Nagra Reference Turntable

While we have indeed been focused on featuring more reasonably priced gear here on AP of late, we do still want to recognize some higher-end, high-caliber products as well — besides, we love looking at aspirational gear as much as most audiophiles do, you know? With that in mind, we turn our lens onto the Nagra Reference turntable, a truly high-end model if ever there was.

Some background here first. In order to follow in the footsteps of Nagra’s flagship Reference Anniversary turntable — which the long-respected Swiss company introduced in 2021 in conjunction with their 70th anniversary — Nagra’s R&D team spent an additional two years to come up with the more simply named, but no less impressive, Reference turntable.

Usually, we tend to save a product’s SRP reveal until the end of each Analog Gear News report — but, in this particular case, we’re going to share the coin required for this one upfront. Ready? The Nagra Reference turntable’s SRP is (yes) $128,000. Let’s find out why by detailing all the spec/feature details about what exactly the Reference table entails.


To start with, the Reference turntable deploys dual high-precision Swiss-made decoupled brushless DC motors, which, according to Nagra, “optimize both torque and speed accuracy.” The Reference motor drive system weighs 11.2kg (24.6lb).

For “absolute” speed calibration, an accelerometer monitors the Reference table’s floating chassis to ensure its “absolute” stability — otherwise, calibration will not take place. That calibration process is done over 20 seconds, a period of time wherein the platter’s speed is “precisely” calibrated during actual playback (i.e., with the stylus in groove). During this 20sec cycle, the platter’s speed is compared with a high-precision quartz reference. Nagra says that “any deviation from this absolute speed reference is corrected accordingly.”


A Nagra Modulometer is on the table’s front control panel (as seen above). During playback, no active speed control is employed — instead, the motors only run in closed-loop mode. By eliminating active speed control, Nagra feels “cogging” and “associated ill effects” on image stability generated by active systems will be avoided.


Nagra additionally reveals that they took inspiration from their own IV-S tape machine for the belt used in the Reference’s motor drive. Because the original supplier of said belts is no longer active, Nagra “faithfully” reproduced it themselves, and they’ve paid further homage to their own analog recorder legacy here by calling this LP drive the Nagra IV – LXX caliber.


The Reference table employs a heavy, phenolic-damped CNC-machined aerospace-grade aluminium platter with an Alcantara surface. Beneath the platter is a subplatter and shaft/bearing system. The subplatter is machined from high-strength aluminium, and a phenolic interlayer is applied atop the subplatter for resonance decoupling.

The transition from subplatter to the shaft/bearing system is accomplished by way of a machined brass adapter that’s re-machined in mounted form for “tightest tolerances.” The shaft/bearing housing is machined from spheroidal graphite iron, and the ultra-precision shaft is fabricated from induction-hardened steel that is, according to Nagra, “subjected to a centuries-old watchmaker’s super finishing procedure.”

The shaft bushing is machined of sintered bronze and high-temperature/pressure impregnated with oil for maintenance-free operation. The bearing is comprised of stacked carbide balls that have been “subjected to the highest polish grade possible.”


The Reference table’s “substantial” suspension pillars employ both a spring mechanism and a highly viscous fluid contained in a “diver/chamber” configuration that, when combined, provide suspension and displacement “in three dimensions.” This system is said to provide “unparalleled resistance to both self-generated and room/airborne vibrations and resonances.”

To ensure stability of the floating suspension, the plane on which the suspension functions is as close as possible to the plane of the LP playing surface — hence, the reason for the height of the suspension pillars. Nagra says their own lab measurements confirm a self-resonance of the suspended chassis of less than 3Hz. Overall leveling of the Reference table is accomplished by rotating the massive threaded feet of the suspension pillars.


Meanwhile, the Reference table’s PSU is an external, HD-sized chassis that houses a linear power supply featuring an oversized medical-grade transformer and ultra-low noise regulators to provide a “quiet, stable supply” to the massive super-cap drive unit.

The Reference table’s tonearm wand is of dual concentric carbon fiber that includes an intermediary layer of wood. The wood is said to be used to “form shape” as well as to “eliminate potential vibration,” resulting in an “ultra-rigid, extremely low resonance platform” for both the cartridge connection and bearing mounting.


The arm itself is a single 10.5in piece with no separate headshell, and concomitant deleterious joint. The tonearm’s bearing is a CNC-machined hardened steel cone in a resonance-isolating, silicone-damped ultra-high-density polyethylene receiving cup. The tonearm’s traditional counterweight is supplemented by a low-hung, saddle-shaped weight that “provides stability while minimizing the tonearm’s effective mass.” (Nagra also offers an armless version of the Reference table with armboard options to accommodate most tonearms.)

The Reference comes with a pure copper record weight, and the table itself measures in at 67 x 28 x 45mm, w/h/d (26 x 11.6 x 17.8in) and weighs 71kg (156.5lb), while the PSU measures 40 x 10 x 32cm, w/h/d (15.7 x 3.9 x 12.6in).

Finally, and just to reiterate the amount of coinage involved, the Nagra Reference turntable has an SRP of $128,000. (Hey, we can all dream, can’t we. . .)

For more about Nagra, go here.
To find an authorized Nagra retailer, go here.


volvic's picture

A sexy looking thing with a beguiling industrial look, and that familial Nagra look. That said, is it really twice as better sounding given its $128K price than a $60k SME 60? Wish I could do a side by side comparison.

johnnythunder2's picture

new reviews of this and how it compares to the others in the state of the art. As far as price, yes it is fantasy land for me/others - I don't even own a home - but you can admire the craft and technology. Like a Swiss watch. It is gorgeous looking and w the meter, a little touch of retro modern sci-fi.

Ortofan's picture

... foot in the door.
Budget another ~$20K for the matching cartridge, plus $87,500 for the phono preamp.

Glotz's picture

That Swiss work of art is just soooo cool... My pick if I ever had the dosh. There is just something about Nagra that screams it was created by alien engineers. (I think Han Solo smuggled one of those in a SW book I read...)

Peter Music's picture

An awesome turntable, but haven't we had enough turntable reviews for a while? 4 of the last 7 articles? All of your readers own tables already, maybe a typical reader buys one TT every 5 years? That same person is buying an LP every 5 days...

mauidj's picture

It’s called Analog Planet for a reason. And tables are the most common component under that umbrella along with cartridges of course.
Also, and this is my gripe, they are not reviews. They are called product news. They are not much more than a reprinted PR release.
There were just 4 TT reviews last year! One so far this year! Also last year, one cartridge and 4 pre amps! That’s pretty pathetic. Not even one review per month!
So I prey the editors are not listening to you or we will only get one every year.
The last regime here was way more focused and only covered gear that was in their hands unless it was part of a show article.
I am very sad to see this site slip into PR promoting rather than reviewing gear the way it used to be done. While I could never afford a Continuum or a Niagara. It was fun reading about their capabilities and sound. This is just fluff!

Anton D's picture

I have a hunch Mike spends a lot of trying trying to spin silk.

Peter Music's picture

We agree that there is a lot more fluff and that reviews are much more valuable than PR pieces.

The previous regime was also more sharp in their LP reviews. The change there is even more damaging to the site

Anton D's picture

I am yet to put together my system stuff for the absolute killer idea of posting readers' set ups.

Maybe people would want to submit a Readers' Review section. I'd want to call it "Dispatches from Elsewhere."

(Worth Googling.)

I don't know how all this internet stuff gets managed, but it seems like they could create a community feel.

Mike stays so positive, we certainly don't want to lose his energy.