Fidelity Research FR-64 vs. FR-54


In a prior discussion, I had asked about tonearm suggestions for a Luxman PD-441 table that currently has a Denon DA-307 tonearm and Grado The Reference high output cartridge.  Many suggestions were provided.  A Fidelity Research FR-64 was suggested as a simple replacement.  I'm wondering if the FR-54 would also be good, being that it is mentioned in the Luxman manual in the same category as the Denon arm on there now?
bdunne
Dear @bdunne: First than all the Denon DA-307 is not the weak link in your system as you stated. I owned and know very well this and other Denon products including its LP recordings.

Please ask you weak link for whom or why?

You no sense expression " goofy " damping says that you need to understand first than all why exist a tonearm other than hold the cartridge.

No single undamped pivoted tonearm in the world can makes justice to any single cartridge and you are asking for the worst undamped tonearms ever made/designed: FR.

Here you can read why a tonearm needs be a damped design as your " goofy " DA-307:

file:///C:/Users/Rub%C3%A9n/Downloads/ve_denon_da-307_flyer.pdf 


The Luxman has the rigth tonearm for your current cartridge and future ones. There are not many tonearms than could performs at the high quality levels as the 307 can.

If I was you I will stay with the Denon tonearm and invest the money at least on LPs.

Regards and enjoy the music,
R.




FR tonearms notwithstanding, I would point out that the Denon DA307 has a much different design flaw in and of itself:  It has a flexible joint in the arm wand, interposed between the headshell and the pivot.  I always thought this was a bad idea, but obviously someone at Denon thought it was a good idea, because they went to the trouble of building it into the arm wand.  In my opinion, you don't want the arm wand to flex at all, because flexing can cause unstable alignment of the cartridge.  It also interrupts energy transfer from headshell to pivot.  Anyway, have you given it a listen? Do you like it?  Raul cites Denon promotional material in support of the DA307 design.  Who else is going to support that design, if not Denon?  I am not sure who used the word "goofy" and why, but this seems to have upset Raul.

"Goofy" may have been my own creation after reading about the damping design of the Denon.  Maybe I should use "unconventional" instead.  In any event, I can't say I have a specific complaint about the Denon arm.  Perhaps it is as good as its going to get.  I was just looking for opportunities to upgrade the sound.  
The DA307 is liked by many. So, my opinion about the damper may hold no water.  On the other hand, the FR64S (don't know about the FR64, unless you meant to refer to the 64S) is liked and admired by even more audiophiles, Raul excluded.  This is not to say Raul is "wrong".  I own both of these tonearms.  I love the FR64S so far, don't hear any problems related to the lack of damping, and I have never used the DA307 (it came as a throw-in, when I bought a Denon DP80).  I sold it (on Audiogon) to some creep who then sent it back to me with a broken cue-ing device, claiming there was a problem with the bearings. I could see his screwdriver marks on the bearing housing, and he made no mention of having broken the cue. It's been lying around my basement ever since.
Let me know if you want to part out the Denon.  I need one of the original side screws on the pivot arm.  Years ago when I had the table looked over and a different cartridge installed, it came back with one of the original screws missing and replaced by something else.  Looks like it came out of someone's toolbox.  Anyway, I would be fine keeping the Denon arm.  It just seemed that so many people suggested that it would be best to replace it.
Dear @lewm : "   I have never used the DA307 .. """

that makes a diference in  your opinion vs mine because I listened the FR 64 and 66 for years in my system even I still own the 64 that I do not use but in good working condition.

As I posted I owned the 307 and other than its very good design and its damping mechanism you can read there that was along the Lustre GST 801 the pioneers of magnetic antiskating mechanism.

You can be sure that Denon knew what the did t not only with its tonearms but with  their items catalogue.

Yes, you as several FR owners like FR tonearms tonearms because its distortion levels but for me the FR ones the only real tonearm characteristic that it has is that can hold a cartridge but for me is only a shiny piece of metal, nothing more.

Regrads and enjoy the music,
R.
Raul, You just couldn't resist the dig about distortion-lovers, could you? Some day you may wake up and realize that your consciousness is not the only one in the universe.  I hope that happens for you, soon. We are not all figments of your imagination.  I expressed my opinion on the DA307 design, not its performance, and my opinion still stands.  For what it's worth, I have indeed heard the DA307, in other systems over my lifetime.  It's certainly not a "bad" tonearm, and I never said it was. As to the FR64S, I am reporting my listening impressions, NOT my opinion of its design.  You say (elsewhere) that you are always learning.  How can you learn anything from anyone else, when your mind is so closed to all other opinion? In fact, can you name one other knowledgable audiophile who derides the FR64S/66S as much as you do?  Perhaps you can name one other than yourself.  I can name 10 who disagree.

