TT Arm-base Unipivot vs Gimbal-base Designs...

Any thoughts/insight on a single-point needle unipivot tonearm base vs a gimbal based design for turntables? Have you had both in your TT systems - what are your preferences and why? Pros/Cons...your own personal experiences?

- Function, quality of design, usability & ease of use, design purpose to actual performance - is there a notable difference? Does each system have inherent flaws - what are they?


Your insight is appreciated,



If you use Google, there are endless discussions on the advantages and disadvantages of each type of arm.  In the end, I think it comes down more to the design and execution of each type, rather than whether the arm is unipivot or gimbal.  

Both gimbal and unipoint can be designed to work well. Among the arms in my collection are a Grace 707 gimbal and a Mayware Formula 4 unipivot. Both are low mass with small diameter arm tubes and no headshell. I used both on my Ariston RD11S TT. Both sounded excellent and tracked LPs without any problems. Right now I have the Grace 707/ Denon 103 on the Ariston. For those that don't know the Ariston RD11S is the Scottish cousin to the Linn Sondek - they are sonically equivalent. 

Both designs seem to be made in more/less equal numbers....and on all levels/price-ranges of no real advantages on either?  Taking in to account a "synergy" approach of arm, base, cartridge then both gimbal & unipivot design can perform well/exceptional or poorly if mismatched...I get it.  Those with personal experience with both designs - advantages/disadvantages? If you had the option to step-up or upgrade your next TT system and offered the same table, same arm, same cartridge - but offered in a gimbal vs unipoint design...which would you choose & why? If it was your "last"/final TT - which design & why? Do you only look at the TT, arm, cartridge...unipivot/gimbal does not it just an afterthought... it comes with the rest of the done deal?

My experience with a unipivot arm was a mixed bag. When it was calibrated, it worked fine but almost every time I wanted to spin vinyl, I had to recalibrate the arm(VPI 3D 10 inch unipivot). It was a total PIA. The arm was always cocked to one side or the other and I had to keep tweaking which I hate. After 3 years of ownership and not spinning many records, I traded in the Prime TT and bought the new Technics SL1200G with the magnesium gimballed arm. This TT is a keeper and now I spin vinyl joyously and very often. 

Theoretically I think there is less to go wrong with a unipivot.  With an arm with conventional bearings, the clearances are crucial to good sound and smooth operation, so if you opt for a well made arm. They needn't break the bank - even the lower end Regas have good production standards (although I much refer SME Vs.

I have one system using a Roksan unipivot and have been impressed with the decent sound and lack of fuss using it.