Experience w/ Trans-Fi Auio Terminator Tone Arm?

How many of you have the Trans-Fi Auio Terminator Air Bearing linear Tone Arm? Or the older Trans-Fi Evolution Tonearm. What is your experience with this arm, how satisfied are you with this arm, and how does it compare with other tonearms you have tried?

I am seriously thinking of getting the Terminator for my VPI Super Scoutmaster with Rim Drive, but have no experience with linear tone arms. I have found just one person on Audiogon who has this arm and loves it. This fact is somewhat confusing to me, since if the arm is so great, as some people say it is, you would think more people on Audiogon would have it or at least tried it out.
What you say is true. If one person loves an item, and no-one else ever heard of it. It is hard to accept the verdict of the one.
First off, linear tonearms ar really a blind alley, A momentary turn into a dead end. They have a few strong points, but the flaws have never been overcome.
If you want to experiment, and can blow a wad of cash on one person's hyperbole, then go ahead. If you want a sound judgement, skip the praise by one crazy, and go with what the crowd praises.. (and it is NOT a linear arm no-one ever heard of.. except one guy.. who loves it.. and would not use any other..)
Elizabeth, once again....

"...no-one else ever heard of it..."

"...no-one ever heard of.. except one guy.."

Contrary to your statements, this is a well-known arm. Poul Ladegaard, the builder, is very well known for his arm design, and his willingness to help diy-ers build copies. Reviews of the arm are available on the web. http://www.enjoythemusic.com/magazine/equipment/0408/trans_fi_terminator_tonearm.htm You apparently own a computer-I'd advise using the Google before you post.

As for "...linear tonearms ar really a blind alley, A momentary turn into a dead end. They have a few strong points, but the flaws have never been overcome." That's just wacky.

JBcello, lots of these arms have been sold, you just need to expand your search. Try Vinyl Asylum-just a week or so ago, someone posted that they had one on the way. Also check other known audio sites, and look at the thread at DIYAudio. Granted, these aren't as common as Regas, but they are definitely out there.

Good luck, have fun.
Well, the Elizabeth person has no clue what he/she is talking about as is obvious from the message, based only, as it is, on personal inferences and ignorance of the product in question. And an apparent irrational hatred of linear trackers. E.g., most regular car guys don't have a clue what a Pagani Zonda is; those who go outside regular channels for information certainly do. So it is with all things in life worth knowing and sensing. Otherwise, I'd constantly eat fastfood, love Robert Kincaid's awful art, read Harry Potter, watch Oprah, and drive American cars--all extremely popular, and all awful.

Linear trackers are heavily represented among the very elite tonearms in the world. Period. Kuzma, Clearaudio, Walker, Yorke--each of their top arms are without doubt among the elite.

For lots of feedback with photos from actual customers, go to www.trans-fi.com to the client corner; and for their latest arm, see pics in the Terminator 3 pics thread at the Vinyl Asylum.
FWIW, in the client's corner at trans-fi.com, the 3rd table down is yours, I believe--with several other VPIs represented, too. Each of those persons has agreed to speak with prospective buyers about their tables.
This post has started out interesting right from the beginning. The purpose of this thread is simply to get more comments about this arm from people who have experience with it. I have done quite a bit of research into the Terminator arm so far, and I am very interested in buying the arm. I'm just trying to get as much info about the arm as I can before putting down my $1200. I have read the review and will definitely go to other forums as Johnbrown has suggested. This is a good idea. I think I over rely on Audiogon out of laziness. It may be that not enough arms have been sold for there to be a large presence of the Terminator arm on Audiogon.

So far, my research has turned up only excellent comments of the Terminator's performance and with the new version just out, the looks of the arm are getting better. The arm seems to have everything that I like in a high end product, excellent performance with a reasonable price that celebrates getting excellent value for the money. I am quite uncomfortable with paying large sums of money for high end audio equipment that just reeks of being overpriced. Keep the comments coming and thanks.
Watch this space; I'll let you know how it works on my Origin Live Aurora Gold Mk.II with a Cartridge Man Music Maker III--it'll be taking the place of the highly regarded Origin Live Encounter Mk.II arm. Mine's on the way right now, should be here next Monday. Pics here of the brand new version, with adjustable VTA-on-the-fly: http://www.audioasylum.com/audio/vinyl/messages/83/837110.html

Trans-Fi has a 30-day money back guarantee, no questions asked. Vic, the owner/creator, is really nice and the most patient guy I've dealt with in audio in many years.

