio Union was appointed as the master distributor for Döhmann Audio products. So when the Helix One and Helix Two were launched, they become known as the Audio Union Helix turntables. Audio Union promoted & distributed the Helix products and was responsible for customer/dealer service. You may find lots of reviews, audio press and commentary mentioning Audio Union. In 2018, Döhmann Audio grew, re-structured and decided to manage its own distribution of its product. Despite the fact that Audio Union are no longer Döhmann Audio’s agent or distributor, we enjoy a close friendship with the Audio Union team and we still collaborate on new ideas.
Helix turntables can be manufactured in a variety of finishes & colours although non-standard finishes generally come with higher costs and longer manufacturing times. Please contact us with your requirements and we can discuss the possibilities with you.
Döhmann Turntables are designed to be setup by trained dealers and experienced audiophiles. The level of performance achieved by professional experienced installers is valuable and will maximise the sonic improvements available.
They are heavy constructions and safely shipped in dedicated road cases with compartments for all the components. Safety bolts are used to lock all moving parts during transit. These safety bolts must be removed in order to release the suspension system to operate smoothly. Once the safety transport bolts are removed the platter can be fitted and the belts placed around the motor pulley (using a simple removable installation cord).
The arm chosen for the unit can then be installed according to the manufacturer instructions. Once the arm is setup with cartridge, the tuning of the suspension is done by a simple adjustment to raise or lower the suspension to the middle position. The Tonearm Damping System and PAR technology is adjusted once the arm is installed. Final settings are then done to adjust the cartridge to precise settings.
Döhmann Audio turntables are designed to be used with a large selection of tonearms. For customers that have no preference, we recommend the Schröder CB tonearm which was developed by Frank Schröder at the same time as the Helix One turntable. The Schröder CB and the Helix turntables have a great synergy and have been used together in many systems. For those customers who have an existing tonearm and wish to use it as their main arm or extra arm, please supply us with the tonearm details and we will supply a custom armboard to facilitate that specific tonearm.
Many turntable owners place their turntables on isolation platforms because doing so improves the sound and they consider it an easy to implement sonic upgrade. Actually, we have met many audiophiles who have purchased new turntables that cost them over $80,000 and also purchased a MinusK isolation platform to sit their new turntable on, reporting it to be a significant sonic upgrade. The fact that a MinusK improves the sound quality of many high end turntables is a testament to the isolation technology used by MinusK.
It is important to remember that isolation platforms can do a great job at mitigating vibrations at a particular range of frequencies but simply do not isolate from all frequencies that can cause problems in an analogue audio system. For example, the MinusK platforms only isolate whatever is placed on them from vibrations up to around 100Hz. If you are trying to isolate your turntable from resonance and hence improve its performance, then you will need to also deal with vibrations above 100Hz.
Good question, but the answer is an emphatic “NO!!”.
The MinusK isolation platform does a great job of isolating up to 100Hz. Mitigating the effect of low frequencies is important but not the whole story. In fact, vibrations from 100Hz right up to tens of thousands of Hertz can be present around your music system. For Döhmann Audio turntables to achieve their sound quality, we have to incorporate a multitude of technologies that trap and dissipate vibrations of a greater range of frequencies.
We do this by integrating the MinusK isolation platform into a mechanical crossover system that seamlessly transfers mid-range and higher frequency vibrations into various plates with pre-stressed zones that channel the frequencies away from the critical areas and dissipate them. This also eliminates the possibility of interaction between the platform and the turntable (which often happens when you just place a turntable on an isolation platform).
The various plates are specifically tuned to trap these frequencies. Furthermore, the use of multi-layered energy absorbing material in the independently floating armboard isolates the tonearm with unprecedented effectiveness. Please refer to the Technologies section of our website for more information.
As a result, the turntable is far more than a mechanism on a MinusK and we believe that the Helix One and Two turntables are without peer in the mitigation of vibrations in analogue playback.
There are many things that make our turntables unique however they can all be summarised with the general statement that it is the extreme effort we go to ensure that unwanted vibrations are kept away from the signal path that makes our designs unique. You can read about some of these unhelpful vibrations in our technology section ‘Challenges of Analogue Audio’. All serious turntable manufacturers incorporate features in their designs to address vibrations. Usually these designs feature suspension systems based on springs, rubber, plastic, foam, air, spikes, etc.
