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12 inch Tonearm Recommendation


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Keen to try long 12" tonearm (mounting distance close to 300mm) and not sure which ones are good for Medium compliance Moving Magnet Cartridges. I might pair it with Denon DL-103 but mainly pair with MM Carts.

 

I am certain that there are so many choices but try to keep the list well under 2K budget.

 

After quick browsing, came up with below short list.

 

+ Schick 12" Tonearm (Germany)

+ The Wand Unipivot 12" tonearm (NZ)

+ TemaadAudio Wizard UniPivot Tonearm (NZ)

+ Karmadon Viscous damped unipivot tonearm (Ukraine)

+ Alfred version of Ortofon AS-309 12" tonearm (Spain)

+ SME 3012 12" Tonearm (England)

 

Has anyone tried any of above tonearms? If I miss any good one, please share. 

 

Thank you very much for your feedback and suggestions. :) 

Edited by Spider27
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I own one of the first generation 9 inch versions of The Wand.  Everything I've read indicates that subsequent versions and the 12 inch variants are even better.  I run a DL103r with an alloy body.  Previously I ran an Ortofon Rondo Blue.

Brilliant tonearm at a very competitive price.
 

Unipivots do something special with regard to timing and PRaT.  The Wand does astounding things with micro and macro dynamics and detail recovery.

I'm a very big fan.

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30 minutes ago, FR DRew said:

I own one of the first generation 9 inch versions of The Wand.  Everything I've read indicates that subsequent versions and the 12 inch variants are even better.  I run a DL103r with an alloy body.  Previously I ran an Ortofon Rondo Blue.

Brilliant tonearm at a very competitive price.
 

Unipivots do something special with regard to timing and PRaT.  The Wand does astounding things with micro and macro dynamics and detail recovery.

I'm a very big fan.

 

Thank you very much for feedback. I just googled for review and it has many positive feedback and it is an excellent match with DL103 family.

I initially thought that it would be a bad match with low compliance cart because the arm tube looks to be hollow and light. 

 

Have you found that it is fussy to setup  and adjust? And, are they okay with minor footfalls? 

 

Just read review from Stereophile with excellent positive review but AD (Art Dudley?) cautions, "in its installation and adjustment, the Wand Plus is fussier than average and is best suited for users who are either comfortable with such or are fortunate to have very good dealers."

Edited by Spider27
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Hmm, don't know if I'm more mechanically minded than the average bear...  I found the supplied setup tool was marvellous and that the instructions for alignment, azimuth, antiskate and downforce were very easy to understand (and adjustment on the newer versions has become simpler).  Follow the instructions and you should be fine.  Any issues and I'm sure you will find that Simon (the maker of the arm) is a great guy to deal with and will go out of his way to assist.

I haven't had a problem with footfalls, but my TT is very well isolated on a structure that used to be an old brick fireplace.

 

While hollow and light, the arm tube is very rigid (a function of the very large diameter) and appears to not store vibration over a long duration, but dissipates it very quickly (I suspect in a similar way to the old Torlyte that Russ Andrews used to produce).

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2 minutes ago, Pegasus said:

Kuzma Stabi 12inch with VTA

https://sonicpurity.com.au/store/tonearms/kuzma-stogi-s-12-vta

I replaced the 9 inch on my Kuzma Stabi TT with this.

I also have a 10.5 inch The Wand on my Pink Triangle P Two.

Wow. you have some awesome tonearms. 

May I ask which one you liked more between Kuzma Stabi and Wand?

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The Stabi.

But it's an unfair comparison as the complete setups are at very different price points.

The Stabi is a $4k tonearm on which is mounted a $4k LO MC (ZYX Airy 3) cartridge playing through a $5.5 phono stage (RCM Sensor2).

 

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Just read Stereophile Recommended Listing on components for year 2020.

https://www.stereophile.com/content/recommended-components-2020-edition-turntables-tonearms-cartridges-etc

 

Kuzma 4 point tonearm is Class A.  

Wand Plus is Class B.

 

I guess that Wand Plus went to Class B not because of performance but a bit finicky to set up for normal users but still very positively reviewed.

