Denon, Shelter arm choices

OK, kind of a broad question here. What arms will NOT work well with the Denon, Shelter, and maybe Koetsu (specifically RPS) line of cartridges? I am going to upgrade my arm, actually, add another one, on the next TT project. Since I heard about the two-armed Teres getting built, I want to do one for myself! I’m going to start the layout today.

I have the Denon now, 2ea 103r. I want to be able to do a head-to-head with my OL 250, and want to get rid of the RB300. That way I can start with the same cartridges, and go from there.

I just figured it might be easier to know what will not be a "synergistic" match to these cartridges, because they are the only ones that I can foresee being in my upgrade path.

Hi Joe, in general, those cartridges like to have heavier mass tonearms with excellent bearing quality and low resonance, high rigidity arm tubes.

I'd say that the Origin Live Silver, Encounter, and Illustrious are good choices. Also perhaps a SME V, or a Breuer, or an ET-2.5, or Walker, or a Triplanar. Additionally, some people really like them on a Graham 2.2. I haven't tried the Basis Vector, but it seems like a nice arm. If you go with a unipivot arm, try to be sure that it is heavy enough and has some form of lateral stabilizers to assist with handling the low compliance of these cartridges. If you go with a gimbal-bearing arm, then make sure that the bearings and adjustments are very close tolerance(otherwise they will chatter and ruin the bearings).
Thanks Tom. I just wanted to get set on what not to use. I'm going to start keeping an eye out for another arm. Having 2 Regas just doesn't seem...right. Also, I figured out how I'm going to do a clamp/weight. Should be interesting....

I'll put up pics if I can ever find the time to get it done....
See the thread on Shelter 901/Graham. Apparently someone with that combination is experiencing a bloated bass.

I can vouch for Shelter 901/SME V. It's a great combo. Good extension on both ends, very detailed. On my system, I woudl describe it as on the analytical side of neutral. My friend just purchased a 901 with his SME 309. Apparently he's experiencing some anti-skate problems. I am going over tonight to help him figure out what the problem is.

This doesn't exactly answer your question, but the Ittok works great (on a Linn LP12) with the Shelter 901. The 901 is a fantastic cartridge; great low end, mid range, and high end; the bass is deep and tight, the midrange is open and airy, the high end makes cymbals sound real. I've compared it to the current (not the old) Koetsu Black and the Dynavector 17DII and it has the best qualities of those two plus more; it's really in a different league than either of those two. It's hard to imagine a more detailed, realistic and pleasing cartridge. Get an Ittok and an LP12, mount the 901 and you can move on to upgrading other parts of your system - or just listen and smile.
LP12 an upgrade? You're kidding, right? I like the Ittok arm on a friend of mine's Linn, but his rig, even with "better" electronics just cannot compete with mine. Especially since I added the battery option today. There was an immediate and noticeable improvement. Way, way, way more than a hundred bucks worth.

Now the 901 is a different story. If I quit buying other crap (not all audio related) I would have one by now. I was actually going to buy one when the Supatek came available. But, it was just too good of a deal to pass up!

Frank, did you find the problem with the 309? I was looking at a 312, and that may be an option too.

The other thing I'm going to do today is the TWL HiFi mod. For some reason, I have not gotten around to doing it yet.

I went to my friend's place last week and ran his setup through my HFNR Test LP. To me, it was set up correctly, and sounded fine to both of us when we played a set of 3 randomly selected tracks from some of his LPs. Somehow he got this crazy idea that when you play a non-grooved side of an LP, the cartridge/arm should stay stationary if it is set up correctly. I posted the question on Audio Asylum last week. This is indeed incorrect. The correct test is if you set Antiskate to 0, and leave the cartridge on top of a STATIONARY non-grooved LP, the cartridge/arm should not move.

My friend recommended setting VTF at 1.95g. That's where I set mine as well.


I'll third the descriptions and kudo's for the 901. If neutrality, transparency, detail, harmonic integrity, speed, physical presence and endless extension at both ends interest you, this cartridge has all of it. It's alive yet non-fatiguing at the same time. With a solid table and a suitable arm the 901 is the cat's ass. Even a slightly crooked one like mine is jaw-dropping.

