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  • pivoted vs linear tracking

    Just curious what others are using for tonearms: pivoted or linear tracking? I'm using a Graham Engineering 2.2 unipivot.
    Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (St) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (St) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (St) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (M) , Luxman Tonearm (M) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (M) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-300 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

  • #2
    the 2.2 is s superb arm, I 'upgraded' to the phantom which IMO was not the sonic leap others stated at the time. Bob didn't think so either very soon after there was a MK II, a supreme, and on and on. I could live happily ever after with a 2.2. That said, I do think a well implemented linear tracker brings something to the table that eclipses even the best pivoted arms esp in the reproduction of ambiance, space, etc. To date the best examples of the breed IMO, were the Versa Dynamics, Airtangent and Rockport. The eminent technology is an interesting study in what can be done within certain design constraints, in spite of itself it can sound real good but its still quite compromised. Given the choice id take a 2.2 over something like the ET-2 all day long. YMMV, etc.
    Simon Yorke S10 | My Sonic Lab Eminent GL | AcousticPlan PhonoMaster | Wadia X32 | Innuous ZEN Mini Mk II | Valvet Soulshine2 | Linear Tube Audio ZOTL10 MkII | Avantgarde Uno Fino XD

    "One of the great challenges of this world: Knowing enough about a subject to think you are right, but not enough about the subject to know you're wrong" - Neil deGrasse Tyson

    Comment


    • #3
      I'm sure if cost, effort, maintenance, and setup is not a factor, a well executed air bearing linear tracker is the way to go, but on a limited budget there is nothing worse than a "cheap" linear tracker. I'm sure youre referring to the better LTs.
      Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (St) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (St) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (St) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (M) , Luxman Tonearm (M) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (M) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-300 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

      Comment


      • #4
        I'd love to have a linear tracking arm...........with Lloyd Walker's TT under it.
        TW Acustic TT with Ref motor & controller; Tri-Planar Arm; Ortofon Windfeld-Ti Cartridge, Harmonix-Combak platter matte & weight; Arcam R Phono Preamp; KLAudio Ultrasonic Record Cleaner.

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        Sennheiser HDV 650 Headphone Amp; Sennheiser HD1200s Headphones.

        Comment


        • #5
          Interesting question and one example of where theory doesn't necessarily meet reality. In theory, a linear tracking arm that mimics how the lacquer was cut as well as maintaining that proper geometry is the no brainer way to go. But in reality, executing a linear tracking design comes with as many design issues (like maintaining tangency to the groove) and problems as do pivoted arms. Not to mention the fuss and muss with air bearing arms. Sort of like that speaker that I know will be the best in the world if I can just find that one amplifier that will drive it. Yes tonearms can drive you drink!

          One thing that I must say. I found setting up cartridges in linear tracking arms is far easier than in pivoted arms. The best linear tracking arm I ever heard was the mighty Leif Haggemark designed Air Tangent arm that sadly hasn't been made in over a decade (one version allowed for remote control VTA/SRA--that I understand Lloyd Walker's new arm can also do). The Air Tangent had a degree of delicacy, resolution and air that very few arms come close to. It also, like many linear trackers, played records that looked like someone had done a Mexican hat dance on flawlessly. Amazing.

          But the downside. I don't find linear trackers to have the best low end in the world. No matter how tight the bearing tolerance, never quite get enough rigidity for the lowest octaves. Then there's the grounding and hum issues. I can't saw all (maybe Andre, Mark, Jack or some others know), but at least some of the mechanical based linear trackers require one to slightly tip the arm to allow for movement. Then there's the setup so the table and arm are perfectly level. Then there's the issues with different linear arms and horizontal vs. vertical effective mass eg. the ET. Let's not even talk about those '80s Japanese tables and their cheap plastic tonearms.

          In the end, as I got older, I opted for the simpler unipivot arm. I had the early Grahams and what impressed me there was the arm's dynamics that in part stem from how Bob deals with resonances and especially those out of phase resonances that affect dynamics. I've been using the latest VPI 3D arm with great results lately though I'm hoping to get ahold of Harry's new bearing arm as soon as it become available.





          Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
          Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
          ________________________________________

          -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
          -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
          -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
          -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
          -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
          -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
          -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
          -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
          -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
          -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

          Comment


          • #6
            My Forsell has an excellent air bearing linear tracker and I have long experience with the ET2 . Besides I still keep a Graham 2.2 and had a SMEV until very recently. We must consider the tonearm - cartridge- turntable as a system, it is not possible to separate the sonic performance of the tonearm per se. Curiously sometimes very stable and solid turntables would not result in the best sonic performance from the ET2, although keeping it working properly in bouncy turntables was a nightmare - but sometimes with exceptional sonic results!

