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Tonearm, yes tonearms for record players.

Purité Audio

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#1
Getting a new Gramaphone which doesn’t have a tonearm, I thought perhaps we could discuss the design criteria, any stand out designs or is simply one compromise versus another.
Keith
 

Blumlein 88

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#2
I think quality linear trackers are worth the effort. Not sure about the cost. The one I've most experience with is the old Souther Triquartz. The Clearaudio TT1 and TT2 are derivatives of that. But are obscenely priced. Clearaudio does offer the TT5 for $3750.

Of course I'm not up to date on what modern over-performing arms are available at saner pricing.

The old Rega RB300 was one I used for some years. They make a similar RB330 which isn't insanely priced.

I once owned an SME, but I didn't find it to be much difference vs the Rega.

BTW:if you find an old Souther Triquartz I can't imagine anything on it would ever wear out.
 
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#3
or did the OP actually mean a real gramophone where the tonearm has a diaphragm reproducing head actuated by the steel needle, and is hollow, forming the first part of the acoustic horn system?
 
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Purité Audio

Purité Audio

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Thread Starter #4
No I just thought using the term ‘Gramaphone’ would illicit some replies from gentlemen of a certain age , who know their stuff.
Frank, Serge, is there a ‘best’ tonearm design?
Keith
 

Frank Dernie

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#5
No I just thought using the term ‘Gramaphone’ would illicit some replies from gentlemen of a certain age , who know their stuff.
Frank, Serge, is there a ‘best’ tonearm design?
Keith
Not that I am aware of.
The SME series V is the only one I know of which has all aspects of the bearing locations correct but being whittled from a solid lump has very little internal damping.
I favour parallel tracking but most of them have a very high lateral effective mass and very low vertical which completely screws up the cartridge output in the dross region (ie below 2x natural frequency when the output is inaccurate anyway).
I saw a german one which looked appropriately OTT, similar to the Rabco and Goldmund in concept.
https://www.dereneville.de/Prod_DTT03SL.html
 
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Purité Audio

Purité Audio

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Thread Starter #6
Frank, I hoped you would see the thread, I have followed the Derenville table/arm development I will write to them.
Are there any arms that should be avoided , what do you think of the Thales twin tube, turny Headshell designs?
Keith
 

Frank Dernie

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#7
Frank, I hoped you would see the thread, I have followed the Derenville table/arm development I will write to them.
Are there any arms that should be avoided , what do you think of the Thales twin tube, turny Headshell designs?
Keith
I like the Thales idea but have never seen one.
The ones I would avoid are the "one trick pony" type where one parameter has been raised to mythical importance and others ignored, or partly so.
Arms with plenty of bolted or interference fit junctions will have far more internal damping than anything made from solid or bonded.
A bolted junction with the bolts at their recommended torque (rather than reefed up as advised by Linn) will have reasonable internal damping so less arm resonance likely to buzz the headshell - I think the Linn foot tapping bollox was all about little tizzy resonances getting to the cartridge body since that is what their advice would probably do.
Having a separate arm damper is a completely different thing and probably not needed unless part of the cartridge design a la Shure. Whichever way it is done the basic historic record player design precludes the damping being in the correct place for ideal transduction, one of the many compromises inherent.
 

sergeauckland

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#8
I desisted from commenting as Frank has probably forgotten more about arms than I've ever known. Mechanics has never been my strong suit, but if you want to know about PPMs......

S
 

mhardy6647

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#9
Well, the first question is (or perhaps should be) what cartridge do you wish to use? IF, e.g., one wishes to use a low compliance cartridge (e.g., an unsuffixed DL-103), a fairly massive arm is going to be the 'best' choice.

On the bright side, there seems to be an array of more good (albeit fairly expensive) arms nowadays than I ever remember in the past (and, of course, there's a bevy of fine vintage choices)... and cartridges nowadays seem mostly to be kind of medium mass and medium compliance. We don't much see the extremes that we were used to, e.g., in the 1970s.