Air bearing linear trackers worth their salt have been too expensive to filter into the dirty mainstream where Regas rule. And, if you have ten thumbs and wouldn't know which end of a hammer to use and haven't been around turntables long, then an airbearing arm can become daunting and too fiddly. Me, I'm off to build a nice little acoustic isolation box out of hardwood for my Rena Air 400 aquarium air pump that arrived today--it's already amazingly quiet, but I want to see how far I can take it.
I have been intrigued with this arm design as it is a low pressure arm vs the high pressure arm i use with my maplenoll. I have not owned one of the premier pivot arms but have owned tables with rega and stock arms on duals and denons. My linear tracker meets all of my expectations.
The system using a air compressor, filters and surge tank were a pain to set up but once i solved that problem, i have an arm that can handle most any record and any cartridge. I love the fact there is no tracking error, no antiskate and floats over most any wavy or warped record. I know this is offtopic since the question is about the terminator arm but the concept is sound and the manufacturing seems solid. This have been discussed on AA and DIY forums many times. You might try these for more info
It's about 4 months I am on the swimming pool edge and uncertain if plunge or not. From what I read this should be one of the best arm regardless price. I remember somebody stating it is better than even Grahams/SME etc etc.

Why I don't open the wallet yet? I am not that good in setting unknown things and a parallel tracker gives me the feeling that I will be in trouble in setting it. Reading instructions there was a note about the possibility of cartridge jumping or skipping while setting it up. This really scared me, although Vic indicated it is a possibility not a certainty.

Kristian, please I would love to read your feedback specifically about the setting it up.
Cheers everybody
Will do.

But, 3 words: Money-Back Guarantee!
I too have that trepidation about setting up things unknown. but once i've saved up enough cash, will take the plunge....with a cheap cartridge! hahaha :) Seriously.

Many ppl have expressed gr8 satisfaction with this arm, just not on this forum. As has been mentioned, try the DIY boards or those from the UK... more users there i believe.
I am the alleged lone gunman of record above. The Terminator is an excellent arm that easily surpassed a Graham 1.5tc & SME IV on my modded VPI TNT. It takes a bit of tweeking if this is your first experience with a linear arm, as well as email dialog with the manufacturer to dimension a pedestal base for your particular TT. Construction of the air supply requires basic skills with a hand drill. It is well worth the effort and IMO represents one of the best values in analog.
Anybody has compared the Terminator to other tengential arms the likes of ET2.5 or clear audio?

The Terminator Pro with the Tomahawk arm wand sounds better than any other air bearing arm I have ever heard including the Rockport III.

I think its the knife edge bearing now accomplished with a set of points.

The soundstage is impressively focused. Timbral accuracy is improved, and there is meat and potato vs sterile accuracy in the music.

YMMV but the TPro with the Tomahawk arm is one of the finest arms ever at any cost.
I'll add my more recent impressions of Terminator. The Tpro version with the Tomahawk flat wand and uninterrupted shielded 5N silver wire harness is quite a break-through in performance. The arm also benefits from a solid brass pedestal. The most challenging aspect of setting up Terminator is the need for careful dressing of the new shielded wire harness. These wires are a bit thicker than the filament-sized unshielded wiring more commonly used with tangential arms. The shielded wires are worthwhile in terms of eliminating hum problems, but to prevent torque effects on the stylus(particularly when the arm is shortened in front or when using a four-conductor loom for balanced operation) the wires need to be carefully separated from each other, and the gantry that supports them must be positioned toward the middle of the LP. In addition, one should recheck zenith after determining optimal VTA. Finally, if the arm is made short it is well worth experimenting with headshell weights for cartridges of low to medium compliance.

