PCTI tonearm by rauliruegas

Was this tonearm ever produced?
@dover  I have heard Raul,s tonearm at his house probably about 2 years ago.  At that time he had that one and 2 other similar ones that he mentioned me where prototypes.  All i can say is that it was top notch sounding, that time he was using one of his vintage ADC 26-27 cartridges and sounding very good. I eventually bought from him one of ADC samples because how good it was sounding.  Through the years i have visited Raul several times at his house and heard many top combinations of tonearms and cartridges in his system included SME, Ikeda, Satin, mission mechanic, FR, Breuer and others as well as top cartridges as Dyna Xv1, Allaerts M2, VDH colibri and several top MM carts.  All I can say is that Raul,s tonearm does do exists and i just think he has not yet make it a commercial offering.  But what i heard was on par with any other top ones which i,ve heard at his place, so hopefully he makes it available some time soon.
Is there a website for the PCTI tonearm? I own one of Raul's and Jose's 3160 phonolinepreamplifiers.  As a person biased in favor of tube phono stages, I can only say you should not the capabilities of Raul's group. (I am assuming that Raul does not work alone when conceiving of audio products or designing them.)  The 3160 is by far the best SS phono stage I have heard and certainly holds its own with high end tube phono stages with which I am familiar.  Ergo, don't sell the tonearm short, if it ever comes to market.

Thats great to hear. I appreciate that Raul has had a vast array of experience with arms & cartridges, but I am a little sceptical of some of his observations conclusions for two reasons
1. He claims that his digital front end ( an old Denon ) is superior to any of his analogue systems. I have auditioned, in systems I know well, digital gear from Solution, Zanden, EMM Labs, PS Audiodirect Stream, MSB, and many others. They aren't even close in resolution my analogue front end.

The turntables he uses as a reference are midfi in my view. ( The Micro Seikis and Direct Drives ).

It suggests that his analogue, whilst it may sound great, is not reference quality.

2. He has made many technical claims of cartridges that I myself own that are simply not correct. As a high end dealer in the 80's at the peak of analogue I have installed many of the cartridges he discusses.

I note that it has taken Raul years and thousands of posts to finally discover that he prefers moving coil cartridges - why so long ?

Overall he has made a great contribution for promoting debate and MM knowledge, but for the above reasons I take his comments on sound quality with a grain of salt. His technical arguments, I take at face value, in the context of my own experience, and others.

Unlike many on this forum I prmarliy comment ( be it praise or criticise ) on products I either own or have used/set up listened to extensively.
Occasionally I will make technical observations based on technical knowledge and experience.
Dover, I have no idea what you are getting at, but I agree with your philosophy.  In my post above, I left out a key word.  I intended to say that one should not underestimate the capabilities of Raul's design group.  In my post, I left out the word "underestimate".  That's what happens occasionally when I try to type on my cell phone.  If you follow these threads, you know that Raul and I often disagree, sometimes vehemently.  I am not his sycophant. Nor do I have any direct interest in the success or failure of his tonearm, if it is going to market. I am only suggesting that the excellence of the 3160 in my system is evidence for me anyway that he and his colleagues are capable of fine work.  You may not hold my opinion in high regard, and that's OK.
On 12-09-2017 rauliruegas said that this tonearm adventure started around 9 years ago and gone so slowly, it was a true challenge and very demanding.  The important issue is not to arrive faster but to know how to arrive.  His tonearm design is to be a unique one.  Time to produce tonearm for sale.  
No one in a high-end community would like to post a picture of this tonearm? Review without any single image of the product is a bit strange. Post an image! 
Based on the results of a quick search, which I am sure some others must have also done, there is no photo on-line.
(I am assuming that Raul does not work alone when conceiving of audio products or designing them.)
@lewm Based on Raul's comments here its very obvious he had nothing to do with the design. IMO he's the salesman.
Dear @cardani  : Thank's and appreciated your post.

Other than the 26/27 IM cartridge if I remember you listened in one of those prototypes tonearms the Madrigal Carnegie 2 that I time to time still enjoy it.

Good to know from you. For the gentlemans that do not know who is Cardani he is a " young " man that's  double bass player in the Xalapa Philarmonic Orchestra, his wife too and one of their son is on that " road " too.
Additional he is an audiophile.

Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,
Dear @dover : " He claims that his digital front end ( an old Denon ) is superior to any of his analogue... "

That’s a misunderstood by your self or a bad explanation for my part ( this happens very often. ) ( I can see the stupid here again. Obviously not you. Never mind. ).

As you I’m and was exposed to the best digital rigs in my system and in other systems ( I’m not talking of Denon. ) and exposed too to the best analogue you can imagine too.

What is my take about and what almost always post is that the today digital medium outperforms the today analogue alternative. I’m not " blind " to not see that fact .

My take too is that the bass range is the home room/system foundation/frame for the sound reproduction and that as better the bass range as better the whole quality room/system performance levels and between other things bass range in the digital medium is really superior to the analogue alternative, no contest. Even that really humble Denon ( 32/192 ) is superior in that regards.

