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The Eiger vs. Belt Drive

Sometimes it’s a good idea to revisit your earlier experiments.

Tonight, I measured the success of last week’s motor subchassis prototype (click here for that post) – to see whether I had completely eliminated idler wheel scrubbing noise.  The best way to do this was to retrofit a belt to see if there were any differences.

The noise from the idler was identical to that of the belt.  Scrubbing problem solved.

I then took to revisiting an earlier noise floor comparison between the Eiger and the Stelvio.  The Stelvio continues to have a noticable advantage.  It shouldn’t surprise you that the Stelvio’s free-standing architecture would be quieter when compared with the Eiger’s chassis mounted drive system, but it’s important to revisit your baseline observations.

Frankly, I love the Eiger exactly as it sits, but I know that there are those who might miss out on its charms due to focusing on its noise floor performance.  I get it – that there are idler drive fans and belt drive fans and you pick the combination of strengths and weaknesses that are most meaningful to you.  My intent is to make this choice a difficult one – to close the gap between the two architectures.

You’ve may well have read my comments about alternative architectures – that as they mature, they begin to converge.  I’m all about this convergence, and (in this case) to prove that an idler drive turntable can be built with no noise penalty.  In an interview I gave to Dagogo magazine in 2014, I commented:

I viewed optimizing a belt drive architecture to be a challenge that could be solved in the simplest, most elegant and balanced manner – a solution which would also result in ease of maintaining manufacturing quality and precision.  Addressing the issues with direct and rim drive were far more complicated, with no expected up-side.

I never thought I’d be inclined to take on this challenge, but it called out to me.  I also commented:

I also saw belt drive architecture as conferring another significant advantage – its suitability to modularity.  Modularity provides two key benefits to the customer:  ease of service and the potential for reduced cost of upgrades.

I solved the modularity issue with the Eiger quite some time ago.  Having sold either direct, or with a minimal dealer network since 2001, ease of service has always been a non-negotiable characteristic of all Galibier products and it will always remain so.

The next two months should tell us whether I can achieve Stelvio-class noise floor performance with the Eiger.  If I can’t, the Eiger will still be preferred by some.  If I can, then I expect to turn the analog world on its ears (pun intended).

Click here for a follow-up on noise floor experiments.