Helix One

Mk3

The Helix One Mk3 is engineered to deliver unparalleled performance in analogue playback and is the result of many years of research, development, collaboration and listening by internationally acclaimed analogue designer Mark Döhmann and his team.

When a stylus moves through the grooves of a record, it converts vibrational energy into an electric signal. The shape and cut of the grooves contain an immense amount of information and the objective of any quality analog music system is to interpret this information as accurately as possible. For that to happen the stylus needs to operate in an environment that is free of any vibrational energy & resonance that is not a result of its interaction with the grooves. However, in practice there is a lot of energy moving through a turntable system that the stylus picks up in addition to the vibrations associated with the grooves that it is designed to do. This unwanted energy can be heard as distortion, smear, added harmonics, channel imbalances and these types of sonic phenomena often obscure the micro details within the recording as well as add a colouration to the music.

The first step in designing a high quality turntable is to carefully measure where is this unwanted energy is coming from and how does it move through the system. At Döhmann Audio, we have spent a lot of time using sophisticated test equipment to measure the resonance profiles of common turntable designs because in order to improve the performance of a turntable, you must first have an accurate understanding of where the resonance is generated and how it behaves. Our research indicated that some resonance originated from the mechanical systems of the turntable (eg. motor, bearing, platter, etc), some from the environment (eg. building, floor, sound waves, etc) and some from the electrical systems (eg, power supplies, control circuitry, etc). Furthermore, the turntable also acts as a physical eco-system where resonance moves through the various parts and interacts with itself. We also made some ground-breaking discoveries about how the vinyl record itself interacts with these energies.

Once these insights are understood, the next objective was to find ways of minimising the sources of resonance and eliminating how they are propagated throughout the turntable. When we started our journey, we discovered that many solutions used by turntable manufacturers for decades where not really very effective and in some cases introduced their own set of challenges. Even well regarded, positively reviewed turntable models didn’t perform well when we measured them. If we wanted to make major improvements to the sonic performance of turntables, we had to look outside the traditional methods and technologies used by turntable manufacturers.

This approach is at the heart of what differentiates Döhmann Audio from other turntable manufacturers. Mark Döhmann looked at other industries that had similar challenges and investigated how they solved them. For example, electron microscopes in research labs cannot operate accurately if there is even the smallest of vibrations present. How do they isolate a microscope? How do fighter jet manufacturers deal with vibrational energies when breaking the sound barrier? How do NASA engineers isolate & insulate sensitive equipment in satellites from damaging resonant energy? How does electronic equipment used in volatile environments such as mining shafts dissipate energy without interacting with the surroundings? By investigating the research and solutions employed within other challenging environments and industries, Döhmann Audio has been able to develop new innovations and technologies that have never been applied to audio before, and the results are exceptional.

Another important philosophy of the company is ‘evolution’. In a similar approach to Porsche with their iconic 911 sports car, the best results are achieved from creating a great design in the first instance that is based on solid scientific principles and research, then continuing to test, measure, change and make incremental improvements as they become available. This way of developing and perfecting a design can be heard immediately when experiencing a Döhmann turntable and the turntables have been designed in a way where all previous versions can be upgraded to the current specification.

The Helix One Mk3 was designed with the objective in mind to create the ultimate turntable system. To achieve this ambition, Döhmann Audio has incorporated some unique design features and technologies, including a fully integrated MinusK vibration isolation system utilising NSM technology, a mechanical crossover network which is designed to dissipate mid and high frequency vibrations, floating armboards, a custom designed Swiss-manufactured motor designed to Döhmann Audio’s specifications and carefully designed resonance dissipation pathways within the chassis. The PowerBase contains the power supply, control software to drive the new motor and special high frequency / RF absorption features. It also contains a suspension stabiliser to lock the table from moving during record changeover, a lighting control system and power filtration functions.

