In addition to build quality and sound, I recommend considering the history of each company as well as its representation and support. You don't want to have an orphan five years down the road.
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Firstly,BOY are you a lucky guy!!Great analog awaits you,for sure.
I have a dear friend who owned the Air Tangent for about ten years.I am intimately familiar with it.It is a fabulous arm,and extracted more detail from an LP,with the lowest amount of added "personality" that I have ever heard from an arm.
My friend has since moved to a popular unipivot,which is a good arm,but loses that absolute magic of the Air Tangent design.He made the switch due to the "convenience factor" as he is getting on,in years.
The Kuzma Airline seems to be(I have no listening experience here)just as valid a design as the A/T,and has gotten wonderful press!
You probably cannot go wrong with either arm.Yet,you know this already!
BTW-what I heard from my pal's Air Tangent,that I simply have never experienced from any other analog/digital device,was a real sense of "body/ambience/lack of tracking distorted artifacts.THIS is the "big deal" we all hear about in linear designs!
Best of luck with your journey!!
I have been in e-mail contact with a person that has a Conductor. He says that the Conductor in his system is significantly better than his ET 2.5. He has heard the Conductor in direct comparison to a Forsell several times and feels the Conductor is also better than the Forsell. As of now the Conductor only comes with a light effective mass arm, which may be a problem depending on your choice of cartridge. A medium mass arm is supposed to be forth coming.
I have read thru the Conductor owners manual. Setup seems straight forward and non-tweaky. The high volume, low air pressure approach makes it very different from the ET 2.5 and other high pressure arms. There is no on-the-fly vta adjustment. However, with a central mounting pillar either Pete Riggles VTAF or the Teres Audio VTA adjuster could be used.
From the pictures I have seen, the fit and finish of the Conductor is not in the same category as a Schroeder. On the other hand, it does keep the price down and probably does not impact the sound quality.
At 1,500GBP, the Conductor is significantly less than either the Kuzma or Airtangent. Though, if I had the money I would buy the Kuzma.
Hi. I know nada about the Kuzma but have owned 2 AirTangents. The construction quality of the 2 AT's was excellent. Performance also was excellent. Unless the documentation has changed since I last owned one, they are kinda rough. So if you are doing your own setup, it might help if someone walked you thru the process once. If you do acquire an AT, let me know. I will see if I still have instructions for adjusting alignment. Also, likely I still have my Wally Tractor for the AT which I no longer need.
All tangental arms require a very stable turntable with lots of isolation from the outside world. Keeping the platter level is also another requirement. I've read several mentions that tangental arms require a lot of maintenance. That is not my experience with my ATs.
You have a very nice 'table so I would not expect you to make any changes, but should you ever have an interest changing to a Basis Debut, I have an armboard drilled out for an AirTangent which I no longer need.
Hi Tubes!My mention of my pal feeling the Air Tangent was too much maintenance was not complete.The fact is that although I had always seen ease of use,when at his home,he is in his mid seventies.He was beginning to have a hard time navigating the "dessicant container",which he felt was hurting his wrists.Also,he had a mega modded outsourced pump,from a retired dentist,actually.This greatly(and I mean ALOT)improved upon the already wonderful sound he was able to get.This,in turn,required regular trips to the "closet floor",for him,after each listening session.
As he is lucky enough to be retired,he listens to his "LEGENDARY" LP collection daily.Hence--"The arm became a Pain in the tush,and back"!!Literally,for him!
When he told me of his decision to move to the newer version of his table/with it's dedicated arm,I mentioned he would most likely miss it(the A/T),after the joys of low maintenance washed away.I truly believe he now misses that combo,yet like most of us,he isn't about to admit it.
THE AIR TANGENT IS AN INCREDIBLE AND "CLASSIC" PIECE OF AUDIO HARDWARE!!