Bdunne, Just to be clear, there is absolutely nothing wrong with my DA307.  The guy who returned it was just looking for an excuse.  I sold it to him at a very low price, and I believe he bought it with the idea of flipping it on Audiogon, in order to make a few bucks. When that failed, he looked for a reason to return it.  Since I cannot be bothered with such charlatans, and since the amount of money involved was small, I took it back (and returned his money) in good faith that at least I would get it back intact (with an intact cuing lever).  I have since replaced the lever (it's plastic and therefore easy to break) with a device I built myself, made of metal.  If you want it, you can have it for a low price, but a price that reflects the fact it's in good shape.  My DP80 is and was in mint condition, and so is this DA307.
lewm
....As to the FR64S, I am reporting my listening impressions, NOT my opinion of its design.  You say (elsewhere) that you are always learning.  How can you learn anything from anyone else, when your mind is so closed to all other opinion? In fact, can you name one other knowledgable audiophile who derides the FR64S/66S as much as you do?  Perhaps you can name one other than yourself.  I can name 10 who disagree.
Now you can name 11 who disagree with Raul. ;|
I used an FR64S pickup arm for years, originally mounting it on an Oracle Delphi III turntable. It was an outstanding pickup arm, perhaps one of the best arms that also include an interchangeable headshell. I sold it to a friend who still uses it, and I'm amazed whenever I hear his system - the FR64S still  stands up well to even the best arms of today. I replaced it with an SME V - a move I've never regretted - but I still think highly of the FR.

Of course, the FR arms are long out of production. Perhaps Raul's sample was bought used and has issues. Perhaps it's not a good match with whatever else he's using with it. Regardless of the explanation, Raul's indictment of the FR64S ,and his repeated criticisms of it, reveal much more about Raul than they do the arm. There are reasons why well-preserved samples of this arm command top-dollar today, and it's not because it generates distortions that listeners like. In fact, the truth is the opposite: the FR64S is a remarkably neutral arm ... even though it's not perfect.

Dear @lewm :   """  How can you learn anything from anyone else, when your mind is so closed to all other opinion?  """

I don't know why you can think that in the subject of FR undamped pivot tonearm design your opinion and other one opinios are rigth and I'm wrong.

Why can'not it be the other way around?

Makes no sense to me and let you explain my take here:

- my MUSIC/audio main target is to listen/hear what's in the recording. If this is not your main target then we have nothing to talk on that and any other home audio subject.

- all of us are distortion lovers. To what kind of distortions?, the ones on each one home audio system.

- what kind of parameters take I in count to evaluate any home audio systems and its differences in between?: mainly the distortion levels, every kind of internal/external home audio system distortion.

- almost every " decent " audiophile  use some way or the other different kind of home audio system damping depending where is used that damping.

- we can name some of those damping system tools: 

   room treatment,  TT footers,  TT platforms,  damped racks,  TT mats,  TT clamps, daped headshells, damped tonearms by design like: VPI or Triplanar and several others,  cartridge suspension dampers, cartridge body design shape to " kill "internal resonances/distortions, damping on tonearm boards, damping on speakers, damping on speaker crossover, damping on electronic chasis/box, damping on tubes it self, damping footers on any kind of system electronic item/link, damping on cables construction,   damping,     damping,   damping,    damping,......... damping everywhere in a home audio system: this is the rule and it's not for " free ".

- that everywhere damping has a sole/unique reason: TO HEAR WHAT IS IN THE RECORDING and not to all generated home audio system distortions.

The main target in that very hard work of system damping is to " kill " all kind of distortions or at least mantain it at " extremely " low/minumum levels.


AND, AGAIN AND AGAIN, YOU AND ALL THE OTHER LOVERS ( including the " 11 " one. ) OF FR NON DAMPED TONEARMS  SUDDENLY " DISCOVERY THAT THE FR DESIGN REALLY DAMPS THE DISTORTIONS THAT TRAVEL  AND SOME THAT ARE GENERATED BY THE NON DAMPED DESIGN ! ! ! ! 

and    YES AND: NO ONE BUT ME AND J.CARR DETECTED THOSE DISTORTION LEVELS????


As I said: makes no sense to me. Makes sense to you?

If yes then that's why I said that we are distortion lovers. I'm too but with way lower distortion levels than you. At least I'm aware of it.


Regards and enjoy the music,
R.


- what kind of parameters take I in count to evaluate any home audio systems and its differences in between?: mainly the distortion levels, every kind of internal/external home audio system distortion.

Raul,
Always talking about distortion, but can you even prove the distortion level of your system is lower than any of our by any measure, other than the convenient saying of “I know because my ears are trained” ?

After after years and years of Raul's posts, I've learned it's best just to take them with a grain of salt. 

