Has anyone lived with this tonearm for a while? I am curious to see what you think of the unit. I can see the frictionless design but I don't see how it remains in alignment while playing. It is some very impressive "out of box" thinking, which caught my interest.
It is similar to Schroder's design but longer with no offset. It has several serious problems. First is it is very long. Long arms have much more inertia. Records are not perfectly smooth. There are undulations the arm has to follow but with longer heavier arms the cantilever does the following leading to increased levels of distortion. A perfect tonearm will move in only two directions. Up and down, side to side. It should be firmly locked in all other motions. This tonearm is not locked, it is floating and free to move in all directions at least slightly which is enough. Now it is trying to trade off the problem of skating for increased tracking error and longer length. IMHO and many others, it is a bad tradeoff It is an interesting arm but I would never buy it. It violates to many sound principles that are tried and true. It also will not fit on many turntables.
Yes, I can see that. The mass of a tonearm has to decrease as the length increases. Most modern arms and certainly most carbon fiber arms are already low mass, so it becomes difficult for the mass of longer arms to compete.
It was the floating part that really made me wonder how it held geometry.
I have lived with this tonearm for a few months now and am enjoying it quite a bit. It is superior to the stock arm on my SL1200GAE. I am not an engineer so I can’t speak to what it should do or shouldn’t do on paper but it sounds great. My arm is 12” long and they do have a 10” version.
@totem395 , Yes, I did not know they made a shorter version but the short one is going to have ridiculous levels of tracking error and be just as unstable. The long one won't fit on most tables because most do not accept arms that long. Some do and you could certainly build a large plinth. The only suspended, fully isolated turntables I know of that will take an arm that big are the SME 30/12 and 20/12 and the Dohmann Helix (my favorite). I personally do not consider unsuspended tables an option. A turntable must have a suspension that operates below 3 Hz. A tonearm must be limited to 2 degrees of motion. It must be held rigidly in all others. I will never personally consider an arm that is designed otherwise. Want a great 12" arm get a Reed 2G or Schroder CB. Better yet get a Schroder Lt. IMHO this is the most brilliant tonearm design on the market. Unfortunately it requires a table that will take a 12" arm. My Sota Cosmos will not. So, I am stuck with the Schroder CB a fate worse than death:-)
I am trying to figure out how some of the claims are justified. "Weightless"? "No pivot"? The arm and headshell MUST have effective mass in order to work with cartridge compliance, and it is clear from visual inspection that they do. Therefore it is not weightless. There definitely IS a pivot with its center at the attachment of the string; it's just a sloppy one. That reminds me of at least the early WT tonearms, which also claimed no bearing, when in fact they had a pivot that was just not close tolerance. And that headshell... Does it really work without any friction? (If there is any friction in its lateral movement to maintain tangency, then there would be at least a small skating force.) Anyway, all of that said, I have heard other oddball tonearms that cannot meet the claims of their makers yet sound great. So I would never say without hearing this one that it cannot sound great. Lord knows, no orthodox pivoted tonearm is perfect.
@lancelock Well that's the "problem" lancelock...you have actual experience with the tonearm! I mean, how can you possibly judge its performance unless you have some sort of engineering experience with no need to hear it? ; -)
Several times I have wrestled with Mijostyn's statement: "A tonearm must be limited to 2 degrees of motion. It must be held
rigidly in all others. I will never personally consider an arm that is
designed otherwise." I think by this statement, M is meaning to indict unipivot tonearms in favor of gimbal bearing tonearms. But the principle is poorly stated. I gimbal bearing will fix motion at the pivot in two dimensions, up and down and side to side, but at the other end of the lever, those two dimensions are always additive and permit motion of the headshell /cartridge in all directions in the vertical plane, with respect to the center of rest, just as with a unipivot. Indeed that has to be the case, else gimbal bearing tonearms could not track a flawed LP that has a slight warp and is also slightly offcenter.
@lewm , there are 4 degrees of freedom (movement); horizontal, vertical, axial and torsional. Theoretically a tonearm should only be able to move in two of them, horizontal and vertical. Movement in the other degrees will cause distortion of one type or another. Axial movement would cause something like wow and flutter. Torsional movement would certainly increase stylus and record wear and depending on it's resonance frequency, distortion at some level. Tonearms have to be as stiff as possible in the last two degrees to maintain proper geometry. It is bad enough that an arm operates in arcs, warp wow can be painfully obvious. Stick a dime under the edge of a test record and play a midrange tone. The change in pitch is obvious. An arm that has it's vertical bearing at record level will be a little less obvious. This is why Tri-Planar and Schroder designed their arms the way they are. The 4 Points are another example. Reed also does this with the 2G. I could own any of these arms. All of these arms are also neutral balance arms. Tracking force does not change with vertical motion. Most arms are static balance. Anyway I chose the Schroder CB I guess because it is a favorite of many whose talents and opinions I respect and I like Frank's design mentality. His arms do everything an arm should do but they look so simple, elegant.