I don't even know if it is still made,as the website does not seem to exist anymore.I have heard it on scores of occassions.Playing some of the most wonderful LP's of the most "collectible,and sought after" titles we all read about.Oh yeah,the music was INCREDIBLE too!I had heard many upgrades to his system,and it was SO obvious as to how little the A/T made it's presence known.I've yet to hear any product(let alone an arm)that could disappear as well.We all keep reading threads of preferred products,that some of us(including me)like to go on talking about,seemingly forever.I doubt any of these will reach the "CLASSIC(for a good rerason) CLASS" of the Air Tangent!I hope I'm wrong,because some of this newer stuff really intrigues me.
Why you no longer own yours is a mystery to me,but I'm sure you are still a happy camper.Yet as happy as with your A/T??? -;)
Speedy. Actually, once I heard the sonic performance of the Basis Vector, noted it tracked in some instances better than the AT, cost tons less, I sold my AT. Had lots of $$ left after the Vector purchase which I applied towards vinyl.
Not all ATs are created equal; there were a bunch of models over the years. The last one I owned may have been the best they made. Without question, it was a fantastic product, but I am happier sonically and have less maintenance overall with the Vector (the AT does require some very minor attention, which really is no biggie, but I'd rather do no maintenance than a little maintenance). Although I'd be happy to live with one of the better Airtangents I don't miss much about them except for 2 things: (1) The initial rush of the musical presentation heard after I installed my 1st AT that made LPs seem so alive, almost each LP heard seemed to contain the sweet presence of a live recording. I'd say the performance for the time period was way up there compared to any competitive product. (2) My 1st AT, the 2B, had electronic cueing and end of the record lift. I do miss that feature a lot.
Thanks for the great feedback. Keep it coming.
I have found the site that sell's the Airtangent. E-mailed http://www.dnaudio.com for a number of questions but has not yet responded. The Kuzma rep has responded to all of my queries and all with in 12 hrs. To me this is a BIG bonus.
The Airtangent seems to be very popular but if I cannot get a hold of the person that sells it then.......
Sir Speedy, you seem to very impressed to say the least with the Airtangent. What table was your friend using? I think that all good things come to those that work. Maybe this will be true for the tonearm as well. If I should get tired of all the work then I will play digital. But after listening to Mike Lavigne's analog set up I would say that the work will definitely be worth it.
BTW nice lambo. Did you buy your Airtangent from the same person?
Thanks for the help guys.
Sorry you could not find the sweetspot with your A/T Tubes 108!Maybe it was the standard pump,which was a design weakness(compared to the "dentist special"),as I found out.
I would venture an educated guess that the Kuzma would be every bit as good,if not better,based on what I have read,and heard,in some corners!
My friend had a VPI TNT(custom modded),which sat on a vibraplane air suspension.It then was mounted atop a 300 lb stand.DAMN good,and no longer as magical.Sadly!!
BTW-though you can never convince me that the fine Vector can match a fully tricked out A/T,I do admit to understanding,and also using a simple unipivot myself.I sport the superb,yet imperfect Graham 2.2!I think I'm in love with the "maddening" endless voicing possibilities this arm allows me to experience.
I've owned the Versa Dynamics with it's air bearing linear track arm, two ET air bearing linear track arms (upgraded pumps), a Triplanar, 2 Graham's, an Air Tangent 10B, two Breuer Dynamic and multiple popular pivot arms such as the Decca, Dynavector, Thorens, SME, Ortofon, and a dozen others.
The Air Tangent was a total disappointment for me, in spite of trying it with a Dynavector cartridge, two Benz Ruby cartridges and a Koetsu Rosewood Platinum. In my opinion, the Graham beats it and so does the Basis Vector, particularly in the bass and dynamics region.
The Kuzma is likely in the same class with the Walker arm and certainly above the Air Tangent. If you can wait a few weeks, we have a Kuzma arm and turntable (very top of the line) coming to a guy in my music group. We plan on comparing it to a Basis Debut Gold with Graham 2.2 and against the Walker Proscenium.
I would go for the Airline as it is a really a
good Linear Tracking Arm, without any problems in
handly and setup.
As Albertporter say´s the Graham does give a bit
more bass than the Airline. But the Airline is
much more precise.
If you can afford it or your table does mount two
arm's go for the Graham and for the Kuzma Airline.