Alongside a slice of lemon and ounce of tequila. 

Raul, For the Nth time, I am only saying that MY FR64S sounds very good in my second system, which is very low in distortion and includes mostly solid state components in the chain from cartridge to speakers.  Not that I agree in any way with your other diatribes, against vacuum tubes.  But let's stick to the FR64S: My saying that I like my FR64S in this particular set-up does not mean that I think you are categorically "wrong" in your critique.  Got that? I do recognize the theoretical importance of "damping".  Until I put the stylus in the groove for the first time, I had no idea whether I would like or dislike the FR64S.  I only knew that if I disliked it, I would have no problem re-selling it.  But... I like it.

There are many cases in this hobby where components go against this or that widely held belief and nevertheless work well, and it is not always the case that they are perceived to work well only because they produce euphonic distortion.  I understand that you hate the FR64S/66S.  You are entitled to your feelings. Peace. Out.
Dear @thekong : """  Always talking about distortion... """

the home system name of trhe game is exactly that: distotion levels on each home audio system and if you can't understand it after those several times I posted then I think something is wrong in your overall audio understanding.

"""  but can you even prove the distortion level of your system is lower than any of our by any measure  """

@thekong I don't know if you still own that " terrible " Aesthetix I/O all tube phono stage that I know very good.

Well, that unit manufacturer gives you no single distotions measures in a 20K + dollar unit and what they gives are " terrible " numbers for say the least:

output impedance: 1kohms where high frequencies are degraded/losted in his cable travel to the amplifier.

RIAA eq. deviation:  swing of 0.5dbs from 20hz to 20kz.

noise level: 70 db.

Other than that, the cartridge signal must pass inside the phono stage for 6 different circuit stages where only because these so many stages the critical and sensitive cartridge signal suffer a huge degradation.

You love that unit and its quality performance levels. Do you know that unit everykind of distortion levels?, sure you do not and are asking me that I give you measures of my home system distortion levels!!!!!!!

Do you understand at least the complexity of what you are asking?

Certaninly not and that's why you ask.

We all need to learn about the name of the game: distortions and how to be aware of those distortions at each link in the home audio system chain.


Regards and enjoy the music,
R.


Bartender, hit me one more time. 
Reveal some data, Oh great one!
Do you understand at least the complexity of what you are asking?

Dear Raul, quite frankly, I am very disappointed! Being a distortion expert, you are still drilling on the distortion level of a single piece of equipment, when I was asking for the distortion level of the whole SYSTEM!

The room is by far the biggest distortion generator in an audio system, and follows by the speakers! I would be very impressed if your room can achieve a frequency response 10 times the deviation of the IO, i.e. 5dbs from 20hz to 20khz.

Have you ever measured the frequency response and noise level of your audio room, or is it still too much complexity to you? Oh well…..

Andrew, I'll have what you're having.
Dear @lewm : "  which is very low in distortion and includes mostly solid state components in the chain from cartridge to speakers. "

good and adding FR distortions makes you " like it ", go figure ! ! ! because that's what you posted:

"  But... I like it.

There are many cases in this hobby where components go against this or that widely held belief and nevertheless work well, """

In the other side:


"""  Not that I agree in any way with your other diatribes, against vacuum tubes.  """

I have no single diatribe against tubes, only facts that no one including you can change ! ! ! 

Regards and enjoy the music,
R.
I bow to your exclamation points!!!!
Bartender, another one for me and one for my buddy lewm. Actually, make it a double. 
Dear @lewm : Nothing wrong with what you like. It’s a fact that we like some kind of distortions, I like too but through the time I learned very slowly to detect this or that kind of distortions and certainly not all.

When I tested and beeen sure that in reality " that " " good " sound is no more than excess of distortion I started try to find out how put at minimum or dissapears it to never come back to listen it even if in the past I was in love with.


When I learn/learned that something is " wrong "/not good I just left it and never turn my face back.

Regards and enjoy the music,
R.
Ok.  This is absolutely, positively, for sure the last time I will respond.  I do not perceive that the FR64S causes any sort of audible distortion when used on my Victor TT101 with the Acutex LPM320 cartridge.  I have heard the Acutex in several different tonearms; it was never so neutral as it is now in the FR64S.  Earlier, I gave some reasons why even an undamped tonearm can avoid distortion caused by resonance, if the resonant energy is sinked properly into a much higher mass, such that the energy is dissipated as heat and not vibration.  I believe this is the case with my system; the FR64S is mounted into the FR B60 optional base, which adds mass.  The B60 is mounted into a custom made aluminum arm board which in turn is firmly anchored into a massive aluminum brace via a 1/2-inch diameter bolt that screws directly into the arm board from below the plinth.  The energy transfer coefficient for this total ~6-lb mass taken as a whole is 1.0 or close to it, because it is all made of the same material or material that is closely related in terms of energy coefficient.  Perhaps this is why the FR64S appears to add zero coloration.  

