Goldmund Reference Turntable ?

Anyone have any experience with or owns a Goldmund Reference Turntable Original version ? I will be picking one up next week and thats one table I have never played with. It has the T3 tonearm as well. Any tricks to setting it up etc. ?

Not sure what to pay for it anyone know the going price for one is as well ?

Hi Kevin, Was regarded as 'non plus ultra'in the eightys and is still striking. But the T3 (there are diff. versions)is very ,say, demanding. You will need much patience and skills for this tonearm. The price? A person offered one to me for 12.000 Euro 2 years ago. The TT is unique so there is no 'going price'. Search for the 'believers clubs'.
I had one and liked it very much. If you have a TF3 with high numbers (over 2000) you will have no problems in setting up. What kind of cartridge will you mount?
The T3F Arm is always in movement, from the right side-to the middle-to the left side. The result is a smeared soundstage. T and inferior dynamic range. To find the right cartridge is a real task because the side force will destroy the cantilever. The carts are not made for this kind of "influence".
The table itself is better. Service for the T3F is stopped from Goldmund. They don't produce any parts for the T3F.
The Goldmund Reference TT is a great performer and very well manufactured (one of the few high priced audio tables where you actually SEE that the money you paid for it was at least partly re-invested in design and material) - the T-3(F) tonearm has several problems, some of them being design-inherent.
Go for the table - look for a different tonearm (unless you want to experience long and enduring pain ...... ).
Hello Kevin.

Perhaps if you’ll allow I can shed a little light on this?

During the 1980s I used to sell these in the UK. Terrific sounding deck with an arm that was a NIGHTMARE to set up. This was the T3F arm. Usually with one of the very high end Koetsu cartridges. Yes, the sound was magnificent but the anxiety in the minds of the customers and myself forced me to give up the brand. The massive profit could not compensate for the time and trouble involved. Customers who previously had not exhibited sign of neurosis did very shortly after owing one of these combinations.

All of my sales, without exception, had the T3F leap from the arm-rest like a very hungry greyhound, racing towards the platter – and below it – and about 3mm away would rise like an F-14 with terrain-following capability and drop neatly into the run-in groove. It was very far from amusing for everyone concerned. Neither I nor the importer nor indeed the importer’s hapless technicians every ridded the system of this unintentionally jaw-dropping performance.

My friend Mr. Aikman (founder of SME) had one of these. He had (prior to getting involved in building decks) literally 14 decks in his home system. That system was ARC preamps and Krell KMA-100 mono amps into 2 pairs of Quad ESL 63s. Anyway . . .

He told me the following. First, the deck itself was, when used with his SME V (he had all the engineering know-how and finesses readily to hand to achive this) the most musically credible he had ever heard to date. Secondly, that he was just too much of an English gentleman to comment on the T3F arm!

Incidentally, the closest rival, he felt, performance-wise to the Goldmund with the early SME V was – wait for it – the original Pink Triangle with a SME V. He then chatted amiably about embryonic ideas of offering to build the Pink Triangle for them. He was that impressed.

If it were me, knowing what I know, I’d buy the deck and get a master engineer to interface a Breuer 8-Dynamic with a vintage {genuine} Koetsu Rosewood with it.

Hope this helps

Kind regards

Howard Popeck / Stereonow
Don't know how relevant this is but, I recently aquired a Studietto with the T5 arm. Yes, it is a fussy little ***** but once dialed in WITH the proper belt (neoprene) it has worked flawlessly. One thing I do with it is if I unplug the tonearm I always cycle the cuing a couple of times before I try to play anything. This thing cost me a modded Ariston RD80 and a pair of recent Maggie 1.6 but I think I got the better deal. It's astonishing how deep this thing digs and how instruments have so much detail. If I could not setup the T5 I would put a tangential arm on it. I envy you with your purchase and I'm sure you will figure it all out.
Hi Howard,
Wonderful memories. An acquaintance of mine also had a Goldmund Reference with the T3F in the late 80s - the arm was really a nightmare.
Curious you refer the Pink Triangle. Although I now have a Forsell Air Force One, I still keep a Pink Triangle PT TOO with a Sumiko MDC800 ranged in a drawer, just for the souvenir of its magic sound. Built quality was terrible but it sounded great, detailed and with a very articulated midrange. Unhappily speed stability was very poor.
Did you have the privilege of listening to music in the SME room?
Hi Kevin, If you need a 'doctor' to check, adjust and mod.
the T3 : Rolf Dorrmann (
Dertonarm, Glad to see you back!