All of this may sound complicated but is really no big deal. Once these aspects of setting up a short linear arm are understood, things fall easily into place.
If your looking at Linear track tonearms, you should also consider clearaudio in your evaluation, imo....
I have used the Terminator for almost two years. I upgraded to the tomahawk arm about a year ago and added Vic's reso-mat two months ago. I do not have alot of experience with other arms but it is in a whole different league than the fully upgraded rb 300 I used before. Besides it looks ultra cool in an industrial design way. This is anything but a momentary turn into a deadend and it is relatively inexpensive as far as arms go.
I have had my Terminator T3 Pro with Tomahawk wand & another custom wand to allow headshell swap for a year. Top arm and it punches way above its price point. I use it on a heavily modified slate ptp Lenco and it's a great combination IMO. I also use other arms like 12" Reed 2A, Graham Phantom 2, Schick, Exclusive P3A, Max 237, etc on other tables and Terminator/Lenco is not humbled in that company.
Thanks Sgunther. What did you hear in re-so mat that was superior to using record clamp. Vic stated that clamping the LP deadends the sound. No?
I have ordered one T3 that is going to replace my VPI 105i on Classic 3 Deck with wonderful ZYX 4D-X Low output.

The VPI 10.5i is a wonderful tonearm but, when pushed to the limit, shows sometimes a non-consistent tracking ability along the whole side of the LP.

It is rare and don't get me wrong, if you get the proper set up for it the 10.5 it will be a wonderful piece of equipment.
Nevertheless, my system is top notch, it is distortion free, high dynamic, extrmely natural and every little imperfection is going to be magnified.
In this case, the tracking of the arm, the difference between middle and inner grooves is something I want to get rid of.
IMHO the tangent arm is the way to go.
Why would I bother reading radially and compensate for it with AS and appox of 2 null points, when vinyls are recorded tangentially?
I feel Vic is a very knowledgable person and the reviews all around the world are very consistent.
I am excited and curious to try the new arm when it will arrive and then I will post more detailed opinion and impressions on how it soounds compared to my previous combination.
Anyone here own the Trans Fi Salvation? Thoughts?
Finally I was able to set the new arm up and listened to it carefully.

I don't have a lot of adjective to pull off from my vocabulary to describe it.
As many other users I would just say that the performance are top notch.
Customer service is top notch as well.

Price is the best aroun!

Does a higher rate thatn A+++ exist!?

mmm....maybe I can rate it

AA++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++!!! :)
Highly recommended.

I received my Terminator Arm with Tomahawk wand in December 2011. It replaced a Nottingham Analogue Mentor arm on a late model Nottingham Analogue Mentor turntable.

Improved clarity and soundstage was immediate. Extended listening simply confirmed my earlier impressions, and friends with Schroeder arms also appeared impressed. Vic (Mr. Terminator) is more than easy to deal with, he seemed to be on a mission to improve my system.

Vic makes a point of mentioning several limitations. After using the arm for a few hours, these did not seem like limitations at all, just aspects of a novel design. The only exception is getting used to not plopping an LP vertically onto the turntable, but rather angling it in. Still, no bother, even the first time.

Setup is easy. VTA is almost trivial. VTF is easy and stable. Azimuth is adjustable, but it's a little fiddly, and cannot be done on the fly. Having said that, it is entirely clear what is going on, so it is easy to get an approximate setting and work from there. Perhaps the Talea improves on this aspect, at 5x the price, but it probably loses more on the tradeoffs inherent in a conventional design.

Perhaps I should mention that I am a clarity freak, using electrostatic speakers. It is in this context that I am very pleased with the purchase, and recommend it highly.
I totally agree with Terry.
Clarity wise it is wonderful and I am a freak as well.
I have the arm on top level system just to give an idea speaker I use are B&W 800Signature and all custom electronics and the sound with this arm is amazing.

Vic is wonderful to deal with.

Highly recommended.
Some bad news: "The Terminator is NO LONGER sold with a 30 day money back trial period. There are over 200 Terminators in circulation, all with favourable reviews. If you have any doubts as to whether Terminator is for you, email me before you order."
From: http://www.trans-fi.com/t3proorderformpricing.htm
However the ad at Ebay still states: "If you don’t find The Terminator fits in with your set-up, simply return it within 30 days for a full money back guarantee (less postage costs). I can’t say fairer than that!"
I am very interested in this arm but would want to be able to return it!
Also the pump and tank are included only in the UK, it seems: "The T3 Pro is available in the UK for 770 GBP + postage at cost. This includes the Standard Tomahawk with copper Litz wiring/Molex connector, pump, smoothing tank, 5m of hose & relevant fittings.
(740 GBP without pump + tank for overseas buyers)
Hello Franz456, Don't worry about the pump and tank. It's easily made on the website with gas tank,1/4" tubing, and aquarium pump. I used 2' of 3" PVC precut at Home Depot with PVC caps and a pump. About $150 with pump and about 30 min. time. That's why Vic does not send these easily found parts internationally.

