Aura Turntable redux – Skipper Wise

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.

This beautiful example of the Aura, is still in use in California at the home of Skipper Wise – musician, recording artist and co-founder of Blue Microphones.

Skipper’s interesting story about his Aura TT tells us also about the affable and gracious man that Dave Whittaker was: 
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Skipper says:

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.

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(Vinyl Record Weight by Revolver)

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.

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Koetsu Urushi cartridge (original Sugano version)

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.

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Special Aura platter cover which Dave made for this turntable.

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.

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Eventually Dave suggested that I consider a newer version of the Aura, as his manufacturing was developing over time.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.

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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.

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The Graham 2.2 tonearms have been upgraded from 2.0 specification.

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.

Skipper Wise

October 2016

More images of Skipper’s music system:

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Cardas Myrtle Heart cartridge (a gift from George Cardas).

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K&K Audio preamp and phonostage with Sowter MC transformers.

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Custom Moth 300B amplifier on a Xana chassis (with Kevin Carter upgrades).

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Avantgarde Duo loudspeakers

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One thought on “Aura Turntable redux – Skipper Wise

  1. Pingback: AURA turntable tear-down | D a r k L a n t e r n

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