Be prepared to adjust VTF constantly. We hear differences with changes of .04g or less depending on the weather. Since January our typical VTF has dropped from 1.95g to 1.70, setting entirely by ear every time we listen. The easy way to do VTF on a Rega 250 is to add Twl's HIFI mod (get it from Tom) and then add my VTF-on-the-fly mod to that. If you have to move the counterweight to tune VTF you'll quickly tire of it, and you'll never get the most from a 901. Believe me, this is critical.

Also be prepared to adjust VTA, possibly for every record if you're a picky classical listener as we are. The magic of a 901 playing a large orchestra is indescribable, but you must set VTA perfectly to achieve it. Changes of .04mm (1/24th of a turn on the Expressimo VTA collar) make the difference between a flat presentation and a staggeringly 3-D one.

Finally, be prepared to have your records really clean. It may be partly due to our wood platter, but a properly set up 901 will play everything that's on a record, whether it belongs there or not.

I haven't heard any good arms except my modded OL Silver, so take the following FWIW. My current #1 dream arm would be a Kuzma Air Line, which "only" costs twice what my Teres 265 did. My dream pivoting arm for a 901 would be either a Schroeder Reference or a Triplanar. Any of these should be wonderful with a 901 or similar cartridges. A Basis Vector should play a 901 well but changing VTA on a Vector is a pain. I wouldn't put a 901 on a Graham myself, too many reports of loose bass for me to risk that kind of dough. Too bad, since in every other respect it's a wonderful choice. Maybe the new Graham Phantom?

BTW, what happened to "I'm on a budget"?! ;-)

Budget, you're kidding, right? If you remeber when I started to go higher end vinyl about 8 months ago, I wanted to do it all for 2k. Man, that was some good single malt that night!!!!

That said, I must say that I have been able to find some very good deals, like the one on the Microgroove, then the Supratek. Also being able to build stuff saved me a ton. But as we all know this hobby can get out of hand. Besides, do I remember correctly something about a Lorricraft?

I guess I just figured there was no point in doing it half-assed. I looked at all kind of goofy arms & tables & other stuff that the fine people here talked me out of. Once it was explained why one thing works well and is "better" than another, I tended to follow the advice. So, as I get the extra cash, I upgrade.

Plus, I have just as much fun tweaking. Your VTF mod works great, even without the HiFi mod, which I may put on tonight. Can't wait to finally hear it for myself. Also, there is a new VTA adjuster out there. Look here:


I think I'll give it a shot too. I can't stand that skinny little blue VTA adjuster. That's one of the reasons I went with cones under my armboard. Believe it or not, they are less of a pain in the ass to use!

As for cartridges, I also saw someone we know has a 501II listed here. Since I kick myself every time I think about not buying the arm he had for sale before, I probably need to get this. David, are you listening? But, I will end up with a 901 sooner or later. The only other cartridge I am really even considering is a Rosewood Plarinum Signature, and it is my second choice.

So, I really wanted to know what arms not to look for, so if I come across a good deal I can just go ahead and but it. I really like the looks of the SME V, want the performance of the Kuzma, the adjustability of the Triplanar, and if there was EVER a deal on an Illustrious....

Like I've said before, the main impediment is too much going on. Trying to figure out how much lead my new design wood clamp needs, graing matching red coconut palm, and trying to find a machine shop to help me prototype a bearing all help keep me busy, on top of running a business. One of the guys on the Teres forum has a great bearing design, similar to the Teres but inverted. The last 2 shops I talked to want $2500 to prototype it for me. Jeez, I need to buy a lathe!

What I really need to do is get the two-armed plinth done, so I can make all of these comparisons side-by-side. Until that's done, I'll just keep looking, and buy stuff when the right deal comes along, and I have some spare cash.

Once again, David, am I too late?

The Morch tonearm looks good; the more expensive one. With silver wiring it is about 2 large. Supposedly works well with all sort of cartridges inc low compliance MC units. Interchangeable arm wands are a Wonderful Thing.

Available from the same outfit that sells the Scheu/Eurolab tables. These arms can be fitted to the table prior to shipment if one is purchasing a Eurolab table.

Dear friend: I own the Shelter 901 and the 90X, both are great on the SME IV. I own, too, the KOETSU RSP and this one is an exelent match to an Audiocraft AC 4400.