Reviews & Testimonials
In October 2022, the RockDoc was proud to join Townshend Audio, to celebrate the life and work of Max and to showcase a collection of turntables, including a Rock Reference and Rock 2, which formed part of the Townshend system at the show.
You can read the stereonet review of the show (and the Townshend room) here.
I came across Matt McNulty's work a couple of years ago. A few years after selling my trusted Rock 2 to one of my best friends (under oath that he would take the best care of it and NEVER, EVER re-sell it unless it was to me), I finally got another one for a second system, but it got here with a few issues I had no clue how to fix. Max was still with us at the time, but - with all due respect for the man, who was a genius and an incredibly likeable, larger-than-life character and with whom I've had a few memorable phone conversations - he was NOTORIOUSLY slow at responding to customer requests, and also, this was a second hand Rock so I felt bad about harassing him for answers. So I looked around for an unlikely "Townshend Audio expert" - and a lucky Google search lead me to a YouTube clip of Matt's re-built, re-vamped "Bluey" Rock, looking stunning on a Townshend Podium at a high end show, somewhere in the UK.
A few Messenger exchanges later, we were on the phone; I'm proud to say we've become mates since then although we've never physically met. But more to the point, the guy is just a LIFESAVER for any Rock owner. So if you came to this page with a Rock in need of help - you're in the right place.
Save for maybe Max himself, NO ONE knows as much as Matt does about the Rock, and what makes it not just the best bargain in high end audio, but also the most likeable, addictive, irreplaceable deck ever made. At minimum, he'll take your Rock (and / or Excalibur) and give it the TLC (and spare parts) it needs to perform to the very best of its stock form potential, and he will remote-control you to do what it takes on your end to fix whatever problem you might have.
At best, he will completely rebuild it, and take it way above its original performance level - without changing anything to its sonic signature and temperament : the Rock's master-tape like stability, deep bass, superhuman tracking, that unmistakable signature - on the slightly euphonic side of neutral, without any of the clichéd colorations you get from lesser decks, without a trace of harshness or agression, is very much there in every Rock re-built by Matt - just taken, to the next level. Not to mention the fact that, subjectively, his Rocks look so much better than the originals - the unique, quirky, loveable form factor is there, but with vintage-car-grade custom paint jobs that makes them look like something out of a mid-60's Jaguar or MG factory, with crazy attention to detail - down to matching the color of the switch to that of the deck.
On top of that, Matt's passion and enthusiasm for audio in general and the Rock in particular is truly contagious. He happens to be incredibly friendly and generous with his time and knowledge. Add to that his sense of humour and excellent musical tastes and he's starting to sound a little too perfect. Well - there's one pretty massive problem with it : once you've heard what he does to a Rock, your banker isn't going to like you very much. Not that his services are bad value for money - they're quite the opposite. But they are addictive. As in, I now have one of his fully re-built, custom-painted decks here ("Pearly", named after her pearlescent white finish, as see on the picture below), one standard-black deck returned to flawless performance after a short stay at McNulty's (new motor, new belt, new clamp, new arm board, general cleanup), and yeah, a third one on the way : a while ago I stumbled upon a REALLY CHEAP Rock 2 with Merlin, and I bought it immediately. Know why ? Because I knew that no matter how beaten up it was, I had just the guy to not only restore it to its original glory - but take it way beyond.
Michel J (via The Townshend Rock Record Player group on Facebook).
I purchased one of Matt's Little Treasure's and I can't recommend it enough. After choosing which finish I wanted, I received the Little Treasure in a beautiful little casket, complete with fitting instructions. The sound from the Little Treasure was much better than I'd expected and after the initial wearing in, it provides me with superb sound reproduction that belies its price. Definitely pound for pound one of the best upgrades I've made to my system.
Matt is always available to offer any assistance or advice which is always a plus too.
My first chats with Matt came about when I was looking to upgrade my cartridge and we spoke about a very early version of what was to become the 'Little Treasure' and what a treasure it is!!
