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2sheds Top 10 Tonearms Part 1


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OK. Out of all of the wonderful tonearms, which ones would I most like to own ? Take note, guys....Christmas is coming...:D

1. Schröder The Reference Price around $6500

schroder-ref-008.jpg

If I could have but one tonearm, this would be it. Without doubt one of the best tonearms currently available. Handmade there is a 12 month wait. it copes well with turntables and cartridges new and old, unlike many arms.

2. Tri-Planar Ultimate (Mk VII) Price around $5000

triplanar.jpgattachment.php?attachmentid=3038&d=1216173080

A stunning piece of engineering, with the ultimate level of adjustability. Not one for your Garrard 301/401 or any other idler drive, but a wonderful match for more modern turntables.

3. Ikeda IT-407 12" Price around $4000 (recently discontinued but still available)

arm.jpg

From the man who designde the legendary Fidelity Research arms and cartidges, there is probably no finer arm for your Garrard/Thorens/Lenco idler drive. These arms are engineered by a man who is fanatical (and recently retired) about quaility and is well suited to the heavyweight Denon and Ortofon SPU cartridges. Get one whilst you still can...:mad:

4. EMT 997 12" Price around $5000

emt.jpg

A recreation of the legendary EMT 997 'banana' tonearm. Those who have heard it compared to the world's very best arms (Tri-Planar, Schroeder, SME V) have walked away stunned by it's sound. Deceptive looks hide one of the best sounding arms on the planet.

5. Micro Seiki MAX 282 Discontinued

06x.jpg

A very unique tonearm, the MAX-282 is based on a three-point gyroscopic mount for vanishingly low horizontal and vertical friction. Once properly balanced, the tracking force is applied around the pivot not by a counterwieght but by a precision torsion bar ; this system keeps the MAX-282 in balance even if the turntable isn't perfectly level and also enables better tracking of warped or eccentric records with no fluctuation of the stylus force.

The arm base is machined from solid brass and made to be mounted on the turntable on a massive stabiliser, also machined from solid brass. Height adjustment is provided by a double collet chuckle system - so solid a system that the entire turntable could be lifted by the MAX-282 !

Fluid damping can be applied at the pivot with the aid of two different oils of different viscosities.

An amazing tonearm in 1981-1988 when it was built, and much sought after today. The MAX-282 is a 12" arm whilst the MAX-237 is a 9" arm.

cheers

2sheds

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6. Da Vinci Grandezza Grand Reference 12" Price around $8000

attachment.php?attachmentid=3028&d=1216170240

Swiss-made and just a wonderful arm. Beautifull looks are matched by it's sound. Yes, please.

7. Stax UA-7 Discontinued

yp-1000-ua7.jpg

A Japanese arm first launched in 1970, long since discontinued, but ne of the best tonearms in it's day. Is there a more beautiful tonearm that this? I doubt it.

8. Continuum Copperhead Price around $7000

1205798474.jpg

Butt ugly, extremely expensive, but, by all accounts a stunning sounding arm. This Australian designed arm has made quite an impact.

9. MØRCH DP-6 Price around $2500

morch.jpg

A lovely arm from Denmark. This arm is relatively good value compared to the other arms. You can change the wands and counterweights to get a 12' arm a 9" arm and for high, medium and low compliance cartridges. The DP-6 uses a balanced version of a unipivot with fluid damping.

10. Audio-Technica AT-1503 IIIa Price around $2000

f_audiotechnica_at1503iiia.jpg

Did I hear you say Garrard 301? Denon MC...? Here's an arm for you. A very simple looking tonearm but based on a great heritage and extremely good engineering.

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So which one are you buying then Sheds :mad:

Mondie,

Depends...If I stick with an idler drive (Garrard 301 or Thorens TD-124) I will probably eventually go for an Ikeda IT-407 or EMT 997. If I go for a more modern turntable, I think the Schroeder has my name on it, if I can wait that long. :D Subject to getting by my accountant, of course. :D

cheers

2sheds

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How'd you get that many images on one post??

