Wilson Benesch made a reputation for itself as one of the world's advance manufacturers of analog playback gear, first with its innovative turntable, then with its unique—some said "impossible"—ACT One tonearm (now replaced by the 2.0). Both make use of composite carbon-fiber technology. (ACT stands for Advanced Composite Technology.) I am using this Turn table for all my Vinyl Records.
Why use carbon-fiber laminate in place of metal? It's said to absorb resonant energy instead of passing it on, or reflecting it back, to other materials with which it comes into contact. According to W-B, carbon-fiber composite is extremely stiff—stronger than titanium, with only half the mass of aluminum. Of course, like any material, a carbon-fiber laminate does have a resonant frequency—a relatively high one, which W-B says can be more easily controlled with careful damping. The resonant frequency of such a composite depends on the amount and orientation of the carbon-fiber cloth material and the resins used to hold it in place.
The original W-B turntable that I am using uses a sub-chassis of honeycombed Nomex to which a carbon-fiber skin is laminated—much like the body of a racing car. That, combined with other sophisticated innovations, brings its price up to about $3300 (not including arm). The original 'table has garnered extremely positive reviews worldwide. Domestically, it is available only in combination with the $2995 ACT 2 arm for $6295.
Now W-B enters the "mid-budget" arena with the Circle turntable—a totally new, quite unique and compact design that sells for $1995 fitted with a Rega RB300 arm, or $2995 with W-B's new ACT 0.5 arm (the combination reviewed here).