The Aura turntable was designed by New Zealander, Dave Whittaker and was manufactured in NZ and Australia over a period of 20 years from the mid 1980s.
Skipper’s interesting story about his Aura TT tells us also about the affable and gracious man that Dave Whittaker was:
My first encounter with Dave Whittaker’s beautiful Aura Turntable was at the CES show in the late 1990’s. I was visiting Kevin Hayes’ company VAC to listen to some of his wonderful preamps and power amps in one of the audio rooms.
Kevin chose the Aura as a dedicated source to demonstrate some of his new offerings. The sound was amazing. I struck up a conversation with Kevin as he was aware of my own company at the time, Blue Microphones, and was also aware of my background as a recording artist and some of the audiophile LP’s that I had been involved with.
This led, some months later, to swapping out some of our microphones for the Aura TT and a Koetsu Urushi, which I still use today.
Once everything arrived well packed, I started the process of setting up the system, which seemed daunting at the time.
So I made the effort to reach out to Dave Whittaker on the phone to Auckland, NZ. What transpired was not only a very helpful and dedicated response but also a relationship that led to many years of great conversations.
Dave supplied an extra arm pillar so that I could mount two SME III tone arms onto the Aura and helpful guidance in balancing the system for the best performance.
Eventually Dave suggested that I consider a newer version of the Aura, as his manufacturing was developing over time. So I sold this iteration and received my new turntable in March of 2000 along with two sets of tone arm boards – one set finished in mahogany the other in plexi-acrylic black. Both for my two new tone arms, the Graham 2.2’s.
It should be noted that Dave had been working on the fly wheel set-up seen in a lot of the later iterations of the Aura, but I asked for the same set up I had before. I did try out the tape belt and still have them along with lots of other accessories that Dave made but ultimately chose to stay with the belts that I was accustomed to.
This Aura TT system I have now has been employed for over a 16 years and it still brings me the joy I felt when I first laid my eyes on it, back at the CES show in the late 1990’s.
I will miss Dave’s phone calls and his great passion for audio. However, what he gave to this world will not be forgotten as I and many others get to enjoy one of his great contributions, the “Aura” turntable.
More images of Skipper’s music system: