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CPP
February 1, 2015, 03:37 PM
I know this is an open ended question with a lot of variables but I see a lot of turntables mentioned that are equipped with 10 -12 " tone arms. Do they make a difference ? Do these longer tone arms improve tracking and distortion ? or will a better designed and constructed 9" tone arm be a better option.

Myles B. Astor
February 1, 2015, 04:11 PM
Less headshell offset is one factor resulting in lower tracing disortions. One does have to be a little more careful though with alignment as Bob Graham showed. But that's a minor issue. All things being equal (and mass), I'd go with the 12-inch arm. Even a 10.5 inch isn't the same.

puroagave
February 1, 2015, 05:21 PM
the same Bob Graham will say 12" arms were developed for the 16" LP and have no advantage playing 12" discs. The 'theoretical' advantage is slightly lower 2nd harmonic distortion (over a 9 incher), provided the cart is perfectly aligned. Thats the rub, alignment is more critical in a 12" as miss-alignment is magnified compared to 9 incher. If you ask designers like Allen Perkins and AJ Conti among others they will tell you 10-10.5 inch length for a pivoted tonearm is the sweet spot for playing 12" LPs.

Myles B. Astor
February 1, 2015, 05:29 PM
the same Bob Graham will say 12" arms were developed for the 16" LP and have no advantage playing 12" discs. The 'theoretical' advantage is slightly lower 2nd harmonic distortion (over a 9 incher), provided the cart is perfectly aligned. Thats the rub, alignment is more critical in a 12" as miss-alignment is magnified compared to 9 inch. If you ask designers like Allen Perkins and AJ Conti among others they will tell you 10-10.5 inch length for a pivoted tonearm the sweet spot for playing 12" LPs.

That's the same Bob who went out of his way to knock any and all 12-inch arms for the longest time and was the last (?) to make a 12-inch arm. And speaking as someone who has heard all three lengths, there's simply no comparison; the 12-inch arm is sonically better and the closest in sound to a linear tracker that I've experienced. And now that there's new lighter materials to fashion the arms, the added mass isn't an issue.

mep
February 1, 2015, 06:10 PM
I agree with Myles 100% Any of you who ever owned an ET-2 arm at some point in your life knows how pure that arm sounded in spite of it's other flaws that eventually made me leave it. The SME 312S arm is the first tonearm that I have owned that has the same purity the ET-2 had and has allowed me to never look back. Really good 12" tonearms are the bomb and don't let anyone tell you different. You need to hear one for yourself in your own system before you believe when other people tell you that 9" is plenty.

microstrip
February 1, 2015, 06:38 PM
That's the same Bob who went out of his way to knock any and all 12-inch arms for the longest time and was the last (?) to make a 12-inch arm. And speaking as someone who has heard all three lengths, there's simply no comparison; the 12-inch arm is sonically better and the closest in sound to a linear tracker that I've experienced. And now that there's new lighter materials to fashion the arms, the added mass isn't an issue.

Myles,

Some people will tell you that this happens mainly because the longest arm has the same problems as the linear tracker, mostly a higher mass.

BTW, IMHO the difference between the sound of a 9" and a 12" tonearm can not be due to tracking error, otherwise the 9" and the 12" would sound the same at zero tracking error points. Headshell offset can not be neglected, as you pointed.

puroagave
February 1, 2015, 06:40 PM
I don't want to turn this into Bob Graham against the world thread, FWIW we talked about upgrading my phantom to an elite and he talked me out of his 12". he makes them for certain installations that lack the clearance necessary for the 10."

As far as what the ET-2 is capable of, I recently reacquainted myself with not one, but two of them - hi/low pressure pumps, 5-gal surge tank and all. Its not that it can't sound very good (it's been 27 yrs since i owned one) but once installed its faults snapped into focus more clearly than ever. PM if you're looking for one (two available).

microstrip
February 1, 2015, 06:49 PM
(...) As far as what the ET-2 is capable of, I recently reacquainted myself with not one, but two of them - hi/low pressure pumps, 5-gal surge tank and all. Its not that it can't sound very good (it's been 27 yrs since i owned one) but once installed its faults snapped into focus more clearly ever. PM if you're looking for one (two available).

Did you try the latest Carbon Fiber/Aluminum/Teflon constrained layer high stiffness arm wand? I also own one ET-2 and still consider it the best existing value for money in tonearms when bought at the current used price - although I am currently using a SME30/SMEV, as I am a lazy man. :| But I keep the ET2 for the day I became a more rational audiophile.

mep
February 1, 2015, 06:51 PM
I don't want to turn this into Bob Graham against the world thread, FWIW we talked about upgrading my phantom to an elite and he talked me out of his 12". he makes them for certain installations that lack the clearance necessary for the 10."

As far as what the ET-2 is capable of, I recently reacquainted myself with not one, but two of them - hi/low pressure pumps, 5-gal surge tank and all. Its not that it can't sound very good (it's been 27 yrs since i owned one) but once installed its faults snapped into focus more clearer than ever. PM if you're looking for one (two available).

So tell us what faults you found with the ET-2 with regards to how they sound in your system. My main issue was the lack of a true signal ground which always caused some degree of a hum issue depending on the associated gear, wiring, the weather, and how strong local FM stations were. Oh, and the ET-2 has to be set up perfectly level or it won't play at all. Gus won't get on the bus if the ET-2 isn't perfectly level. The ET-2 arm is a pain in the ass to set up and if you don't have the metal jig to set up the arm and keep it set up, it may have never been right. The metal jigs were designed to be owned by dealers rather than consumers and they were fairly rare. I owned the metal jig for over 25 years until I finally decided to ditch the ET-2 once and for all.

Garth
February 1, 2015, 07:19 PM
If I have this right the pro about a longer arm is head shell angel thus better tracking angle. The con is more weight anything you do to make the arm lighter can be done to a shorter arm only lighter. Has anyone done a A B with the same arm in different lengths how much improvement do you get. No one gets to caught up in what a cartridge weighs as in the lightest at all costs is a small mass gain that big a deal. I have heard you get more detail and better bass has this proved to be true.

microstrip
February 1, 2015, 07:38 PM
Unfortunately the ET-2 setup instructions are very poor, even confusing, and IMHO the metal jig should be used only for drilling the fixing hole, although the drilling diagrams included in the manual are very easy to follow. After that, once you understand what is a parallel line, a right angle and the function of each part, anyone owning a good miniature level should be able to set it in less than fifteen minutes.

And yes, any linear arm has to be set to perfect level - if you have the wrong turntable it will be a complete disaster.

Never had any issue with hum, although I remember a particular MC cartridge that could receive short wave radio with the ET.

Myles B. Astor
February 1, 2015, 07:47 PM
Myles,

Some people will tell you that this happens mainly because the longest arm has the same problems as the linear tracker, mostly a higher mass.

BTW, IMHO the difference between the sound of a 9" and a 12" tonearm can not be due to tracking error, otherwise the 9" and the 12" would sound the same at zero tracking error points. Headshell offset can not be neglected, as you pointed.

Understood but mass is really not an issue say with the 10.5 vs. 12-inch VPI 3-D arms. The 12-inch's effective mass is probably less than most 9-inch arms. Of course there might be less SRA/VTA changes with the longer arm but that shouldn't be a huge issue with a clamped LP. Then again we could have less groove jitter as Peter Ledermann calls it going on because the 12-inch is tracing the groove better.

My reference for linear tracking arms was the now sadly discontinued Air Tangent Tonearm. Wonderful arm, low distortion, great resolution and an amazing sense of space. The 12-inch come the closest to capturing those qualities while at the same time surpassing and by a large margin, the AT's low end. That to my ears is always their Achille's heel. (The AT had because of its captured bearing design, a lot less mass issues than the ET).

And Francisco is spot on with the setup of the air bearing arms. The ET was probably the most finicky to get right but Leif even had some optional arm wands to better mate the arm to different cartridges. Plus I always dreamed of the remote control VTA option.

Myles B. Astor
February 1, 2015, 08:23 PM
I think the arguments against 12" tonearms are greatly exaggerated... - John Elison - Vinyl Asylum (http://www.audioasylum.com/audio/vinyl/messages/81/817465.html)

mep
February 1, 2015, 09:25 PM
Unfortunately the ET-2 setup instructions are very poor, even confusing, and IMHO the metal jig should be used only for drilling the fixing hole, although the drilling diagrams included in the manual are very easy to follow. After that, once you understand what is a parallel line, a right angle and the function of each part, anyone owning a good miniature level should be able to set it in less than fifteen minutes.

And yes, any linear arm has to be set to perfect level - if you have the wrong turntable it will be a complete disaster.

Never had any issue with hum, although I remember a particular MC cartridge that could receive short wave radio with the ET.

I think you greatly underplay the value of the metal jig. It is important for lots of things besides drilling the mounting holes.

puroagave
February 1, 2015, 10:32 PM
So tell us what faults you found with the ET-2 with regards to how they sound in your system. My main issue was the lack of a true signal ground which always caused some degree of a hum issue depending on the associated gear, wiring, the weather, and how strong local FM stations were. Oh, and the ET-2 has to be set up perfectly level or it won't play at all. Gus won't get on the bus if the ET-2 isn't perfectly level. The ET-2 arm is a pain in the ass to set up and if you don't have the metal jig to set up the arm and keep it set up, it may have never been right. The metal jigs were designed to be owned by dealers rather than consumers and they were fairly rare. I owned the metal jig for over 25 years until I finally decided to ditch the ET-2 once and for all.

the ET-2's high mass in the horizontal plane requires high inertia to move the arm. tracking off center pressed LPs with the slightest warp throws the arm into a tizzy and audible distortion occurs, not to mention the narrow selection of carts that seem to work well in that arm. And yes, i do have the rare-as-hens-teeth metal set-up jig.

puroagave
February 1, 2015, 10:36 PM
I think the arguments against 12" tonearms are greatly exaggerated... - John Elison - Vinyl Asylum (http://www.audioasylum.com/audio/vinyl/messages/81/817465.html)

and who is John Elison again and what arm did he design? this is the same guy that criticized VPI for designing headshells with the wrong offset.

puroagave
February 1, 2015, 10:40 PM
Did you try the latest Carbon Fiber/Aluminum/Teflon constrained layer high stiffness arm wand? I also own one ET-2 and still consider it the best existing value for money in tonearms when bought at the current used price - although I am currently using a SME30/SMEV, as I am a lazy man. :| But I keep the ET2 for the day I became a more rational audiophile.


Hi Micro, good to see you here. No I haven't got bruce's carbon armwand, I spoke to him over the phone recently and he described it as just a higher mass version for very low compliance carts.

Myles B. Astor
February 1, 2015, 10:44 PM
and who is John Elison again and what arm did he design? this is the same guy that criticized VPI for designing headshells with the wrong offset.

I don't always agree with John (we've had our spats on AA too) but thought this diagrams were of interest.

CPP
February 2, 2015, 09:29 AM
So a well designed, constructed and adjusted tone arm when matched to a quality cartridge regardless of the tone arm length should be sufficient for the average home user. I guess I need to go listen to a TT with a 12" arm but the issue is finding a dealer or a person close that has a table with a 12" tone arm.

mep
February 2, 2015, 10:20 AM
the ET-2's high mass in the horizontal plane requires high inertia to move the arm. tracking off center pressed LPs with the slightest warp throws the arm into a tizzy and audible distortion occurs, not to mention the narrow selection of carts that seem to work well in that arm. And yes, i do have the rare-as-hens-teeth metal set-up jig.

I don't recall my ET-2 ever being thrown into a "tizzy." I remember somebody on Who's Deaf posted a video of their table with the ET-2 playing an LP and the ET-2 was swaying to and fro like a drunk in the breeze. I told him that I had never seen an ET-2 do that before. He thought it was normal. I subsequently posted a video of my ET-2 mounted on my VPI TNT playing an LP in a manner I considered normal.

Owning the SME 312S has made me forget about ever owning the ET-2 again. No more pumps, surge tanks, air lines, and filters for me.

mep
February 2, 2015, 10:25 AM
So a well designed, constructed and adjusted tone arm when matched to a quality cartridge regardless of the tone arm length should be sufficient for the average home user. I guess I need to go listen to a TT with a 12" arm but the issue is finding a dealer or a person close that has a table with a 12" tone arm.

Since when has this hobby ever been about "should be sufficient?" :) Does anyone know of someone who bought a high-quality modern 12" arm and ditched it to go back to a smaller arm? Size does matter and I have no plans to ever go back to a small arm.

CPP
February 2, 2015, 12:52 PM
Since when has this hobby ever been about "should be sufficient?" :) Does anyone know of someone who bought a high-quality modern 12" arm and ditched it to go back to a smaller arm? Size does matter and I have no plans to ever go back to a small arm.

:dunno:Don't have a clue, as I've never personally met anyone that had a 12" tone arm. :)

astrotoy
February 2, 2015, 01:41 PM
Since when has this hobby ever been about "should be sufficient?" :) Does anyone know of someone who bought a high-quality modern 12" arm and ditched it to go back to a smaller arm? Size does matter and I have no plans to ever go back to a small arm.

I did. (VPI 12.6 on VPI HRX to VPI 3D10.5 on VPI Classic 3). Larry

Audioseduction
February 2, 2015, 01:47 PM
I'd go with the 12-inch arm. Even a 10.5 inch isn't the same.

That's what she said! :D

PeterA
February 2, 2015, 08:44 PM
Has anyone done a A B with the same arm in different lengths how much improvement do you get. No one gets to caught up in what a cartridge weighs as in the lightest at all costs is a small mass gain that big a deal. I have heard you get more detail and better bass has this proved to be true.

Yes, I owned both the 9" SME V and the 12" SME V-12. The latter is much better. I did a direct comparison over a two week period on my SME 30/12 turntable. The V-12 is smoother, more detailed, better bass, more transparent, more extended. The lower offset angle is an advantage as it means there is less skating force. There is obviously less tracking distortion also. SME calculates it as 27% less distortion.

Incidentally, cartridge weight can be quite important. My AirTight Supreme weighs 12 or 12.5 grams which is the perfect weight for the SME V-12 counterweight to balance the cartridge and be very close to the pivot point of the arm. This decreases inertia and makes the arm more responsive.

Stringreen
February 2, 2015, 08:55 PM
Garth...just wondering if you auditioned those Ayre interconnects before you got them...I also have an all Ayre system and was amazed at how much better other cables sounded. I don't mean to disparage your system....its great as you know, just saying that I got rid of my Ayre cables and replaced them IN MY SYSTEM got better sound.

mep
February 2, 2015, 08:59 PM
I did. (VPI 12.6 on VPI HRX to VPI 3D10.5 on VPI Classic 3). Larry

I have owned two VPI arms and was never a fan of them. I haven't heard the 3D arms so I can't comment on them.

Garth
February 2, 2015, 09:15 PM
Yes, I owned both the 9" SME V and the 12" SME V-12. The latter is much better. I did a direct comparison over a two week period on my SME 30/12 turntable. The V-12 is smoother, more detailed, better bass, more transparent, more extended. The lower offset angle is an advantage as it means there is less skating force. There is obviously less tracking distortion also. SME calculates it as 27% less distortion.

Incidentally, cartridge weight can be quite important. My AirTight Supreme weighs 12 or 12.5 grams which is the perfect weight for the SME V-12 counterweight to balance the cartridge and be very close to the pivot point of the arm. This decreases inertia and makes the arm more responsive.

Thank you for the reply I had a SME V- 9 inch for many years on a SOTA . I will keep in mind your findings . I have found comparing tables arms and cartridges very hard due to the set up need only to be out a fraction to change so much. Also break in times are variable from product to product . As you say it improves the bass, smoother and more detail is of great interest. The SME 30 is a table I also considered. Thanks again for your time and opinion.

o0OBillO0o
February 3, 2015, 12:30 AM
Build one!~

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbAKIOGcwUc

Myles B. Astor
February 3, 2015, 12:34 AM
Build one!~

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbAKIOGcwUc

Interestingly Harry Weisfeld told me a while back that there weren't any additional sonic benefits when he experimented with a 14-inch arm. And one can imagine a lot of mechanical issues with the additional length. So there is a point of diminishing return. :)

zuluwarrior0760
February 3, 2015, 09:05 PM
He must've been joshing you, because in this thread
the man himself says they're gonna make one :)

vpiindustries.com/forum ? View topic - Prime vs C3 vs C4??? (http://vpiindustries.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=217&start=10#p6847)

FWIW: I think it would look absolutely goofy......and would probably sound
about the same......

