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Mat-with-one-t

12” tonearms - experiences, options, ideas & reviews

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Posted (edited)

Hi all.  I’m looking into a Garrard 401 project, and would like to setup a dual 9” and 12” arm plinth.  

 

Note: as ideas come up in the thread, I’ll try to add them to the list here for a quick reference guide....

 

In terms of 12” arms:

 

- SME 3012, 3012-r or M2-12r.  The most common vintage choice seems to be an SME 3012. I’d love a 3012-r, but they’re scarce and expensive when in good order.

 

- Ortofon Ta-210. Maybe an Ortofon TA-210 to match my TA-110 (which I have already) which I intend to use in the setup?

 

- Goldenage Univector, but no longer available.

 

- Analogue Instruments Siggwan, but no longer available.

 

- EMT 997, but less common and expensive.

 

Ortofon rs-309d, well reviewed.   VTA on the fly....

 

- Audio Creative Groovemaster 2. Nice curved arm that seems to be a great SPU match.  Reasonably priced and high quality.

 

-  Moerch.  Highly regarded with a high price tag to match.

 

 

 

I’d like the 12” to run a range of cart’s, including SPU’s.  I’d like it to have a removable headshell ideally.

 

Which brings me to Thomas Schick. These seem to mate very well with the old Garrards from what I’ve read, and they also look like something that even I may be able to set up!  

 

So who’s got them?  How hard were they to set up?  What setup are you running?Happy with them?  Using SPU’s or “normal” headshells?  Tried Schick’s graphite headshells?

 

Post some pics with your responses!

 

Lastly, Schick has a fancy website, but for the life of me I cant figure out how to order one!  Better still, send me a PM if you have one (or any other 12”) to sell!

All the best,

Mat

Edited by Mat-with-one-t

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Lust object: Thomas Schick idler drive turntable!

https://www.analogplanet.com/content/thomas-schick-explains-his-turntable-design

 

Thomas Schick mods a bargain cartridge see below

 

FYI the Tonar Diabolic!

 

https://snvinyl.co.uk/Tonar-Diabolic-E-DJ-Disco-Cartridge-8mv-MM

<This is a high quality moving magnet cartridge designed primarily for DJ & Disco use, but has also found favour with audiophiles thanks to its sound quality and Elliptical Diamond stylus. The already dynamic sounding original cartridge comes with a lot of refinement, too once modified.Certainly not a competitor to top MC systems, but so appealing in character that it delivers a lot of listening fun. Maybe a silly (and not quite precise) food comparis makes you get the idea.If your High End MC cartridge is Champagne and star cuisine, then this MM system is Whiskey with a BBQ Steak.

I've found the cartridge to really excel with rock-n-roll records, but there are still timest. For example, on Transformer the bass is full and round in just the foundational way that I want it to be. It's big and in-your-face without tubbiness or any obvious distortion. Of course, it's also less than neutral, but I hardly care about that when it sounds so much like real-life rock-n-roll sex music.-Lenco

It is still possible: you can buy in well-known marketplaces disc players, which are still far from the 100 euro mark. This can even be a device that provides decent quality. If it still does not sound, the problem almost always at the very front of the tonearm. ... The Tonar system offers ... an appealing performance, perhaps playing a track harder and more mid-tweeter than the ATs - in any case, it does not have to go back in terms of quality behind the proven hi-fi systems. LP Germany

Tonar – Diabolic E cartridge with high output : 8mV.
The Diabolic-E cartridge is suitable for classic mixing and scratching.
The stylus has an eliptical diamond needle for excellent playback and reliability.
 
Ebony or Cocobolo Improved Wood Body Version
( with simply  partial emoval of standard plastic body for improved performance ) 
Ideal Low Cu Cartridge for new / classic High Mass / Medium Mass - Jelco / Sme etc
wooden body version . I really like this cart especially with the mods, if you have original 50's and 60's Jazz vinyl the sound is very addictive to say the least. Ive tried the combo on a wide range of music and still enjoy the sound its awesome on rock music from the 70's. - LPReview >
 
some more info:
 
Several wood bodies are available for the Tonar. 
 
Thomas Schick even offered a highly modified version for a while, you can see pics and read about it here. The stylus assembly is stripped of all of its plastic, if you have a steady hand with a skalpel it could be DIY
< I offer this cartridge with a modified needle assembly.