The signal is ultimately heard over Beveridge speakers.  These are among the lowest distortion transducers ever built.

Um, hello out there. Has anyone heard the OP's question? Cuz I got to this thread by googling the same. He didn't ask for comparisons between the FR64S and the Denon DA307. The FR64, in all it's versions I believe, is dynamically balanced and the FR54 is not. Radically different designs. I've never had a dynamic. Has anyone heard a FR54 and a FR54? No sermons needed. ;^)
It seems like even black 64fx is not so popular as 64s, i wish to know what's the difference between them?  

The FR54 is a much cheaper tonearm, so i assume it's not on the same level as 64s, not even close, right ? 

I've never tried. 
Haha! 
You're probably right, 2channel.  I plead guilty to letting the exchange degenerate into a mano a mano.  However, someone wrote very early on that the FR64S is generally considered to be far superior to the FR54, and I, for one, assumed this is a given.  The FR64S/66S were Fidelity Research's best efforts, along with the fx versions of the same tonearms.  Most end users also have written that the FR64S is superior to the FX version, by a wide margin.  I cannot attest to that, either way.  

With any tonearm capable of dynamic balancing, it is usually not imperative to use the dynamic mechanism; one can optionally achieve the desired VTF by re-positioning the counter-weight, just as with any tonearm that lacks dynamic balancing.  Among those who have an opinion, dynamic balancing is controversial.  One would have to try it both ways with any particular combo of tonearm and cartridge.  I do use the dynamic balance with my FR64S, largely because the Acutex cartridge is so light in weight that I cannot otherwise achieve VTF.  I looked around for a heavier FR counter-wt, which would make it possible to balance the tonearm mechanically, but did not find one.

Lewm
I do use the dynamic balance with my FR64S, largely because the Acutex cartridge is so light in weight that I cannot otherwise achieve VTF. I looked around for a heavier FR counter-wt, which would make it possible to balance the tonearm mechanically, but did not find one.
This don't make sense, if the Acutex is too light you would need a lighter counterweight. Most people have the 250g counterweight with the FR64S.
I have the W170 ( 170g ) lighter counterweight which is useful for lighter cartridges; you should try and get hold of one if you are going to use a variety of cartridges on your FR64S.

dover, Lewm may want a heavier counterweight because with the light one he has, even with it positioned all the way back on the cw stub, the arm still can not achieve the tracking force his cartridge requires---the front end of the arm, that ahead of the arms pivots, having too much mass to make that possible. A heavier weight WILL make it possible, as the cw will need to be closer to the arms pivots to balance the arm.

Anyone desiring a higher mass counterweight can attach to it the little lead weights that are available at hobby shops. They are backed with double-sided tape, thus can simply be stuck on the c/w.

Dover, Your logic is impeccable. My memory was not, and anyway I should have thought more about what I wrote.  The actual case is that even with a slightly lighter than OEM headshell and even with the Acutex (lightweight) cartridge, the CW is very close to as close as it can get to the pivot, with the assembly just balanced horizontally, at zero VTF.  So I then used the dynamic to dial in VTF.  If anything, I need a lighter CW.  And your post reminds me that I did look for the W170 on eBay and Audiogon but have not found one.

I do in one sense like it the way I have it, because having the CW as close as possible to the pivot is a virtue in terms of minimizing effective mass, in view of the high compliance of the Acutex.

I suppose that to make a light CW heavier, you could also use those lead weights that are normally used in wheel balancing.  They would tape right up against a cylindrical CW, like the one on the FR64S.

Lewm,
The original W170 is hard to find. Best place is Japanese market.
This company makes copies....  
http://www.vcyoyo-mitsuke.jp/shopbrand/034/O/
The FR 64fx is anodized aluminum where the FR 64S is steel.  The big difference is the moving mass - 20 g for the 64fx vs. ~ 30 g for the 64S.  The 64fx and the 66fx are the most expensive arms FR made.  They are specialized arms intended for low compliance MC cartridges.  (If you don't like them, it is probably because of cartridge compliance mis-match.)  I am using my FR-64fx with a Koetsu Urushi and it is a match made in heaven.  My Koetsu guy says the Koetsu cartridge was developed to match the FR-64 arms and I believe it.  They also work really well with Ortofon SPU cartridges.