After doing extensive research, Döhmann Audio designed a complete resonance mitigation system that incorporated Minus K negative stiffness isolators (NSM), mechanical cross overs with Micro Signal Architecture (MSA), Pre-Stress Accumulation and release technology and many other innovative technologies that you can read about in or technology section ‘Technologies’. These technologies have never been incorporated in turntable designs in the past and show the attention to detail that goes into a Döhmann design.
We welcome you to also explore the section of our website ‘What makes Döhmann Audio turntables unique.’
Is it worth all this cost and effort? If you are searching for the most direct connection to the emotional message of the music, if you are looking to experience the purest enjoyment of your analogue music system… we think so!
Speed Stability is specified as Wow and Flutter. The measurement is in % of an average or weighted value. A belt drive design should achieve less than 0.1% and a direct drive should achieve less than 0.05%. A good additional measurement for direct drive systems is a peak wow and flutter measurement. This can reveal the sonically audible variations that don’t show in the average measurement.
Wow and flutter are particularly audible on music with oboe, string, guitar, flute, brass, or piano solo playing. While wow is perceived clearly as pitch variation, flutter can alter the sound of the music differently, making it sound ‘cracked’ or ‘ugly’.
A recorded 1 kHz tone with a small amount of flutter (around 0.1%) can sound fine in a ‘sonically dead’ listening room, however in a reverberant room, constant fluctuations will often be clearly heard. These are the result of the current tone ‘beating’ with its echo, which since it originated slightly earlier, has a slightly different pitch. What is heard is quite pronounced amplitude variation, which the ear is very sensitive to.
This probably explains why piano notes sound ‘cracked’. Because they start loud and then gradually tail off, piano notes leave an echo that can be as loud as the dying note that it beats with, resulting in a level that varies from complete cancellation to double-amplitude at a rate of a few Hz: instead of a smoothly dying note we hear a heavily modulated one. Oboe notes may be particularly affected because of their harmonic structure.
Another way that flutter manifests is as a truncation of reverb tails. This may be due to the persistence of memory with regard to spatial location based on early reflections and comparison of Doppler effects over time. The auditory system may become distracted by pitch shifts in the reverberation of a signal that should be of a fixed and solid pitch.
The Döhmann Helix motion control architecture utilises advanced software and sensor-based control over the ballistics of the motor to smooth out belt beat frequencies and improve platter speed stability. The motors are capable of high torque and deliver this with ultra-low to zero cogging.
The motors are DC Brushless (which are actually 3 phase AC using optical encoders with high line counts. The Helix turntables do not use Hall Sensors to commutate the motor). The software and encoder solutions remove drift issues found in other DC motor designs. The Helix motor optical encoder is well over 12,000 counts per revolution. The motor spins 330 times per single revolution of the platter on 33 RPM. This provides a 10:1 ratio of speed checking over a direct drive alternative.
Speed accuracy is often specified as a percentage (%). Broadcast standard accuracy is 0.3% or better. To get an idea of the impact of speed accuracy, a 3.3% change in speed will alter pitch one half step. 6% is a full sharp or flat. So, 0.3% is a good margin, based on a 3150Hz test tone.
This is often never specified, because a turntable that exhibits drift is not a very good turntable. DC belt drive tables will do this. They will drift several percent over the 20 minutes of an LP side. You should always check what kind of drive system the turntable has.
In a freely rotating system like a turntable, any friction near the outside edge will try to slow the rotational speed. In drive systems without servo control, the turntable truly slows down the moment the stylus enters the groove, some as much as several percent. As the stylus moves towards the center or end of the record, the torque increases and the turntable regains most of its free rotating speed. To avoid the effects of this static stylus drag, the drive system must have servo control. The Helix architecture uses high torque motion control. As a comparison the Helix One motor is 100W with a torque of 110 oz/in (0.8 N-m) Peak Torque. A basic Hurst motor used in multiple well-known high-volume selling turntables is around 2W with a torque of 2 oz/in. Experienced listeners often remark on the ‘PRaT’ (Pace Rhythm and Timing) of the Helix is very “Idler turntable” like.
When the stylus encounters a highly modulated groove, friction and drag increases on the drive system. Based on the duration of the loud passage, and the weight of the spinning platter, there is a time constant that determines how quickly the platter slows down. If the platter is insufficiently heavy (<4.5kg or 10 lbs), the speed can slow sufficiently such that, a moment after the loud passage is over, you become subtly aware of the turntable speeding back up. Only heavy platter belt drives, or sophisticated direct drive systems can overcome the effects of dynamic stylus drag.