Can't help with the 30 day money back except the arm is very good and doubt you will return it. Sell it here for a small loss if it's not for you.

The main decision is, do you get the silver wire or the copper wire. I went
for the silver with continuous run to preamplifier. I am planning on getting another arm with the copper to see which is better.
Acman3, I wouldn't bother with the copper wire and Molex connector. IME the straight-shot 9N screened silver wire sounds much better and is less susceptible to RFI/EMI.

Franz56, T3/Pro is a killer and no longer requires the return privilege as a marketing tool.
yeah T3/Pro is a killer...read...a killer!!
you won't regreat it.
Afterall it is not fair to ask Sir Vic after all this time being on the market to to mony back guarantee, I don't see any other company doing that.

For wiring i have silver and works just fine. I ended up removing the molex connector soldering directly to the rca and going straight with my Magnum M1 Phono.
Sound is sublime!
I'm going to buy one. Thanks to all for the info. The turntable technician for the distributor from whom I just bought a Clearaudio Innovation Compact is willing to help me set it up. Between him and Vic there should be no problem in setting it up.
I will definitely get the silver RCA wire. What about the digital VTA display? Needed? Recommended? The technician won't need it, but I might in the future.
nope...you don't need it
Yup, you're probably right.
What about the Hose Adaptor Kit (barbs + drill tap 10GBP)? Are they needed? I have no idea what these are? I do have a drill.
OK, I don't need to waste any more of your time. I just noticed the "manual" available at the Trans-Fi site. It explains all this stuff. I won't need to buy the adaptor kit from Vic.
yeah, shipping for this things is now conveniente as FedEx lowered their prices.
I would recommend you to contact Vic and ask to have them all.
Just buy a step up at RadioShak or wherever and you will be all set.
Acman3, you say you use a pump with ¼” tubing? The ad for the Rena 400 pump at Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/RENA-AIR-400-PUMP/dp/B00025YRK2 ) suggests that it should be used with “Standard 3/16" Flexible Airline Tubing for Aquariums). What kind of pump do you use, Acman3?

I plan to buy the Rena 400 pump. Does anyone here know what size tubing is best used with it? 3/16” or ¼”?

And what size tubing is best used to fit the air intake valve on the new T3Pro? Will the same size tubing fit the Rena 400 pump and the T3Pro intake valve?

The pictures of the air intake valve at the Trans-Fi website differ from each other.
Some (e.g. that entitled: Optional Gantry) show a semi-transparent plastic tube with a white plastic barbed tip. Some (e.g. the first one under Setting VTA & Carrier Tilt T1 & T2 and the second one under Nomenclature) show a metal barbed tip protruding from the side of the tonearm. Which is latest arrangement/design?
I ordered a T3Pro without the pump etc. But seconds after submitting the order I got an email from Vic (to whom I had written about all this stuff) telling me:
"After Xmas, Fedex lowered their transatlantic costs (£35) so it makes it worthwhile to go for the all in price including tank/tubing & pump. Your only outlay is a cheap $10 or less voltage converter for the pump."
So I wrote back to him telling him to include the pump and tank too.
Luckily I had not yet ordered the Rena pump.
Just to add my opinion here. I'm listening to a T3 mounted on a HW-19. Sounds just fantastic. Running a Sumiko Blackbird into a DIY Phonoclone3. Bass is deep and tight, cymbals sound as good as they ever will through my 50+ year ears. The music has a flow and ease to it that is not evident through my TNT/SME-V/Glider set-up. The air supply is also easy, don't fret it. Aquarium tubing is what fits at both ends. Just buy from any pet shop. Only issue here is the noise from the pump may bother you without a box or another room to locate the pump in. Mine is in a cupboard in another room and is silent from the listening position. There is a thread over at the Lenco forum that may help you out. The air pressure that is needed is minimal. I backed mine down until the it skipped and then dialed a bit more in. 0.15 PSI is all it takes!
Now my question to those that have experience with this arm. How do you accomplish setting VTA "on the fly"? I have loosened the set screw, but as I raise and lower the arm, the cartridge skips. Also the thumbscrew seems hard to turn, it raises and lowers the arm but with difficulty. I hate to break something. Any suggestions?
it doesn't skip, but you should be careful as it is an airbearing tonearm.
since you minimized the air flow you might want to increase it a little bit just to allow the stylus to sit solid on the groove.
Also maybe your cartridge trackl light so it migh be more sensitive.
On mine I can adjust on the fly but I would recommendo to lift the cartridge up and make the adjustment and then put i back on again.
Franz456, Sorry if I got the tube size wrong. It is aquarium tubing,whatever size that is. Congratulations on your new tonearm.

