Some use aquarium pumps.
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I have not seen any of the aquarium pumps that deliver pressure above 10 psig. The lower pressure will work for the arm but the maplenoll has a 50# platter resting on the top part of the air bearing. I find when my supply pressure falls below 20 psig, the system starts struggling. I do love the quietness however with the design of the aquarium pumps and am looking for a similar "quiet" pump that can deliver approx 30-40 psig. Anyone ever use airbrush compressor?
I do believe the "WISA" aquarium pump is considered the best,in this application.Not cheap,and it had a distributor who modded it,for audio purposes.I wish I could give you more input here.Also,some compressors used for dentist drills(don't laugh)have been used with superb,high pressure results,on arms like the Air Tangent.I had two friends who did this,and once one got past the humor,it was a sonic revelation.
I'd still go with a nice new WISA,which should be available commercially.
A few years ago i used a vpi hw19 mk4 with an et2 tonearm
A dealer suggested to me to create a large 8 gallon plastic container with air being pumped in
I then had an airline out of the container that was driven by over pressurisation instead of the[wisa] pump itself thus removing the pulsing of the pump
I found this worked very well with my et2
I hope this may be useful
All the best
Give 'ol Bruce Thigpen at Eminent Technology in Tallahassee, Florida, an email or a call and see what he recommends these days. Bruce has been the air bearing guy literally from day one, and was closely involved with the development of the Maplenoll air bearing. Besides, he's one heck of a nice guy and is always very helpful. Bruce will get you the correct answer.
Oilmanmojo, you have it exactly backwards. The platter, although heavy, should take only about 4 PSI whereas the arm wants 40 or more optimally. If the platter takes more than this the bearing needs truing up. The WISA is not the best but in any case its low pressure is only suitable for driving the platter. It can be used effectively for this especially if you want to conserve on your arm pressure. Some people have used more than one pump for this reason.The platter is not as sensitive as the arm to pulses so you don't have to go to extra lengths to dampen them out. There are adjustments for diverting only as much as you need for the platter, leaving the rest for the arm. There are many other tweeks for optimizing this table. Do you have the signature version? Is the current pump not working?
Piedpiper--Thanks for the note. I will followup on the platter issue. I cleaned the bearing surface after I first hooked it up and it was not spinning easily without the platter on it. Once I cleaned it, it moved freely. I assumed the platter required more pressure due to weight of the platter. I am currently running with my shop vac (ran a line from it) but its a little too noisy because my media room is above my garage. I noticed as I reduced the pressure on my surge tank to approx 20 psig the sound started getting muddled and at approx 15 psig, skipping occurred indicating the arm was sticking. I did not have a strobe so I assumed the muddled sound was from a slower platter. In any case, I am looking for a compressor that can handle up to 40 psig since a tank pressure at approx 30 psig worked well.
My Ariadne is the reference and not the signature. The pump was not part of the sale so I am assuming the pump was broken or the person is keeping it. I have (and will use) a large surge bottle along with a couple of walker plenums between the table and the compressor. I saw your pics of your table and will be working to optimize mine in a similar fashion. I have just set up to see what the table can do as is. Any thoughts on further tweaks would be much appreciated
Any pictures? Is this the Ariadne with the reference package, with the lead motor mount, heavier solid lead platter, signature arm and lead record clamp? Is the plinth white or granite? Did it come with the oil trough? If so, is the trough on it's own mounting platform? Do you have the platter bearing grease? Do you have plenty of hose? They recommend 500 feet for smoothing the air flow.