:mad:

:D

:D

Special bloody priveleges hey?

Lovely arms mate

Hope you manage to fit the JMW and the SME 5 into your top ten

Apparently the handsome guys get an allowance for more images per post...:D

I love the SME V and the JMW (particularly 12.7) and the JMW, at $3000 is relatively good value, but I just couldn't squeeze them into my Top 10. The SME V would seem almost interchangeable with the Tri-planar. They both are extremely well engineered, rigid, complex arms with loads of adjustability. If I didn't have a sentimental streak for the Micro Seiki and Stax, the SME V and VPi JMW 12.7, might well be in my Top 10.

cheers

2sheds

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I didnt know you were into tonearms Shedsy..........:mad:

It's a new passion, Jake :D I just saw a long winded thread in SNA yesterday, posted by some boofhead whose name escapes me....:D

cheers

2sheds

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Luckily I all ready have mine. Almost jewel like quality, interchangable arm wands, setup the cartridge off the table and repeatable easily adjustable VTA.

Still deciding on the 2nd arm, however the new Ortofon's 9 and 12inch are supposed to be good for around the 2k mark.

2620218723_5caab2d073.jpg?v=0

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Luckily I all ready have mine. Almost jewel like quality, interchangable arm wands, setup the cartridge off the table and repeatable easily adjustable VTA.

Still deciding on the 2nd arm, however the new Ortofon's 9 and 12inch are supposed to be good for around the 2k mark.

Do you have any pictures/name of the new Ortofon tonearms? I can't find much info from their official website.

Graham Phatom would be in my Top 5.

Nice thread 2S.

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Luckily I all ready have mine. Almost jewel like quality, interchangable arm wands, setup the cartridge off the table and repeatable easily adjustable VTA.

Still deciding on the 2nd arm, however the new Ortofon's 9 and 12inch are supposed to be good for around the 2k mark.

2620218723_5caab2d073.jpg?v=0

Mmmm.....the Phantom. Can I make a Top 11..? :mad: Yes, I do believe the Ortofons are (as they always were) pretty good. The Japanese are very fond of them, particualrly with Denons and SPU cartridges. I had difficulty choosing between the Audio-Technica AT-1503 and Ortofon RS-309D, and still do :D

cheers

2sheds

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Do you have any pictures/name of the new Ortofon tonearms? I can't find much info from their official website.

Graham Phatom would be in my Top 5.

Nice thread 2S.

try here jaspert, Aussie distributor

http://www.speakerbits.com/Default.aspx?menupage=137?=2

I am not sure but I don't think there is any sound quality difference between the dynamic and static tonearms.

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Do you have any pictures/name of the new Ortofon tonearms? I can't find much info from their official website.

Graham Phatom would be in my Top 5.

Nice thread 2S.

Thanks Jaspert:D

title.gif

rs_212d_309d_l.jpg

rs_212d_309d_02.jpg

Dynamic type tonearm RS-212D ? RS-309D

  • Cross suspension system:
  • Dynamic balance: Unlike the conventional dynamic type tonearms that are prone to an adverse effect of the spiral spring vibration. RS tonearm completely eliminate the external vibration by new spring mechanism housed within the pivot case.
    New RS tonearm is able to calibrate from 0 - 5g ideal for heavy cartridge of SPU.
  • Inside force canceller: Anti-skating tracking force can be calibrated from 0-5g with calibration dial.
  • Tonearm height can be adjustable from 42mm to 55mm
  • Headshell SH-4is included.
  • Digital scale DS-1 is included. The stylus pressure ( 0 - 5g) can be precisely calibrated.