In October 2022, Dohmann Audio introduced the new Mk3 version of the Helix One which has the following improvements over the previous Mk2 version:

  • New Advanced Composite Bearing
  • New DC Power Supply
  • New Drive System
  • Improved Platter Design
  • New RSA resonance control technology
  • New Advanced Composite Armboard (ACA)
  • New Record Clamp with RSA Resonance Control

The Helix One Mk3’s sound is immediately recognised for its purity and realism. It has facilities for two tonearms and has become the turntable of choice of many discerning audiophiles around the world. The list of innovations and unique technologies is extensive however it is greater than the sum of its features. It is a highly engineered precision instrument that serves as a perfect platform for the music to emerge and engage the listener emotionally. Musical information is released from the grooves of a vinyl record with energy and soul. The turntable simply disappears and allows the music to flow effortlessly. Considered a true reference for musical enjoyment, The Helix One Mk3 has been critically acclaimed to be in the top echelon of players available at any price.

Features

  • State-of-the-art custom designed Swiss-manufactured motor
  • PowerBase with new advanced DC power supply circuitry
  • Advanced Composite Armboard
  • Micro Signal Architecture© (MSA)
  • Negative Stiffness Mechanism Vibration Isolation (NSM)
  • Mechanical Crossover Technology (MCT)
  • Tri-Modal Platter system (TMP)
  • Edge Damping Ring (EDR)
  • Tone arm Damping System (TDS)
  • Resonance Tuned Suspension (RTS)
  • Diamond Like Coating Amorphous Material Bearing Friction Modifier (DLC)
  • High Torque Adjustable Drive (HTAD)
  • High frequency and RF absorption features
  • RSA resonance control technology
  • A suspension stabiliser for ease of operation during record changeover
  • Record Clamp with RSA resonance control technology
  • Lighting control system and power filtration functions
  • Facilities for two tonearms
  • 0.5 Hz (Fz) Vertical
  • 1.5 Hz (Fz) Horizontal
  • Push button Speed Adjust

Reviews

Stereophile March 2020

Michael Fremer

Stereophile March 2017 (Vol.40 No.3)

Michael Fremer

Specifications

Operation Operated by two push buttons on the table top plate for speed selection/on/off.
Speed Control Speed is constantly calibrated over 130,000 times per second to deliver precise 33.33 or 45.15 rpm (factory default). Default factory set speeds are 33 RPM and 45 RPM.
Please note that 78 RPM and other custom speeds are available by request.
Simple user-adjustable speed control is accessible via two intuitive push buttons on the rear of the main chassis.
Drive System Fully integrated Swiss-manufactured high torque motor (de-coupled).
Dual-belt platter drive designed to reduce static electricity and vibrations.
Tonearm Facilities Two armboards to facilitate the mounting two tonearms up to 12” (305mm) simultaneously.
Armboards Comes with one Advanced Composite Armboard for the main tonearm on the right hand side and one standard solid aluminium armboard for the second tonearm facility on the left hand side. The armboards are removable and allow simple interchange and calibration.
Finishes Available in titanium or black finish. All Helix One Mk3 turntables have a carbon fibre top plate.
Power Options 110-120 VAC, 50/60Hz 2A
220/240 VAC, 50/60 Hz 1A
Dimensions Dimensions without clamp or tonearm
600mm (W) x 480mm (D) x 250mm (H)
23.6 inches (W) x 18.9 inches (D) x 9.8 inches (H)
Weight Main Chassis: 54kg (119 pounds)
PowerBase: 22kg (49 pounds)
Total weight: 76 kg (168 pounds)

Legacy

The Helix One was launched at the Munich High End show in May 2015 and was manufactured till January 2019.
The Helix One Mk2 was manufactured from February 2019 till September 2022.
The Helix One Mk3 was launched in October 2022 and is the current model.
Please note that all previous versions can be upgraded to Mk3 specification.

Set-up assistance and complete service available worldwide through authorized dealer and representative network.