TechDAS Air Force III Premium

TechDAS Air Force III Premium turntable inset arm

TechDAS Air Force III Premium

by Hideaki Nishikawa, Designer

“The new premium model comprises improvements that result in further refining the sound, based on the compact Air Force III

Building on the success of a hugely popular model – the Air Force III, a turntable which has a compact sized chassis yet delivers very high performance and flexibility of installation. The new Air Force III Premium has integrated further new concepts for an even higher quality while retaining the same compact size.

The Air Force III Premium consists of two units: the Main Unit (including outboard motor) and the Pump / Power Supply / Air Condenser Unit. ”

TechDASAir Force III Premium Design Concept

TechDAS Air Force III Premium turntable inset speed

The weight and sound of an analog turntable have a strong correlation. In order to make a heavier turntable while keeping the chassis size to the original Air Force III, our team chose gunmetal for the platter of this model. This material is an alloy of copper and tin and was often used for audio equipment in the heyday of analog audio.

The platter for the Air Force III Premium is precision cast and surface polished with a solid structure, unlike most conventional gunmetal platters that have a hollow construction. This results is a heavy platter of 29 kg, more than three times heavier than the aluminum platter used in the original III which weighs in at 9 kg. With this new gunmetal platter, the total weight of the main unit is more than 50 kg.

As a result of the increase in total weight, an extended frequency range is delivered and dynamics are noticeably enhanced. At the same time it has achieved a significantly lower noise floor thanks to the use of our air bearing. Furthermore, as gunmetal is relatively a soft and tensile metal, you will notice that a subtle glow is added to the sound.

The chassis is made of solid aluminum just like the original model. The black anodized and highly polished surface contrasts very nicely with the gold colored gunmetal platter. With a minimal sized CNC machined aluminum chassis the Air Force III Premium affords maximum freedom during setup. The surface is finished in high gauge black anodized with a high gloss polish. Up to 4 tonearms, ranging from short (9”) to long (12”) tonearms can be fitted to the frame.

The Air Force Series embodies the highest standards and subtlety of Japanese craftsmanship in its build and finish. The sophisticated aesthetics represent our commitment to every detail.

TechDAS Air Force One Premium turntable second arm square

Floating the Platter with an Air Bearing

TechDAS Air Force III Premium turntable inset speed

A conventional bearing unit supporting the platter would be subject to huge loads due to the weight and high inertia involved, and even the highest precision bearing could become impaired over time. In the Air Force Series TechDAS has thus developed a unique air bearing method, where the platter floats and rotates in almost total silence, completely isolated from vibrations transmitted to the record from the floor, via the chassis and center spindle.

Furthermore, the weight of the platter does not place any load on the bearing. This ensures the performance will continue maintenance free for many years, avoiding effects of abrasion or sounds caused by friction. The Air Force III Premium has a precision cast gunmetal platter with precision coating which is also highly polished, and weighs in at 29 kg.

Vacuum LP Hold Down

TechDAS Air Force series features a vacuum LP hold down as an ideal solution to issues caused by warped records, as this function flattens a record onto the heavy weight platter surface and dramatically increases the tracing performance and sensitivity of the cartridge, reducing any strain on it and the tonearm. This unique system developed by TechDAS gently holds down an LP by maintaining appropriate pressure. We believe this is most important, as it will not cause any damage to the record unlike other turntables using high vacuum pressure.

Motor Unit

TechDAS Air Force III Premium turntable motor

The Air Force III premium has two 150W DC power amplifiers to drive its synchronous motor which provide a stable and powerful drive system. This ensures the correct rotation of the massive platter.

In operation and once the selected speed is achieved, the motor torque is then reduced automatically to below 50% to maintain accuracy of rotation. No servo control is used from this point as that may negatively affect the sound quality. However a sensor is constantly monitoring the rotational speed for perfect accuracy of operaton, and this data is fed back to the motor should any speed adjustment be required.

The Motor Unit is housed in a separate chassis with high gloss black anodized finish that matches the main unit.

The Ultimate Level of Reproduction

TechDAS believes their turntables to be the only ones that achieve the ultimate level of reproduction from vinyl. They are committed to pursuing an ideal analog reproduction system, one that equals or exceeds the highest standards and care used when the record was cut in the original production process. In the production of a record, a lathe carves a groove into a lacquer disc, and the disc is held down onto the platter using a vacuum.

The Air Force series re-enacts this same status in record playback to precisely extract and reproduce all information embedded in the groove, and achieving this without adding anything or sacrificing detail. A remarkably black background and low noise levels are made possible by using “air force”, and combined with TechDAS’s innovative rotation mechanism featuring exceptional vibration absorption, you can experience a new dimension of analog sound.

TechDAS Air Force III Premium Specifications

ChassisPrecision machined aluminum alloy (A5056) Black anodized and high gloss polished
Weight21 kg
Surface protection coating
Platter Weight29 kg
Total moment of inertia3,506 kg・cm2
Drive SystemBelt-drive, polished and nonflexible polyurethane fiber belt
MotorAC synchronous motor
Rotation speed controlled by DC amplifiers
Rotation speed33.3 rpm / 45 rpm
Wow & Flutterbelow 0.03 %
Dimensions473 (W) x 170 (H) x 363 (D) mm
Minimum Dimensions for setting up564 (W) x 413 (D) mm
Total Weight55 kg
Power consumption50 W
Dimensions430 (W) x 175 (H) x 370 (D) mm
Weight14 kg
Minimum depth for setting up430 (D) mm
ACCESSORIES SUPPLIEDTonearm base x 1 (drilled for specified tonearm).
An extra cost may be required according to the tonearm.
Platter Cover x 1.
Cables, Air hoses, Platter setup tools, Users manuals.
Disc Stabilizer.

Air Force III Premium Review

by Jacob Heilbrunn in The Absolute Sound