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Leading High End Loudspeaker Brand to Develop Composite Turntable

05 September 2008

The UK’s leading high end loudspeaker brand is to develop a ‘next generation’ turntable, thanks to a research and development grant from Yorkshire Forward.

Sheffield based Wilson Benesch produces audio products including speakers and turntables, which combine advanced materials technologies with traditional materials to achieve stylish top end products.

In 1989 co-founders Craig Milnes and Christina Milnes commissioned a research and development project to find out what impact the materials used to manufacture audio products has on the sound quality.

It was found that the stiffer and lighter the material, the better the performance, which resulted in the company pioneering the use of carbon, and thus, the world's first carbon fibre sub chassis turntable was born.

Almost twenty years on the company would like to bring something new to the market, having resisted the pressure to release another “me too” turntable system similar to its first.

“The world simply does not need another re-hashed design, we want to re-invent it. But this can be time consuming, costly and demanding upon staff, so the Yorkshire Forward grant, along with our allocated research fund, will provide the opportunity to explore avenues that would be impossible otherwise. It underlines our commitment both to analogue replay and real innovation” explained Design Director Craig Milnes.

With the research and development grant the company will take their current knowledge in the field of advanced composites to a new level exploring the use of carbon allotropes molecules, known as buckyballs, in collaboration with the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre and the University of Sheffield.

Wilson Benesch has built a reputation for being the best in the business with its distinctive designs and manufacturing excellence. Their audio products are exported to 30 countries and have received critical acclaim winning awards on every continent.

“We have maintained a design pedigree that is about bringing something new to the market that goes beyond what was previously possible. With this additional support we are very confident that we will push back the limitations of today's technologies.

“It is very exciting to think, that in 2009, our 20th anniversary year, we might see an interesting outcome that proves the feasibility of the initial concepts and launch a new innovative turntable” continued Craig.

Alex McWhirter, Head of Enterprise at Yorkshire Forward said; “Yorkshire Forward is delighted to be supporting Wilson Benesch as they push the boundaries of using advanced materials to manufacture audio systems.

“We are committed to encouraging businesses in our region to innovate through a range of activities. Yorkshire Forward’s grants allow for the successful research and development of new products, which can open up a range of new markets for the region’s businesses”.