The turntable itself shows a deep and wide soundstage. This was done right from Goldmund. This compensates the weakness from the T3F. It has nothing to do with adjusting the arm, this Design is superb example for super engineering which fails the target by a few miles. The movement of the Arm changes all Parameters, it is probably ok when you listen to a female singer or it is in a System which can't show a difference anyway. The treble flatness will be there in every second, it can be compensated with a cartridge like a Goldfinger which is very aggressive in this frequency area.
The micro resolution does not exist.In a way it is like a class D Amp. Powerful, but lifeless and limited in its sonic signature.
Microdynamic expressiveness which gives the presentation a king of life, does not exist.
It is a impressing product, but from what I know what is possible in analog reproduction, it is among my worst experiences.
The two Pierre Lurne tangential-tonearms T3 (any incarnation) and T5 where - while correct in their original idea and nicely made - burden from the start with a few very serious mechanical problems (not just their sleigh-mechanism...) which actually limited the number of cartridges REALLY suitable to be mounted in these particular tonearms to a small handful. All these cartridges had several design features in common ( low mass body and VERY rigid -in the mechanically and durable sense of the word...;-) .... - suspension of the cantilever being the most important).
The Goldmund tangential tonearms were technically fine executed attempts to bring the tangential principle from its theoretical superiority to suitable practice.
They weren't the first and they are not the last.
Sadly neglected here - as in many other tonearm designs - was the aspect of energy transfer.
Hi Nandric - if it is about technical/design aspects I gladly join.
Most threads the past months did not really move me to write any comment.
the biggest problem I was facing with the TF-3 was if you wanted to mount a heavy system the counterweight was not perpared to balance the cartridge. I was thinking about producing a heavier counterweight but keeping in mind that due to the intensive movements of the correction technology of the arm you should not use cartridges with sensitive technology i.e. rubber parts.

I experimented with different platters. I found out a stiff and well fixed extra platter improves the sound.

Finding a well preserved Goldmund Reference I is still one of the best preconditions to build up an excellent analogue system.
Hello Kevin
Hopefully you will have the black service manual to keep you right , I have had mine for some 15 yrs now , Take note of the mechanical grounding spike as it is very important to the sound also hopefully you should have the correct oil supplied . The T3f has a sensor that doesnt like direct light for it will suddenly start tracking across your treasured vinyl , best you play around with an old record and cartridge first. My T3f has been boxed up and shoved in a cupboard for a few yrs iam using the table with a Kuzma airline/ A90 the table now sings like never before !
I've been testing a Studio/T3 for 3 years and while I'll not admit that it's a snap to set a cartridge up, I'll say that once so done the result is pure holographic. I mean- reach out and touch Mikes Davis, while the acoustic pressurizes the room. I don’t hear any image shift as the arm self corrects. Perhaps I’m just lucky or got a good match with the Cello I’m using. Kevin Olsen, noted audio expert, owned it before me and ran a Purple Heart for years with zero problems. You must protect the cartridge while moving the counter weight. And the process is awkward- if you have two thumbs get a steady handed friend to give an assist. I think Lurne’ was ahead of his time. There is a classic look to these tables and the Ref offers a high degree of mass loading. His J1s are spectacular. But there are tricks to setting them up. I’ll discuss it all in 2011 in TAS.

Peter Breuninger
Sr. Writer,
The Absolute Sound
My respects to everyone.

I have had a GRT, T3F and PL8 since 1987. I have never had a single problem nor I have found this package complicated to set up. It requires of course some dedication.
The table has a single main problem and this was the original natural oil for the spindle/shaft. I can not explain how bad it was. I use now the VdH spindle oil.

The T3F had two major problems and they are related with what Syntax and Tuchan said (lack of frequency extremes and CW mass).

I have found the aluminum headshell of this arm to be too heavy at about 7.5gr. This accounts for almost 50% of its effective mass. I changed the material of the headshell bringing the mass down to 2.5 gr. This restored a lot in the extremes, specially in the hi-frequencies.

The main problem however was in the CW, IMO Goldmund in the attempt to keep the CW hided within the bridge placed the CW too close to the bearings, with such short leverage the system can only work by increasing the mass of the CW, for example, with a cartridge of 10gr only the heaviest of the CW could be used and this one has 195gr.

I solved this issue making by CNC a prolongation of the CW shaft and by moving the CW back a mere 40mm I reduced its mass from 195gr to less than 50gr for the 10.5 gr of the Lyra Titan-i.

The gain in performance is terrific.

If somebody having this arm is interested can contact me back, I can provide the respective drawings or CAD. After all the total cost of this mod was less than 150 U$D.

Not that making this you will solve all the design issues of the T3F but the gain in performance is huge and your cantilever will work a lot less stressed.

Claudio Abbiendi
Well, I heard HP's set-up (back then serviced by Frank Doris ) first in early May 1988 when I visited Harry Pearson together with Carol Keasler in his home in Sea Cliff.
The Goldmund Reference was running and while certain aspects of the sonic result were impressive, the Goldmund - especially the T3F tonearm and the direct sonic relations depending (or better: rooted in ..) tonearm quality - failed then and in later set-ups with the T3F to move any small piece of earth below my feet.
Well lol sorry i just checked back from being busy and see all these nice posts, thank you all very much. Some really good info and suggestions. I have to tell you all I just picked up the table on consignment for a customer and will help him sell it. It needs some work and service so will start on that tomorrow, i can see its going to take some time lol. I have extensive turntable knowledge and experience have worked on most of the best tables out there but this one looks like a good challenge lol.