FWIW, I use a vintage A-T arm with a DL-103; I am not a high-roller in the vinyl game ;)

DSC_8876 (3)
by Mark Hardy, on Flickr
 

Martin

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#10
I have a Mørch UP-4 that I quite like. It's very fiddly to setup and feels like it could fall apart every time you touch it but is very stable in use. Their DP tonearms are nice too.



http://www.moerch.dk/

This is it mounted on my Opera Consonance LP-2.0 turntable with my old Grado Reference Sonata cartridge.



I just replaced the cartridge with a stylus replacement swap through Grado for a new Reference Sonata 2.

Martin
 

anmpr1

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#11
If tracking error is troublesome, I've run across updated versions of the '70s Garrard Zero arm, which was similar in function to the Burne Jones pantograph arm from the 1950s. First is the Vira, and next a more expensive Klaudio.

vira.jpg


kl.jpg


burnes.jpg
 

JeffS7444

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#12
Back in my audiophile days, I never had the opportunity to perform an ABX comparision between arms, but it might have been interesting! And a pity I got sucked into the British belt-driven / separate tonearm fad rather than putting my money in the likes of a Sony Biotracer, as the latter seemed to solve a lot of problems like arm resonances using technology unavailable to smaller producers.

Linear versus pivoted: I don't know that I've ever noticed any real difference distortion-wise. Current setup is pivoted (AT LP120 USB with stock arm) and while some records sound noticeably worse towards the innermost tracks, I suspect it may be more due to reduced linear velocity, because tracing error isn't particularly high in this area - I've aligned my cartridge with Stevenson geometry which aims to minimize inner groove distortion.

Today, unless choosing vintage/secondhand it seems like the lower-priced choices come down to Jelco and it's variants, or Rega. If choosing vintage, then Linn Ittok is an easy pick for me because I know how to service those. And yes, some arms may need servicing as lubricants turn to sludge over time, and the Ittok is one of them.
 
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Purité Audio

Purité Audio

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Thread Starter #14
Not that I am aware of.
The SME series V is the only one I know of which has all aspects of the bearing locations correct but being whittled from a solid lump has very little internal damping.
I favour parallel tracking but most of them have a very high lateral effective mass and very low vertical which completely screws up the cartridge output in the dross region (ie below 2x natural frequency when the output is inaccurate anyway).
I saw a german one which looked appropriately OTT, similar to the Rabco and Goldmund in concept.
https://www.dereneville.de/Prod_DTT03SL.html
Speaking with Rainer at Derenville it does look interesting but pretty expensive E30k , there is thread discussing the arm’s development here,
https://www.whatsbestforum.com/threads/dereneville-linear-scanning-of-the-grooves.28801/

Keith
 

Frank Dernie

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#15
Speaking with Rainer at Derenville it does look interesting but pretty expensive E30k , there is thread discussing the arm’s development here,
https://www.whatsbestforum.com/threads/dereneville-linear-scanning-of-the-grooves.28801/

Keith
I have commented on the WBF thread - I only go there very infrequently though.
That is very expensive but if you look at the engineering and components included and compare it to what some others charge for nothing like as much engineering...
 

pozz

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#18
Doesn't look like the stylus is anywhere near the plane or axis of whatever might be guessed to be the effective pivot centre of the "bearing" so goodness knows how the headshell will be moving! Certainly not as it should, anyway.
It was very wobbly with the slightest touch. No compensation built-in. I asked the vendor/designer about it and he changed the subject.
 

Frank Dernie

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#19
It was very wobbly with the slightest touch. No compensation built-in. I asked the vendor/designer about it and he changed the subject.
:facepalm:
There was far more knowledge and understanding of how a record player worked and how to optimise it when big manufacturers were making cleverly engineered inexpensive kit in the 1970s.
Today's small boutique manufacturers often seen to have no clue and sell to people even more clueless than they are using BS, buzz words and fancy styling/finish :(
 

pozz

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#20
I got the sense he was very proud of the idea and the finished product. It was more a personal statement than a considered engineering contribution.
 
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