 

What I personally intrigued is Schick 12" Tonearm which is listed in Class A and seem reasonably priced.

 

Has anyone tried Schick 12" arm before?

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Just now, Spider27 said:

Just read Stereophile Recommended Listing on components for year 2020.

https://www.stereophile.com/content/recommended-components-2020-edition-turntables-tonearms-cartridges-etc

 

Kuzma 4 point tonearm is Class A.  

Wand Plus is Class B.

 

I guess that Wand Plus went to Class B not because of performance but a bit finicky to set up for normal users but still very positively reviewed.

 

What I personally intrigued is Schick 12" Tonearm which is listed in Class A and seem reasonably priced.

 

Has anyone tried Schick 12" arm before?

The Wand Plus arms are a little tricky to get your head around initially,  however they are seriously good arms and very user friendly once comfortable with them.

Instructions and support from Simon Brown are both excellent. 

 

The Master silver carbon fibre arms are in another level again, and drop dead gorgeous looking in the flesh!

I'd consider one of these too, talk with Simon . 

https://witchdoctor.co.nz/index.php/2017/09/the-wand-master-series-tonearm-review/

 

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Hi

 

i have had several 12” Schick arms and used them on different TT like Garrard 301, 401 and Platine Verdier.

i prefer them to similar Ortofon arms and the SME 3012. They are easy to handle and rock solid no BS constructions especially for medium to low compliance cartridges. I used them mainly with SPU’s but A DL 103 or some of the EMT reincarnations should work well too

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5 minutes ago, christianb said:

Hi

i have had several 12” Schick arms and used them on different TT like Garrard 301, 401 and Platine Verdier.

i prefer them to similar Ortofon arms and the SME 3012. They are easy to handle and rock solid no BS constructions especially for medium to low compliance cartridges. I used them mainly with SPU’s but A DL 103 or some of the EMT reincarnations should work well too

 

Great to know from someone who actually used them before. Thank you for sharing.  

 

The Schick arm looks very clean without complication. It looks very similar to AS309 and great to know that you prefer it against Ortofon and SME2012.

 

For those who use SPU, it would be no brainer. :) 

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Never tried uni-pivot arm and have I understood correctly that Gimbal Bearing Detachable headshell arm such as Schick or SME 3012 would be a bit simpler to setup and much easier to swap the cartridge, on the other hand, UniPivot arm would have more control or easier to tweak on azimuth?

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

A few points, look at the tracking error with 9 inch and 12 inch, you gain very little advantage with a 2 inch arm over a 9 inch. You are far better with a really good 9 inch than an average 12 inch. I have a 12 inch Jelco on my Commonwealth and i really dont see the advantage in sonics of the longer arm. I have a unit pivot Hadcock on another turntable which is a nice arm, but uni pivot is far from an ideal bearing, it is done as it is easy not because it is good, uni pivot have a tendency to wobble so yes they do have there own sound..

If you are looking for a really good arm how about something like this http://www.eminent-tech.com/index.html?fwd=tonearm_ver2.html

I have an updated ET2 on my SP10mk2 they are a very good arm indeed. Stereophile way back put them up there with the best of the best available.

Chris

 

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2 hours ago, cafe latte said:

A few points, look at the tracking error with 9 inch and 12 inch, you gain very little advantage with a 2 inch arm over a 9 inch. You are far better with a really good 9 inch than an average 12 inch. I have a 12 inch Jelco on my Commonwealth and i really dont see the advantage in sonics of the longer arm. I have a unit pivot Hadcock on another turntable which is a nice arm, but uni pivot is far from an ideal bearing, it is done as it is easy not because it is good, uni pivot have a tendency to wobble so yes they do have there own sound..

If you are looking for a really good arm how about something like this http://www.eminent-tech.com/index.html?fwd=tonearm_ver2.html

I have an updated ET2 on my SP10mk2 they are a very good arm indeed. Stereophile way back put them up there with the best of the best available.

Chris

 

Thank you very much for sharing.  :) 

 

Most of 12" tonearm producers claim that 12in version enjoys a 24~30% reduction in distortion over 9in version. Isn't it really the case? 

