I did that comparison. I thought, the newer Design has to be better but that was a mistake. The FR-66s is so much better in soundstage, detail and holographic "picture", it was (or, still is) amazing. The 66s is dynamically balanced, maybe that is the difference, or it has something to do with different design solutions...anyway, after that experience I went for 66s (and 64s btw.).
26 responses Add your response
I made the comparison 2012 with the recent IT-407 model. I can't say anything about quality differences....but who knows. Gordon Holt (founder of Stereophile) said a remarkable sentence in an Interview some few years ago:
J. Gordon Holt 2007
The 66s was outstanding expensive, sold in low numbers compared to other Arms and even after 20 years it is hard to get one and when someone looks for a full Box, he has to pay thousands of $ in auctions. That Arm (and the FR-64s) passed the test of time.
Sometimes an instrument is designed which is well-nigh perfect and is hard to improve upon.....see Stradivarius violins...😎
The FR-64s/66s tone arms are possible examples of this phenomenon...❓😘
The price for a 35 year-old FR-66s has doubled in the last five years to $9,000 and above....yet every one which appears on the market (and fewer and fewer are doing so) is snapped up...👀
As Syntax says....the test of time has been passed...👍
Thanks for chipping in and agree with your comments. Everytime I see your TT-101, I get sorely tempted to hunt one down in Japan. I did see a TT-801 on sale but could not pull the trigger because I already have too many audio projects on hand. I had a SEAC WE-8000/ST too. I traded it in for a Micro Seiki MAX237. One of those things you wished you did not sell. Even rarer to find the SEAC WE-8000/ST than a FR66s. Where did you find yours?
I bought my WE-8000/ST from Otoman Vintage in Japan..and believe it or not....he has another one 😜
There is an already nuded TT-101 with armpod available from a friendly Dealer in Melbourne is you're really interested....❓👀
Ddriveman, What wire was in your FR66S to begin with, copper or silver? What wire did you use to re-wire? I don't mean to disrespect your observational powers, but listener bias is such that I doubt anyone is capable of "hearing" that the sound is "worse" after he or she changed the tonearm wire, or performed any of many many other audiophile tweaks, for that matter. On the other hand, it's possible....
Understand where you are coming from and I can agree with your comments in general.
I had Dertonarm (Daniel B) change the wiring in my FR66s (Thuchan's recommendation). Wanted someone who knew how to work the FR66s and builds arms himself. I had him send the stock cabling and connectors back to me so I could see what they look like (I still have them). The condition of the stock wires and connectors (more than 30 years old) due to oxidation/age and the quality of the wires help convince me that it is a good thing to do. We changed to current generation Ikeda Silver wire so as to try and stick as close to Ikeda house sound. Daniel suggested that perhaps using Kondo Silver wire might even be better but I decided to stick with Ikeda.
I believe the stock wiring was also Silver since that is part of the original FR66s package (S standing for Silver). The FR66 is using OFC. (Unlike the FR64 which is aluminum and FR64s which is steel. Many confuse the FR64s as meaning silver. But silver in the FR64s was an optional extra. You get a label stating Silver on the armtube which mostly falls off unfortunately. I know because I once had 3 FR64s and only 1 had the original Silver label).
So, my opinion about the sound being better is not merely because of the material improvement (which is possible) but also because it removes the gung/oxidation build up over the years. I just get a little better detail coming through. Of course, we now have to also burn-in the new cabling.
If Dertonearm performed the work, I am sure it was done to the highest standard. I knew he liked the Ikeda silver wire, was not aware of the Kondo option, but I have some Kondo silver tonearm wire I purchased for another project (the Kenwood L07J tonearm on my L07D). Actually, for what little this is worth, oxidized silver wire is about as good a conductor as is non-oxidized. Copper does go bad with oxidation, on the other hand. Are you in Europe? I thought about sending my FR64S (with "silver wire inside") to Dertonearm for the same work but have not yet done so, mostly because I do not want to part with the tonearm. My own search suggests that the S in FR64S does not stand for "silver"; it may stand for stainless steel. Are you saying that the S in FR66S does indicate silver wire? Rather confusing nomenclature, in that case.
Yes, I understand about Silver Oxide being conductive also but I would think that having a mix of pure silver and silver oxide would have some detrimental effects, after all the audio community go to great lengths to get 4N/5N Silver with large crystals (OCC type) etc. Anyway, once you see the condition of the original wire, you will cringe.
