Fidelity Research FR-64x


 Fidelity Research FR-64x.....(with silver wire ).  Is this arm still considered  viable today ?

offnon57
Yes, very good arm, especially with the silver wire. Top notch build quality; still makes most of today’s arms look & feel like toys (compare to a VPI arm, lol). I have the non-silver version and it sounded excellent with Koetsu cartridges and the Ortofon Kontrapunkt "c" (older version of Cadenza Bronze). It also did very good with medium-compliance models like Benz Glider/Wood/Ref and Ortofon Windfeld/Jubilee, but it seemed to gel best those lower compliance carts.
Yes indeed! I am a fan of FR arms and cartridges. Have owned several FR1 mk3F's and a MC201. Presently have two of the older arms: FR28 and FR54. All high-quality products!
This is a terrific pickup arm - I used for one years on an Oracle and it sounded wonderful. When I upgraded to an SME V, I sold the Oracle and FR to a friend, who uses it still. And it still sounds great. Please note that one of the self-appointed turntable gurus here has an extreme distaste for the FR, to which of course he’s entitled. But it’s really just a prejudice on his part. I’ve heard the FR arm sound fine in a number of different systems.
@offnon57 

 Fidelity Research FR-64x.....(with silver wire )

Do you mean FR-64s ? But the "s" is not necessary silver wire, it can be copper wire. When the wire is silver there is a sticker on the art "silver wire inside" or something like that.  

I bought FR-64fx toneam (the black one) with heavy counterweight W-205. We will see how it works with my FR-7f cartridge. I'm gonna try my FR PMC-3 cartridge as well, but maybe i will need a lighter counterweight which i don't have (looking for one). 

I'm not a fan of the silver wire, in my opinion copper wire is always better.

 


The FR 66/64 S (''S'' for steel) were produced from hardened steel

and become to expensive to produce. That is why Ikeda decided

to produce FR 66/64 FX made from aluminum which is more easy

and much cheaper to produce. Curious but true the same happened

with SME 3009 and 3012. The first version was produced from steel

the later from aluminum.

Copper or silver question need to be put in the context of time.

As function of time copper corrode so after all those years (80is)one

need to check copper wire version. My FR low impedance SUT

output wire was black from corrosion.

And copper oxide is a poor conductor.  Whereas silver oxide conducts about as well as pure silver.


nandric

with SME 3009 and 3012. The first version was produced from steel

the later from aluminum.

Quite true and perhaps the reason for the fondness of the early
model.

I think the later R series revised the steel tube material
as an homage to the original?

@nandric what is the benefits of stainless steel ? 
I use inexpensive stainless steel PANs when i'm cooking on gas and i love it, but why it's better for tonearms? Just more weight?

My Lustre GST-801 also made of stainless steel, i believe. It was easy to rewire it with brand new discovery toneam copper wires (the original silver wire was broken and does not impressed me much, too old). 

    
Stainless steel is very heavy. Magnesium, Titanium, aluminum are all much better. 

Why are you guys guys interested in these super high mass tonearms? 
@invictus005 

Why are you guys guys interested in these super high mass tonearms?

For low compliance cartridges mainly, in my case it's FR-7f and SPU Royal G MKII. But the 64FX is not so heavy as the 64s, but still on the heavy side. 