 

And, Isn't the case that UniPivot has only one pivot comparing with 2 for gimbal bearing so less friction and also more control of azimuth than Gimbal bearing tonearm?

 

I guess that it is all about implementation given the choice of type and isn't UniPivot better bang for buck if same price category between UV and Gimbal bearing tonearms?

 

The ET2.5 looks very interesting and I guess that it is linear tracking arm that involves air pump? It seems a bit overwhelming for novice like me. :) 

 

 

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24 minutes ago, Spider27 said:

Thank you very much for sharing.  :) 

 

Most of 12" tonearm producers claim that 12in version enjoys a 24~30% reduction in distortion over 9in version. Isn't it really the case? 

 

And, Isn't the case that UniPivot has only one pivot comparing with 2 for gimbal bearing so less friction and also more control of azimuth than Gimbal bearing tonearm?

 

I guess that it is all about implementation given the choice of type and isn't UniPivot better bang for buck if same price category between UV and Gimbal bearing tonearms?

 

The ET2.5 looks very interesting and I guess that it is linear tracking arm that involves air pump? It seems a bit overwhelming for novice like me. :) 

 

 

The uni pivot is the cheapest way to make a bearing, some of the lowest friction bearings are on the Technics turntable which is gimble. One big issue with uni pivot is we go to great extents to get the stylus pointing directly at the record at the correct angle, then a uni pivot allows the arm to wobble which it will as it tracks the record groove if bearing lets it this wobble translates to the stylus tip wobbling in the groove which is not good. Solutions to the problem people have used magnets, string devices, but all will not eliminate that wobble.

Re 9 inch compared to 12 inch no there nowhere near that much tracking improvement it is a tiny difference, I cant remember how much but a google and VE should give the real numbers and it is very much less. The Eminent arms are amazing but yes they need an air pump.

Chris

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Kuzma Stogi REF 313 VTA . Very happy w/ mine . User friendly . VTA on the fly  , Azimuth can be adjusted easily and repeatedly . Removal headshell as well . Sounds good as well in my setup w/ a Benz Micro Gullwing SLR Cartridge  

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Sharing my 5 cents worth.

 

Look to get yourself a second hand VPI JMW 12.5 and with the left over cash upgrade the cart. There are far better options on the market than using the Denon DL-103 LOMC or any MM cart on a 12-inch wand.

 

The DL-103 needs tuning with the right SUT as it does with the right tonearm effective mass.

 

Once you find out the tonearm's effective mass use the calculator on vinyl engine to work out if the dynamic compliance value is in the middle of the range for the DL-103 relative to its mass. I can't overemphasise how critical this step is when taking on recommendations for tonearm and cart combos. No matter what you try you may never get there in the end mechanically for achieving the best possible tracking performance.

 

 

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13 minutes ago, xlr8or said:

Sharing my 5 cents worth.

 

Look to get yourself a second hand VPI JMW 12.5 and with the left over cash upgrade the cart. There are far better options on the market than using the Denon DL-103 LOMC or any MM cart on a 12-inch wand.

 

The DL-103 needs tuning with the right SUT as it does with the right tonearm effective mass.

 

Once you find out the tonearm's effective mass use the calculator on vinyl engine to work out if the dynamic compliance value is in the middle of the range for the DL-103 relative to its mass. I can't overemphasise how critical this step is when taking on recommendations for tonearm and cart combos. No matter what you try you may never get there in the end mechanically for achieving the best possible tracking performance.

 

 

I recently retipped a Denon dl03d which is happier with lower effective mass than normal 103, I will agree the Deon sounds lovely, I test all my retips and I was sad to take it off and pack it up to send off. Anyway I did not find it critical at all, I just used my DNM MC phono stage no sut needed and it was lovely. Re MM, my best carts are MI not MC, my second best are MM then it is my MC's. There are some amazing MM and MI's out there.

Chris

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17 minutes ago, awty said:

I have a 12" Karmadon and a Rondo blue. Works for me. Haven't noticed any tracking issues, certainty doesn't wobble. 

