The Aura was the conception of Dave Whittaker, a New Zealander, who built Auras in Auckland, NZ and also in Brisbane, Australia, from around 1984 until 2006, when Dave died at the tender age of 73.
You can read about the history, design and evolution of the Aura Turntable at the AudioEnz webpages.
I’m surely not the world’s leading expert on Auras but I have gathered some information over the years and am happy to share knowledge on…setup, maintenance, etc.
I’d be pleased to hear from any Aura users out there. Or, just interested to know where they all are?
I was fortunate to acquire an Aura from Dave in 1999…and as I recall, part of my payment was an Audio Research D70 Mk2 tube amplifier!
Stereophile’s review of the Aura in its April 1990 issue:
The additional flywheel mass increased Rotational Inertia and the flywheel can be geared to spin at 6 to 8 times faster than the platter, thus increasing Angular Momentum of the flywheel-platter combination by around 50%.
Note that by this time, Dave was supplying twin, round polyurethane belts (from Pyramid Inc. USA) to drive the platter. A flat rubber belt was still used to help provide isolation between motor and flywheel.
Dave Whittaker at home in Albany, Auckland in 2002:
Addendum (May 2014):
In order to harness the benefits of the Flywheel, you must use a non-stretch belt. The best I have tried is mylar tape (eg. 6mm magnetic recording tape). Dave made such tape belts using a tape-splicer & ‘superglue’.
The Flywheel’s Rotational Kinetic Energy is then coupled to the platter’s. On the other hand, the Motor is decoupled from the the Flywheel with a rubber drive-belt.
The result is much more punchy bass, ‘drive’ and ‘leading edges’, pitch stability, weight and clarity throughout.