In my post of 01/31/17, the one preceding Dover's last post, I should have written "because of", not "even with".  It is because I am using a lighter than OEM headshell and a very lightweight MI cartridge that the CW has had to be moved so close to the pivot.  Don't want to confuse anyone any more than necessary (heh-heh).

dcbingaman, Wouldn't it be the case that the FR64S and 66S are better suited for lowest compliance MC cartridges, because they are, respectively, higher in effective mass than the fx versions?  So, you might say that the fx tonearms are best suited for low/medium compliance cartridges.  I own an Urushi, too, and one of the reasons I bought the FR64S was to suit the Urushi, because I have read that the two are well matched.  So far, I haven't gotten around to trying that combo, however.

I accidentally came upon the posts by J Carr, in which, like Raul, he mildly criticized the FR64S/66S tonearms for their resonant properties.  Raul was not wrong in mentioning that he had J Carr on his side in the debate.  J Carr seems to prefer the later Ikeda tonearms and some others, to the FRs, and he mentioned that Ikeda himself prefers his later tonearm designs to those he designed for FR.  I think, in audio as in other pursuits, context is everything. I still have to go by what I hear in my system with the particular cartridge that I am using.

Dear Lew, whatever the context we have our own preferences. J.

Carr mentioned in the same post that Ikeda 345 is his best arm.

Even Ikeda and his mechanics agreed that the 345 is their best.

I own the 345 but prefer my FR-64 S.


Nandric, Thanks for filling in the model number of the preferred Ikeda tonearm.  I've never seen an Ikeda arm of any type, but in photos I don't see any evidence that they incorporate damping any more so than the FR tonearms.  But I reckon the arm tubes may be internally damped, whereas the FRs are not.  Just a guess.
Lew, I'm sure Ikeda likes his newer designs better.  J. Carr apparently does too, and he is a pretty smart dude. I have never heard Ikeda say anything negative about his older arms, however, and the newer Ikeda arms are a refinement of the FR arms.  As far as resonant properties, I have a hard time believing that the cartridge can cause resonance in the armtube above 100 hz - there is just too much compliance in the cartridge attachment to the headshell and the headshell attachment to the arm through the collet.

I am keenly aware of low compliance cartridges pushing the arm around at low frequencies, however.  This is the biggest source of thin, tinny sound.  IMHO, uni-pivots just don't work well with low compliance cartridges for this reason - the cartridge can and does rock the arm back and forth in azimuth at low frequencies. What the FR arms have going for them is high mass and beefy, outstanding bearings that don't give.  They have essentially no freedom of movement in azimuth.  The bearings in the Ikeda arms are even beefier.  That is why they work well with Koetsu's, Miyajima's and Ortofon SPU's.  These arms don't allow the cartridge to push back and cancel half the bass in the groove.

BTW, I have an MDC-800 (The Arm) on a SOTA Sapphire and an FR-64fx on a tricked out VPI HW-19 Mk. IV.  I tried my Miyajima Shilabe (low compliance) on my SOTA setup first and wasn't impressed with the bass, (which this cartridge is known for).  I then switched it to an FR headshell and tried it on the VPI HW-19 Mk. IV.  It had better bass than my Ortofon Synergy SPU, (aka the Rach 3 ball-buster !), on the same arm and table.  

The MDC-800 has outstanding bearings, so I reasoned that I needed more arm mass and inertia about the cartridge.  I added 3 grams of weight to the cartridge end of the MDC-800, remounted the Shilabe to the arm and tried again.  This time it matched the VPI set-up for bass.  The weight increased the moving mass of the MDC-800 from ~13 grams to over 16 grams, and it made a huge difference in sound.  You can't stress cartridge / tonearm matching too highly.  Many high end cartridges and tonearms are just plain incompatible and can cause endless frustration and head-scratching for many, many vinylistas !!

Dear @lewm / @dcbingaman : J.C does not like FR/SAEC or Ikeda tonearms mainly because its overall resonances that does not helps to the MUSIC real enjoyment.

I owned and own the FR and the Ikeda 407  that's the long one similar to the 66. This one is a " little/tiny " less bad than the FRs but that's all.

As a cartridge designer ( mainly. ) JC must have and try almost any vintage or today tonearms and TTs and even he was co-designer of a SS dual mono Phono StageHe needs to test  his top cartridge models with different analog rig alternatives, this is part of his cartridge voicing.

Here is what JC posted literally in this forum about:


""" 

Otherwise the "fx" or "fc" variants are far more friendly to use. By the time Ikeda did the IT-345 and IT-407, he had gained a much better awareness of resonance control as compared to his FR days.
 


And as Raoul suggested, I use the Warren Gehl armwrap, which is far more effective than heatshrink. It dampens the resonances of the armtube by compressing it radially, and works on a similar principle to how you play harmonics on a bass or guitar.

The armwrap's radial compression of the armtube makes the 64S and 66S operate a bit more like Ikeda's later arm designs like the IT-245 and IT-407, although these added interference damping by force-fitting multiple concentric tubes of various materials together.