During those conversations Matt mentioned the Townshend Rock turn table, which I'd not heard of but, with some research and chats it became my dream player. A while later one came up locally which I soon snapped up. Several chats later, discussing options for colour, spec etc. and it was sent to The Rock Doc for making as good as new. Unfortunately things with couriers went bad but, without going into details, Matt was really great supporting through this time and helped me end up with my dream!! The personal attention and ability to create what is wanted is a really high end service and gives a bespoke end product.
I opted for Audi nardo grey with gloss black accents, with a rb300 arm and another Little Treasure cartridge and it sounds mind blowing!!!!
I've recently added a RockDoc perspex dust cover and am now looking at arm upgrades
I can only say that all dealings with The RockDoc have been a pleasure and from being a supplier/customer relationship, Matt has become a real Friend!!
I was introduced to “The RockDoc” after I inherited a Townshend Elite Rock 2 turntable. At the time I had no idea of the history or standing of the Rock turntables other than what five minutes of googling had suggested. I reached out on the UK Audiophile Facebook group for assistance, and within short order I had multiple people telling me that I needed to speak to Matt McNulty.
So, I did!
When I got the Rock, it was was essentially unplayable. The belt was stretched, and even to my untutored eye, the arm moved in ways I was fairly certain were not as per the original design. The cartridge seemed to have collected more fuzz than you might find on your average peach, and a brief attempt to actually play something very nearly saw it landing in the nearest bin. So, I was not hopeful of much. However, I had made contact with Matt, and taken a plethora of photo’s for him to take a look at. A video call later and he assured me that there was a decent chance it wasn’t quite as terminal as I was fearing, and I was on the hunt for a box to package it up. It was duly sent to him in order that he could have a proper gander at it and provide me with some options.
Fast forward a couple of days, and Matt was able to provide me with a full analysis of what was wrong, how much it would cost to fix, and a variety of other options to consider. I went with Matt’s full custom restoration (which included a repaint to Triumph Cherry Red), a replacement RB250 arm with Michell Technoweight and one of Matt’s “Little Treasures” Shibata cartridges. The crowning jewel from all of this is that at no point does Matt try to pressure you into a particular route, he simply provides you with the options and an explanation of what you can expect from them, leaving you to make up your own mind.
Once the work was finished, Matt very graciously invited me to come down and listen to the Rock in his own system. To say I was startled is an understatement. The quality of the sound coming from the Rock was superb, and clean. It was obvious why these Rocks have such a good reputation, and even more obvious was the enthusiasm and knowledge of Matt himself, not to mention the skill level required to carry out work to such a high standard. The paint quality is of a level you might expect to find on a fully restored vintage/classic car, and the attention to detail with the replacement arm board is impeccable.
Needless to say, once I got it back home and installed into my own system I was somewhat underwhelmed. Nothing wrong with the turntable, however the comparison between my rather “budget” level setup to Matt’s rather less “budget” system was instantly discernable. Fortunately I had been expecting this, and another service that Matt offered is advice on how and where to improve your own system. With plenty of excellent advice I settled on a Townshend Allegri Pre, an EAM Labs Studio 300 Power and Vertere Phono pre. I can honestly say that without Matt’s invaluable advice and guidance it would have taken me many years (and no doubt a ridiculous amount of money) to build a system that reached the performance level of this setup. I do still have some niggles to work out, however knowing I have Matt’s advice on the other end of a call I am confident all will be sorted in due course (and of course when my poor bank account allows).
A further upgrade made more recently was the purchase of a RockDoc acrylic cover, which Matt had modified (due to the size of the Technoweight, the standard cover was too small), which does an excellent job in showcasing the Rock in all it’s glory whilst providing full protection.
The assistance from Matt throughout my audio journey has been impeccable and invaluable. What started as a dead Rock has developed into a full system, I am proud to own, and has come with the added benefit of meeting someone whom I am proud to be able to call a friend.