Comparison of sonic qualities of some tonearms

I’m relatively new to the world of vinyl, listening seriously for probably only 2 years.  Of course, many big picture items (e.g. turntable, phono stage, cartridges) are discussed extensively on this forum, but I haven’t seen much discussion comparing different tonearms.  I would be interested to hear about different people’s experiences with different tonearms, mentioning the audible advantages and disadvantages of each tonearm, realizing that there is no perfect sound, although from what I read about others’ experiences, SAT tonearms may come closest, albeit at a very high price.  


Dear @billstevenson  : You are rigth about magnesium that's a really good self damping material and exist a lot of evidence about.

I remember that several several years now I bougth the Pioneer PL-630 TT with integrated tonearm and the distributor man insist 2-3 times that the tonearm was made for magnesium ( in those years I don't care about because my very high ignorance lesvels. ) and latter on I learned from Audio Technica that all its after market headshells were builded with magnesium and latter on my Lustre GST-801 tonearm came with its original magnesium headshell and it's not at random that SME V is made all by magnesium.



Dear @whart  : " where I come out is that most people rely on anecdotals (or reviews?) based on cartridge and arm since as was pointed out early on, it’s pretty hard to evaluate different tone arms in isolation. "


The real problem ( other that each one of us own different rtoom/systems and different MUSIC/sounds priorities. ) is that the majority of audiophiles have very low objective knowledge levels on several analog audio world items. Then almost always we read through the post something like this: " well I like it " that's full of subjectivity statement where no one can argue about.

In other threads I mentioned that an audiophile should or must has an equilibrium between subjectivity and objectivity to achieve his main targets if any   ? ? ? Sometimes I ask me if this or that gentleman has those targets.

In the other side I agree with you that we can't evaluate different tonearms in isolation. In this case what we must do is tolearn or if already learned make an evaluation of all tonearm design/builded characteristics even before listen to it.

To make comparison between analog items we must have a REFERENCE against what we are comparing. Well, only my opinion.


Dear @drbond  : The best anecdotal is the one you have and due that you ask for the VIV that's an inexpensive tonearm why don't pull the triguer to buy it and then compare against your Reed/Schroeder and latter on return to your thread to share your first hand experiences with.

Just an " idea " due that you ask I think 2-3 times about the VIV. Buy it ! ! ¡ ¡ ¡ 



@tomic601 I encourage you and any body else to have the comparison experience.

It is a practice I have participated in many years as a sole participant and for many more years and on more occasions than I can count and have travelled many miles to meet with others who encourage comparing devices dedicated to be used in a audio set up.

Comparisons for me really work when encountered as a Social Activity, there is something quite satisfying in being a member of a group carrying out assessments.  

A Wise Person once left a legacy statement as follows:

"Comparison is the thief of enjoyment"     

I fully see the two edged cut this statement wields, and am always careful to discover the fun element of the participation, it is possibly this character being expressed that keeps the invites coming to be present at more to come.  

@mijostyn  : " A tonearm can not improve sound quality. it can only degrade it.   " 


I already posted something similar not only with tonearms but with other audio items and obviously that I'm in agree totally with you.Well the best that can do a perfect tonearm ( that does not exist. ) is not degrades the cartridge signal. All tonearms make a signal degradation no matters what.

So my take is to look for the tonearm that could makes the lower signal degradation. Degradation takes the form of added to the signal: colorations, distortions, noises, etc, etc.

That's why we need a real REFERENCE when we make comparisons, any kind of comparisons.