As for unipivots, they are a simple cheap way to build a tonearm. The two best unipivots, the Graham and Basis arms have been redesigned and have mechanisms to control torsional movement. Graham uses opposing magnets and Basis added a weird second bearing that stops torsion in one direction. The offset counter weight is then adjusted so bearing contact is maintained. It is really not a unipivot anymore. It is a bipivot. Adding lateral weights just lowers the resonance frequency. Good preloaded bearings are expensive and machining becomes critical as the bearings have to be aligned perfectly. It takes a very skilled person or a very fancy machine. Rega and Pro-Ject arms are a great value because those much bigger companies can afford the very fancy machine. I would take a Rega arm over a unipivot VPI arm any day.
Can you imagine the arrogance of SME limiting their tonearm sales to their turntables! In order to get one of their arms you have to spend a fortune on one of their tables. They are great tables but let's face it, a great value they are not.
@lewm There are many excellent arms that do not have gimbal bearings but are excellent none the less. Example are the 4 Points, the Reed 2G Origin Live, Rega and the Schroder CB and only g-d and Frank Schroder know what is in there.
I have one on my vpi hw40 and love it. I did have some difficulty on initial set up but that was me not the arm. Once set up it works flawless. It takes some getting used to as far as cueing the lead in groove. The first track I played was Johnny Cash Spiritual off the Unchained record. The hair on my arm literally stood up. It tracks both sides of the groove perfectly. I never use the BOO arm that came on the table. Wish I could take it off. As far as not fitting any table that is totally false. Watch their videos. They show all kinds of different rigs. Give them a call if you have questions. Tina and Carlo are the nicest people.
@Lewm, It is hard to do a true gimbal pivot and keep the vertical bearing at record level. You have to resort to something like what Tri-Planar did. The SAT arm is a very fat gimbal pivoted arm with a very high vertical bearing. The price is also ridiculous. I wouldn't get it even if I had the money. The Tri-Planar is a better design.
Oh, but you have to listen to it. Right, it is virtually impossible to listen to any arm in your own system without buying it. What other people say it sounds like is close to worthless. The Transcriptors Vestigial Arm taught me that lesson. You have to buy an arm based on it's design and quality of manufacture. So, you have to set parameters for what a good design is. An arm should be very stiff but as light as possible. It should have one wire from from each cartridge pin to the phono stage RCA's or XLR's. The vertical bearing should be at record level and the geometry such that the arm is of neutral balance. It's bearing should lock motion in the axial and torsional directions, and it must have a low friction anti skate mechanism. An opposing magnet system like Reed and Schroder use is ideal. I have learned to stay away from longer arms. They have higher moments of inertia and can not be made as stiff as a shorter arm without adding even more mass. The improvement in tracking error is not even close to being worth the added mass. I am all for tangential tracking. IMHO the biggest benefits are, no skating and a lower moment of inertia. The two that are ideal are the Reed 5T and the Schroder LT. Unfortunately, neither will fit on my turntable. The Reed is also very pricey. There is a German carriage driven arm (can't remember the name) that on paper looks great. You know how I feel about air bearing arms.
I have been a dealer for this arm since the beginning . I have replaces Shchroders,VPI,SME's etc. There is no tracking error. The anti-skating numbers in my Analog Magik data is close to perfect, The length of the arm is irrelevant to the tracking or anything else. The important part is the sound, it sound different to what your use to. It reveals all the blackness nuance and detail I have never experience before on any arm at any price.
IIUC, as it is a pivoting arm It does have tracking error. It may just be that tracking error means a lot less in terms of SQ than we like to think it does. Also some of these arms are very long, lessening the tracking error.
As for its anti-skating measurements, of course, as it has no offset anti-skating is not an issue.
With respect to the tracking error and zero offset issues compare to the VIv Lab Rigid Tonearms, though they are generally shorter. These also violate all the accepted rules but are said to sound great.
The VIv Lab Rigid Tonearms is a very interesting design. The concept of using a liquid for bearings goes way back in time. Light houses used mercury to float the huge and heavy light assemblies for almost no friction. Does anyone on this board have one?