Yes, FR64s means stainless steel arm tube. FR64 means aluminum tube. Hard to tell the 2 from pics except that the dynamic balance weight on the FR64s is long cylindrical while the FR64 is circular. Most people get this confused and many Silver wired version do not have the sticker on the armtube. I believe all FR66s comes with Silver wire especially if it comes with original B-60 adjustable VTA base.
I am in USA and send it to Dertonarm in Germany. But he was quite quick to turn it around. You should check with him though. He may be busier now with his headshells, arms, cartridge and protractor products.
Thanks for your inputs. You have a nice system. I like the SIT amps too. The only SS amps that I can live with so far.
Yes, I am aware of the alternative view of the FR64s/66s from a few well known audiogon members and audio manufacturers like J Carr, Raul Ruegas and Thomas Schick.
Schick has a page on his website showing him dismantling an FR64s and pointing out his view on their deficiencies. But so far, those views have been for the FR arms and not for the Ikeda arms, as far as I can find. Hence, the original question on this thread was how FR compares with Ikeda arms. If you read the Ikeda website, it comments on improvements to the resonances of the Ikeda arm versus FR (different material structure) and also improvements in the spiral spring based tracking force. But I have yet to find any comments that say the Ikeda arms sound better than the FR arms.
My post started really because my audio friends did a mini-shootout between vintage carts (see review section) and also compared an Ikeda 407/Garrard 301 with a Thomas Schick/Garrard 401. Although the arms were on different TT's but being Garrards and using same plinths, I think we are close on the TT differences. However, at the end of the day, all of the group likes the Ikeda better than the Schick even with the SPU cartridges which are the Schick's best cart combo. So, again, sometimes what we hear is different from what the literature suggests.
Still, I am curious to get inputs between New Ikeda, old Ikeda and FR arms.
If you search these forums, you will find a very different opinion from those above regarding the Ikeda tone arms from the designer of Lyra cartridges.It's certainly not J.Carr driving up the prices of FR-64s/66s tonearms...👀
It must be all the others who simply disagree with him.....😎
Is that allowed....❓😜
As you already own the FR-66s plus some wonderful turntables....I'm wondering if you are disappointed with the performance of the arm that you are hearing?
Having experienced many arms myself.....the very first sounds from one of my FR-64s/66s.....leaves no doubt possible about the State of the Art...😘
Whether the FR66S is transcendent or not, at least some of the impetus behind the rising prices is collector driven. This does not mean that the FR66S is not great. But you are right, Ddrive, to keep an open mind vs the Ikeda. I am satisfied myself just to have the FR64S with B60. I think the B60 not only immeasurably improves the convenience factor but also improves performance by providing a more massive base and a good energy sink for any vibrations that sneak back down the tonearm.
Lewm and Halcro
I am very satisfied with the FR66s. In fact, through the years, while many others arms have come and gone, the FR was my first arm and still remains. I sold 3 FR64s to get the funds to move to the FR66s. It remains my favorite for the SPUs, Koetsu, FR7f/FR7fz and Ikeda 9.
In the mini review of vintage cartridges with my friends, we confirmed the advantages of Ikeda 407 vs Schick but was unable to compare Ikeda 407 vs FR64s. We had an FR64 available but that was below the Schick. But we understand that the FR64 is not the same as FR64s.
I am thinking of getting another FR66s but as you know they are hard to find and costly. OTOH, the Ikeda 407 is available, cheaper and performed quite nicely in our listening sessions. BUT, I have heard comments that there is also a difference between old and new (after Ikeda retired in 2012/2013) generation 407. Hence, my original post.
I guess I can find another FR64s but then is the Ikeda 407 better or equivalent to FR64s. Some have commented that the difference between FR64s and FR66s is very marginal. Any thoughts.
Ddrive, You have a severe case of audiophilia nervosa, but so too do all of us. The differences among the tonearms you mention are in all probability minuscule compared to the differences among cartridges and the differences in the amount of audio information that can be retrieved from one LP vs another LP. When I see one of those $150,000 turntables, I have to laugh to think it will at some point be used to play a $5 LP that was likely "pre-owned" 20 or more years earlier by someone with an el cheapo "record player" and cartridge. Serenity now!
Have you done the Krebs mod on your Mk3? If so, what do you think?
Here is a photo of my Melbourne Dealer friend with Ikeda San a few years ago when he personally picked up his new Ikeda tonearm.