In the very near future I will be able to tell you precisely how the big Kuzma turntable with air bearing arm sounds. We will be comparing it to a Walker Proscenium with Walker air bearing arm.
The cartridge of choice for the test, a Koetsu Jade Platinum, will be moved from one arm to the other and carefully adjusted and set up by me.
The music I hear from Kuzma rigs at audio shows is great, but it's impossible for me to separate exactly what the arm is contributing. It would be difficult if I could luck into a demo with two competitive arms, identical turntables, matched cartridges, identical tonearm wire, proper loading values for the cartridge, exact gain matching during the audition and equal quality set up on both tables and arms :^).
All that being said, my instincts say the Kuzma is a world class rig. I have more confidence in it than the Continuum Audio Labs that's all the buzz.
Kha, the Graham had better bass than the Air Tangent in my system. The Air Tangent was mounted on a Basis Debut Gold MK IV. Later that same table was fitted with two Graham arms and had previously had other pivot arms (but not the ET on that table).
The Kuzma is likely equal to the Graham in bass, assuming it's anywhere near the Walker. The Walker arm has the best bass I have ever gotten but it's difficult to know how much is package integration, how much is TT design and how much is due to the arm :^).
When I hear the Kuzma I will absolutely know how it fares against the Walker and by deduction and previous experience might venture a "guesstimate" as to where it is against the other arms I mentioned.
I must admit Albert,I'm aware(for quite some time)you were never wild about your A/T arm.Yet having two friends who have owned it,the opinions were not as harsh as your memory of it.
They did go to rediculous lengths to source the kind of performance from it,that ultimately did satisfy them.
BTW-both of these hobbyists are absolutely obsessive about bass performance,and have very refined full range systems.The Mercury LP series was written for TAS based on observations stemming from one of these set-ups which had an Air Tangent.I have heard this particular system regularly for ten years,with the A/T arm,and fifteen years before that with different stuff.There is no way the bass was anything less than stellar in that room,with that arm.
You know I don't mean any disrespect,and know you are a dedicated and knowledgeable hobbyist,but like your experience with a 2.2 which could not stay in "setting"(my friend's earlier one has this same problem),the possibility does exist for there to be other variables at play,which may not have allowed you to get the most from your Air Tangent.The arm as I have heard it on so many occassions had superb,pitch perfect,and deep bass.Believe me when I tell you that my friend would never have settled for less.To this day,he is one of the most "well respected" (and bass obsessed) music lovers this hobby has seen.For me to consider the notion that a product like the Air Tangent would quarterback his system,for so long,with the kind of bass weakness/coloration you have mentioned in past threads is incredulous.
I do admit that he was privy to other hobbyists having the same arm,at the same time he owned his.Perhaps he was able to gain some insight that a solo owner could not.I'm just guessing here.No disrespect,again.
The stock compresor/pump was replaced by a very high quality(and expensive)unit,at the behest of another dedicated hobbyist,who had tried it.It DID make a significant impact on the bass performance.I heard it both ways,and my observations are based on this higher quality,higher pressure unit!
It was better than the 2.2,which I like(as I'm sure you know).Yet the 2.2 cannot match this particular iteration of A/T arm in the area of perceived tonality,body,and lack of "tracking personality".For sure,IMO!To me,it makes a large difference in my own experience,as to how I want a system to allow for that certain "presentation".
The Air Tangent allows a cartridge to really "present" itself,and stand out,away from what an arm should NOT be doing!
Sorry for the rant,and I have no doubts the Walker is damn good.I've heard that table/arm combo in super sounding systems,but I have a TON of listening under my belt with the Air Tangent,with a load of LP's I'm lucky to own.So maybe I'm a bit jaded,but you can forgive me for that.I hope!!
Some time ago, my friend and me did make a comparison between the Phantom Arm and the Kuzma Airline, both fitted with identical Zyx UNIverse and both connected at two identical warm Klyne 7 Phonostages. It was a very interesting experience and btw. good as the 2.2 is, the Phantom is a total different animal. One of the real great Arms out there. And I agree with Albert, the Kuzma Air Line + Ref. Table is a good combination.
