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 ?
It’s not easy (impossible) to get perfect sound from lp to lp because all of the variables involved in lp manufacturing and with the ET’s design. One’s best hope is to have the flattest pressing you own from a listening & visual perspective to set things up. Trying to chase perfect sound from lp to lp will be futile.

Bruce acknowledges and details in the ET2 manual some of the problems that exist with vinyl. One of the most glaring problems is lack of standardization.

Page 51 - ET2 Manual

The angle that the cutterhead stylus is placed at when a record is cut results in an included angle in the final disc. This included angle must be duplicated with the reproducing stylus or distortion will result. The problem today lies in the standardization of the angle by record manufacturers and corresponding standardization by cartridge manufacturers.

One solution is to use a tonearm that easily adjusts the stylus for this included angle. From my experience how much variability is heard between records even same thickness ones, will depend on the cartridge stylus type, the system kit being used, the Room itself, and the listeners hearing ability.

As discussed here multiple times, Bruce’ tonearm design focuses on this included angle cut into the record, and he came up with a worm gear VTA tonearm design that allows for adjustments on the fly, without changing set up alignment or VTF. This is a patented design as we know. But the VTA block needs to be setup correctly as discussed here also. All tonearms except for the ET2 change VTF when you adjust for VTA /SRA.

Furthermore Slaw, the ET2 manual is very clear. For bad ass records (not using those words *^0) - use a pivot arm. No one here that I am aware of plays bad ass records with their ET2.

There is no perfect record or tonearm, but at least Bruce tackles the problem with his design while other tonearm manufacturers choose to ignore this problem, trying to forget the Elephant in the room. I mean imagine a manufacturer selling a tonearm that is marketed as "VTA on the Fly" , but not telling the customer that your VTF will go up when lower VTA/SRA, and VTF will go down when you try to raise VTA/SRA.- ON THE FLY. Physics 101.

I agree that the ET2 has (probably) the only thouroughly intelligent VTA adjustment, though it isn't / wasn't without problems in my setup. It used / uses very low torque direct wires, lower torque than original. With my arm lateral levelness was affected by the VTA setting, which it shouldn't by concept. The block screws are adjusted for equal torque... I will have to check it sooner or later with the "feeler" gauges.

I think the main difference and advantage is regarding the non changing overhang.

Non changing VTF is a question of having the centre of gravity aligned with the vertical bearing when floating the arm. This is not an exclusive feature of the ET2 arm, there are more that are concipied this way AFAIR. Fine-tuning this precis balance is however most easy on the ET 2. The WTA Signature (which I own too) is extreme in that regard, as the vertical bearing is at the lower end of the nylon threads, where the threads vertically leave the paddle block (which swims in silicone oil). Way below the center of gravity. 

To have the statical center of gravity aligned with the vertical  (or horizontal...) bearing axis is, BTW, a solution for only half of the problem: Elongating the I-beam until "mirroring" the cartridge/arm masses and lever lengths potentially aligns also the dynamic center of gravity into the vertical bearing axis. This reduces the dynamic, horizontally pulling forces on the bearing when the arm moves up and down with warps. Ie. it reduces a source of "microdynamically varying offset" with warps - and or vertical modulation...I have not seen a discussion of this aspect anywere yet, but it's a weak point IMO of the WTA and unipivot arms. If one considers the tiny metal point contact (rather a microscopically short metal string) of a unipivot this makes one scratch ones head, because this interface is "elastic by design" which "even" a ball bearing is, on a microscopic level.There is much talk about the elasticity of air bearings - but actually the "better" or more close toleranced ones are rather stiff (plus being chatter  / variation free) compared to the situation in metal bearings, at least compared to unipivots.
Hi Chris and pegasus,

I think that Ledermann’s video has some subtleties that merit further clarification. At least to my understanding of his dialogue, he is discouraging use of electrical measurement primarily for setting azimuth with his Soundsmith cartridges, which he goes on to explain at length are very different than other cartridges, having extremely high channel separation that defies using channel balance as the criteria for optimal azimuth setting. He also makes statements indicating that electrical measurement tools can work well on other brands of cartridges IF the coils and stylus/cantilever alignment are not significantly out of whack.

Certainly, if the Fozgometer indicates that severe rotation of the cartridge is necessary to achieve lowest indicated channel crosstalk, then its use is counter-indicated for that cartridge.

In my particular case, the azimuth of my Orpheus L looks perfect using traditional azimuth setting tools (visual) after setting azimuth optimally according to the Fozgometer, which indicates zero channel crosstalk and that each channel reads exactly the same output level when tested individually. Listening tests confirm that channel balance and separation are indeed very good to my ears and soundstage depth/width excellent as well.

Maybe I am lucky but I would be more than a little upset if my $$$ cartridge had misaligned coils or a poorly aligned stylus-to-cantilever relationship to the extent that measurement is impossible. Apparently it is not that uncommon which, if so, is a shame.

I do share the idea that extended critical listening may help further improve sound quality once one has achieved best results with the Fozgometer, but at least it is a very good starting point for tweaking by ear vs eyeballing it with no idea of a proper starting point and it can also show if the coils are misaligned (as per the above where the cartridge must be tilted to an extreme to get good readings).

We all have our methods and whatever works for you and your individual situation is always best.

Best to you both and Merry Christmas to all,

Non changing VTF is a question of having the centre of gravity aligned with the vertical bearing when floating the arm. This is not an exclusive feature of the ET2 arm, there are more that are concipied this way AFAIR.

AFAIR - as far as I remember.

Oh wondrous flying Greek horse - 8^0 - please do tell of another design that strives for this high level .... and achieves it. If you don't post back I will assume none exist.

You see I am interested in some reading to get me past this last stretch of holiday stress and cold weather.

From the info in your posts here, I recommend you remove your VTA block, re-align with a feeler gauge. re-install, and if not level... (leaning tower)... it's something before it causing your symptoms. I would not install the bearing, armtube, end I Beam until this was resolved.

True story

I knew an audiophile guy, lets call him "the Fogz", not to be confused with

the Fonz.

Fogz had this room imbalance, I think because of the HVAC runs - ceiling left side. It was a small room, the negative being the sound bounced around easily; the pro being it was easily pressurized for that "Maxell Tape" effect, but .........In order to get a center stereo 2 channel image at his listening position, he would need to either adjust his preamp balance to compensate, or move the left speaker forward (1 foot) 12 inches closer to him than the right speaker. He sat about 10 feet away.

He liked to listen to digital and vinyl and to set up his own Cartridge. His Digital was always sounding different to him, more accurate, less distortion and better overall ...than his Vinyl ( he was using a pivot tonearm that did not have easy Azimuth and VTA/SRA adjustment ).

True Story... names have been changed. This Audio hobby is a set up game. But Analog (Vinyl) is 10 fold the complexity. 

Merry Christmas to everyone.