FWIW, from the resonance-control point of view, Ikeda's personal favorite among his own designs is the IT-345, which I believe has a three-way concentric armtube structure. The person who's been building these arms for the past 20-odd years is of the same opinion.   """"



The ones that likes Ikeda tonearms are the Ikeda builders/designers! ! ! 


It can't be the other way around, they put on sale those tonearms but  it's not JC whom likes those disastrous tonearms.


No, I don't have any more the 407. People like me have the rigth to learn.



Btw, @dcbingaman , your Sota combination was a Sota classic on those times along the ET tonearm too. The arm is a good arm that Fletcher imroved over the original Swiss one design.


The cartridge/tonearm intrinsicall relationship for a " perfect sound is complex for say the least where are in play to many parameters at the same time that when you improve/up-grade some of one this could affect in positive ways to other parameters involved but could affect in negative ways with other relatioship parameters. 

At the end what I'm looking here is to achieve the lower distortions ( any kind. ) I can and a non-damped tonearm is out of that target and I know it because I still have one FR and I have it only to test ( if need it. ) how the cartridge signal must not be reproduced and that's all.


Regards and enjoy the MUSIC,

R.










Raul,
 Good to hear from you.  No arguments with your and Mr. Carr's observations, but I have just not experienced any resonant problems with my FR-64fx with any of the cartridges I've used it with, (Ortofon SPU, Shelter, Miyajima, Koetsu, Clearaudio MM).  I like it because it is the best removable headshell arm I have personally encountered.  I have not personally used a steel FR-64S, so I don't know if they act the same as the anodized aluminum FR-64fx, and I would guess the anodizing does provided some level of self-damping, so there could be a difference.

 I love the SOTA Sapphire / MDC-800 combination.  It works pretty well with everything I've tried on it, but the arm does benefit from a more headshell mass for some low compliance cartridges like the Miyajimas.

  I'm not real crazy about many newer "affordable" turntables, BTW.  Too many shortcuts on suspension and hardware for my tastes.  It's better to by a classic and rebuild it.  SOTA's factory-rebuilt Sapphires etc. are BARGAINS.

  My point it all this is that cartridges and tonearms have a complex and finicky relationship with each other which very few folks really understand (including, unfortunately, most of today's dealers).  You really need to find someone to help you match the cartridge you like to the tonearm it will work with, or you're in for a lot of frustration.  There is no universal tonearm that works well with everything, despite a lot of design effort in this area.
Raul,

BTW, I also have a Mission Mechanic tonearm, (the one GB Tools built after the Zeta Black VdH), on a Denon DP-75 direct drive in a custom birch plywood / black acrylic plinth.  This tonearm is like a Zeta on steroids !!  Sounds pretty good for an old tonearm and turntable.  I can't imagine what it would cost to replicate this thing from scratch today.  I'll send you some photos if you are interested.

dc, Raul owns or owned a DP75; there’s not much he hasn’t played with at one time or another. I own a DP80 which I’ve mounted in a slate plinth with a Triplanar tonearm. So far as I have been able to determine, DP75 = DP80. This is a wonderful combination that I never use, unfortunately, because my other four turntables take precedence. It’s ridiculously good, compared to what else you can buy for similar market value. When it was in regular use, I did prefer it to a Technics SP10 Mk2, also in a slate plinth that was nearly identical to the one housing the DP80, in terms of dimensions and mass (65 lbs).

After my last post, I started thinking more about the "lack of damping" of the FR64S/66S. It occurs to me that the pivot bearing does incorporate some sort of damping action; the lubricant captured in its bearing gets viscous after prolonged periods of disuse, which suggests to me that even when warm it has a damping action. Also, we seem to be assuming that the stainless steel arm tube is completely empty save for the wiring. I don’t know that it doesn’t incorporate any sort of "stuffing" that might also contribute to damping. These two points, if valid, would take some of the air out of Raul’s and J Carr’s criticisms. This is not to say that their dislike of the tonearm is not also valid. I only suggest that we are making an assumption about cause and effect. We don’t know that the objectionable qualities those two report are necessarily due to "lack of damping". We and they only assume that connection.
Also, we seem to be assuming that the stainless steel arm tube is completely empty save for the wiring. I don’t know that it doesn’t incorporate any sort of "stuffing" that might also contribute to damping.

Hi Lewm,
Here is an article by Thomas Schick on rewiring a FR64 (not sure whether it was the FR64S)
http://thomas-schick.com/en/blog/fr-64
The second photo shows there was some black material clinging onto the internal wire harness, but I can’t tell whether it was just a piece of tape, or something like a shrink wrap. Either way, I don’t think it can be called damping, at least not for the armtube.