The plastic around is being cut away. This makes a very big difference, even to glued assemblies, which is a common ‘trick’ to improve systems with removable needle.
Glueing does not eliminate the problem of the massive amount of thin walled plastic at the needle assembly,it dampens the effect a little. Once cut away the problem is eliminated.

Also the colored dot on the needle is removed, reulting in a lighter cantilever.

Then there is the new housing from the same material I use for my plinths. Very good sound properties here as well, the cartridge is fitted without any cavities, as opposed to the original plastic case.

The already dynamic sounding original cartridge comes with a lot of refinement, too once modified.
Certainly not a competitor to top MC systems, but so appealing in character that it delivers a lot of listening fun.

Maybe a silly (and not quite precise) food comparism makes you get the idea.
If your High End MC cartridge is Champagne and star cuisine, then this MM system is Whiskey with a BBQ Steak.

The modified cartridge is available only together with a graphite headshell. The cartridge is pre mount and cabled in the headshell. >

 

One correspondent says this on a Tonar Diabolic thread

https://www.lencoheaven.net/forum/index.php?topic=23461.0

< Appears to be a variant of Nagaoka 321 also branded as Technics epc 270c. Very good cart, but if you think the vtf is high you can try the Technics or Nagaoka needle. It tracks at 1,8 gram. >

https://audiokarma.org/forums/index.php?threads/mystery-nagaoka-cart.551157/

 

regards Ian

 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Ian McP said:

Lust object: Thomas Schick idler drive turntable!

https://www.analogplanet.com/content/thomas-schick-explains-his-turntable-design

 

Thomas Schick mods a bargain cartridge see below

 

FYI the Tonar Diabolic!

 

https://snvinyl.co.uk/Tonar-Diabolic-E-DJ-Disco-Cartridge-8mv-MM

<This is a high quality moving magnet cartridge designed primarily for DJ & Disco use, but has also found favour with audiophiles thanks to its sound quality and Elliptical Diamond stylus. The already dynamic sounding original cartridge comes with a lot of refinement, too once modified.Certainly not a competitor to top MC systems, but so appealing in character that it delivers a lot of listening fun. Maybe a silly (and not quite precise) food comparis makes you get the idea.If your High End MC cartridge is Champagne and star cuisine, then this MM system is Whiskey with a BBQ Steak.

I've found the cartridge to really excel with rock-n-roll records, but there are still timest. For example, on Transformer the bass is full and round in just the foundational way that I want it to be. It's big and in-your-face without tubbiness or any obvious distortion. Of course, it's also less than neutral, but I hardly care about that when it sounds so much like real-life rock-n-roll sex music.-Lenco

It is still possible: you can buy in well-known marketplaces disc players, which are still far from the 100 euro mark. This can even be a device that provides decent quality. If it still does not sound, the problem almost always at the very front of the tonearm. ... The Tonar system offers ... an appealing performance, perhaps playing a track harder and more mid-tweeter than the ATs - in any case, it does not have to go back in terms of quality behind the proven hi-fi systems. LP Germany

Tonar – Diabolic E cartridge with high output : 8mV.
The Diabolic-E cartridge is suitable for classic mixing and scratching.
The stylus has an eliptical diamond needle for excellent playback and reliability.
 
Ebony or Cocobolo Improved Wood Body Version
( with simply  partial emoval of standard plastic body for improved performance ) 
Ideal Low Cu Cartridge for new / classic High Mass / Medium Mass - Jelco / Sme etc
wooden body version . I really like this cart especially with the mods, if you have original 50's and 60's Jazz vinyl the sound is very addictive to say the least. Ive tried the combo on a wide range of music and still enjoy the sound its awesome on rock music from the 70's. - LPReview >
 
some more info:
 
Several wood bodies are available for the Tonar. 
 
Thomas Schick even offered a highly modified version for a while, you can see pics and read about it here. The stylus assembly is stripped of all of its plastic, if you have a steady hand with a skalpel it could be DIY
< I offer this cartridge with a modified needle assembly.

The plastic around is being cut away. This makes a very big difference, even to glued assemblies, which is a common ‘trick’ to improve systems with removable needle.
Glueing does not eliminate the problem of the massive amount of thin walled plastic at the needle assembly,it dampens the effect a little. Once cut away the problem is eliminated.

Also the colored dot on the needle is removed, reulting in a lighter cantilever.

Then there is the new housing from the same material I use for my plinths. Very good sound properties here as well, the cartridge is fitted without any cavities, as opposed to the original plastic case.

