Clearaudio TT5 tangential tonearm


I am entering analog world and seek your opinion about Clearaudio’s new TT5 tangential tonearm. On paper tangential tonearms seem extremely convincing and pivoted tonearms seem a compromise from the start.

Can you please share your experience with Clearaudio TT5/3/2 tangential tonearm? Are the metal wheels on glass tube mechanism inherently noisy? Any maintenance issues?

On paper tangential tonearms seem extremely convincing and pivoted tonearms seem a compromise from the start
Yes, it would appear that way on paper. But there are many factors that influence the quality of LP playback, and tracking error is but one of them. There are reasons that tangential tracking arms haven't taken over from pivoted arms, including the tendency of linear arms to have high horizontal mass and low vertical mass. As a group - this is a generalization - linear  trackers tend to be much more fiddly and sensitive to setup issues. No linear arm is a cure-all for analog woes.

I don't have experience with the Clearaudio arms, but have some experience with its predecessors, the Souther. IMO, the cure was worse than the disease.
It seems either Clearaudio's tangential tonearms are not popular or perhaps most users here have not experimented with tangential tonearms.

Hello, Anyone?
Haroon - I have seen and heard the Clearaudio years ago, but not in my own room.


I have observed that Tangential tonearms are all very different from one another in the way they were designed, are made, how they are setup, and how they work in real life (their requirements). One can’t just say, I want to try a linear tracker and pick any one. As they are very different from one another, they need to be analyzed prior to laying down your money.

For this tonearm from the manufacturers website.

In a conventional pivoted tonearm, the arm is ’dragged’ across the record’s surface by the stylus following the record groove. A similar motion occurs in Clearaudio’s tangential tonearms, but the arm moves tangentially, with the stylus propelling the tonearm along a linear bearing which comprises a carriage running on precision rollers along a meticulously polished glass rail.

This is very different than an air bearing. There is more friction involved and its performance will depend on the groove conditions and the moving parts of the tonearm. If I was looking into buying it I would want to know about the parts that are moving, how easily do they get dirty, breakdowns over time, etc... . and go listen to it and compare familiar records with a pivot arm.

Some interesting comments here on the Steve Hoffman forum.

It appears that other than the very basic design, how the arm actually works has very little in common with its predecessor Souther.

Hope this helps.

Dear Chris, Goldmund (aka P. Lurne) produced two, say,

''conventional linear tracker'' which were an nightmare to

adjust but sounded excelent. Those ''air bearing'' kinds look

like patients in the intensive care room. So consequently only

the  very obstinate or very brave persons are  willing to mess

with either kind (grin).

@haroon - I believe there is a lesson here from the replies you have received.

Don’t listen to a 1) well set up linear tracker in a 2) well set up room, at the height of Audiophilia Nervosa. You will not forget the moment. It will haunt you. Now this is not a 1 or 2 thing, but 1 and 2 situation that needs to happen. I also believe that the obvious differences in experiences here with Nandric, cleeds and myself, comes down to design and execution of the actual tonearms that were used.

@Nikola - regarding your comments on the tubes.

Those ’’air bearing’’ kinds look like patients in the intensive care room.

All my leisure interests use tubes. Some carry air, some oil, some gas. So I am very much used to tubes. My take is, as long as they are hooked up to my mechanical devices that bring me pleasure, and not me, then all is good. :^)

Soon my ET 2.5 pump will be turnkey. I am training my dog to turn it on. But it will require bribing/coaxing - maybe some peanut butter cookies.