            The critical point of most air bearing tonearms is the flow of air - most pumps are inadequate. However if you have a regulated flow with the proper pressure the arm becomes a very simple device - no angle offset, adjusting it is a child game.

            Well set linear tracking tonearms such as the ET have a typical "justness", an absence of vinyl modulation noise that can attract the preference of many users. Sometimes I feel tempted to consider that pivot tonearms fill the middle zone with a solid image and linear tracking tonearms also fill the corners.

            Although it looks strange, as it must be mounted in a non parallel position, IMHO an used ET2 in a Roksan Xerxes is very hard to beat in value for money.

            The Forsell represents a case where the tonearm was optimized for the turntable - platter damping, bearing and plinth complement the tonearm characteristics.

            And yes, Myles, I dreamed about owning an Air Tangent but it never happened.
            Last edited by microstrip; 02-08-2016, 06:08 AM.
            My opinions rely on listening mainly to acoustical, non amplified music. I do not care about electronic music or listening to rock at stadium levels, but I enjoy Mahler and Shostakovitch.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by microstrip View Post
              My Forsell has an excellent air bearing linear tracker and I have long experience with the ET2 . Besides I still keep a Graham 2.2 and had a SMEV until very recently. We must consider the tonearm - cartridge- turntable as a system, it is not possible to separate the sonic performance of the tonearm per se. Curiously sometimes very stable and solid turntables would not result in the best sonic performance from the ET2, although keeping it working properly in bouncy turntables was a nightmare - but sometimes with exceptional sonic results!

              The critical point of most air bearing tonearms is the flow of air - most pumps are inadequate. However if you have a regulated flow with the proper pressure the arm becomes a very simple device - no angle offset, adjusting it is a child game.

              Well set linear tracking tonearms such as the ET have a typical "justness", an absence of vinyl modulation noise that can attract the preference of many users. Sometimes I feel tempted to consider that pivot tonearms fill the middle zone with a solid image and linear tracking tonearms also fill the corners.

              Although it looks strange, as it must be mounted in a non parallel position, IMHO an used ET2 in a Roksan Xerxes is very hard to beat in value for money.

              The Forsell represents a case where the tonearm was optimized for the turntable - platter damping, bearing and plinth complement the tonearm characteristics.

              And yes, Myles, I dreamed about owning an Air Tangent but it never happened.

              You are absolutely right in looking at especially the tonearm-cartridge interaction! (I wonder whether we have anyone here using a strain gauge cartridge?)

              One could write volumes on linear tracking arms. For instance, Bruce Thigpen designed an ingenious cam mechanism into the ET so there was no change in overhang when you raised or lowered the arm. Then the ability to add a micrometer to the ET arm to measure changes in SRA/VTA was ingenious and I truly miss that ability!

              Some other issues with linear tracking arms were their length and susceptibility to warp wow and a constantly changing SRA/VTA. John Bicht implemented a vacuum suck down but of course he quickly found out that ruined the B side of the record; as a result, he had to implement a very thin, porous mat so as not to destroy the side of the record in contact with the platter (BTW, the same thing happened with the early generation of record cleaning machines and their teflon lips. ).

              As you noted, air flow and whether the arm was designed for pressure or flow made a difference. Of course there was the issue of water condensation and I'll never forget being at a listening session at the esteemed Dr. Gindis one night and just as I remarked the music was sounding a little soggy, water came shooting out of the Forsell's air bearing.

              And we all dreamed about the Air Tangent. Luckily Sid Marks had one mounted on his VPI TNT at the time (the successor to his Goldmund Studio.) I dreamed about coming up with 12.5K. But it was and probably still is one of the finest arms out there. And despite many people pleading with him, Leif will never build them again. Guess he's just happy being a distributor and running his store.
              Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
              Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
              ________________________________________

              -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
              -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
              -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
              -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
              -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
              -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
              -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
              -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
              -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
              -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

              Comment


              • Beaur
                Beaur commented
                Editing a comment
                Myles I have a strain gauge that is my main cartridge when I have my system set up fully. Love it.

