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 ?
Hi all,

I thought I would post and say hello.

Sota Saphire (non vacuum); original owner when I purchased in 1985.
ET2 with the carbon fiber wand
Shelter 901 mark 3.

I put my pump and air tank (2 liter bottle) in the garage wall.


After using the Sota for 35 years, I turned in my Sota to Donna and had her team completely restore/upgrade (Dec 2020) my Sota (mag lev bearing, Eclipse controller / motor, chassis, platter upgrades). I noticed a material difference in the noise floor drop immediately.

Picture of our music room:


I have never had an operational problem with the ET2; it was setup very well when Sota/ET2 were the hot ticket back in the mid 80’s.

I'm the proud new owner of an ET-2.0 attached to a SOTA Star Sapphire and looking for cartridge advice.  Tonearm has the original aluminum wand  single leaf spring on the I-Beam.

I've seen the yellow sticky, but I'm still learning about the concept of cartridge compliance.

It came with a Shure M97xE with who knows how many hours on it and sounds "fine".  I put my newer Nagaoka MP-110 on and that was a noticeable step up.  I'm shopping around for $200-400 cart and wondering what would take it to the next level (and pair well with this tonearm).  Anybody have experiences with these on the ET-2:

Nagaoka MP-150
Grado Opus3
Denon 103R
Hana E
or any other suggestions in that price range?

Thanks for the PM Tim - as it alerted me to the thread. Guys, I have been away and am in the middle of moving house. My gear is being consolidated into one large room. I have decisions to make regarding speakers. 8^0

Hello Pegasus and welcome to the thread Stu and DJspinner.

Djspinner - I have my doubts that you are going to use your new kit for DJ work 8^0

Congrats on the ET 2. The ET 2 design allows for "any" cartridge to be used by swapping out armtubes and I Beam leaf springs. Also with its patented worm gear VTA system, does not change VTF when you raise and lower VTA. All other tonearms regardless of design change VTF when you adjust VTA. Someone name another? This makes the ET2 still IMO one of the most advanced tonearms on the planet, and from my personal experiences the most advanced.
Your choices DJspinner.

40 x 10-6 cm/dyne
40 x 10-6 cm/dyne
Nagaoka MP-150
18 x 10-6 cm/dyne
Grado Opus3
Compliance: 20μm/mN
Denon 103R
5 x 10-6 cm/dyne
Hanna E
17 x10-6cm dyne

As a general guideline in the numbers above. the higher the first number, stick to the aluminum armtube. As you go lower (15-20) consider getting the Carbon Fiber or Magnesium Armtubes from Bruce Thigpen. Definitely get Bruce to send you the new longer I Beam with double leaf springs. This longer I Beam eliminates half the counterweight needed and this increases vertical inertia. From my experience the double leaf spring works better with all cartridges except those with the highest compliance. So we are trying to (for those looking to better the sound) match the better armtube and leaf spring to the cartridge compliance. You will hear the difference if that is your pursuit.

This compliance word that we keep hearing about, I simply refer to how springy and soft/hard the suspension of cartridge is - that holds the cantilever/stylus in place. The softer/springier the suspension the higher the first number. I think of Cars that come with buttons now that change the suspension from soft (cushy ride) to hard (sporty). Those that are fans of vintage carts.....that suspension has hardened over the years lowering the compliance.
We can still get music from a cartridge that is not matched to the better suited ET2 armtube/leafspring setup. It just won’t sound as good as what you can get from a well-matched combination. These types of choices that change "real mechanical aspects", are part of what makes IMO, this analog hobby so much more interesting and involving than digital.

Can there be a better hobby during a lockdown ?
unless you are moving house....

Stay safe, stay well.

So you would advise against me lugging around two 45 pound SOTAs to a DJ gig?  Ha!

I do love fine tuning the VTA while playing records, but it takes a very steady hand, given my springy table suspension system.

Thanks for the detailed explanation on compliance.  I'll probably stick with the current I-Beam length. It looks like the previous owner may have cut the I-Beam shorter (to the 6 mark) in order to allow the dust cover to close properly.  The threaded rod that holds the lead weights in place has to point inward to avoid sticking out as well.

Given the range of cartridge options out there, I'd like to try to match the cart with the tonearm setup as it stands, especially given the range of quality cartridge options. Once I get more comfortable with the table adjustments and possible modifications, then I may revisit.

So given those factors, a cartridge with a compliance number higher than 20 should pair best with my current tonearm setup?

Hi all & Dj...
Just my thoughts: Your selection of cartridges is tasteful, even mouthwatering...
Generally there is only one sort of cartridges I'd rather stay away except for a wish to abuse time, like to teaching a rhinoceros to dance. This is the combination of high horizontal compliance with low damping. This means Deccas, maybe the DJ Decca (double tie-back string) mightwork - this would be highly interesting. (It's worth the hassle, but...)
Myhigh compliance B&O MMC1 (root of the Soundsmiths) works *superbly* even if it shouldn't. This is because it's  "well behaved" = damped.
The new ATs are higly interesting - I'd look maybe more for the 500 series and a Shibata tip. I read a careful review in a german journal where they hinted at a slightly more upbeat character of these vs. the more refined (aka. slightly over-civilized) 700 series. (There are technical reasons for that). They play in the league of the Ortofon Black.
The Nagaoka I don't know, the Grado might be less damped (mechanically) and a bit more characterful=" musical !!!".
The Denon and Hana seem to be winners. Specially the Denon but maybe the Hana too will profit from a 5g brass "shim" between headshell and cartridge. This worked wonders with a DL 103 in a friends Thales Simplicity arm. There are IMO no reasons to expect different on the ET2.
The lower compliance of these two MCs will make setup somehow easier specially on a springed subchassis turntable.