Technics EPA-100mk2 Boron/Titanium is the one for my high compliance cartridges. 
I posted because I have the 64x, mounted on original Pink Triangle.
   But they both sit languishing on sidelines for several years and 
I'm contemplating to keep or sell. I miss playing records but am
happy to spin cds for now and not sure if I'll ever get off my ass
and dust off the Pink and all my records . 
  chakster...it's definitely the 64x,black, and marked "silver inside
leads " on the barrel.  I bought the Pink Triangle for $150 locally in Hicksville LI back in the days when you could find stuff in Newsday classifieds almost everyday.
The guy I bought it from kept his arm but hooked
me up to another guy for the Fidelity Research, for another $150
I think,and  Grado cart. for $100. Not that I know a whole lot more
now,but I didn't really know a thing then, but got lucky with everything
I bought ,all used. I had bought a pair of Quad 57s(also via Newsday) from a guy
 in East Meadow who turns out to be Mr.Tennis here on Agon,Roy
Harris,who also wrote for Audiophilia ,and used to occasionally
write letters to The Absolute Sound ,strongly opinionated letters
that made an impression on me as a newbie. Anyway,I digress.
  The insertion of the Pink Triangle w/ FR arm made a big splash
and set me up for great music on the Quads. Long story later, Quads
long gone and belt not holding on to turntable,I dropped out for 
awhile until getting started with cds. And that's where I'm at now.
 I think if I could wake up tomorrow and my turntable would be all
set up like a good dream I'd be playing those lps again, so maybe 
this dialog will inspire me . Glad to hear your responses.....
Why are you guys guys interested in these super high mass tonearms?
Synergy with vintage carts (as mentioned), and of course heavier modern carts (Sensitive Sound for example at 20-23 grams). Not to say heavy = good by any means, but it happens to work well in some cases.
@offnon57
Well at $150 on the 64fx, you got an absolute steal. That arm should go for $1K+, easy, if in good/clean condition with original counterweight and silver internal wiring. More if you have the original head-shell. Plus for most low-ish compliance MC cartridges, it’s hard to imagine any $1K used arm options, and new arms sub-$5K (!), matching that FR64fx in performance and build quality.

I need to get a Clearaudio arm board cut so I can use mine again, especially since I have an extra Koetsu to pull out. It was a joy to use; silky smooth action. I currently have a Graham Phantom Supreme 10" ($6.7K new) and Clearaudio Universal 12" ($6.5K new) mounted; I expect this FR64fx should easily compete with (if not beat) them.

@chakster , Your Lustre 801 has only the (thin) armwand

made from steel. The same apply for the SME ''R'' kinds.

The effective mass by FR-66/64 S depends from the used

headshell and counterweight. I never used any of the FR

headshells because I consider them all as worthless.

For the FR 66/64 series 3 different counterweights are made:

standard, 170 g and 250 g. One should use the weight which

can be moved nearest to the pivot. The least inertia is the

result. The worst headshell is S3 ( 19,5 g). The other are to

short for the usual headshell wire length. So the effective length

is not easy to adjust (stylus ''distance'' to the pivot). I prefer

headshells made from magnesium with ''movable 4 pin connector''.

This kind make azimuth adjustment possible as well the added

space for the stylus adjustment.

If anyone missed Fremer’s SME tour: https://youtu.be/usXKl8p6kuk
Fast forward to 31:23 to watch Brian Laker (service manager) talking about new and very old SME models.
They use magnesium for arm wands on the top models. 
Magnesium is the best. SME is the best. That's pretty much that. 
@offnon57 

 I bought the Pink Triangle for $150 locally in Hicksville LI back in the days when you could find stuff in Newsday classifieds almost everyday.
The guy I bought it from kept his arm but hooked
me up to another guy for the Fidelity Research, for another $150

Amazing, nowadays they are up to 2k on ebay
yeah...luck o' the Welsh. 
...mulveling,I saw a post of yours on audio karma circa 2011
regarding this arm..you're getting around.
I must say,I'm always impressed with the level of knowledge
on Agon,as well as other sites. For people of lesser smarts 
like me this knowledge is so useful even if much of it eventually
trickles out the other ear. I did get a 96 on my social studies
 Regents though . 

@nandric 

(Slightly off topic)

One should use the weight which can be moved nearest to the pivot. The least inertia is the result.


Is this actually true? As long as what you're balancing doesn't change (i.e., the cartridge & headshell stay the same), doesn't the force on the counterweight side also have to stay the same? So if you use a heavier weight and get it closer, the end result is the same as using a lighter weight further out. In other words, inertia is the product of distance & mass, but you're changing both in order to balance the same thing on the other side.



As indicated by others, $150 for FR64fx is a steal. For these older tonearms and other older products, silver is probably better. For current products, I products I prefer high-quality copper.

@mulveling 

I currently have a Graham Phantom Supreme 10" ($6.7K new) and Clearaudio Universal 12" ($6.5K new) mounted; I expect this FR64fx should easily compete with (if not beat) them.

