Goldmund Studio - still relevant today?

In today high-end world (very small, and shrinking every day), is Goldmund Studio still relevant? Is it's performance still on par with similarly priced tables, or is it a dinosaur? Is it's value still in performance, or is it mainly a collector's item? What do you guys think? I refer to late models with all-acrylic body, and JVC motor, and T3F arm, which actually work, not the early ones, which seemed to have a mind on their own :-)) They normally command at least $2500 on used market, up to $4000 for perfect examples.
I have owned several Goldmund tables and arms. IMHO, they are still an excellent sounding rig!

I finally got rid of mine mainly because they were somewhat of a bitch to set up and maintain and just wanted to try something "different".

If I could find one today in excellent condition and at a reasonable price, I would sure try it again.
20+ years ago I found a dealer with two Goldmund tables for sale-a Studio and a Studietto. The dealer offered me either one for $1,000. The Studio had a modded power supply, and the Studietto was stock. I chose the Studietto, my mistake. I sold it years later for more than I paid for it. Eventually, the store went out of business, but I remember the Studio. If it was still there, I'd be happy to pay $1,000 for it. Yes, it's still relevant today!
The Studio is "relevant", but I personally was never impressed with it. The Studietto was a real dog, IMO. These are just my private (now not so private) opinions. The T3F is a derivative of the Rabco tonearm, better quality construction, perhaps. It is thus to be judged. But lots of other people like this stuff.
Dear Mark,
Don´t waste your money and time. Life is short. Here´s my story.
Back in 1990 I owned brand new Studio but not with the linear arm. The DD motor by JVC is excellent BUT the problem is the flimsy floating suspension.
It just floats causing technical problems and just smears sound, unfortunately. It´s not near as sophisticated as ORACLE´s hanging suspension. That´s why I witched my Studio to used DELPHI MKII and got much better sounding turntable.
And T3F is a clumsy dinosaur from the stone age, certain modern linear arms are certainly worth trying if you prefer linear trackers (I personally do).

BUT if you do like it for some other reasons, maybe for aesthetics I would suggest to get rid of the suspension altogether because it´is the root of all evil. If you are a DIY man give it a try. Think of its 25 kg mass of lead-acrylics body with a superb vintage Japanese DD motor. That´s really something else, isn´t it.
I should had tried to remove the suspension but I had not skills and patience to do. Young and foolish I was and lost a minor fortune eventually. Those were the days.

If you don´t care for tweaking an ancient TT it doesn´t make sense going back to the 90´s... Anyway, good luck for your search.

Is the Studio/T3F still relevant for the used price they command? It depends on your point of view. Is a 301 or a 124 still relevant? Certainly wouldn't buy an original example of one of those expecting it to be plug-n-play.

The Studio has the beefiest springs I've seen. They came set-up for use with the T3F and some alternate springs were supplied. Still, a weak point of the design and problematic with most replacement arms. Sorbothane pucks were often used for spring replacements on both the Studio and Studietto which used the same springs.

The stock studio/T3F dramatically outperformed the Delphi (w/any arm) at that time. It was no contest really. The T3F might be outperformed by a more modern design, but I think if you heard a properly set-up Goldmund Reference from that same time, the arm would sound pretty good. The Studio is no Reference, but with a little TLC, can more than hold its own.
The T3F is really bad. The moving Arm smears every detail and it ruins every cantilever pretty fast.
Even when I would get one for free I would avoid to use it.
Sorbothane pucks are good replacements but don´t help much.
I would fix the suschassis to the base by, say large brass
feet with spikes.

My stock DELPHI MKII outperformed stock Studio at the time
like day & night, with a superb TA/cart combo of course. A
real life fact. "No contest really", indeed.
The ORACLE suspension is probably the very finest mechanical
suspension designed, the earlier models have very soft
tuning and thus elegant way to control resonances and are
the best working as I have experienced. Almost poetry.
When correctly finetuned, of course. To finetune a DELPHI
suspension is never easy, but if one is married with it
comes second nature. I have played ORACLEs daily for 23
years. I have owned 4 DELPHIs, MKII with THE GROOVE ISOLATOR
was the best of them all. I never liked MKIV´s sound with
stiffer springs and hard mat. Actually it sounded awful with
the very same TA/cart. MKII vs. MKIV are from different
planets, so to speak. Furthermore, any DELPHI can have a
"mediocre" sound if not correctly tuned. Anyway, DELPHIs fit
practically all environments. And look good.
THE GROOVE ISOLATOR (quite soft material) with ORACLE´s
unique clamping system is really something else. The most
efficient method to couple record on platter (vacuum
coupling like Luxman´s is another way). Your experience with
ORACLEs is obviously very limited.
I don't doubt your tale of two tables, but I don't share your experience. Maybe it was learn as you go, but if you put the effort into the Studio as the Delphi, you might be singing a different song. At least that's my experience and I'm not alone with that opinion. Virtually EVERYBODY back then recognized the jump in performance going to a Studio.