Lewm, Micheal Percy Audio sells some damping material called "EAR TAD Damping Foils" that 3M makes that is supposed to be the "cat's meow" for under damped tonearms, according to the dudes over at DIYAudio.  It's relatively cheap, but the trick is figuring out how much is enough.  You apparently don't want to wrap your whole arm with this stuff, but a little bit at the worst nodal spots is said to eliminate any ringing.  I'd guess halfway down the arm would be a good place to start, but I've never tried it.  I wonder if any other audiogon fans have ?

I'm not a customer for anything to damp my FR64S, as I have no reason to believe it's a problem in my system.  (See any or all of my earlier posts here.) I am using a Dynavector headshell on my FR64S and an Acutex LPM320 cartridge, which is a light weight MI type.  This tonearm/cartridge combo is arguably the most neutral of three other tonearm/cartridge combinations currently set up to work on 4 different turntables, in my two audio systems.  If I was having a problem with resonant colorations, I would simply get rid of the FR64S, instead of putting a bandaid on it. (Actually, I would first try the FR64S with a very low compliance MC, which is theoretically a better match than the FR64S with Acutex.)  The problem I certainly expected to have was to do with the mismatch of cartridge compliance (the Acutex cu = 42!) and tonearm effective mass.

Thekong, I have seen those photos by Thomas Schick.  I was thinking about them when I composed my last post, trying to recall whether his photos revealed any stuffing in the FR64S.  It's hard to know whether he removed some inert material before making his photos, so to clarify the situation with the wiring.  One could ask him, I guess.

The German HIFI Magazine ''Das Ohr'' (the ear) was the only one

by which two reviewers commented on the same component.

The FR-64 S was reviewed in April 1984. BTW ''our Dertonarm''

was back then one of the (music) reviewers while his best friend

Renner established this Magazine. The arm got very positive

valuation but with two remarks. The first was the recommendation

to use Bearwald instead of Stevenson and consisted in increas

of the spindle-pivot distance with 1,5 mm (aka eff.lenght of

246mm). The other was a ''small resonace'' at ''higher mid-range''.

The ''higher mid range'' was, alas , not (more) exact specify.

 So what we the FR-64 S owners need is an ''technical guy'' who

 can specify the place and lenght of this ''damping foil'' which

dcbingaman mentioned.

Question for FR64S owners:

If you ever need to replace the original silver tonearm wire (internally) which wire will be your choice? Talking about internal tonearm wire only. Let me know.

I got this problem with my Lustre GST-801 tonearm. When i finally manaed to expand the hole in my luxman armboard to mount Lustre, i was so disappointed when i realized the internal cable is broken. Then i had to disassemble the hole tonearm in pieces like i did with the AK-47 in high school. Actually a well build tonearm, but i have to buy new wires. AUDIO NOTE Silver tonearm wire is expensive ( abut 65 GBP for 500mm), i don’t want the VDh silver wire, but maybe i will just buy Cardas 4x33 AWG copper (12 GBP for 500mm) or Discovery Copper Wire (about 28 GBP for 500mm). Any tips ?

P.S. As for the external cable i was thinking about Signal Cable Silver Resolution when i thought my original internal Lustre Silver Wire is ok, but it’s not ok.

Dear chakster, You should write to my brother Don and ask

where his Lustre is rewired. He got my Lustre 801 as present but

the (silver) wire was broken in one of the channels. He is very happy

with the result and prefer the Lustre above his Graham 2 (?) for

the MC carts. I would not recommend rewire by FR-64. There are

two kinds of the FR-64 S; one with silver wire the other with copper

wire. I own both but can hardly hear any difference. Thekong

mentioned Schick's article and pictures of the dissasembled FR-64.

There you can see how complex this job is. Dertonarm rewired  

FR-64/66 for his fiends with Ikeda silver wire but he is an  FR

specialist .  If one is not satisfy with the wire he owns he can better

sell his sample and buy the other with the other wire.


I had a go at re-wiring the tonearm on my Kenwood L07D, which has a separate part number, L07J.  I gave up when I found that I could not separate the vertical shaft from the pivot housing, even after all fasteners that might have prevented the separation had been removed. I don't know what was holding them together, but I was loathe to exert total brute force.  So, after several tries with "moderate" effort applied, I gave it up. With every pivoted tonearm, the delicate internal wires need somehow to get past the bearing at the pivot and must be installed so as not to impede the bearing in any plane.  The job was too scary for me.  I have conceived of a "quick and dirty" method, which I intend to apply to the L07J; one could run the wires entirely external to the arm tube but fixed to the arm tube with bits of tape, from above the headshell back to the pivot.  Then fix the four leads right over the pivot point (so not to impede its motion) and run them maybe another foot back of the arm or all the way to the phono stage.  I guess the same could be done with the FR tonearms, but mine has "Silver Inside", and I have no issues with short circuits.  The L07J has Litz wire inside, which is commendable for low capacitance but I have always perceived a sort of sluggish coloration from Litz wire interconnects.  The Kenwood, nevertheless sounds fine, but could it be better with "better" wire?  This is what keeps us awake at night (for 5 minutes).