I really like my FR64fx, but is it really comparable to >$6.5k tonearms? I'm interested in your findings.


IMO, silver is actually better when it comes to tonearm wire because of the low fragile cartridge signal. Tonearms with silver wire sound significantly more alive, dynamic, and louder, but without sounding bright. My favorite wire to use is actually van den Hul MCS150M. Great stuff.

Anyone paying $1000-$2000 for an FR64 variant, should really stop and think about what they're doing. For that price one can get a brand new SME 309 or a used SME V. 


@invictus005
IMO, silver is actually better when it comes to tonearm wire because of the low fragile cartridge signal. 

Good copper has lower resistance than silver:
https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/cg1003808


Anyone paying $1000-$2000 for an FR64 variant, should really stop and think about what they're doing. For that price one can get a brand new SME 309 or a used SME V.

I'm not making a claim about the relative quality of the tonearms in question, but neither of those SME models would actually be able to use the FR7 or SPU cartridges that for instance @nandric is intending to use with his FR64fx.


just a note...I paid $150 probably 25-30 years ago

@sampsa55 , Thanks for enriching my tonearm collection with

FR-64 fx. I own both 64 S kinds in the sense of silver and copper

wire. I also own Ikeda 345 . Alas not FR64 fx. But I need to start with

 my Sumiko 800 (''the arm''). The arm is designed by physicist David

Fletcher and (hand) made by his master machinist Demian Davidson

from 160 parts. The curious things are: The arm looks like a Breuer

twin but while Breuer refused to make any additional counterweight

for his customers Fletcher designed 6 different counterweights for

his Sumiko. The reason being to provide the right weight for the

carts from 6- till 25 g. This way each individual cart could be adjusted

such that the counterweight would be as near as possible to the

pivot. This seems to be relevant for both: arm mass as well for

the inertia. Lew is very fond about Newton while ''mechanics'' is the

 best established  physical science. As lawyer I need to pretend

to know everything otherwise nobody would be willing to hire me.

In this forum and ''among friends'' I don't need to pretend. So I

hope ''our Lew'' will explain ''the mechanics''. This would be more

in accordance with his eloquence then his modest contribution

about silver oxide versus copper kind (grin).

@nandric Sorry! I meant @chakster. He acquired an FR64fx to use with his FR7 & SPU.

And regarding the mechanics, since you are adjusting both the distance and the mass so that they balance exactly the same thing on the other side, it's not obvious to me why anything important would really be different. If you're moving the same mass to be closer, then you are clearly having an effect, but then you would also need to adjust the mass on the cartridge side to remain in balance. But I'd be happy to be educated on this.


@sampsa55 
For a point mass the moment of inertia I = mass x Radius ( distance from pivot ) squared. The further you push a weight out the moment of inertia increases disproportionately ( by the distance squared ).

@dover 
Since the torque created by the mass of the cartridge that you're trying to balance is force x distance, a larger counterweight closer to the pivot can have the same torque but lower moment of inertia. Ok. Thanks.


The aesthetics is very important for me, i can’t ignore it, the SME 309 and SME V are the ugliest tonearms in my opinion, every turntable with this arms looks awful. Well, i’m talking about the design, but not the quality of those arm, i’m sure they are high quality tonearms, but i love vintage tonearms not only because they are good, but also because i appretiate design of those classic gear. For the same reason i hate most of the modern turntables and most of the modern tonearms. I can’t deal with expensive stuff if i don’t like the design (color, shape etc). It is not important for everyone, but for me it is very important. Even the old SME are not my kind of tonearms, but they are closer to what i like aesthetically (except the one SME made for high compliance carts).

Yes, my interest in FR64fx is mainly for Fidelity-Research cartridges such as FR-7f and PMC-3 (and also the best SPU Royal with Replican 100 stylus which i am selling).

For "normal" cartridges i’m happy with my Reed 3p "12 Cocobolo - this tonearm is hard to beat, but it’s not good idea to swap the cartridges every week.

The Technics EPA-100mk2 is another one from my arsenal, but damn, it’s impossible to mount it on Luxman PD-444, the vta on the fly mechanism makes this arm too high in the lowest possible position. So i will have to use it on SP-10mkII or on Victor TT-101 later on. Maybe i need tonearm pod.