SPECIFICATIONS

RS-212D RS-309D Effective length(from the tonearm pivot to the stylus) 229mm 326mm Effective length(from the tonearm pivot to the spindle) 214mm 311mm Overhang (from the spindle and the stylus) 15mm 15mm Offset angle (between a groove and the stylus direction) 22° 19° Tracking force adjusting range (direct reading) 0 - 5g 0 - 5g Height adjustment range 42mm - 57mm 42mm - 57mm Diameter of the armbase mounting hole 34mm - 36mm 34mm - 36mm Diameter of the center shaft ?16mm ?16mm

as_309s_212s_l.jpg

tonearms02.jpgtonearms_op.jpg

Static type tone arm AS-309S ? AS-212S

  • Cross suspension system: One point support of total moveable tonearm mass front- and- rear, right-and-left one point cross suspension
  • Inside force canceller: Inside force caused by rotation of Disc groove to the center of Discs should be cancelled for correct stylus position in a groove. Anti-skating tracking force can be calibrated from 0-5g with calibration dial.
  • S curb shaped tonearm: The ideal S curve tonearm offsets to minimize the angle between groove direction and stylus tracking angle.
  • Tonearm height can be adjustable from 35mm to 55mm.

SPECIFICATIONS

AS-212S AS-309S Effective length(from the tonearm pivot to the stylus) 229mm 326mm Effective length(from the tonearm pivot to the spindle) 214mm 311mm Overhang (from the spindle and the stylus) 15mm 15mm Offset angle (between a groove and the stylus direction) 22° 19° Tracking force adjusting range (direct reading) 0 - 3g 0 - 3g Height adjustment range 35mm - 55mm 35mm - 55mm Diameter of the armbase mounting hole 19mm - 20mm 19mm - 20mm Diameter of the center shaft ?18mm ?18mm

cheers

2sheds

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Mmmm.....the Phantom. Can I make a Top 11..? :mad: Yes, I do believe the Ortofons are (as they always were) pretty good. The Japanese are very fond of them, particualrly with Denons and SPU cartridges. I had difficulty choosing between the Audio-Technica AT-1503 and Ortofon RS-309D, and still do :D

cheers

2sheds

Yea, I am thinking of one to use with my denon 103r and try out an SPU.

I think Jelco OEM the Audio technica, Ortofon, Audioquest, Koetsu, Graham Robin and maybe the Ikeda arms to the specs of each manufacturer.

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Thanks TT and 2S.

These Ortofon arms can only be found on Ortofon Japan website but not the European website and the internal pic showed some semblance to one of the Jelco's arm. So i think they are made by Jelco to spec.

That 12 inch one looks tempting

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Sheds,

How does one put together a Top 10 as auditioning tonearms has got to be one of the more difficult components to evaluate? My choice on the Kuzma was made through a blend of Company reputation, Warwicks advice, online opinions and the high regard some of the other Kuzma arms are held in. l don't know how l could ever go about narrowing my choice down to say 3 or 4 arms and then evaluate each living in the country, and in such a small market as Oz.

Cheers,

Mondie

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I am pretty sure all the brands JasperT mentioned are sourced from Jelco. Mine certainly is and there are family resemblances with the other tonearms. When we discussed the specs with Jelco they had concerns about making a 12" arm for us because of the issue of flex in the arm wand. They recommended 10.5" and so we went for that version.

Warwick

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Great stuff 'Sheds. No arguments about any of your selections from me :mad:

An addition, though, if I may...

I heard one of these over the past weekend on an Acoustic Signature Final Tool with Zyx cartridge and phono stage:

[ATTACH]3046[/ATTACH]

Wonderful open and dynamic sound. Sure as hell convinced me that analogue is the way to go...eventually.

Cheers, Dave

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Sheds,

How does one put together a Top 10 as auditioning tonearms has got to be one of the more difficult components to evaluate? My choice on the Kuzma was made through a blend of Company reputation, Warwicks advice, online opinions and the high regard some of the other Kuzma arms are held in. l don't know how l could ever go about narrowing my choice down to say 3 or 4 arms and then evaluate each living in the country, and in such a small market as Oz.

