What we do – and why.
We make recordplayers. And this is all we have done for the last twenty-five years. We do it because, above all, we love music. For us, the recordplayer is not a ‘product’. It is a device for entering into music. It’s as simple, and serious, as that.
Our goal has always been ‘to create the perfect recordplayer’ (whilst accepting the impossibility of perfection) and thus we have been constantly questioning ourselves “how do you design and build a perfect recordplayer?”
From a purely objective perspective, the recordplayer must simply perform various mechanical tasks conforming to the physical properties of the analogue disc. With appropriate understanding of these parameters, it is not so difficult to make a device capable of extracting signals from an analogue disc. But is that it?
Surely the enjoyment of music is a uniquely human, and thus subjective, experience. As every human is different and each moment of his or her life is unique, how can we possibly build a machine capable of satisfying both objective need and subjective desire at every juncture? This question is at the fundamental core of Simon Yorke Designs.
To answer this question we must understand engineering and craftsmanship. But we must also be conscious, feeling people – in touch with our desires and idiosyncrasies, our moods and needs – capable of assimilating the very nature of what it is to be a sentient human being. Without this humanity we can, at best, fabricate a functional machine. But such a machine will never be adequate to our needs. We demand much more than this. We need a device capable of touching the soul.
To even contemplate the design and construction of such a thing, we must be versed in human psychology, understand concepts such as beauty and passion, and be cognisant of our history – architecture, design, art, sculpture, poetry and music – if we are to have any hope at all of bridging the objective and subjective worlds required.
Objectively, the recordplayer is a three-part construct: the transducer which converts mechanical movement into electrical signal, the travelling mechanism which carries this transducer (the tonearm) and the revolving platform which spins the disc – forcing the transducer to do its work.
Subjectively, the recordplayer is a device for stimulating emotional response.
To merge these two, utterly disparate worlds, involves not just appropriate understanding of both physics and human psychology but a capacity for bridge building because we can only invoke the third, subliminal world, by bridging objective and subjective experience. This is not an easy task. It has been the goal of art, architecture and philosophy since conscious time began. It’s about a search for meaning.
I do not see how it is possible to design a recordplayer turntable without knowing exactly the qualities of its tonearm. Neither do I see how it is possible to design a tonearm without precise knowledge of the turntable that will support it. The two are inextricably and mutually dependent – as an automobile involves both motor and chassis.
The tonearms we make are parts of a complete, holistic recordplayer. We do not supply them for use with other turntables because we cannot guarantee the result and, in many circumstances, they simply will not mechanically mount on turntables designed for other devices. Nor do we fit foreign tonearms to our turntables – for exactly the same reasons.
We do what we do with passion and determination, and are mostly disinterested in the views or methodology of others. Our dedication to the cause of human creativity and our belief in the artistic value of our work is unrepentant. As such, business and profit are secondary concerns. To truly participate in our humanity is a more worthy goal.