Post removed 
Post removed 

Dear chakster, I also own the Reed 3 P. Fantastic arm but with

fast headshell. I owned all Reed versions because the designer/

owner was my friend. I was their first customer and ordered the

second tonearm for my Kuzma. This was only possible with an

armpod on the left back side of the Kuzma. So they made their

first armpod for me together with 12'' tonearm because of the

distance to the spindle. But by critical remarks from some Aussie

I realized that an fast headshell is not the right choice for those

who owns many carts. That is why I prefer my FR-64 with Technics

SL 1000,mk2. I need 5 minutes time to change any cart while

for my fast headshell tonearms I need the ''whole day'' to change

a cart. The puristic opinion about the connection wire without any

soldering points looks to me at present very exaggerated.

Nandric, That is something I mentioned to Raul and which he chose to ignore during one of his anti-FR64S rants.  If you leave the FR64S in a cool environment, the pivot has a tendency to stiffen.  If you then sit it at a reasonable room temperature and exercise the pivot, the stiffness goes away.  This is probably the action of the lubricant ("grease") that you say you saw.  Thus I also concluded that the bearing is dampened at least to some degree by this greasy packing material.  Anyway, the arm sounds good regardless. I think resonant energy is also efficiently dissipated within the massy base of the FR64S, especially if you use the B60 accessory and a heavy metal arm board (which I do).
@nandric 

I owned all Reed versions because the designer/

owner was my friend.

He was or he is your friend ?
I went to Lithuania to meet with Reed people to buy my tonearm, it was a demo version, headshell is different from later versions, but you're right - it is not designed to swap cartridges quickly, but i'm trying to use it as reference with carefully selected cartridge. I do swap carts on some other tonearms to compare the sound to Reed. The last cartridge that was absolutely fantastic on Reed is the original (old) Garrott P77. I sold my teak wood plinth for SP-10mkII and now my Technics is in the dark corner on Audio-Technica pneumatic suspension insulators AT-616 (the big ones), but without tonearm. 

I'm gonna mount my Reed 3P on Luxman PD-444 turntable soon. 

Dear chakster, As I mentioned Vidmantas the owner/designer

by Reed also made an armpod for my Kuzma. He produces those

as separates since. So you can ask him to make one for you.

Now regarding our friendship. He appointed his daughter in law

as his ''external representative'' so I got her answers to my emails.

Alas this lady has no idea about analog stuff so I lost interest in our

correspondence .

@nandric 
Nandric, surprisingly I have never dismantled a FR64s.
Dampening does not need to be provided by a lossy material such as rubber or grease. For example, if 2 different metals are joined together you can achieve bimetallic dampening. Example - Copper mat on aluminium platter dampens the aluminium. Technically you could argue the FR64 arm tube is damped by both the headshell joint and the joint between the tube and bearing pillar itself.

The arm itself in toto is damped by the termination/armboard material.
Personally with 2 FR64S in my stable I have heard the "upper mid brightness" on occasion but this also depends on cartridge choice and arm termination/turntable as to whether it is an issue. The Naim Aro arm tube is "undamped" but has no upper mid brightness with any of the many cartridges I have used.

No tonearm is without colourations, when one describes the sound of a tonearm one is really describing the sound of the sum of the parts - turntable, tonearm, cartridge, cable and phono stage. This seems to be the point that continues to elude the Mexican.

Despite owning many tonearms that provide dampening, I have achieved maximum transparency by not employing dampening, but through cartridge compatibility and accurate set up. When I owned a high end shop in the 80's my experience was that 90% of turntables were not set up optimally and that in many instances dampening was used as a bandaid for what was ostensibly poor set up or system colourations.

@nandric

Your Lustre 801 has only the (thin) armwand made from steel.


Right, Lustre GST-801 Vibration-proofing of stainless steel arm-pipe. The rest composed of brass parts with huge stabilizer. I enjoyed this arm pretty much with various MM cartridges (Pioneer PC1000 mkII was great along with At-ML180), it’s the heavyest tonearm i have ever owned, low compliance MC carts (FR-7f and SPU Royal G MKII) were both fantastic.