Cheers,

Mondie

Mondie,

Indeed it is a very difficult task. And in my case, I have probably only heard a couple of dozen of the hundreds of candidates. And that probably doesn't count because they were all on different tables with different cartridges. The majority of my selections were made by intensive research over the internet, reading reviews and comments. In particular I put emphasis on comparisons with other top grade arms on the same table with the same cartridge. And as well as professional reviews, there are many 'arm addicts' whose accounts of their upgrade trail makes for good comparison. And this process takes literally weeks and weeks, if you are going to thoroughly. You have seen the extent of my 'Titillating Tonearm' thread. Each of those arms probably accounts for at least an hours research, on average. Some like the Schroeder, SME, Ortofons, Micro Seiki, EMT, etc probably account for many days research each, trying to get a handle on their strengths and weaknesses relative to each other. Also you need totake into account the turntable and cartridge you are matching with - they are NOT all interchangeable. I hesitate to use that synergy word, but... And then you have a picture, and a ranking. Is the Schroeder better than a SME V or a VPi JMW 12.7? Maybe . Maybe not. But my research and musical preferences suggest it is. Not foolproof, but sometimes you need to back your gut feel (and research) :D

Even in Sydney, I can't compare all those arms. And even if I did hear them they would be on differnet turntables with different cartridges, so It means virtually nothing. A person like Warwick, is invaluable. He has a lot of experience with top quality kit (just look at his Vinyl yardstick) and is able to give some great advice. You ended up with a Kuzma 4point, which looks a sensational arm (echoes of Tri-Planar or VPi JMW 12.7). Using my methodology, I couldn't add the Kuzma 4point to the Top 10 because, as you know, it is a new release and I couldn't find a single review. I do like the Stogi Reference though and expect a lot of the 4point.

How did you end up with the 4point? Probably a similar process, I would guess. And I reckon you will be very happy with your choice :mad: Now when your cartridge expires in 2000 hours, a much harder choice. Maybe we need......Charismatic Cartridges :P

cheers

2sheds

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I'm still procrastinating [2 years now] over going the whole hog vis a vie a major turntable upgrade.

Problematic procurement aside ,this lot have always been in the back of my mind as the best value,basically because they make the parts for just about all the manufacturers that use "Similar" :mad: components in their products.

http://www.scheu-analog.de/en/index.htm

They have expanded their range [The Diamond is a beauty] and have some really great Tonearms,as you will see once you click on the link.

By the way.

I still rate the Dynavector tonearms,they can get ANY cartridge to track brilliantly and are so easy to use.

Maybe not the last word in finesse [unless you whack a Garrot Bros FGS on it], then WoW!

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I'm still procrastinating [2 years now] over going the whole hog vis a vie a major turntable upgrade.

Problematic procurement aside ,this lot have always been in the back of my mind as the best value,basically because they make the parts for just about all the manufacturers that use "Similar" :mad: components in their products.

http://www.scheu-analog.de/en/index.htm

They have expanded their range [The Diamond is a beauty] and have some really great Tonearms,as you will see once you click on the link.

Tweaky,

I too have admired Scheu for some time. You may have noticed a couple of entries in the 'Titillating Tonearms' thread, including a nice pink Diamond I suggested for Mustud. I particularly like the emphasis he puts on power supply and motor isolation, which can turn a good turntable into a great one. I also love the simplicity and engineering of the Tacco tonearm, and the looks - beautiful. I think I could live quite happily with a Sceu rig :D

cheers

2sheds

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And sheds I have noted you passed the 3000 mark - just dont slow down Dritz is getting nervous and posting a bit lately so if you are gunna catch him by xmas yooud better get your skates on!! Hmm someone here must be able to count- days left in the year into about 2500 posts - how many on avergae is that a day sheds has to do to even get close?

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And sheds I have noted you passed the 3000 mark - just dont slow down Dritz is getting nervous and posting a bit lately so if you are gunna catch him by xmas yooud better get your skates on!! Hmm someone here must be able to count- days left in the year into about 2500 posts - how many on avergae is that a day sheds has to do to even get close?

That Drizt will be a hard one to catch, Andy :P Christmas? Only if he takes a 6 month break...:mad:

Sorry I couldn't find room in the Top 10 for the Grace 707. :) Hope you are enjoying it...:D

cheers

2sheds

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Its Ok I dont expect to own anything in ay top 10's just yet - hwoever you never know what might turn up at the dump one day!