Even the personal thrill of accepting his arm from the great man himself did not cloud David's judgement...👀❗️
The FR-66s is easily the best tonearm he has ever heard.....😍👍
Yes...the performances of the FR-64s and FR-66s are very close to each other in tone, spatial abilities, cartridge matching etc....
Where the FR-66s differs is in a magical ability to sound relaxed and authoritative at the same time...👀🎶
No....it allows the CARTRIDGE to sound relaxed and authoritative...😃❗️
The major difference between the two arms IMHO...is that the FR-66s appears to disappear entirely from the audio chain, leaving a cartridge which is suddenly performing at levels beyond its design parameters...🎵🎼
And that I think, is the domain of very few arms on this planet...👀😎❓
Thanks, Ddrive. I guess there is a Krebs mod in my future; I own one "unit" of SP10 Mk3 that has been thoroughly updated and mounted in a massive slate and cherry wood plinth. I can hear a qualitative difference between it and my Kenwood L07D that may have to do with "fluidity", but I am still only thinking about the mod. R Krebs is a fine guy, however.
What headshell(s) do you and others use on your FR64S/FR66S??? The headshell is a major part of the equation, very major.
I have used a variety of headshells. I agree that these are important but need to be match with the cartridge. Unfortunately not enough is mentioned about headshells and leads IMHO. I like the Ikeda headshells for heavy carts and these have azimuth adjustment. The Yamamoto Ebony headshell is also good for medium/light carts but does not have azimuth adjustment. I like the Arche headshells the best though. Lots of flexibility in adjustments. For me, the headshell leads also play an important role. The Ortofon silver headshell leads is good. Which headshell and leads do you like?
Lets have a close look at the - still current design - Ikeda IT-345 and IT-407 tonearms.
These are 10" and 12"-tonearms which both do feature the classic detachable SME-bayonet headshell.
Their ancestors - the long out of production Fidelity Research FR-64s and FR-66s - do feature just the very same basic design ideas.
They too are 10" and 12" designs with the very same detachable headshell SME-bayonet.
Furthermore all 4 tonearms are dynamic balanced designs which allow the tracking force being applied by a special spring only.
But - the similarities stop here and there are fundamental differences between these two generations of tonearms from one designer - Isamu Ikeda.
The "modern" IT-345 and IT-407 tonearms are somewhat lighter in their effective mass AND - most important!! - are calculated with a different geometry compared to the earlier FR-tonearms !!
To put it in very simple words: you can NOT use the same adjustment jig on both - the IT- and the FR-tonearms.
The FR-tonearms can only be perfectly aligned with the Dennesen Soundtracktor.
Try with any other alignment tool of today - no matter if Bearwald or not....... no matter if IEC standard - and it will result in a misaligned cartridge and too little overhang thus in a pretty bad tangential curve with the zero-error points being too close together.
Do align them with a Denessen Soundtraktor and precise - absolute precise spindle center to bearing center of 231.5 mm for the FR-64s and 295 mm for the FR-66s and you will get sonic results which will open up your ears and minds.
These early FR-tonearms were designed in the late 1960ies and 1970ies.
Back then many of the records of the day and the past were cut pretty close to the label resulting in a fairly wide angle to track.
In the early 1980ies (remember....??) DMM-records hit the street and ever since then vinyl records grooves do stop at least an inch away from the label.
The geometry of the early FR-tonearms is different - it projects 2 zero-error points fairly wide separated and the 2nd fairly close to the label. Thus the curve is again very smooth resulting in VERY low maximum tangential error.
The later Ikeda designs do feature a different geometry with the 2 zero-error points MUCH closer together and the 2nd point at least 1.6 inch away from the label.
So - you cannot compare these 2 tonearm-generations if both are set up with the same alignment tool.
Or - you can only compare them if both are set up with the Denessen tool.
Yes, the IT-345 and IT-407 CAN be aligned with the Denessen - resulting in more effective length and a different overhang AND subsequently in a geometry with their 2 zero-error points wide separated and very similar to the FR-designs.
Then - and only then and under these conditions you can compare the two design generations.
But now you will run into the problem that you are still comparing apples with pears as the FR-tonearms do feature much higher moving mass and are optimized for VERY low compliance cartridges ONLY (SPU, FR-7 series - hardly any other....), while the IT-designs are lighter mass and will work well with todays 9-13 dyne x 10(-6) top moving coils. But...real life showed more than one time, a FR-64s handles any modern cartridge much better than any modern Arm (deeper Soundstage, superior detail and a much more real tone...simply much more close to the Real Thing than anything else. In a way...in a way, that circle is closed.