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 ?

Thanks for the account. I agree about the ET2’s prowess. When you see Bruce again ask him about the procedure you used to try and clean the “capillaries”. Seems to me that the only effective way to do it is to remove those “screw on plugs” and clean them and the orifices that they screw into individually. This is what I did after experiencing stickiness of the bearing. Soaking the plugs in some alcohol left obvious residue at the bottom. It solved the problem.  I would like to know if Bruce feels your method is as effective.  I would like to clean the capillaries again and your method certainly is easier.  Please report back.  Thanks. 

Frogman, I sure that removing each of the set screws is the best way. In my case, as clean as everything looked and the fact that spindle operates smoothly, I felt that pushing high pressure air through each capillary would sufficient. If you listen closely you can hear the compressed air passes through each capillary and into the manifold.  I did have one capillary in which I could not hear the air flow.  With this capillary, I did remove the set screw and inspected the threads with bright light and magnification and saw no contaminates. I then passed compressed air through the capillary hole with the set screw removed. I then replaced the set screw and after that I could again hear compressed air passing through that capillary. 

I would venture to say that just by removing the set screw will dislodge most if not all debris lodged in the capillary threads, but I will run it by Bruce when see him again. 

I did tell him about how my nearly 30 year old ET-2 manifold had never been cleaned and about how I forgot to drain my shop compressor back in July literally pumping water into the manifold.  I then told him that when that when I removed the manifold after that event every thing appeared spotlessly clean.  He ask are you using a filter? Yes, I am. He said its fine and he wasn't at all surprised that is was as still totally clean.    BTW, Bruce no longer uses or supplies the Motorguard filters.  He now supplies and recommends the inexpensive and available at any auto supply, "VW Beatle" type fuel filter.  He says they work great.

@forrestc thanks for the info.  I may have to pick up an aluminum goose neck, especially because it sounds like I might not need to go through with a cart alignment after installing it.  I just finished up a painstaking alignment and don't want to have to do it again for a very long time!

Have you always fun 18psi?  How much better is it than low pressure?  I'm now running 5 psi with my ET2.  I have a shop compressor all plumbed up to deliver dry air, but I wasn't going to try it until I put my ET2.5 on.  Now I'm wondering if I should just go for it with my ET2 and forget about the ET2.5 for now.

Ketchup, that’s what Bruce was telling me when I let him know that I was running 18 psi. If you already have an ET-2 you may want to try upping the pressure before trying the 2.5. I don’t have a high pressure manifold and for that reason if I go much higher than 18 psi I start hearing a lot air escaping from the space between the manifold and spindle. I’m thinking this escaping air could apply some unwanted side force against the arm wand as it tracks towards the inner grooves of the record.

Anyway, I went back down to Palmer Street Friday afternoon to pick up the new aluminum wand joint, and of course, ask more questions. When I walked in the door, two of his guys were building what appeared to be LFT speaker panels on large tables in the the front room. Bruce appeared and showed me the newly made aluminum wand joint. It is truly a finely-crafted, beautifully finished piece. He went as far as to show me just how not-so-tight to to tighten the wand-joint clamp screw on an ET-2 spindle he had brought in - and it is NOT VERY TIGHT!. Tighten is just enough so wand joint does not move when you try to rotate it on the spindle end - AND NO MORE! If you tighten it too tight, the spindle will deform. He even had me tighten it on the same spindle while I was there to make sure that I fully understood. Also be sure to note the tiny index dot on the wand-cable socket in the spindle. That dot is at 3 o’clock. Be sure to take the time to align the wand joint correctly. It is much easier to see that it is correctly aligned once you reattach the wand. Once attached, you can sight across where the wand to see that it is exactly in alignment with the counterbalance I-beam.

Speaking of not over-tightening anything on the ET-2/2.5, I ask Bruce about setting the correct tension or screw tightness on the VTA block. He said basically, you tighten the four VTA block screws evenly just enough so the VTA block does not allow manifold to rock. The narrow gap on each side of the VTA block where it attaches to the manifold housing should be even from top to bottom and the same gap on both sides. Bruce also showed me a VTA block where someone tighten the screw that mounts the VTA block to the mounting post. It was not a pretty sight. A nice chunk of carbon fiber was missing out of side of the VTA block. Again, don’t let something like this happen to your ET-2/2.5. Parts fit so precisely that death-grip tightening of any screw is not required and may ruin your day.  Snug holding the short end of an allen wrench is good.

OK now, how did the aluminum wand joint upgrade sound? Well, I got my ET-2 back together and fully adjusted Friday night and . . .

I probably do the setup procedure a little different than most but it does seem to work well and after doing it a few times it not as daunting as it was in the past. First I set the spindle height and level close to where it need to be. It doesn’t have to be exact at first. Next I set the VTF, then I set the cartridge overhang with the clear scribe-line tool. Next, I remove the cartridge and install a Wally Reference tool. I bought it used. I then set the VTA lever to align with the "0" on the VTA gauge. After that, I loosen the height-adjustment screw and set the arm height so the Wally Reference is level with the platter. If you use this procedure, you will need to view the Wally Tools video to determine what shim(s) you will need to use which is dependent on the height of your cartridge. I also add and additional 2mm shim (average record thickness) and set the Wally reference directly on the platter. Once this is done, I level the spindle by using dial calipers to measure the distance between the arm board on my TNT and the spindle when extended in each direction. I then go back and check that the Wally reference is still flat on the platter. You will also use the Wally Reference to adjust the azimuth. When you adjust the azimuth, be careful that you only rotate the wand and not move in or out. If all looks good your are ready to reinstall the cartridge and double check your cartridge overhand using the scribe-line tool and VTF with your scale.

Also, Bruce said to set up your I-beam so the lead weights are near the end of the I beam, and to move them to low position in the slot as well. He showed me the extra long I-beam, and it is very long, but unfortunately I can't use it since I have a dust cover.

Now it time to play that first LP - big decision!  What to play?  OK, how about side one of an early pressing of Joe Walsh, The Smoker You Get . . ? Oh yes, I know this album well and I must say it just seemed to sound better than ever in a very noticeable way - more impact, clearer mid-range, solid bass. I could go on, but for what the aluminum joint cost, I don’t think you could make a better upgrade to your ET-2/2/5.