Eminent Technology ET-2 Tonearm Owners



Where are you? What mods have you done ?

I have been using these ET2's for over 9 years now.
I am still figuring them out and learning from them. They can be modified in so many ways. Bruce Thigpen laid down the GENIUS behind this tonearm over 20 years ago. Some of you have owned them for over 20 years !

Tell us your secrets.

New owners – what questions do you have ?

We may even be able to coax Bruce to post here. :^)

There are so many modifications that can be done.

Dressing of the wire with this arm is critical to get optimum sonics along with proper counterweight setup.

Let me start it off.

Please tell us what you have found to be the best wire for the ET-2 tonearm ? One that is pliable/doesn’t crink or curl. Whats the best way of dressing it so it doesn’t impact the arm. Through the spindle - Over the manifold - Below manifold ? What have you come up with ?
128x128ct0517
New member of the owner's club here. I'm a bit confused by mine though. Do I need a special turntable?
I'm a bit confused by mine though. Do I need a special turntable?

:^) Welcome to the da club Banquo363.

Interesting sellers pic of the ET2 you posted. I did a double take on it. I assume (like the others here?) that the seller had little knowledge of the ET2 based on this pic, and was therefore just the seller and not the previous owner.

The armtube is showing 2 o'clock time. The seller needed to roll it back 5 hours (counter clockwise) to get to the 9 o'clock position to be correct for the sales ad picture. You got yourself an ET2 with a carbon fibre armwand and cartridge too. A type of aluminum ? pod / tonearm holder by the looks of it. I wonder what is inside the pod ? guess we will find out ..I think some real audio hobby passion went into this one by someone ......

fwiw - take notice of the green bubble level on the manifold. From my experiences these don't work with the ET2 and this is why.

1) Turntables are made from different parts. Getting one part level whether the plinth, platter, tonearm base...does not guarantee all of them will be level especially the air bearing spindle. I level in this order 1) the platter, 2) The ET2 with its own leveling spikes 3) The air bearing spindle last - using gravity not my eyes for 3 and by making it free float and not move. Think teeter totter with two same weighted friends.

2)If you do this with your eyes and the bubble level you are ignoring the effect of the wires - push or pull when the armtube is placed at the platter outer, inner edges and midpoint. Once leveled by free floating the bubble level may be out a little. This is the effect of the wires from my experiences. Leveling without the wires first then adding the wires in would confirm this.
I'm a (very) long time user of the ET2 arm, I owned the ET one before. I still find the arm superb!
I have a first comment, others might follow.
The question of resonance frequency is mostly re-cycled from some sources, that did a lot of calculations a lot of time back. That's OK, but there is one aspect missing IMO.
The main signal is cut laterally, one can safely assume that if there are very low frequencies on an LP it is cut *laterally*. The main disturbance laterallyis off-center records (0.55 Hz).
The off-phase info is cut vertically. The off-phae low frequency part is not doing anything helpful in normal rooms, so usually the LF signal below ca. 100Hz is blended to mono.
This leads to severely different optimal resonance frequencies horizontally and vertically. More will follow.
Let it be said that my most memorable analog experience in the 70's was a FR64 & FR7 combo - it had *decidely* "suboptimal" resoance frequency, ie. far below 10Hz. It sounded better than anything else I heard at that time, and I still the *bass" and ambience of that front end. There's a physical reason for it, I think.
I remember this combo clearly because it was visible that it had rel. low damping and an unusually low resonance frequency. I knew and was used to tonearm/cartridge combos with "correct" resonance frequency. This one was incorrect - and sounded better than anything I had heard (in the low-mid frequencies, in dynamics and resolution).
If "correct" resonance frequency would be the main reason for optimal or non-optimal sound, such suboptimal resonance frequency should have almost destroyed any potential of good sound. (that's what I thought then).

The normal warp & rumble zone is usually quoted between 2 to 5Hz - it leads basically to vertical accelerations. If one assumes that there are no important signals to be traced below 20 Hz or even below 50Hz (because the big excursions involved in low freq. creates problems for the cutting head *and* the cartridge. And because even in big listening rooms it is difficult to reproduce phase differences in LF) one places the optimal *vertical* resonance frequency between 5 and 20, or more radically even below 5 and 50Hz.
-> Vertical optimum is around SQR(5x20)=10 Hz or even SQR(5x50)=21 Hz
(so long so good, so often heard).

Horizontally there is a main disturbance at 0.55Hz (33.333rpm/60"), maybe 0.75 Hz (45rpm/60"). But there is a good reason to extend extraction of musical information like ELF reverb etc. down to at least 5Hz - if possible. Cutting and manufacturing LPs has several modes of creating vertical disturbances but only one or two horizontal issues: Off-center records (which actually could and should be corrected) and horizontal bumps on the cutting lathe - rare (but I have one such record in thousands of LPs).
So there is a moderate, but constant excitation/acceleration on 0.55Hz (basically correctable) and a useful extended LF range down to 5Hz which leads
to an
-> optimal horizontal res. frequency of SQR(0.75 * 5) = 2 Hz

I agree that low horizontal res. frequency is not without problems (with highly off-center records). But preventing this problem with much higher (ie. standard) horizontal res. frequency means loosing very worthwile ELF information (which, as said above, is cut mainly in the horizontal plane.)