            • #8
              I'm still running my Kuzma Airline- only thing I've needed over the years is stuff having to do with the compressor. It is easy to set up, well built, and non-fiddly. Granted, it may not have the bass 'thwack' of some of the conventional arms, but I like what it does in terms of ease of delivery of the music in a non-mechanical sounding way. And Franc is the best in terms of support. Very hands on. Answers the phone. And replies to emails faster than a lawyer!

              Comment


              • #9
                i just read about a tangential arm just released at the munich show that uses a laser/computer guided arm the focuses on tangency rather than cantilever displacement for following the groove advancement of the arm. very likely WAY over the price that an ordinary audiophile could afford, it is STILL stimulating that tangent tracking is still considered to be worth seeking.

                having had a maplenoll athena for a short while, i can attest to the superior sound that i got from it (VIVID). how much was from the air bearing of the arm and platter and how much from the tangent tracking is a question. i am quite enamored of a couple of pivoted arms i have owned-the grace 707 and the MMT. the linear phase linear dd tt of yore was only ok in that it did not differentiate different cartridges from one another. i owned the pioneer PLL1000a, the exact same tt as the phase linear.

                operationally i like linear trackers for locating a tick on an LP, stopping the platter just after the tick and then being able to flick off the little food particle (or whatever it may have been) that may have lodged itself there. i have done that quite a few times and was proud of myself for salvaging an LP from an otherwise distracting defect.



                Comment


                • #10
                  Remember those reviews Dave Wilson did for TAS? How he drew an arms soundstage? The Tangential Goldmund arm had an almost dead rectangle and every other arm a truncated pyramid. I still remember my Goldmund arm (when it was working) and that soundstage.How you could literally see the back left and right corners of the stage. The way it would hold images firmly in 3D space and not that slow wandering of images as all pivoted arms transverse the album.The original Souther did not have that soundstage but when you had the VTA just right images would startlingly jump into focus,just like a camera lens pulling in to focus. Once that focus was obtained that arm could hold that focus for that entire side. Magic.

                  Speaking about the Goldmund. That new Euro 80k arm seems to be conceptually identical to the Goldmund.

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    I prefer unipivot. I don't see myself wanting to fiddle with a linear tracker ever. I have yet to hear an arm track the inner grooves better than a uni pivot design.
                    Christian
                    System Gear

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      Originally posted by rockitman View Post
                      I prefer unipivot. I don't see myself wanting to fiddle with a linear tracker ever. I have yet to hear an arm track the inner grooves better than a uni pivot design.
                      I always surmized from reading that was one of the strengths of linear trackers?
                      Dynavector DV20x2L MC cartridge - Genesis G7.1f speakers - Marantz Reference PM-KI-Pearl Int. Amp. - Oracle Audio Paris MkV turntable - Various Morrow & Valab/King cables

                      Comment


                      • allenh
                        allenh commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Thought same.

                    • #13
                      The price I heard was about 80K euros. Laser is supposed to keep the arm-wand tangential to a 5 micron tolerance. Can't imagine you want that stylus being servo corrected in the groove but he's the arm designer, not me. Don't have the 80K to find out!

                      Originally posted by hifitommy View Post
                      i just read about a tangential arm just released at the Munich show that uses a laser/computer guided arm the focuses on tangency rather than cantilever displacement for following the groove advancement of the arm. very likely WAY over the price that an ordinary audiophile could afford, it is STILL stimulating that tangent tracking is still considered to be worth seeking.
                      Tannoy Glenair, April Sound SET 50 monoblocks and LR phono, EMIA silver remote attenuator and Strain Gauge, Mono TT - AE 208 TT, Abis 1.2BCS arm Miyajima Premium BE, Stereo TT - Fairchild 750 Schroder Custom BA, Miyajima Kansui, Mac Mini w/ Roon, Bel Canto RefLink, Dac 3.5VB, Wadia 860x.

                      Comment


                      • #14
                        Compromise on both designs with the Schro├ęder

                        Soc

                        Comment


                        • #15
                          Originally posted by Socrates View Post
                          Compromise on both designs with the Schro├ęder

                          Soc
                          Frank is making me dizzy with all the arms he is designing.
                          Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                          Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                          ________________________________________

                          -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
                          -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
                          -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                          -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
                          -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                          -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                          -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                          -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                          -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
                          -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

                          Comment


                          • Rob
                            Rob commented
                            Editing a comment
                            Peter Ledermann will building a Schroeder in-house under the Soundsmith brand.
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