Loving the 707 - brochure for the also describes them as a "quad-master" - I like the sound of that - my arms a "quad master" whats yours?

Not sure I should admist this but played Madonna's Imaculate Collection double LP this afternoon - manily cause it from the same era as the tutable and has a light blue cover too match - and I really really enjoyed it - pretty good recording quality methinks

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Its Ok I dont expect to own anything in ay top 10's just yet - hwoever you never know what might turn up at the dump one day!

Loving the 707 - brochure for the also describes them as a "quad-master" - I like the sound of that - my arms a "quad master" whats yours?

Not sure I should admist this but played Madonna's Imaculate Collection double LP this afternoon - manily cause it from the same era as the tutable and has a light blue cover too match - and I really really enjoyed it - pretty good recording quality methinks

Andy,

The Grace 707 was developed for specifically for 4 channel records, which are a lot more demanding than 2 channel for a tonearm and cartridge.

cheers

2sheds

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Nope 2sheds, you can't manage SME V on your list, well fair enough, but no linear tracking arms can make your Top 10? Without wanting to comment on your selections per se, as ideally I do like this thread, I just thought you could have thrown in a least one linear tracking arm. (Maybe just to keep us all happy. :mad:)

Can't manage an Air Tangent or possibly more up to date Clear Audio Master TQ-1 (never seen it or heard it personally) or even ET 2.5 et. al?

Quite surprising, but appreciate your thoughts here.

Cheers,

Nostro. :D

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How did you end up with the 4point? Probably a similar process, I would guess. And I reckon you will be very happy with your choice :mad: Now when your cartridge expires in 2000 hours, a much harder choice. Maybe we need......Charismatic Cartridges :D

cheers

2sheds

Pretty much Sheds. l reckon l will be happy too. Warwick has just informed me that the Kuzma has arrived so sometime next week l will know first hand.

Cheers Mondie

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Nope 2sheds, you can't manage SME V on your list, well fair enough, but no linear tracking arms can make your Top 10? Without wanting to comment on your selections per se, as ideally I do like this thread, I just thought you could have thrown in a least one linear tracking arm. (Maybe just to keep us all happy. :mad:)

Can't manage an Air Tangent or possibly more up to date Clear Audio Master TQ-1 (never seen it or heard it personally) or even ET 2.5 et. al?

Quite surprising, but appreciate your thoughts here.

Cheers,

Nostro. :D

Nostro,

You know, I wanted to - very much. And the 2 I debated about were the AirTangent and the Clearaudio Master TQ-1, although the Cartridge Man's tangential tracker is getting good press. Are the AirTangent and TQ-1 better arms than the Audio-Technica, Stax and Moerch...? I would have to say - yes, without a doubt. They address the inherent issues of building a tangential tracker extremely well as well as highlight the advantages of the breed. And yet they missed out, because I just had to find space for a couple of arms which were added as 'second arms' i.e. arms I would like to run as a second arm to my Schroeder or DaVinci or EMT. They are there more because I desire them rather than stand at the top of the performance tree. Narrowing down to 10 leaves out these tangential stars as well as other desirable arms like the Graham Phantom and SME V and Kuzma 4point and VPi JMW 12.7 and Scheu Tacco and Pluto 9a and Bruer....the list goes on. And I could see any of these 'also rans' taking a place in my Top 10 in the future :P And the list represents the Top 10 arms I would like to own.....at the moment :)

cheers

2sheds

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Maybe we need......Charismatic Cartridges :mad:

cheers

2sheds

Or Devestatingly Delightful Digital?

Mr Drizt, where are you? I need support here.

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Hey a we missing a certain french SNA member of lat -that electric bloke Voltage?

Yeah, that's him Andy :D That French Voltage guy - bit of a bright spark :mad: I worry he backed the wrong side at the Bastille, and you know the consequences of that.....:P

cheers

2sheds

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