So the *often" alluded main "achilles heel" of air bearing arms is actually an advantage, in an "objective", physical sense. About the same time, I drew these thoughts up on paper, I found the new Mörch arm which does *exactly* follow these reasonings, with superb result. It couples the cartridge to a *very* high horizontal mass. Experiments show that the rigid coupling of that horizontal mass vs. the cartridge is sonically important.

The ET 2(.5) and other air bearing arms have the same high hor. mass advantage "built in for free".
The decoupled counterweight of the ET 2 gives simply more freedom with problematic pairings of cartridge, arm and off-center records.
Maybe, when it is not necessary, blocking the decoupling could have advantages sound-wise.

BTW in my experience it is extremely important to have both the platter and arm *extremely* well levelled in the horizontal plane. Side-forces on the cartridge cantilever lead to plummy bass. Probably because a variable pull with varying tracking friction on a laterally deplaced cantilever gives dynamically varying side forces - which might energize the horizontal resonance. It sure is very audible. In my setup it is important to check regularly, floating the arm with two equal blobs of Blue-Tak on both sides of the arm, one at the backside of the arm, the other on the counterweight.
Hello Pegasus

Two posts that imo generate very good thought. I need to first say that ever since this ET2 thread started I get a special feeling in my gut whenever a long term ET2 owner posts in this thread for the first time. Especially when it is his first post on audiogon. Remember how this thread started - "Where are you guys ?" IMO - anyone that has owned ET2(.5) for a significant period of time, has been through a huge RE:LEARNING process with their records and how to play them, especially if your main tonearm before was a pivot arm. So welcome to this thread which I now see is about to touch 1/2 million views soon. Who knew ?

When you say

The main signal is cut laterally, one can safely assume that if there are very low frequencies on an LP it is cut *laterally*. The main disturbance laterallyis off-center records (0.55 Hz).
The off-phase info is cut vertically. The off-phae low frequency part is not doing anything helpful in normal rooms, so usually the LF signal below ca. 100Hz is blended to mono.

The normal warp & rumble zone is usually quoted between 2 to 5Hz - it leads basically to vertical accelerations. If one assumes that there are no important signals to be traced below 20 Hz or even below 50Hz (because the big excursions involved in low freq. creates problems for the cutting head *and* the cartridge. And because even in big listening rooms it is difficult to reproduce phase differences in LF) one places the optimal *vertical* resonance frequency between 5 and 20, or more radically even below 5 and 50Hz.
-> Vertical optimum is around SQR(5x20)=10 Hz or even SQR(5x50)=21 Hz
(so long so good, so often heard).

Horizontally there is a main disturbance at 0.55Hz (33.333rpm/60"), maybe 0.75 Hz (45rpm/60"). But there is a good reason to extend extraction of musical information like ELF reverb etc. down to at least 5Hz - if possible. Cutting and manufacturing LPs has several modes of creating vertical disturbances but only one or two horizontal issues: Off-center records (which actually could and should be corrected) and horizontal bumps on the cutting lathe - rare (but I have one such record in thousands of LPs).
So there is a moderate, but constant excitation/acceleration on 0.55Hz (basically correctable) and a useful extended LF range down to 5Hz which leads
to an
-> optimal horizontal res. frequency of SQR(0.75 * 5) = 2 Hz

It is my understanding that bass below 100 hz is mono as well. Your comments make me curious whether you have been involved in the lp engineering/mastering side at all ?

Do you still own the ET1 ?

The decoupled counterweight of the ET 2 gives simply more freedom with problematic pairings of cartridge, arm and off-center records. Maybe, when it is not necessary, blocking the decoupling could have advantages sound-wise.

A profound thought that IMO can only come from a long time owner with direct experiences. Indeed the ET2(.5) can accept all cartridges I have thrown at them so far, From extreme high compliance Sonus Blue Gold to the XV1 although the 2.5 by design is happier with heavier MC's. The problem is learning how to use the counterweight/springs does take time and patience. I am past the swapping of cartridges stage and have now settled in and just love listening to my music.

BTW in my experience it is extremely important to have both the platter and arm *extremely* well levelled in the horizontal plane. Side-forces on the cartridge cantilever lead to plummy bass. Probably because a variable pull with varying tracking friction on a laterally deplaced cantilever gives dynamically varying side forces - which might energize the horizontal resonance. It sure is very audible. In my setup it is important to check regularly, floating the arm with two equal blobs of Blue-Tak on both sides of the arm, one at the backside of the arm, the other on the counterweight.

Agree, in fact Bruce should have shipped ET2 (.5) all out with a pack of Blue-Tak.

For me it is the audio wonder tweak. It holds, it dampens, it can even clean your stylus....

Cheers