AS Aquilar v.s Brinkman 10.5 tone arms - which one?


I was offered to buy from my local Acoustical Systems dealer the New Aquilar arm to replace the Brinkman 10.5 I have on my Bardo. While it will be a costly adventure (the price il get on the Brinkman and the gap to pay for the Aquilar)

I am thinking about it.

The “Problem” is while the Aquilar get some “words” on the web around the forums (here in particular) its still didn’t known around and reviewed to determine (at least virtually) its benefits against other reference tone arms. I know it got the grand prix price in japan, but other then that (I cant read Japanese any way) I have zero ground to establish any differences that I might get from this $$ flip.


I will appreciates any thoughts, ideas, encouragements or diss to do it…

Hopping some one has experience with the two and can share his conclusions, or any one have a way to think it over cause’ I’m “Lost” J



 Thank you.


Hello Monsieur byrdparis,

I can’t answer your questions precisely, because I’m running an AS AXIOM instead of an AQUILAR, with an AIWON cartridge. Moreover, my former tonearm was an FR-66s. I’m not familiar with your Brinkmann 10.5.

Just a hint: you could contact a’gon member „heradot“ by email. He got an AQUILAR with an AIWON yesterday. I think, he would willingly share his experiences.
dear solong - thank you very much for your kind reply. 
i rather wait for some PPL to chime in instead bother someone personally via his Email, when i don't know him. just my approach to respect someone privet :-), i know i will be welcoming anyone who contact me with no problem but i have some trouble the other way around :(. 

how do you like your Axiom? (its beyond my budget!) which TT do you have it mount on?

i was enjoying my ARCHON cart for a while now - its a superb cartridge. 
i cant imagine how good the AIWON is. 
Hello byrdparis,

Honor to your attitude not to bother yet unknown people. In this case I’m sure, you would be welcome. But maybe heradot will detect this thread and chimes in by himself.

Be reminded that your initial question was concerned with the possible differences of both Brinkmann 10.5 and AS Aquilar. It is you asking for impressions from the Axiom. ;-)

I got it in 2013, a sample of the very first production run, and it is the version with a changeable headshell - offered as an option for the Axiom, but not offered for the Aquilar at all. This feature is obligatory for my FR-7 series cartridges, being mounted on my FR-66s before. Due to its more sophisticated adjustment options, I could setup a cartridge with its build in headshell like these FR-7 or SPU or Ikeda or…, so much more precise in terms of overhang and azimuth, like it was not possible with the FR-66s before. So the better performance of the Axiom over the FR was immediately audible: less distortion. This is not the only advantage.

First, the Axiom was sitting on my TW Acustic Raven AC2. A very convincing match both in sonics and appearance. The Axiom provides more kinds of finish than the Aquilar. Mine has rhodium finish - very classy and elegant, at least to me.

It is now mounted on a classic Platine Verdier. Old version with strong magnets and dark granito base. Almost exactly one year ago I got the Aiwon cartridge, mounted on an Arché headshell with titanium screws. It plays with the same Gestalt like the FR-7Fc does, but with more refinement on both frequency ends and more inner detail. There are lifelike dynamics without loosing contact to the sonic body from which the sound is coming from. Btw, the Platine Verdier has a different, more resolving bass response than the Raven. More pleasant to me, and a better platform for showing the virtues of the Aiwon. The Aiwon itself has compatible specs for my SUT and phono (overall 73 dB gain). The Archon has higher output - suitable for other phono environments.

The Arché itself is a big improvement over my former headshells by Orsonic or Ikeda. My Aiwon is one of the first production run, too. They came out with a rather high VTA (> 20 degrees, different to the recent samples). But no problem with the Arché and its SRA setup option. Optimal adjustment right at the mounting place. The Aquilars headshell has the same functionality. To be honest, until now I don’t have mastered all the setup options of the tonearm in combination with the headshell to the best possible match. Still a field for experimentation.

I never heard the Archon in my system. I assume, it should be in the same class as, lets say, a ZXY UNIverse. I owned the old UNIverse a couple of years before, and it was a very good cartridge - much providing by the transfer from a DaVinci tonearm with wooden arm wand to a FR-64s with metal wand and rigid bearings. My only humble reference here.

According to Acoustical Systems the Aquilar has the same constructive principles and build quality like the Axiom. The Axiom has more options, and, it is a 12“ design. A reviewer of the Audiotechnique magazine 01/2016 is supposedly comparing both arms he had purchased. Conclusion, as somebody capable of reading the review told me: both sound almost identical. The Aquilar seems to be a bit more dynamic, the Axiom being some more masterfully, and could perform, if set up well, extremely micro detailed information.

If you want to use a wide range of different cartridges, the Axiom with its options could be the perfect arm. In a more stable setup - mounting the Archon and then listening to music -, the Aquilar is just a reasonable component. All the needed basics are there.
Dear Solong 
you are exactly the kind of PPL that get me back to (outside my own country) this forum. i can't thank you enough especially for your time and kindness helping me to understand somewhat better the overall perspective on AS products.

in the meantime i was "waiting" to someone who could answer a bit on the virtues of the Aquilar and more about the differences i might get VS my Brinkman arm, i was corresponded with A.S Chief mr' B, about the Aquilar and his approach on design etc. (and about the Brinkmann 10.5 also in that regards)
he wouldn't want to get  in to a conversation about "sound" between them, he was told me he would leave it to me to decide :-).
-what i get from him and now from your (elaborate and very generous) reply -first - i am sure that my Archon cart will be a lot more comfortable and suited with the Aquilar arm for sure, and further more maybe with every "modern" cart i might buy in the future.  the amount of tech and punctuality he gets inside his products amaze me. i'm must admit i was never so minded about all the fine details in analog production even when i had my Michel gyro - techno arm - zyx airy3 sb (not so much of an ultra high end but a decent set up all together, ya?)
his SMARTractor and other product i was buying some weeks ago opened my eyes for the possibilities (UNI DIN especially)of zero distortion reproduction with vinyl! and a lot more. 

i can gladly inform you ;-) i ordered the Aquilar from my local dealer and will getting it in a few days. i am very exciting about it. 

thank you very much again sir.