Sorane Tonearms from Japan Now Available in Australia
The surprise departure of Jelco from the tonearm manufacturing business earlier this year left a hole in the market that Sydney-based distributor, Radiance AV, has scrambled to fill.
Jelco, made by Ichikawa Jewel Company of Japan, made quality tonearms at affordable prices that ticked the box for many entry to mid-level turntable owners. Before Jelco's exit, UK-based SME announced in December 2019 that they too would stop selling tonearms directly, focusing instead on selling their highly-acclaimed tonearms with turntables only.
Radiance AV has secured the distribution rights for Sorane Tonearms, both designed and manufactured in Japan.
The founder of Sorane, Katsuaki Ishiyama-san, started the company in 1974 and in the decades since has fine-tuned his craft. While taking advantage of modern technologies and CNC manufacturing, his philosophy stands that analogue components can only be finished with a craftsmen's sensitive and precise hands for the final adjustment and tuning.
The range while extensive, and available in many different options, focuses mainly on variations of the TA-1 9” tonearm ($3,000 RRP), SA-1.2 9” tonearm ($3,800 RRP) and ZA-12 tonearm ($4,000 RRP). The TA-1 is also available in 12” versions.
Common features include a Gimbal-bearing design “for excellent bass, dynamics and imaging, as well as unconditional azimuth stability”, which Sorane says is the biggest problem for unipivot tonearms. Sorane also features detachable headshells to allow quick changes of cartridges, and various mass headshells (to help change the effective mass of the arms and cartridges).
The SA-1.2 tonearm features two sets of fine radial bearings installed for both horizontal (set in the bearing stem column) and vertical (further small bearing at tonearm wand). Sorane says this assures “smooth tonearm function, greater longevity, better consistency, and enhanced ability to track warped vinyl.”
Sorane Tonearms are available now, and StereoNET will be taking a closer look and getting hands-on shortly.