I am very interested in the responses here, as I own a Kuzma Stogi Reference arm (a really fine arm in its own right) and have considered moving up the chain to the air arm. Hoping that Whart and other actual users will respond with their impressions.
Larry, I preferred the 2.2 over the Vector after trying both on several different tables and with quite a few cartridges. I thought the Vector sounded better only on one of two Basis tables. As suc, I bought the Graham. But, as always, YMMV.
Well, I finally got mine set up today. Combination of schedule, and bad logistics. The Finite Elemente floor stand, on which the XL turntable belongs, was lost in transit, and another just sent. I'm tracking its progress like Chloe on 24.
Meantime, my pump (no, not that one) had a problem that I knew had to be a silly thing, but I only just figured it out- the dealer delivered the pump already set up, and one of the fittings was out of place, preventing a complete seal. Moved it into place and bingo, air pressure.
The arm is very straightforward to set up, at least on the big Kuzma table. You do have to read the directions carefully, though, since-you'll say, "I'll be damned if I know the distance of the arm pillar to the platter," you do a couple other things that make sense, go back re-read the directions, and there, as if it were hidden the first time 'round, is the magic measurement, in English, not Slovenian.
The only hearstopping moment is trying to balance the arm- the thing just has so little friction that it gives new meaning to the word "increment." I pulled out an old Technics piezo stylus pressure gauge that I bought new, in 1973 or thereabouts, and got the pressure I wanted- figured just shy of 1.8 on the Titan(i) and then fiddled with arm height, VTA,etc. The tangency or whatever you call it, was dead-on, according to the simple protractor that comes with the arm.
Now, mind you, I don't consider myself even competent when it comes to turntable set-ups, but I got this rig up and running pretty quickly, and it is making music-
compared to the Triplanar VII, I wouldn't worry about losing any bass- this thing is foundational, goes down, down, down- (now that may also be a function of the XL, which is really a beast compared to the Stabi Reference that it replaced, but it isn't "BIG" bass, its deeeeep, with proportion and tonality).
I'm still playing with this thing, VTA settings are a snap on the fly, cueing is easy, nice big lever, easily managed and no skew when the arm ascends or descends, and can't wait to hear it once it has been set up on a proper table, by a master. (Right now, it is sitting on a very heavy 10 foot Chinese mahogany prayer table, on top of an Alvin Lloyd Shelf with his 160lb plus dampers between the prayer table and the shelf- not exactly as god or Alvin Lloyd intended but it's temporary).
As to the 'quiet' of a linear arm compared to a pivoted one, I played with a few in my day (had an ET2 for a little while years ago) and was never a complete believer, given all the attention they needed, but I could hear a difference.
With this arm (combined with XL table, since both are new variables), the silence between the notes is clearly noticeable in a way that wasn't before. It is like everything is brought out in greater relief from the background- imagine one of those three dimensional sculptures by Michelangelo that was never finished- the figures are emerging from the stone, but are never free of it, and their backs meld into something clearly not alive- in that case, a huge block of stone. Here, the figures have emerged, if not entirely, than in much greater dimension- the result is a sense of palpability that the other arm-table combo seemed simply incapable of rendering. Mind you, these are first impressions, and I think the table/arm combo will sound better once it is set up properly.
(The pump is in another room, on a different electrical line- I don't think I could live with it in the same room).
Whart: You are in for a treat when you get it set up on a proper stand. As for leveling the arm bearing tube, one trick is to position the arm halfway across the playing surface with the cueing lever up (and the pump on, of course) and tap down lightly on the top center of the counterweight, say with your fingernail, so as to cause the arm to rock up and down a little to see if it moves. If the arm doesn't drift to one side or the other it's level.
Brian, (Essentialaudio) the foundation will be the STABI XL TURNTABLE for the Kuzma Airline arm. Plan right now is test with Koetsu Jade Platinum Signature that is supposed to arrive Wednesday (this week).
I don't think the table and arm are shipped yet, so we will have time to run the Jade in the Walker and get some break in.