The first was the recommendation to use Bearwald instead of Stevenson and consisted in increas of the spindle-pivot distance with 1,5 mm (aka eff.lenght of 246mm).

Dear Nandric,

When I adjust the PS distance at 231,5 mm, my SPU can not catch the Baerwald - it is on the Stevenson point. I need 1,5 mm to catch the Baerwald (Dr. Feickert protractor) or the Dennesen protractor intersection point.  When I adjust the SP distance at 230 mm, the SPU is just on the Baerwald and on the Dennesen points ....?


@nandric 

Dear chakster, You should write to my brother Don and ask where his Lustre is rewired. He got my Lustre 801 as present but the (silver) wire was broken in one of the channels. He is very happy with the result and prefer the Lustre above his Graham 2 (?) for the MC carts. 

oh, yes
I remember this story from Don. Just checked by mailbox now and you know i realized the answer is already there. Don has described full story from the start in september when i asked about external cable. Nice, so he had the same problem with old Lustre internally. Ok, his choice is Discovery Cable from Joseph De Phillip who rewired your ex Lustre silver with Discovery copper cable. That's good as it's medium priced copper litz.
@lewm 

 The Kenwood, nevertheless sounds fine, but could it be better with "better" wire?  This is what keeps us awake at night (for 5 minutes).

Haha, exactly.
It took at least 2-3 hrs to disassemble my Lustre 801 in parts for the first time, we did it. Internal tube damping doesn't looks like in the manual, but there is something inside for damping (Raul love it) in this armtube. I'm looking forward to try the arm with new wires. The magnetic tracking force works, but incorrect. I hope the magnetic (?) antiskating works, i have no idea how it works in this Lustre tonearm.     
Dear @dcbingaman : I still own the great DP-75 in a 50kg beautiful green marble plynth that on specs is over the DP-80 that I owned.

The best from Denon was and is the DP-100 even over the SP 10 MK3.

I own too The Mechanic that is very good tonearm, was the only regular tonearm where the cantilever-less Ikeda REX 9 performed good.

In the other side the Fx tonearm is way different to the 64S. Stainless steel is the worst metal to use in a non-damped tonearm against the aluminum from the Fx.

Now and this is something that almost no one take care when talking of the FR 66/64 and is that that touted ( @lewm ) high mass is the other serious problem of those arms other than the main non-damped design.

In those old years tonearm designers and TTs ones were in favor of high mass to damps its products. On tonearms was SAEC whom publicited " papers " explaining the tonearm high mass designs as their models but were totally wrong because they don't took in count how it really works the cartridge/tonearm combination along the spining LPs.

Exist no single LP that comes with precise/perfect concentric hole for the TT spindle to avoid the normal " excursions " during playback. Those " excursions " ( lateral movements. ) along the other characteristics for the cartridge very hard work ridding the LP grooves  means that  as higher the effective tonearm mass as higher p´roblems to " stop " the inside/forward to the spindle natural path of the tonearm becausrtia of those movements. 
Lower mass tonearm has lot lower problems to stop that natura inside inertia to follow in better way the LP grooves.

That dynamic mass goes against a precise and clear sound and per se produces distortions and additional to this always is that undamped tonearm design. SAEC has the same problem and in this issue the 66 is worst than the 64 and no the FR bearings are not something especial but more of the same.

@thekong 66/64 S are non-damped and the VTF mechanism always is ringing and degrading the cartridge signal integrity.

Regards and enjoy the music,
R.
Dear @lewm : """  I'm not a customer for anything to damp my FR64S, as I have no reason to believe it's a problem in my system. """

You are rigth, not a problem in your system because you have a system ( with all respect. ) where you just can't be aware of those problems: that system has non-adequated resolution or to high on everykind distortions to be aware of it.
The other situation with you ( with all respect. ) is that you do not know what to look for because you can't detect those kind of tonearm distortions because you still are not trained to do it and that's all.

I can be wrong in that FR subject but it does not matters what you think or say: J.Carr is rigth he knows a lot of audio things that you even can't imagine and because of his ignorance level knows what he was and is talking about when you just have no idea and your answers confirm it.

You are not open mind when @dcbingaman gave you the advise to try that after market damping.
Your attitude always is the same, you never say: " ok, I will try ". What do you have to lose if test it?  Tests of everykind is part of each one of us audio learning to really grow up ! ! ! ! ! 

Regards and enjoy the MUSIC,
R.