Audio Craft AC-4400 and related AC tonearms


I have so many Audio Craft headshells that i start thinking about Audio Craft tonearms.
Something like the Audio Craft AC-4400 silver color with removable armwands.
Must be a high quality tonearm, Japanese classics. The problem is that i’ve never tried them.
Anyone can comment? Would be nice to read more opinions.

Here is a picture of the AC-4400: https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/oNcAAOSw0HVWADXg/s-l1600.jpg

There is also AC-3300 model: https://www.vinylengine.com/library/audiocraft-ultracraft/ac-3300.shtml

10076406 d6c5 4854 a751 76cefa9d8a70chakster
It's a fabled tonearm.
They're unipivot. You want to mess with that? These are the tonearms that Graham fraudulently ripped off.
But what's the difference between AC-3000 vs. AC3300 and AC-4000 vs. 4400 ? This is where i'm lost.  
Thanks, invictus. I never appreciated the obvious similarity between the graham design and audiocraft tonearms. Seems the latter are quite advanced.

Some notes, possibly obvious:
- AC3300 & AC4400 are later, more advanced models that command much higher prices (~3-5x) on the used market. I think they were manufactured until the early 2000s. 
- AC3000 & AC4000 are unipivots and AC3300 & AC4400 are "double point support", but I haven't seen one in detail, so I'm not sure what exactly that means.
- AC3300 & AC4400 have VTA on the fly, I believe, but the other features are similar. They all have adjustable silicon oil damping.

[Purely subjective assessment made with a limited number of cartridges and not in a fully controlled or blinded setting:] I have AC3000 & AC4000 and quite like them. They have an open, easy, refined sound compared for instance to FR64s which has a solid, full-bodied sound. I like having both and use AC4000 for chamber & choral music and FR64s for orchestral & jazz.


@sampsa55 very interesting, thanks Sampsa
I didn’t expect they were in production for such a long time, i thought AC3300 and AC4400 are from the late 80s. And yes, the price difference is huge compared to the AC3000 and AC4000 from the 70s.

Have you ever tried the FR66s if you like the FR64s ?
I will ask again, maybe you know better, what is the difference between the FR66s and 66FX (long versions)?
Maybe @nandric can comment on this subject ? 

Since the FR-7f and PMC-3 is what i use, i always wanted to try the FR or Ikeda tonearms with those carts. Currently i use re-wired Lustre GST-801 (discovery internal wires, zu audio mission mk2 with wbt rca’s) and the sound quality is stunning.

The AC3300 & AC4400 were in production for quite a long time. Here's a review of Platine Verdier from 2001 and it came with an AC4400, which looks to have been one of the recommend tonearms to go with the Verdier:
http://hifishack.com/jcv_platine_review.php

I'm very interested in the FR66s & FR66fx, but they are out of my budget... The difference, I believe, is the same as between FR64s & FR64fx: the former is stainless steel and the latter is aluminium. The anti-skating mechanisms are also different.


64fx or 66fx have lower effective mass than 64s or 66s, respectively. I think they are indeed made of aluminum . Otherwise, they appear to be identical to the s versions.
@lewm there is one thing i don't understand about those FX tonearms. They are black, the FR-7f is also black, they looks like they are made for each other, but the FX is lower mass tonearm. 
@chakster I think you read too much into the color match. The headshells that came with FR66s & FR64s were also black. 

What is compliance of 7f cartridge? The fx tonearms are indeed lower in mass than are the s tonearms but that's like saying your friend has lost 100 lbs and now weighs "only" 300 lbs. ( the s tonearms especially the 66s are very high in effective mass). Thus the 7f may well be suited to the fx tonearms even if its compliance is on the low side.

@lewm the compliance of FR-7f is 7cu @100Hz 
http://audio-heritage.jp/FIDELITYRESEARCH/etc/fr-7f.html

@sampsa55 the first FR-7 was silver, then upgraded FR-7f was made in black. Same with tonearms, but i'm not sure the lower mass FR64FX or FR66FX are better than very high mass FR-64s and FR66s. I'm not sure which FR cartrs supposed to be used with FX tonearms then (if not the FR-7f series) ? The counterweight of the FX series is closer to the later IKEDA arms (like 407).   

Sampsa, do you use your Audio Craft with MM cartridges or only MC ? 
The fx-models are later than the s-models, I think. The difference isn’t just the weight, but also the material. Steel & aluminium resonate differently and the surface treatment might make a difference too. The FR-7 cartridges are so heavy in themselves that the arm mass makes less of a difference. For the cartridges, the f at the end means silver coil and some of the tonearms, both fx- and s-models had silver wiring though I’m not sure how to tell which ones.

I think both the fx- & s-would be great with FR-7, though there seems to be a general preference for the s-models. I have both the FR64fx & FR64s, but don’t have FR-7 cartridges. I have used both with SPUs and some other cartridges quite happily. Currently, I have FR-1 Mk3f in the FR64s and Audiocraft AC05M in the FR64fx. Both sound great.

I have used both MM & MC cartridges in the Audiocraft tonearms. I’ve been particularly happy with MC, specifically Accuphase AC1 & AC3, Audiocraft AC03, and Shelter models.
I've been listening to an acutex LPM320 (compliance 42!!!) in my 64s with a Dynavector head shell which is lighter than typical FR headshells. It's a great match, contrary to expectations.

FR tonearms bear a sticker on the arm wand that says, "silver inside ", if they're wired with silver.

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@sampsa55 

I think both the fx- & s-would be great with FR-7, though there seems to be a general preference for the s-models. I have both the FR64fx & FR64s, but don’t have FR-7 cartridges. I have used both with SPUs and some other cartridges quite happily.

Great. Do you use them with optional heavy counterweight called W250? 
I have the W250 for FR64fx, which I think was needed for SPUs as the default weight was too light. The default weight for FR64s is very heavy, but I have a lighter one for it. 
@sampsa55 I decided to try FR 64fx, it will be my first FR tonearm, it it works with SPU then it should work well with FR-7f, but for the rest of my cartridges i will have to find lightweight counterweight (i have the original headshell and heavy W-250 counterweight).

But what is a part number (light counterweight) ?

The AudioCraft 3300 or 4400 are the next arms i’d like to try, hope i will find them.
You could also use a heavier headshell for the other cartridges. I don't know what the part number for the lighter one is. My FR64fx came with it and I bought the heavier W250 separately.