Cello, perhaps my comparison of bass performance between the Phantom and the Air Tangent led you to the conclusion that I had tried the Phantom against the Graham. I have not.
Sirspeedy, no offence taken and I hope you don't think I am attacking your friends system either. My comments are an honest appraisal of my experience with the AirTanget 10B, obtained by a high end manufacturer, directly from the factory in Sweden.
I spent at least two months with it, working every trick I knew. Understand too, I came from owning a Versa Dynamics and several other linear track arms, so the Air Tangent was not unfamiliar to me in concept, design or complexity of set up.
The fact it did not work for me and did for your friend could be for a dozen reasons. Different arm wands were used during different periods of manufacture of the Air Tangent and there were at least three air control boxes (mine had the push-pull knob and dial), and of course the cartridge must be a good match for the arm.
For all these reasons your friend could have had a completely different model with different air control box and pump and had a cartridge that matched that rig perfectly. However for me to ignore (and not discuss) my experiences with this arm is just as wrong as your not defending your friends good experience with it.
People can read both reports and approach the possibility of ownership with a good solid audition and see if their experience is like either of us report or something completely different.
Forums are just a place to share experience, does not remove the need to test.
Dear Sirspeedy: Like Albert posted: there are several variables to the why's on your diferent AT tonearm opinions.
Not only about the differences on the audio systems or the differences on the room's, but more important the differences between the Albert sound perception on his ears/brain against you or your friend own perceptions.
Regards and enjoy the music.
Raul,you recommend the Orpheus.Surely you are doing so based on heresey,only,since it has not been out for long.I cannot even get info from the dealer I bought my Temper-V from.If I'm wrong about your listening experience with this cartridge,then I appologize,yet I find it hard to believe you have heard it for any length of time.
You criticised me for mentioning that I felt the Univ was a superb cartridge,after "only" hearing one for a six hour session(which is STILL long enough for me),so can I assume you have much more listening experience with the "still somewhat underexposed" Orpheus?Inquiring minds want to know!! -:)
Cello,what gives?Either you are in hibernation,or you are a wealth of info,as of late.What's the story?Also,how long do we wait for the REF review?Even Doug did not torture us for long,before writing the fine review of the UNIV! -:)
BTW-BOTH my comments are in a humorous tone!
Just listened to the Caliburn turntable ( when I remeber the name, the one for 90k ), it was connected with Allaerts MC 1 B, Wavac Mono amps to a very huge Kharma. When I first listened I was amazed, after the first - unknown - record I asked for 2 titles I know very well and I was totally dissapointed:
High frequency information was dull and slow. I think, it wasn't the match itself, in my opinion it was the phono stage ( don't know what it was ). I think, you can invest in the most expensive, when the match with the phono stage is not really up to the max, it is still unsatisfying. I've been there with two friends, all have very good - and I mean VERY good - Analog systems ( Boulder, Klyne, Kuzma, Basis, Air Line, ML32, Aestetix Callisto Sign. Zyx, Transfiguration etc.etc.), we all had the same impression.
I am more than a bit busy to write a full review....suffice it to say that the Schroder Reference was far beyond my expectations and hopes (and those were quite high). The first listen was an open mouthed turn to your friend with a look of "Is this possible" experience.
The list of significant improvements are: detail, tunefulness of bass, control of bass, sound stage, placement of instruments, blackness of background, leading edge attacks, decay, and musicality. I truly did not think a tonearm could make this much of a difference (and again, I expected a lot).
That should hold you for a while....or just contact Frank Schroder and put your order in so that in a year's time (give or take a bit) you will be in a position to give everyone else a review.
The table was demoed with 4 arms in Frankfurt(not Munich), about 2 months ago. Each of them had a different cartridge and was running into a different phonostage. Only once did he compare arm cart combinations using the same phonostage. Anyone drawing definite conclusions about the quality of a single component(arm, cart or phonostage) in the chain must have Palladium ears AND beat Sherlock Holmes in deductive reasoning ;-)
The sets were chosen by Mr. Woschnik based on his previous experiences and listening bias to each make for a particularly synergistic combo.