@offnon57 I think this GST-801 is alternative to FR-64S with silver wire. Lustre GST-801 comes with silver wire too. The Lustre GST-801 is the first dynamic balance tone arm with contactless stylus force application system.

This Lustre's unique variable magnetic flux type stylus force application system is a magnetic contactless system of compact and simple construction using a rare earth magnet. Features high Precision radial bearings. VTA on the fly, Magnetic flux type anti-skating mechanism.

I’m waiting for my FR-64FX to try.

Meanwile the Lustre arm migrated to another home in my neighbourhood. It will be mounted on Technics SP-20 for a friend. This is my last picture of the Lustre 801.
@chakster    I'm staying out of this at this point because I'm in way over my head. That being said,I'm enjoying the exchanges and trying
to absorb what I can. Glad to see the interest interest in the 64FX.
That Lustre is a beautiful tonearm
Post removed 
@nandric it's too complicated to make parts for tonearm, but i have additional original counterweight and ringweight for Lustre GST-801 owners if anyone need it. I'm moving on, 64FX is my new tonearm with W250 heavy counterweight (but i'm looking for light original counterweight too). 

@chakster,  If you can find some ''mechanics'' with CNN lathe

additional counterweights are no problem at all. My Sumiko got

4 extra counterweights this way so I am probably the only person

with all 6 weights. Regarding your FR-64 FX you should try to

also get B-60 (replica) VTA adjuster. To my mind VTA adjuster is an

necessary  instrument.

I’m playin with my Fidelity-Research FR-64FX for a few days. I like this tonearm, it’s my first Fidelity-Research tonearm and with W-250 counterweight it works just fine with my FR-7f cartridge. The arm is easy to set up, the VTA is not "on the fly", but still easy to adjust, the tracking force is easy to adjust too. I like the black color of this combo (arm and cartridge). There is no disadvantages of FR-64FX compared to my ex Lustre GTS-801.

I use FR-64fx on Luxman PD-444 with FR-7f cartridge and Luxman AD8000 + 8030 Toroidal Silver SUT for low impedance cartridges (2-3 Ohm). Zu Audio Mission Phono MKII cable with WBT nextgen RCAs and my new Stereovox HDSE cables between the SUT and my JLTi phono stage.

Also my new First Watt F2J current source power amp for crossover-less speakers (and my First Watt B1 passive buffer peamp) giving me tremendous resolution i have never heard before in my system!

I think i will have to sell (to a friend) my WLM Minueta tube push-pull class A to justify my expenses on First Watt gear. But i will be missing silky bass of my belowed tube integrated with NOS vintage Telefunken valves.

At the moment i have no tubes in my system, Raul must be happy, lol 
@chakster Good to hear you're enjoying it. Have you tried other cartridges? How do you like it compared to other tonearms?



Chakster, You have to acquire something uses tubes for gain. Then you have to say here how much better it sounds than your SS stuff, just to piss off Raul. Seriously, Nelson Pass is one of the greats in modern audio design; I have long had curiosity about his First Watt products, but none of those amplifiers were powerful enough to run my Sound Lab speakers.  However, about 3 years ago, I made some major changes to the speakers that have dramatically increased their efficiency.

The German hifi Magazine ''Das Ohr'' ( the ear) was one of

the best ever. In this magazine both FR-64S and FR-64FX are

reviewed by two reviewers ( April , 1984) . The specific

custom by this Magazine was that each item is reviewed by

two reviewers. The conclusion of them both was , in short,

that FR-64 FX is a '' poor man FR-64 S ''.

@lewm

Nelson Pass is one of the greats in modern audio design; I have long had curiosity about his First Watt products, but none of those amplifiers were powerful enough to run my Sound Lab speakers.

My situation is totally different, his F2J current source power amp was designed only for full range drivers and with my 101db Zu Audio Druid i have so much power that i use only10-20% of the volume control on First Watt B1 passive preamp. F2J has only 5 watt at 8 ohm, but my speakers are 16 ohm, so i think i have only 3-4 watts power with them. It’s nice to realize that with my speakers i can live with 3 watts or even lower. Class A circuits (no feedback), he made only 100 units.

