TriPlanar Tips

The manual that comes with the TriPlanar Mk VII tonearm is fairly complete, but there are a few things I’ve learned only by living with the arm. Note: I do not know which if any of these would apply to previous versions of the arm. My only experience is with the Mk VII.

1. NEVER raise the cueing lever while the arm is locked in the arm rest. This pressures the damping cylinder and could cause a silicone leak. For this reason and also for safety, whenever the arm is in the arm rest the cueing lever should be DOWN. This is backwards from most arms and takes some getting used to.

2. If your Tri-Planar doesn't cue straight down there's a quick fix, which may be included on some new arms. The problem is insufficient friction between the arm tube and the hard rubber cueing support bar. Just glue a bit of thin sandpaper to the underside of the arm tube. Make it big enough and position it so it hits the cueing support bar at all points across the arm’s arc. (Note: after doing this you will need to adjust the cueing height, see Tip #3.)

3. When adjusting cueing height (instructions are in the manual) always do so with the arm in the UP position. This adjustment is VERY touchy, since the cueing support bar is so close to the pivot. Be patient and be careful of your cartridge. (Note: after doing this you may need to adjust the anti-skate initiation point, see Tip #4.)

Chris Brady of Teres told me of a way to improve cueing even more by re-shaping the cueing support. Moving the cueing support point farther from the pivot improves its mechanical advantage and makes the cueing height and speed adjustments less touchy. This mod is easier than it sounds and requires only a length of coat hanger (!), but I don’t have pix and haven’t yet done it myself.

4. Changing the cueing height affects the point where anti-skate kicks in. (Yes, it's weird.) Once cueing height is satisfactory, adjust the short pin that sticks out of the front of the cueing frame. That pin controls where the anti-skate dogleg first engages the knot on the string.

5. The Tri-Planar comes with three counterweight donuts of differing masses. Many cartridges can be balanced using either of two. The arm usually tracks best with the heaviest donut that will work, mounted closer to the pivot. Of course this also reduces effective mass, which may or may not be sonically desirable depending on the cartridge. It also leaves more room for Tip #6.

6. For fine VTF adjustments don’t futz with the counterweight, there’s an easier way. Set the counterweight for the highest VTF you think you’ll need (ie, close to the pivot). Pick up some 1/4" I.D. O-rings from Home Depot. To reduce VTF a bit just slip an O-ring or two on the end stub. Thin O-rings reduce VTF by .01-.02g, thick ones by .04-.05g. Quick, cheap, effective. (For safety, always lock the arm down while adding or removing O-rings.)

7. When adjusting VTA, always bring the pointer to the setting you want by turning it counter-clockwise at least ¼ of a turn. This brings the arm UP to the spot you've selected, which takes up the slop in the threads. You can easily feel this happening.

Hope someone finds these useful. If you know any more, please bring ‘em on!
That's ok, Ralph. I don't get the whole, Atmasphere thing either. Same rave over your amps. I don't hear anything special.

Our TriPlanar still has a UNIverse mounted on it. Glad you finally had the opportunity to hear one. We've enjoyed it since 2004, our infatuations being longer-lived than some.

We've only recently heard a cartridge significantly better it. Can't say more since it's not released yet and we've only got a beta copy. It's a design we'd urged the manufacturer to try from 2007. The recession of 2008 and other events intervened but it's finally here... almost! Review pending... ;)

Swampwalker could probably arrange to hear it, if he wanted. :)

I don't believe the posts below his contribute to the OP's intent and once again request that OT conversations be taken elsewhere.

Regards to all,