Mijostyn please tell me what type of expensive machine is required to bore a hole to fit a ball bearing. Also with all your machining background, would you use a inference fit or maybe slip with locite for abec bearings. On the physics side of things how much pressure does a 2 gram downward force ,with med compliance cart up force, get back to bearing, so these close tolerances are needed. Also when you have your test equipment out check the side force needed from the cantilever to create bearing play with the arm weight resting on the bearings.
grk. How dare you bring logic in to the party. Next you will bring up distortion, come on you do not need ears to hear. Look at these graphs, read our marketing copy, trust us would we lie to you just for money or ego? Well guess what the door mouse is getting stuffed back into the pot.
I just post here. My observation is that Mijostyn is gradually becoming an absolutist. Either that or he has always been one and is showing his colors more with time. His edicts are no different than a solid state person stating that all tube gear are nothing more than tone controls. No different than stating all wire is just wire. No different than stating that since a Benchmark DAC or Class D amp measures beyond reproach, they are the best in their respective categories. No different than stating that Tekton Moabs are the finest loudspeakers ever to see the light of day. No different than Millercarbon thinking we are interested in his life. Sorry I have intentionally meandered thinking I am funny. Just as there are countless ways to skin a cat, there are countless ways to get great sound reproduction in one's home. Audio reproduction in the home is as compromised as an under 10K automobile that meets all safety and emissions regulations. Mijostyn thinks audio reproduction consists of tangible ideals. It does not. What all this boils down to is this; a twelve inch arm can sound so good as to be the least of one's problems and compromises. On a scale of relativity, the inherent possible qualitative differences between a well engineered 9" and 12" arm is maybe a "1" whereas the qualitative differences caused by the quality of the record pressing is a "10".
Just to add a bit to my post above, if moment of inertia were such a critical design criterion why not a 3", 5" or 7" arm? We all know the answer to that. The formula for moment of inertia is I=L/w where L is angular momentum. Guess what, angular momentum is determined in part my mass, L= mvr with the m being mass. So if it were so critical, why are we not back to the days of the Infinity Black Widow tonearm? Anybody remember them? Google it. The unchecked pursuit of low mass tonearms personified. The answer to that question is that low mass brings it’s own host of problems. So suddenly we are to believe that a stout 9" arm like SAT’s top of the line arm is the ideal (until next month when Marc Gomez comes out with the next best arm) is without compromise? This entire argument surfaced when Mike Fremer, always the worshipper of the most exclusive, started parroting-and when it comes to engineering, Fremer is 99% a parrot of things he has been told by others-statements made by Marc Gomez of Swedish Audio Technology aka SAT. Until recently SAT offered 12" arms though Gomez was quoted as saying he only offered them to accommodate the market. Again, I don’t dispute that with certain cartridges moment of inertia is an important factor and that a 9" arm may well be optimum, everything else remaining equal. But only with certain cartridges since compliance, suspension design, and even the stylus shape and cantilever material will all play a role. A Koetsu may very well benefit from the inherent virtues of a 12" arm-greater mass, different resonant frequency, less tracking error-whereas Mikey’s current favorite-the Lyra Atlas Lamda- may sound slightly better on an otherwise identical 9" arm. Compared to the thousands of other compromises made in an entire system, the 9" vs. 12" is in relative terms de minimus in degree.
Fsonicsmith you nailed it. Most people memories are not that long. What is Femer background in music , engineering etc... If I was going to Quess, writing is how he got the job.
In regards to the variables you also nailed it. The record groove is a physics nightmare. People need to look at a microscope picture of a lp then come back to me about how great their stylus profile and compliance is. How many people even understand how a cartridge works? Then we get vibration issues. Rebound it , let drain, but how fast , wait what frequency, no modify then rebound no I mean drain. Crap now I am confused. Wait I will ask the Ad men or the magazine writers they are musicians and have physics with vibration control back grounds degrees and can write up a storm in there spare time. How that for a run on sentence. Quess I am not getting a writing job for a audio magazine!!!
The funniest part about the whole thing is regardless of how many variables known and unknown we play with and test, your ears are the only thing that matters. Regardless if it sounds like real music or not. The problem starts when people start talking in absolutes. Or my favorite Netrual or maybe Upgrade or better across the board, guess I have more than I thought.
@tomwh Yes, I agree - ears count in the long run. But before I buy, the unit has to make sense to me that the manufacturer is onto something good. I skim through the audio ad hype and look for real meat in the ad, if I don't find it or what they are selling makes no sense to me, then it never gets into my stereo. I could be wrong, but that is where I draw the line.
I have the Tru-Glider and am using it with a DS Audio DS003 cartridge. It is exceptional. The difference in sound between it and the VPI JMW 10.5 with the DS003 is striking. Transients, especially, are reproduced with much more life than any other arm I've used.