@sampsa55

Good to hear you’re enjoying it. Have you tried other cartridges? How do you like it compared to other tonearms?

I think it’s a great combination, what i’ve noticed is the Stevenson alignment of FR-7f on FR-64fx tonearm when i set up pivot to spindle distance with Feickert protracktor on my LUX 444. I’m gonna play with it for a few weeks, then i’m gonna swap my FR-7f with Ortofon SPU Royal G mkII with Replicant 100, they are almost identical in settings of the arm. But i can not use any lighter carts on my FR-64fx, because i have one one counterweight (w-250) designed for superheavy cartridges (30-32g). I think i prefer this FR tonearm compared to Lustre GST-801 which was also very good.

Last night i decided to remove Luxman SUT and ZYX Headamp from the chain and connected FR-7f directly to my JLTi phono stage. I enjoyed the quality and with this combo i can turn the volume up a bit on my passive pre, i think my ex low power tube push-pull amp was not right for this combo. So with First Watt gear i can use very low output cartridges without thinking of the volume pot (when it was too high on tube amp).

I realized 1000k ohm loading was more pleasant for FR-7f than 100 Ohm or 47k Ohm. But i need more time to play with it.


@nandric 

The conclusion of them both was , in short, that FR-64 FX is a '' poor man FR-64 S ''.

poor me :)) 
appart from this review we know nothing about comparison between two models, beside the fact that FX is more flexible in term of effective mass and can be lighter when needed (but still can accommodate FR-7f or SPU). 

Dear chakster, the only way ''to know more'' is to try both versions

with your FR-7f. With FR-64 S you can use the ''ordinary weight''.

I hope that our member Syntax who really knows everything better

will ''shine in''.

I just snagged the FR64S with original B-60 base. I hope its bearings/etc are in good condition. I’ve had my FR64fx for years on a SOTA, and it certainly doesn’t feel like a "poor man’s" version anything -- just a fabulous arm with Koetsu stones and the Ortofon Cadenza Bronze (it’s lower compliance than the higher-end Ortofons, which I think makes it a perfect match for the FR64fx). That said, I had to scratch that 64S itch because of its reputation with Koetsu. I’ll be pairing this with my Coralstone and Clearaudio Master Innovation.

For those with FR64* experience, what the heck headshells do you guys like? It seems difficult to find a top quality headshell that meets all the requirements (e.g. the Clearaudio one doesn’t seem to have a finger-lift??). I’ve got 3 original FR headshells, and they look cool but seem mediocre at best.

Also, what kind of alignment curves do you guys like? I have a Mint LP for FR64, but it was made for the SOTA and I cracked it trying to fit on the Innovation spindle (I know, I know). Also I’ll have the headache of getting an arm board made for that B60 base, getting the right spindle-pivot distance, etc...ugh!
poor man is ok with me ......with my FR 64 fx  I used a Grado cartridge that the guy I bought the arm from had mounted and what did I know.....not sure what Grado...black body with the JR logo. Thinking I paid $100 for it and new it would have been $200.
Many moons ago. I had a Hafler dh100 pre amp with phono.
A Hafler dh 220 amp driving Quad 57s that I bought for $700 from,as it turns out,Roy Harris   aka mr tennis .  According to my true audiophile cousin-of my- wife from whom I got the Haflers......I was 
very lucky that everything matched up. Not much more enlightened
today but have learned a little .....but what music I heard from it all
......a Pink Triangle turntable I got for $150....all this I'm repeating from earlier in this thread.....the arm was $150 .  Luck was with me.
   so now I spin cds happily on an Eastern Electric cdp, and my Pink and  Fidelity Research wait for the time I finally get up and get back
to spinning  records......one of these days. I am the op,so i thought I should jump in, but I'm keeping
a low profile in fear that my lack of knowledge and expertise will be exposed......and much respect to those here with the tech savvy ,
   I'm green with envy but it appears to be my lot in life. I never let it
stop me from enjoying the music .....  Hoping the response here will
give me analog inspiration once again . Lots of lps I'd love to hear again.