Myles B. Astor
February 3, 2015, 10:01 PM
Well that info must be dated. :) That came from when HW first released the 12-inch arm now what 15+ years ago. Maybe the lighter 3D arm and lower mass changes the equation. But thanks for the link!

mep
February 4, 2015, 02:51 PM
Well that info must be dated. :) That came from when HW first released the 12-inch arm now what 15+ years ago. Maybe the lighter 3D arm and lower mass changes the equation. But thanks for the link!

The date of Harry's post says Jan 22, 2015. That's pretty recent.

Myles B. Astor
February 4, 2015, 02:52 PM
The date of Harry's post says Jan 22, 2015. That's pretty recent.

No I was referring to my info that dates back now 16 years (?).

mep
February 4, 2015, 03:11 PM
No I was referring to my info that dates back now 16 years (?).

From Harry's post on Jan 22, 2015, it sure sounds like VPI is going to come out with a 14" arm.

Myles B. Astor
February 4, 2015, 03:33 PM
From Harry's post on Jan 22, 2015, it sure sounds like VPI is going to come out with a 14" arm.
I assume the lighter arm allows him to do things he couldn't with metal arm tubes.

mep
February 4, 2015, 03:41 PM
I assume the lighter arm allows him to do things he couldn't with metal arm tubes.

3D printing is a game-changer for lots of companies. The space station now has a 3D printer and when they need a special tool they don't have on board, NASA just uploads a file to the space station so they can manufacture the tool they need with the 3D printer.

Mike
February 4, 2015, 04:02 PM
I have LTA envy. ;)

mep
February 4, 2015, 08:38 PM
I have LTA envy. ;)

And you should!

FlexibleAudio
May 29, 2015, 10:00 PM
I am very curious what people think about Franc Kuzma's latest master piece. Any one hear this yet?

4Point 14 inch- New from July 2015 - Kuzma Professional Turntables, Tonearms and Accessories (http://www.kuzma.si/4point-14-inch.html)

bpw
July 2, 2015, 03:13 PM
I am very curious what people think about Franc Kuzma's latest master piece. Any one hear this yet?

4Point 14 inch- New from July 2015 - Kuzma Professional Turntables, Tonearms and Accessories (http://www.kuzma.si/4point-14-inch.html)

I don't know if any are in the US yet. I have had the standard 4Point here since early on and have sold and installed quite a few. Set up on the new Stabi XL DC 'table, it could be really something.

puroagave
July 2, 2015, 03:49 PM
I don't 'get' a 14" arm and with an effective mass of 19g, how many carts will actually work with it?

mep
July 2, 2015, 05:07 PM
Rob-Did you steal those lines in your avatar from me? :)

puroagave
July 2, 2015, 07:10 PM
Rob-Did you steal those lines in your avatar from me? :)

I created that meme in your honor, you get full credit. In fact, you can use it as your own anytime you want.:Bow:

bpw
July 2, 2015, 08:52 PM
I don't 'get' a 14" arm and with an effective mass of 19g, how many carts will actually work with it?
FWIW I asked Jaime Monroy of Pelotone, the Koetsu distributor, about this, especially with regard to the stone body cartridges. He feels the extra 5g of effective mass would be a sonic benefit for sure with the stone bodies, saying they tend to prefer higher mass arms.

FlexibleAudio
July 2, 2015, 11:50 PM
I don't 'get' a 14" arm and with an effective mass of 19g, how many carts will actually work with it?


I presume the new Kuzma line will.

bpw
July 3, 2015, 02:27 AM
I presume the new Kuzma line will.
Kuzma CAR-50 on 4Point here, also with happy customers.

XV-1
August 26, 2018, 07:06 AM
new old 12 inch tonearm onto the TW Acustik table. SME 3012-R aka 1981 - believe the hype, this is one super natural sounding tonearm.

https://c2.staticflickr.com/2/1846/44226836262_a0b54853d6_b.jpg

mep
August 26, 2018, 11:17 AM
new old 12 inch tonearm onto the TW Acustik table. SME 3012-R aka 1981 - believe the hype, this is one super natural sounding tonearm.



I love my 3012-R tonearm too.