Its is very easy to criticize what you dont understand , The bottom line is that it sounds better than any arm I have heard at any prize. So if you have not listened to the arm you are not qualified to give an opinion. Take one for a test drive, listen and, then you can give an educated opinion . I have installed this arms in sizes from 8" to 15" and they work exactly the same. And the sound characteristics remain constant. So speculate all you want you won't understand until you listen to the sound of this incredible tone arm.
@drvinyl01 - Yes, although that comment pretty much applies to everything, right?
A test drive means buying it, installing it, which also means cutting a new plinth, and then doing some listening. A very expensive approach if you decide you don't like the given tonearm. I'd rather get opinions and find a dealer first. The problem with dealers is some of them have systems that don't sound as good as mine, so it makes buying decisions difficult.
You guys knock me out. Whatever any of you think something sounds like is totally meaningless. There is no way to calibrate the human mind. There is no reference. I have heard systems people thought sounded great that were awful, not only to my ears but they measured terribly also.
@fsonicsmith , I have both tube and solid state gear, analog and digital. It all works wonderfully well and is all well designed and built. You keep listening to what other people think things sound like. Get a new set of cable elevators. I hear the new porcelain ones sound better than the wooden ones you are using. They are more detailed and the bass is tighter:-)
Jeez - and all this time I have been listening to my audio gear and music when what I should have been doing was calibrating my mind. All of your gear "works wonderfully well". Since listening is not a criterion, what is? Does wonderfully well consist of all of the lights/displays coming on?
"Whatever any of you think something sounds like is totally meaningless." In my many years of being in audio, no statement I have ever before read has approached the benthic ignorance of this.
Regarding your "system" (yes, I put "system" in quotes because to me it resembles something Tim Burton might have dreamed up).
From a purist's perspective this system is a complete nightmare and not worth a second look never mind listen.
Everything works and sounds great except the right interface still got hot as a pistol. Fortunately the resistor will take 200 degrees C about 400 F. Something else was wrong. Yup, compliments of digital room control run amuck.
From the mouth of babes (or boobs).
MS Tool and Woodcraft is me. I make gallery furnisher.
Interesting sentence structure. Just what is a gallery furnisher? You furnish galleries?
But let's get away from the ad-hominem stuff that I have admittedly just stooped to. You say you are a tube and SS guy but I see minimal tubed gear in your system. You say you are a digital and analogue guy and yet your turntable is not apparent in any of your photos, you don't bother to list your choices of cartridges, and your long diatribe refers to one digital recording after another. I don't buy an iota of your BS. It seems obvious to me that you don't trust your own ears and think everything is "working wonderfully" (a phrase you utter as some people utter "you know" in between real words) so long as your computer tells you so. The proof lies in your long effort to convince us that you have one hell of a listening room and sound system as proven by your TACT screen-shots. I guess Jim Smith has no clue what he is talking about in his books and videos. I guess his proven track record of solving show condition conundrums for show exhibitors is mere anecdotal mythology. To hell with speaker positioning and methodical trial and error and the hundreds of other variables that he addresses. Just shove your transducers wherever you wish-yours appear to be simply shoved up against the front wall with a video screen perched between-and simply use a digital equalizer and adjust for a straight line from 20-20K. Huh. Even Kal Rubinson would not stoop to such a weird amalgam of simplicity and [needless] complexity. While you don't claim to be an engineer you are taking a pure engineering approach to recreating recorded sound in your home. In my 45 years in this hobby I have observed time and time again that what makes this hobby so fascinating is that it involves a healthy mix of science and art. The history of audio is replete with instances in which an engineer designed and put to market a product relying solely on measurements and nobody could bear to listen to it.
@fsonicsmith , gallery furnisher is/are one off designs made for galleries who sell the to up scale New Yorkers for ridiculous money. People have been making fun of my English difficulties my entire life. I'm dyslexic. If it were not for my special ED teachers it would be a lot worse and I certainly would not be where I am today. I did have pictures of my old Sota on my system page but I took them off when I sold it. That was nine months ago. I just finished setting up a new Sota Cosmos and will have pictures of it up by tomorrow. Along with the cartridge you will see on the Sota is a Clearaudio Charisma. Those are the only two I have at the moment. The cabinet the Sota is sitting in I finished three weeks ago. It is a straight forward design. I let the wood speak for itself although I did do the veneer work on the wall section.
Now down to business. In setting up system it can be either a stupid silly amount of trial end error (been there) or using your noggin and the right tools to do the job to end up with a much better result. It seems you do not understand this approach. Perhaps some day I'll get a chance to demonstrate it for you. I've been at it for 63 years. Maybe in another 18 you'll get the hang of it. I also was an enuretic until the age of 13. Anything else you care to know?
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