""" It suggests that his analogue, whilst it may sound great, is not reference quality. ""

You can’t be sure about. In the other side and with that kind of electronics you own I’m totally sure that your system neither. Specially about phonolinepreamp quality true levels. Like it or not mine is way superior and could be an improvement in your system.

""" I note that it has taken Raul years and thousands of posts to finally discover that he prefers moving coil cartridges - why so long ? """

No it was not years and years to taken in count LOMC are superior. As a fact before I started the MM thread all my listen sessions were through LOMC but suddenly in those " old " years I took one of my vintage MM/MI cartridges that I owned and that were my very first cartridges I used when started to listen LPs and when mounted and listened it was a high surprise/true discovery for me that those cartridges performed way better that what the high end market wanted to be knowed by us " audiophiles " and here started the long adventure/trip where one of the main targets was to listen as many different vintage cartridges I can. But in reality in those times I was listened mainly to MM cartridges type and no so many to my top LOMC cartridges. I was really exited with the MM adventure after and again and again I listened to a " new " model ! !

Even in that thread I shared that I thougth that the MM/MI/IM/electrect and the like cartridges develops lower distortions than the LOMC and remember that J.Carr posted and explained why it wasand is the other way around.

After the adventure ( I have almost no one interest in MM type cartridges because I almost listened all. ) my sessions of MUSIC are through LOMC cartridges and time to time with MM type.

So " things " are not as you posted. I respect your opinion but I can’t understand the ironic and taunt tone of your words posted in reference to me/tonearm.

Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,
¨The turntables he uses as a reference are midfi in my view. ( The Micro Seikis and Direct Drives ¨
     When I have  heard Raul,s system he has mostly used  two Acoustic signature belt drives. Only once I think I heard his Micro seiki 5000 which last time i was at his place he mentioned me he had sold it.  I did not notice any particular fault with his tables, pitch was spot on.
¨Other than the 26/27 IM cartridge if I remember you listened in one of those prototypes tonearms the Madrigal Carnegie 2 that I time to time still enjoy it.´
    Yes, If i remember correctly was on a different ocassion but also with your own arm that we heard Madrigal carnegie 2. 

@chakster ¨ Review without any single image of the product is a bit strange.¨
    I dont think there is a review of the tonearm, if you interpret my comment as a review all i can say it is not all, i have only heard his tonearm a couple of times and all i said is that the  tonearm does do exists and  what i heard was on par with any other top ones which i,ve heard at his place. 
Dear @soundcheck6 :  As the tonearm ( more on this latter-on. ) this Phonolinepreamp was a unit for our personal use ( José and I. ).

I was who had the inquisitiveness to design and build a Phonolinepreamp due that the best units in the market as: FM Acoustics, Krell, Gryphon, ML, etc, etc. ( including top tube electronics that I owned or listened. ) and that I already listened in my system and other systems in reality did not satisfied totally my  high demanding needs and of course the cartridge needs.

I talk with José and shared what I was thinking about and I writed  the main characteristics that we analized and that he enhanced too. Voicing was made by both of us but mainly for me that owns a very good system and with several audio friends to listen our unit there that was what I did it.

Btw, @lewm appreciated your posts in reference to this phonolinepreamp and its quality level even that the unit you own, the Essential 3160, has not the up-grades made for me in my sample that I name it: Essential 3180 that it's even better quality performance level than your excellent unit.

How is that over the years Lewm owns the 3160 when was a unit designed and builded by us for our personal use?

Well, that gentleman in the link you posted knew that I was with Jose making that phonolinepreamp and with out been in touch with him ( as a fact I even did not know him or " hear " nothing about him any where. ) I received his first email asking if we can make a unit for him and I answered that we can't do it because we are not an audio comercial company but only two music lovers trying to improve our listening LP sessions at home.
He insisted and after 3 in a row emails José and I decided to accept build a unit for him and I told him that we will take around 6-8 months to delivery his unit and that needs to pay 60% of the total unit price in advance and he did it/accepted and that's how started to build some units. Btw, we took more than those 8 months to made it and delivery his unit even than he paid the total price in advance with out " knowing " really whom we are. He lives in England.

Through the time we made some changes that some way or other we already tested before during the voicing of the unit.

I live in México city and I had the opportunity to show the Essential units in USA to over 20 gentlemans at their places that some way or the other were a voicing tests for our unit. From those 20+ gentlemans only one of them owned SS electronics all the other gentlemans were tube lovers.

By coincidence the seven Essential owners only one used SS electronics the other ones tubes and by coincidence with the first customers the other owners were who put in touch with me with out I knew of their " existence ". All paid a % in advance  and all satisfied with the unit as Lewm.

We stopped to accept orders due that that was not our way of living and the unit manufacture is way way demanding on time for us and care of it to achieve the quality levels we knew the design can meet.

My own unit can competes and it's a real challenge for any unit in the today market at any price.