The already dynamic sounding original cartridge comes with a lot of refinement, too once modified.
Certainly not a competitor to top MC systems, but so appealing in character that it delivers a lot of listening fun.

Maybe a silly (and not quite precise) food comparism makes you get the idea.
If your High End MC cartridge is Champagne and star cuisine, then this MM system is Whiskey with a BBQ Steak.

The modified cartridge is available only together with a graphite headshell. The cartridge is pre mount and cabled in the headshell. >

 

One correspondent says this on a Tonar Diabolic thread

https://www.lencoheaven.net/forum/index.php?topic=23461.0

< Appears to be a variant of Nagaoka 321 also branded as Technics epc 270c. Very good cart, but if you think the vtf is high you can try the Technics or Nagaoka needle. It tracks at 1,8 gram. >

https://audiokarma.org/forums/index.php?threads/mystery-nagaoka-cart.551157/

 

regards Ian

 

Cheers Ian.  Once I get all this set up I'll only have $50 left for a cart, so nice option!!  As for the 8mV output, I probably can save by not needing a phono stage!  Straight to amp!!??  Heh.

Edited by Mat-with-one-t

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I use the Morch DP-6. You can use either the 9 or 12 inch arm tubes. Plus the arm tubes you can buy with differing effective mass.

UP-6 is the unipivot version. DP-8 is the reference version. All use the same armtubes.

Very flexible. The arms are not cheap but the arm tubes are quite reasonable!

Paul R

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Well priced Ortofon and Morch 12" arms here?

 

http://www.audioreference.co.nz/specials

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13 hours ago, Paul R said:

I use the Morch DP-6. You can use either the 9 or 12 inch arm tubes. Plus the arm tubes you can buy with differing effective mass.

UP-6 is the unipivot version. DP-8 is the reference version. All use the same armtubes.

Very flexible. The arms are not cheap but the arm tubes are quite reasonable!

Paul R

Thanks Paul.  They look rather special, however I reckon I’ll go for a removable head shell for this one....

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23 hours ago, Mat-with-one-t said:

Thanks Paul.  They look rather special, however I reckon I’ll go for a removable head shell for this one....

 

Don't forget though, Mat, that a removable arm tube (with a fixed head shell that the cart is bolted to):

  • performs just the same function that a removable head shell does - enables you to quickly replace carts
  • but perhaps is more flexible as it enables Cart A to have a light (eff weight) arm tube ... yet Cart B to have a heavy (eff weight) arm tube!  Thus the same arm can be used for light carts with high compliance plus heavier carts with low or medium compliance.  :thumb:

 

Andy

 

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5 hours ago, andyr said:

 

Don't forget though, Mat, that a removable arm tube (with a fixed head shell that the cart is bolted to):

  • performs just the same function that a removable head shell does - enables you to quickly replace carts
  • but perhaps is more flexible as it enables Cart A to have a light (eff weight) arm tube ... yet Cart B to have a heavy (eff weight) arm tube!  Thus the same arm can be used for light carts with high compliance plus heavier carts with low or medium compliance.  :thumb:

 

Andy

 

Thanks Andy.  Didn’t consider that as an option!  So I assume these arms have optional, um, arms?  Would I be right to assume, however, that a few armtubes would cost a lot more than a few headshells?  

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9 hours ago, Mat-with-one-t said:

Thanks Andy.  Didn’t consider that as an option!  So I assume these arms have optional, um, arms?  Would I be right to assume, however, that a few armtubes would cost a lot more than a few headshells?  

 

Yes, Mat, the feature of Moerch arms is they have removable arm tubes ... instead of headshells.

 

Yes, I expect arm tubes will cost more than headshells - but they do mean the arm itself can match different cart types.  Whereas I have to have 2 different arms on my TT:

  • a very lightweight am (eff weight 7gms) for my high-compliance MM, and
  • a heavy arm (eff weight 23gms) for my low compliance MC.

 

Andy

 

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45 minutes ago, andyr said:

 

Yes, Mat, the feature of Moerch arms is they have removable arm tubes ... instead of headshells.

 

Yes, I expect arm tubes will cost more than headshells - but they do mean the arm itself can match different cart types.  Whereas I have to have 2 different arms on my TT:

  • a very lightweight am (eff weight 7gms) for my high-compliance MM, and
  • a heavy arm (eff weight 23gms) for my low compliance MC.

 

Andy

 

https://krispyaudio.com.au/products/morch-replacement-armtubes.html

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