They all (uni pivot) wobble be it visibly or not. The ones which are damped with magnets or thread dont do it so obviously but remember a MR tip (Ones I fit I measured) are 0.1mmx 0.1mm by 0.5mm long or 0.3 for Boron. The tip is many times less than this these are actual stylus diamond measurements. How much wobble do you think there needs to be to adversely affect sounds? The tips is fractions of a mm wobble you wont even see will cause playback issues.

Chris

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53 minutes ago, awty said:

I have a 12" Karmadon and a Rondo blue. Works for me. Haven't noticed any tracking issues, certainty doesn't wobble. 

Is karmadon arm damped with thick silicon fluid hence less affected by wobble?

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28 minutes ago, Spider27 said:

Is karmadon arm damped with thick silicon fluid hence less affected by wobble?

Yep. Plus a low centre of gravity so it can't wobble once set up correctly. 

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As you can see in this picture the cup holds the goo and there is a half ball in the dome of the wand with a slot which allows for the arm to travel up and down and side ways but prevents wobble.

 

karmodon.jpg.70769a402cbf37b1db5e491cbac12115.jpg

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1 minute ago, cafe latte said:

They all wobble (uni pivots) some less than others, the damping goop, string or magnets just reduce the amount they dont eliminate it.

Chris

 

I think Bob Graham would disagree with you.

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20 minutes ago, cafe latte said:

They all wobble (uni pivots) some less than others, the damping goop, string or magnets just reduce the amount they dont eliminate it.

Chris

 

19 minutes ago, metal beat said:

I think Bob Graham would disagree with you.

 

Bob certainly would!  xD

 

At least my G2.2 had a silicon bath which the pivot point rested in.  I can believe that this might 'work ' better (in terms of wobble) than Duc's 'UniVector'.  Then again, shirley any 'wobble' would reveal itself in loss of resolution … and a confimed digiphile who came and listened to my system last year said "I'm amazed you can get so much resolution from vinyl ".  (This is with Duc's arm.)

 

However, my other arm is a Magnepan 'Unitrac' - from the 80s.  This is interesting because - although it is a UP … the downward-facing spike rests in a ball race (not a cup).  So maybe this makes for less 'wobble ' than a spike resting in a jewelled cup (or a cup resting on top of a spike)?

 

Andy

 

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14 minutes ago, andyr said:

 

 

Bob certainly would!  xD

 

At least my G2.2 had a silicon bath which the pivot point rested in.  I can believe that this might 'work ' better (in terms of wobble) than Duc's 'UniVector'.  Then again, shirley any 'wobble' would reveal itself in loss of resolution … and a confimed digiphile who came and listened to my system last year said "I'm amazed you can get so much resolution from vinyl ".  (This is with Duc's arm.)

 

However, my other arm is a Magnepan 'Unitrac' - from the 80s.  This is interesting because - although it is a UP … the downward-facing spike rests in a ball race (not a cup).  So maybe this makes for less 'wobble ' than a spike resting in a jewelled cup (or a cup resting on top of a spike)?

 

Andy

 

 

Bob uses magnets to stop any wobble on all his current tonearms.

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J . Walton solved the stability problem of unipivot arms by adding de-coupling bearings to the pivot weight cup. That occurred around 1960 and it was  known as the Acos Hi-Light pickup arm.  Unfortunately it only excepted the heads  that were designed to operate at very low tracking pressures, 1 gram for the mono and 2 gram for the stereo model.  Not being able to use other cartridges was a drawback.

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10 hours ago, metal beat said:

 

I think Bob Graham would disagree with you.

They all wobble no matter if damped, the wobble can be reduced with damping, strings magnets etc, but they wobble no matter how little they do.

Chris

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9 hours ago, metal beat said:

 

Bob uses magnets to stop any wobble on all his current tonearms.

The magnet wont stop ANY wobble it will reduce  the wobble.

Chris

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46 minutes ago, cafe latte said:

They all wobble no matter if damped, the wobble can be reduced with damping, strings magnets etc, but they wobble no matter how little they do.

Chris

 

44 minutes ago, cafe latte said:

The magnet wont stop ANY wobble it will reduce  the wobble.

Chris

 

Feel free to read about the magnaglide system.   Have you used a Graham arm?

 

https://www.analogplanet.com/content/graham-engineering-phantom-b-44-tonearm-page-2

 

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