Can we start/begin again with? I don't think so. Is very expensive to do it in every way. To do it we will need it a whealthy investor that really like this hobby and a gentleman where we can share with him and in between our high demanding targets of quality.


Outboard PS
Dual mono everything
Fully balanced
Two completely discrete phono circuits, one MM, one MC.
mono and mute switches.
separate ps for display LEDs.
3 pairs of high level inputs + 2 pairs for the phono stages 
RCA and XLR inputs for each of the 5 inputs per channel.

To adjust phono load you have to open the chassis and solder the chosen resistance ( or capacitor) which I don’t mind doing.
Dear @anthonya : @lewm was spot on, thank’s for that.

Now, our phonolinepreamp today is out of production. It’s a full SS design the unit that Lewm owns came with two MC phono stages instead that one MM/MC ( this characteristic was and option for the customers when ordered ).

It has 3 independent and discrete four layers circuit boards: one for the dual mono line level preamp, one for the two independent stages and a third one that is the logic control board.

Each unit was builded with strictly hand selected/tested parts. Has a very wide frequency range that goes over 1Mhz.
it comes with a truly high headroom where is almost imposible to overload it.

Its specs are nothing but accurated as no other unit I know and only as an example its inverse RIAA eq. deviation is : 0.012 db. in both channels.

When we started and decided to do it the first target was not designed as: more of the same, even today has some unique characteristics.

I don’t know what Lewm could think but when you listen through the Essential phonolinepreamp you just can’t know it’s a SS neither tube because almost has not a " signature " other that preserve that natural tone, color, dynamics and rythm we can find out in MUSIC.

The Lewm unit as the other 3160 can compete with the top today phonolinepreamp that like the CH that its tag price is over 60K+ or Vitus, you just name it.

Thank’s for ask and thank’s again to Lewm.


Dear @soundcheck6 :   About the tonearm a friend of mine and I decided to design and build a tonearm that can performs with better quality levels than the vintage/today tonearms in the market.

We decided that that tonearm will be only for he and me and nothing else.

I made the llist targets for the designs that he approved and we started step by step ( is no copy of any tonearm design. ) in our " free time " only.

The tonearm were made it at " home " due that my friend owned ( with other gentleman. ) a CNC big company.

That was great for us because after small changes in the tonearm design we can do those tonearm changes ( mainly I. ) to make the voicing more or less fast. I have to tell that over the whole proccess we did it a lot of changes because my friend and I were totally inexpert on build tonearms, never had a first hand experiences.

We started only knowing what we wanted to achieve but with out precise " idea " how meet those targets. So a long test and error proccess.

He and I never had the opportunity to designed a tonearm was a totally new experiences for both of us, truly learning one.

Through those years the tonearm performed so well and with high quality that we started to think in a comercial way. 
Latter on  we can't do it due that because he and his partner decided to put on sale their company and in advance of that both decided to change their residence place from México to different 2 countries but at  the end company never sold and they are out of México and things gone at the " freezer " from his part.
Even that I finished the tonearm.

It's ready to manufacture it and I'm looking for a joint venture, I need an investor because I have not the kind of money need it to go " outside " with success. Yes I have no single doubt that will be something really unique in the market and it success is for sure.

I would like a partner that some way or the other " lives " in the audio world and in specific analog market.

Look, the tonearm is a reality and is where I have mounted my cartridges and enjoying the analog alternative and I'm sure that sooner or latter will be a reality in the market.

The overall tonearm design is not only unique but in many ways superior to any other today/vintage tonearm in the market including top and expensive design as the SAT with a price tag of over 55+K dollars.

We will see.

Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS
@rauliruegas , I hope you find that investor. Have you thought of teaming up with an established manufacturer? As an example Frank Schroder has designed an arm Soundsmith is going to make. He frequently licenses others to make his arms. They have the headaches and he collects royalties. I know Sota is thinking about making an arm but their tables are not very flexible. 9" arms only need apply. 
How did you manage to make the prototype? Tonearms are very simple devices but they can be a bear to manufacture. (unless you are making a unipivot which I know you would never do)
Dear @mijostyn : Thank's for the advise.

We make the prototypes through the CNC company that owned my friend and his partner, I explain this in one of my posts. No, it's not an unipivot.

Yes, we can think that tonearms " are very simple devices " but as you said " they can be a bear to manufacture ".
The easy or hard task to manufacture depends on its overall design and the grade of accuracy you decided to machine the whole parts.

Our design comes with accuracy at " extreme " and in reality is a true " precision instrument " to achieve its unique characteristics to performs at true high quality levels.

It's designed to fulfill cartridges needs and at the same time to be an user friendly device.

The extreme part is really in relation to the bearings but there is also a lot of materials science involved. But the foundation is a clever design. Give us an example of a tonearm that you wished you had designed. For me it would be the Schroder LT.
hoho I'm building one frank schroeder tonearm.. x finger. the cnc part is on process
. any thoughts and ideas welcome on the wooden shaft or any others.