Wntrmute, VTA on the fly has to be done very smoothly,but adjustment knob is not very hard to turn on my table. Why don't you check with Vic? I do not always tighten the setscrew.

I guess I need to get a pressure Gage and play with air pressure to see how it effects the sound and tracking. I just plugged it in and started listening.
Wntrmute2, It's great arm, but the on-the-fly VTA feature should be approached with caution. After each change in VTA the clamping screw should be retightened to ensure solid coupling between the air manifold and the core block. Recheck zenith after arriving at optimal VTA. Remember that with a short wand, any change in VTA will push/pull the stylus off tangency/zenith to a greater degree than with a conventional long wand. Notwithstanding these housekeeping issues, the variables of a linear tonearm are simple and deterministic compared to a pivot arm.
Dgarretson, Great points! I had never thought about the arm getting out of tangency by raising or lowering arm. DUH.

Thanks for the help guys. I wonder if a specialty forum might be in order for guys like us somewhere? AK, AA, or Audio Circles. Any thoughts?
There is one something like lencoheaven or something. One more important factor is that...when you set weight the arm has to be perfectly parallel a small angle and you will have a significant different VTF than what think you have.
Also air pressure has a little impact on the sound but still well audible. Keep the pressure as low as possible and you will get the best sound out of it!
I'd say this owner could help too.

Great to hear that the Terminator is catching on. Now that you guys are in the next step is Vic's Salvation TT. I have had the Terminator about 3 years and bought the Salvation about one month ago. I think it may have been only the second in the U.S. I was using the Michell Gyro SE II shich is a very nice table but it is no competition for the Salvation.The Terminator/Salvation combination justs sounds like music. The combination somehow combines smooth and relaxed with dynamic and punchy, the timbre of instrumants is great and the sound stage is clear, deep and wide. My wife is a skeptic about this hobby and even she was impressed. The terminator/Salvation combo is about $4,000 with shipping. I don't think there is anything in that price range that can touch it.
Has anyone tried an LP ring clamp with their Salvation TT? The Resomat would seem to create issues with warped LPs (VTA, azimuth).
Redglobe, I'm v.close to making a decision to buy the Salvation w. Terminator arm. My only other possibility is the Technics SL1200-derived Inspire Monarch.
I can tell you if you use it with Vic's Terminator T3Pro linear tracking arm (his preference, and all Salvations so far have been fitted with his arm), because of proximity of arm base arrangement to platter, it will not accommodate an outer ring.
Vic really believes, contrary to popular opinion, that use of rings/clamps damps the life out of lp replay.
Having heard his set up with the Reso Mat, I can only agree with him.
If I go down this route, moderately unflat lps will play ok, and I'll use something like the Vinyl Flat or Furutech LP Flattener with my handful of severely warped lps that may not work without a ring/clamp.

Have you actually measured the space between platter and tonearm base? I see a couple of users of the T3Pro using outer rings with non-Transfi decks.

I cannot fathom how a clamp can damp the life out of an LP: Eliminating vibration in the LP will make it easier for the stylus to track the groove. Isn't it easier to walk on non-vibrating surface than on one that is moving?

Is there anyone in the Chicagoland area that has the Terminator Pro or the Salvation deck with which I can hear with my own ears?
Redglobe, you can use an outer ring with a non-Trans Fi tt using the Terminator. The problem is using the Salvation, it has an oversized platter the outer edge of which is mere millimetres from the Terminator arm base construction.
I agree with you, logic would suggest that clamps/rings to level out an lp while playing must aid cartridge tracking. Maybe there is something inherent in linear tracking that obviates the need for such a concept. I suspect it may be a good idea to invest in something like the Vinyl Flat to allow lps to lie as level as possible prior to playing.
Redglobe, I'm in the Detroit area. If you want to spend the time to come to Detroit, you can hear my T-3 on a VPI HW-19.

Wntrmute2, your system profile shows a VPI TNT with SME V. Just curious for your opinion of that rig vs. T-3 on HW-19. T-Pro replaced a SME IV on my TNT.