Discuss The Viv Lab Rigid Arm

I am trying to do my due diligence about this arm. I am just having a hard time getting my head around this idea of zero overhang and no offset. Does this arm really work the way it is reported to do?


Raul, You and others have successfully equated TAE with "distortion" in the minds of most, without ever having defined what sort of distortion might result from TAE and its audibility, apart from phase distortion, which I think is trivial compared to all the other sources of phase distortion that are inherent to home audio systems, let alone to vinyl. What is needed is a serious study of this phenomenon where measurements are made. While we are at it, in the same study, skating force distortion ought also to be measured. Until then, your complete conviction that you alone are possessed of the "truth" rings hollow to me. Is your close-minded attitude any better than the behavior of the AHEE that you so revile? And by the way, worship of minimizing TAE at all costs is a basic tenet of the AHEE. That’s why we have 12-inch tonearms and several linear trackers where the cure is certainly worse than the disease, referring to LTs that use a noisy motor or gravity derived by dishing the platter, or a poorly designed air bearing, to drive the pivot across the LP, and LTs with stubby arm wands that maximize the deleterious effects of even small warps.

By the way, Dave was in my house and demonstrated the negative effects of zenith error, using one of my conventional overhung pivoted tonearms and a cartridge that was correctly aligned to begin with. (This was months before I purchased the Viv.) The improvement in SQ associated with correcting for the zenith error of the stylus mount was immediately apparent.

Frankly, this is all about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, unless, or until, we listen to the underhung arm in question. I have not, but I can encompass how and why it might sound better in my dreadfully simplistic way. I'd buy one myself if I had any cash to spare.


Hi Sir. Have you looked at the Schroder LT. Brilliant design!  Then there is the Reed 5A and 5T. The only other solution would be a tangential straight line tracker, but that one is difficult to pull off. There is not a satisfactory one on the market yet. Both the Schroder LT and the Reed arms require more real estate than a 9 or 10" arm. You have to have a turntable that will accept a 12" arm.

The fact that the Viv arm sounds good to some people speaks to the lack of sensitivity our ears have to the distortion created by zenith error. It is well made and trick which helps. 

The fact that the Viv arm sounds good to some people speaks to the lack of sensitivity our ears have to the distortion created by zenith error. It is well made and trick which helps. 

@mijostyn   While your supposition above seems plausible, I would not consider it a valid statement of fact.  I'll agree that a no offset underhung arm has much larger TAE than a traditional offset arm.  I'll also agree that many find this type of arm to sound good.  To attach these two facts together to make conclusions about the relative audibility of Zenith error is counterproductive and a much deeper dive into what is going on is needed.  I know I have done similar in stating that a 3° zenith error in an underhung arm (the one case i tried) did not seem to equate sonically to the same error in in an conventional arm.  It has also been posed that the UH arm users simply like distortion, that TAE is a pleasing distortion, and that if you like the sound of this arm your system is not capable of the required resolution for high end audio.   It can also be pointed out that if our ears are not sensitive to TAE then any discussion of different alignment types becomes a fools errand.

I find all of this to be the exact opposite of the proper scientific method where one observes a pattern of behavior (good sound from the UH arm in this case) and then goes in search of an explanation.  Many here seem to be looking at the 'standard' procedure of judging setups by some theoretical Y-axis value on a graph and cannot deal with the concept that there may be much more to this than looking at an excel spreadsheet.  The differences in anti-skate between the two methods as well as other tonearm build factors have also come into the discussion.  I expect it is some complex relationship of all of the factors mentioned in this thread that explains the seeming disconnect between TAE and the sonic perception of a 'traditional' vs. Viv arm.   

I have been joking lately that crosstalk and channel separation have  become the most important parameters in cartridge setup simply because they are the easiest for anyone to measure and brag about.  I am adding the whole discussion of alignment types and TAE to this category since they are really easy to calculate and very difficult to implement to the accuracy required.  



Mijostyn, please do a little more thinking before erupting. Zenith error has an equally destructive effect on alignments whether you’re using a UH tonearm or a conventional one. In both cases you lose null points and TAE is exacerbated. But, come to think of it now, with a UH situation, there might be a point on the arc of stylus travel where zenith error by chance corrects for TAE, and you’d actually have less TAE (maybe even a null) at that moment. I wonder whether Dave has looked at that.

On the day Dave "twisted" my cartridge (Audio Technica ART7) to correct for its zenith error, using an electronic method, not guesswork, my ears immediately picked up to the effect of the proper correction. And Dave’s did too. It was quite obvious that the SQ had ticked up a notch or two. So, with an overhung tonearm (in this case, Kenwood L07J tonearm on my L07D turntable) I certainly can hear TAE errors. Currently in the Viv I am listening to my ZYX Universe. That cartridge has never been re-tipped. By visual inspection using my Olympus microscope, it has considerable zenith error in the mounting of its stylus, in that you can easily see it by microscopy. Whereas the two other cartridges that have been in the Viv (Dynavector 17D3 and Ortofon MC7500) may also have zenith error, but I cannot see it by visual inspection.