We'll see how it goes. Goldmund certainly doesnt seem to want to help which is very disappointing. I'll keep trying.

and yes I have the manuals and crates.

Again thank you all very much for all the nice posts

Still dont really know what the going rate for a used one is going for these days.
Hi Kevin, I wrote to Rolf Dorrmann to induce him to participate in this thread but he was very skeptical about any forums. However he is willig to answer any technical question reg.the TT and the tonearm. BTW they own all the
relevant technical papers from Goldmund.

Ahhh thank you so much Nandric that is very nice of you. I will start to go through the table and first see what it needs and start cleaning it up. I hate to sell as is as I know we can get more for it if its in good working and cosmetic condition.

Any way to open up the sound of the T3F, or give up on it? I found that late versions performed flawlessly mechanically, but the sound is very closed, hard and midrangy with a big overblown upper bass. No highs/upper mids really to speak off no matter how I tried...
I had mine completely rebuilt from scratch, kept the Servo. Am now able to change the vtl from my listening position. The sound is now not anything close to what Markshvarts experienced.
Worse? Really? Thought, it can't be possible ....
LOL, better, much, much better.(;
I recently listened to a friend's Goldmund TT/T3P with an Ortofon Jubilee in the UK. It was hooked up to a pair of Devialets and Epilog 1&2s. Fabulous sound. The T3P was troublesome as the optical sensor on the arm gets upset by sunlight coming through the window. However, with a judicious adjustment of the curtain, it was perfect.

I'm sure my friend might be able to give you some advice. He has just retired as a Chief Engineer in F1 Racing and used to work for Garrard in turntable design before his motor racing career. Email me is you want some info and I'll get him to contact you.
Topoxforddoc and Cabbiendi.

Could you do me the kind favor and help out a Studio/T3F owner to improve the performance of the T3F?
I would love to get my hands on the CAD drawing and info on what other mods has been done to the arm to improve the sound.

Best Regards and thanks in advance.
Tonny Stølegaard

I picked up a Studio/T3F, with Transfiguration Temper, used a few years ago, for about $2000, in good cosmetic condition, with boxes and accessories, and found that I liked it much more than the Luxman 444/SME V/Cardas combination. (The Luxman was much more beautifully finished.) Recently, I began to focus on my record collection, and I updated the Temper to a new Ortofon Cadenza Black. I carefully setup the T3F, including the use of a USB microscope for checking/setting the VTA.

The VTA is a pain to set, first requiring that the platter (at stylus contact point) be level in both axes, and then that the arm "box" be level in both axes. Adjusting the arm VTA requires the unlocking and dialing of 4 corner "pillar" screws, maintaining the level of the arm in both axes. Tedious but doable. Forget about changing VTA on the fly.

Adjusting the VTF is also tedious since this is done by unlocking the counterweight setscrew and then moving the weight and relocking the setscrew which is somewhat obscured by the arm structure. The setscrew should only be unlocked enough to allow the movement of the weight while still under friction. 

I’ve seen comments about the horizontal mass of the arm posing a problem for the cantilever. For typical tangential arms, this might be a problem since the whole arm structure must be pulled horizontally across. I don’t believe this applies to the T3F since for a small angle, the arm pivots horizontally like a normal pivoted arm. The sensor detects any error and a motor, not the stylus, moves the mass of the arm horizontally. It seems that a position change occurs once every 1.5 to 2 seconds or one groove spacing. Hardly enough to produce any significant tracking error. The one weakness here is that the correction is applied in one direction only. Eccentric records will not allow the arm to move alternately in and out. Luckily the amount of horizontal pivot in the arm will typically absorb the eccentricity without any unusual stress on the cantilever.

Another conceptual concern, if not practical, is that the arm drive motor is activated for a tiny fraction of a second every 1.5 to 2 seconds. This might generate some mechanical noise but I haven’t been able to detect it while listening, except at the label end grooves while spiraling in and just before arm pickup.

I have noted some logic bugs, when operating the cuining and inward/outward buttons, in rapid succession, and then issueing a stop command, the arm may fail to raise up before returning to the rest position. You should be aware of this and ready to intervene by lifting the arm manually.

I think this setup sounds spectacular and am very pleased with it. I really don't know what I would want instead of it.

I saw one at my local dealer a few years back.

The turntable looks big in the photos, but in person, it sets on the floor about 2 feet high!

You have to kneel down the on the floor to change the record!

It is a joke, IMO.

The Goldman turntable one model down was very nice though.