You should put an automotive fuel filter on the intake of the air pump. A trap for oil, positioned just after the pump, and another for condensation 10-20 feet downstream from that, are highly recommended. I made my own from PVC plumbing parts, similar to the plenums but smaller. The plenums come next, then a charcoal water filter to eliminate oil smell and another automotive fuel filter for particulates come next. The splitter valve should be removed from the table and positioned next with the bulk of the hose going to the arm which is much more sensitive to air smoothing. Look for a pump that can handle 50 PSI if you can find one. As you divert more air to the platter the PSI will go down overall. The valve should be less than an eighth of a turn from closed. Set it as low as you can and still get platter rotation. Put your ear right up to the bottom of the platter and listen for any subtle scraping. If you hear anything, open the valve 1/16 of a turn or less at a time until you no longer hear scraping. Minimizing the air to the platter will drive up the PSI to the arm. I installed a PSI gauge on the last plenum. You could put a 0-60 or 0-100 gauge on the hose to the arm and a 0-15 on the platter hose if you want to know exactly what's going on. Be sure that all connections are tight as even tiny leaks will drop your PSI quickly. Check them all with dish soap for bubbles.
Be sure to level the table front to back with a bubble level and side to side by floating the arm with a clip on weight on the counter weight until it doesn't drift in either direction. Carefull grooming of the arm wire is important. I've replaced mine with the finest Acrotec wire straight through to male RCAs to the phono stage which I've positioned conveniently. The arm should be gounded via a very thin wire to the screw in the back that goeas into the lead layer of the plinth if it has one. This is then grounded to the motor and to true ground along with the phono stage/preamp.
After all adjustments of Azimuth, VTA, VTF and oil trough level have settled in, you can firm up all the arm joints with super glue. This makes a noticable difference in tracking and transparancy of the entire range. Removing the motor and building a heavy outboard mount for it will bring another level of transparancy. If you have the lead motor mount you can use this as part of your outboard mount, or make one out of 1/4 inch thick lead. Replacing the spikes or aluminum cones, if it has them, with heavy brass cones will take it to another level as well. You could also try mounting the whole table on a thick maple block suspended on a bunch of sorbothane squares sufficient to withstand the weight, as Lloyd Walker does with his table.
After all that, you should have very little maintainance except for clearing the oil and water traps periodically by unhooking the output tube of each in turn, running the pump and turning them upside down, evacuating the contents into a recepticle of some sort. If whatever the table is mounted on is not dead stable, it is a good idea to check the side to side level occasionally.
Good luck and enjoy!
I really appreciate these suggestions. My table is supposed to the the reference but I now am not sure. The table plinth is white (appears to be corian like substance). The platter is solid lead and not the "filled" platter. The clamp I am not sure if it is lead but its pretty heavy and has the maplenoll insignia on it. The motor mount (where it screws into the bracket appears to be lead. The arm i am not certain of its vintage. The seller did describe it as the reference model. I have found a "quiet" pump that i will purchase. It is a silentaire scorpion 2 which can put up to 50 PSIG and is oiless. The specs show about 50 decibels versus a typical shop pump around 70-80. It is an airbrush compressor that i will hook up to my surge tank (which i have a pressure regulator to dampen the pulsations) I also have the plenums which are walker plenums (foam filled) that will also dampen the pulsations. I have approx 200 ft of vinyl tubing with a laboratory grade filter to remove all particulates. The compressor also has a filter and water trap. It should be in early next week so i am excited to see how it performs. I will shoot some pics of the table as well as my system to post. It is not as attractive (yet) as your table but it definately has potential. I also have carefully leveled the table and the arm (when supplied with the right pressure) moves freely. The arm does not drift so i feel the table is pretty level. I am very impressed with the airbearing arm. you literally can blow on it lightly and it will move. The soundstage with the zyx cartridge is tremendous. I still need to finish my VTA and VTF tweaks and start using the oil trough. Then i will enjoy the music for a few weeks before i try to remove the motor like you did. Thanks again for your advice.
Sounds great! Sounds like you have the normal Ariadne (as opposed to the Signature) with the reference package, sans the Super Quiet Pump. If the arm is about 1/2 inch dia., the VTA bracket and headshell are machined out of solid aluminum and the headshell is permanently attached, it is the signature arm. you may still benefit from a water trap downstream a bit since the air has to have a chance to cool off in order to condense the water out of it. You can always purchase another 200 feet of tubing for not much, to go to the arm. The Maplenoll is a very cool way to approach the ultimate. Enjoy!