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 ?

@ct0517---Well, I do own two of Bruce’s speaker models, LFT-8b and LFT-4. My not having an ET arm is the result of long ago choosing the Townshend Rock as my turntable. A linear tracking arm can not be used with the Rock, due to the table’s damping trough.

I’m of the opinion that a system is best assembled from the two ends inward---the phono pickup and the loudspeaker (both transducers) first, then the tonearm and the power amp. I believe the speaker should be selected before the amp, the amp then chosen by it’s suitability for use with that speaker. Likewise, the pickup first, then an arm particularly appropriate for the chosen pickup.

Chris, as you know, I am also a long-time Quad ESL owner, and I got myself both a Bedini 25/25 and a pair of Atma-Sphere M60’s with which to power the Quads. I chose the Townshend Rock as my turntable because of my love of the Decca/London pickup; the Rock is THE table for the those pickups, for reasons I won’t go into here.

I saw and heard the Oracle Delphi/ET-2 and VPI HW-19 & TNT/ET-2 many times at Brooks Berdan’s shop (Brooks’ two favorite arms were the ET and the Graham). But since I prioritize the pickup over the arm, and the Rock is the best table for the pickup, never got myself an ET arm. I got the VPI HW-19 with the intent of installing the spare Townshend damping trough I have on it for a second London. While looking around for an arm to put on the VPI, I became aware of the TransFi Terminator. I was intrigued when I saw a London Reference mounted on the arm in pictures, and subsequently learned that TransFi owner/designer Vic used the Reference himself. Since the Terminator is only a little over a grand, I thought what the heck, I’ll give it a try. I have no idea how it compares to the ET arm, so if I end up liking the TransFi maybe I’ll consider looking into it. Though the ET and the TransFi are both linear-tracking air-bearing arms, they are very different from one another.

very happy to hear that it was a turntable limitation and not our ramblings on this thread, that prevented you from getting an Et2.

I chose the Townshend Rock as my turntable because of my love of the Decca/London pickup; the Rock is THE table for the those pickups, for reasons I won’t go into here.

It may be a really good table for that cartridge, I don’t doubt you at all; but you also know that Decca’s own reference tonearm is a Linear tracker.

But since I prioritize the pickup over the arm, and the Rock is the best table for the pickup, never got myself an ET arm.

I differ from you here on how to prioritize table, tonearm, cart - My take on it and opinion.

My personal findings have been through my own number of carts, tonearms and tables - in my own space. Not at shows, or dealer salons, or other folks set ups, and or reviews. My experiments with putting the same tonearm, cartridge set up well, on different tables and hearing this after various mods.

Better ----> Worse --------> Better -----> Different -------> Better --------> Different ------> Worse ---------> Better

(one should always end up with better in the end) 8^0

Showed me very clearly how much role the table itself plays. In fact based on my findings.

IMO, the better table, with a better tonearm and modest cartridge, set up well...... WILL..... outperform a very expensive cart on a more modest table and tonearm. No question.

So if one is just starting out on an Audiophile Journey; I say stick with modest cartridges first, learn the table, tonearm relationship. Do your upgrades.....settle on a combo.

Then go nuts on carts if they like.

I do not deny that every cart one puts on changes the sound dramatically. I just think it is much easier to change out carts then whole turntables and tonearms. And with that if I ever get a another cart, a London is at the top of the list.

Just remember.
That very expensive cart is on a continual decline with hours played from Day One. Whereas I expect my turntable, and tonearm to outlast me.
I can mount any cart I want on my ET 2.5.

In summary
I say - Invest in the table and tonearm and be done with it.
Then have at it with various carts at a person’s desire. $$ ..to $$$$$
Just my 2 cents.


You have referred to the Trans fi Terminator tonearm a few times now. Can you clarify something for us Eric. Maybe for someone considering it.

So from the website - It is a multi bearing (air and mechanical), sled based design where the air does not enclose 360 like the ET but rides under only. Re: its operation, my understanding is it does not swing away to load up a record ?

A listening session for me is 6 or 7 records. .that means 12- 14 times I will place a record on the platter including flips. I don’t want that Cartridge anywhere near the record when loading. I need the tonearm/cartridge up and out of the way. 
Regarding the Trans-Fi arm: it is somewhat different to the ET 2, but it has more in common with it than with radial arms. It has an ingenious knife edge bearing for the vertical movement, a gravity loaded, open low pressure high flow air bearing, a very short and very stiff arm / sledge connection, and medium high rigidity for twisting the sleigh around the vertical axis. It is a *functionally* very high precision bearing design, that puts less strain on production tolerances than the ET 2.
The vertical movement geometry, with a high vertical bearing and considerably lower tracing point, is similar to some older linear trackig tonearms like Revox, or the Souther / Clearaudios, but is much better / stiffer in implementation. The closest today (in vertical geometry) is the RS Labs RS-1 arm. This geometry has some well known and discussed drawbacks (FM modulation with vertical warps) - but it has one less well known (nor discussed) advantage:
Placing the vertical bearing in +/- a line that extends the cantilever upwards (+/- 20 degrees) it reduces/eliminates a dynamical vertical force generated at the cantilever bearing, which is created by varying tracing friction.
The effect is very similar to the dynamic forces that are created by the horizontal offset angle of radial arms’, which varies dynamically too, and thus constantly feeds vibration energy into the arm/cartridge resonant system. Horizontal in the latter case, vertical in the case of all arms that set the vertical axis eg. on platter level or rel. low.
The Trans-Fi has outstanding customer reactions, the bass seems one of its key qualities (not as a trade-off), similar to the RS Labs RS-1. It is probably a bargain, similar to the Adanalog arm, but in engineering terms it has almost no compromises.This said, it *is* quite a huge "machine" that works only with stiffly suspended substantial turntable drives.

The tuning of the cartridge was a job I did for a friend & small audio tuning shop. and I am distributor of Ambience Ribbon hybrid speakers.
But this is not a business in any normal sense.
I run a cultural hotel including concert program and do some live recordings.
Audio is not my business - it is my passion.Around which I have acquired some skills. The Ambience Ribbons distribution came out of my interest in the product as a customer. It is a very good product but there is not a real market in Switzerland for a small company run on a small part time job.
I do not sell any analog products like cartridges, tonearms etc.
Why do you ask?