You could say it's an unfair comparison with the price difference, but the Oracle was at its best with a SME V and that is/was a pricey arm. I set-up or tuned Delphi with mostly the SME V, and arms like the Syrinx PU3. Yes, I got them to bounce straight and stop on a dime after three bounces. The Delphi MK II is a beautiful table and it sounds quite good if set-up properly.

Even though it's not your experience, IMO the Studio has greater potential. Admittedly, the suspension should be defeated and you need a later version of the arm or a replacement. I never cared for the Groove Isolator, but I guess that to, is a matter of opinion.

I think this sums up relative quality:

I am still amazed after 20+ years to see how misunderstood the T3F was. It is an arm of stunning performance, utterly easy to set-up, fully reliable and certainly does nothing bad to the cantilevers only to extract all the music out of the LP's. It works silky smooth with the PL8.
I had the s/n 2020 from 1988 to 2013 on the Reference s/n 2069, never ever a problem, never a broken cantilever.
Of course, as any high performance audio item it had to be optimazed. Problem was Goldmund's greed for cosmetics over technical matter. The problem is so easy to see and yet no user or seller has ever talked about the issue.
Some idio... inside Goldmund decided to place the CW too close to the bearings to keep it hided inside the bridge.
Thus the arm/CW, as such, had no leverage at all. Consequently CW mass must be increased to a crazy 200gr for a 10gr cartridge. This is already a compromise for a pivoted arm but is catastrophic for a tangential. The aluminum/ceramic strip headshell did not help either. What I did, I first replaced the aluminum headshell for a CNC strip made of treated ebony, this reduced the mass at the very tip of the arm by 5gr. Then the most important, I CNC a hard-resin prolongation-insert that was attached to the back of the arm that allowed to set a lighter CW farther away of the bearings. The result is the use of a CW of only 45gr., the option to use the level of damping fluid you wish and a terrific, amazing improve in performance.
I do not know how to upload pictures but I can provide tech. drawings if someone is interested.
You can go to Hammertone Audio (turntable section) to see some pics/explanation. That is (was) my system. Additionally Mr. A. Salvatore understood the problem and posted my explanation in his web-site.
IMO none of the fellows that have always criticized this arm have a tonearm better than a poperly set-up T3F.
To be noted this arm as today has little tech. support and if something happens to the E-Prom or the Zilog CPU it will be difficult to fix.

Dear Cabbiendi, Can you say why you think the elongated mount for the CW effects an improvement in sound, apart from the fact that it permits use of a lighter counter-wt. There are two parameters (at least) that would change with this mod: (1) lateral effective mass, and (2) vertical effective mass. IMO, the reduction in lateral effective mass is probably good, and may explain why you've had no problems with cartridge damage. But the vertical effective mass may well have increased with this mod, since the effective mass is a function of the square of the distance from the center of gravity of the CW to the pivot but only a first order function of the mass of the CW. Thus if you've moved the CW 4X its normal distance from the pivot, which is probably close to correct, since you were able to reduce the mass of the CW from 200 to 45 (roughly 4 to 1), that would increase effective mass by 4-fold (16X for the fold difference in CW to pivot distance times 1/4 for the reduction in weight). That might be bad for all but low compliance cartridges. Perhaps that's what you use.
Dear Lewm,
I understand what you mean however, correct that your estimation seems to be it did not reproduce in practice. Indeed if you go and make a google search you will see that "all" air bearing tomearms (Air-Tangent, Rockport's, AirLine, etc) invariably use a very low-mass CW very far away from the bearing, further back to what I set in the T3F. Since I'm not an Eng. before to make that chages I put in contact with Lyra, I was using a Titan-i on the T3F and res-freq was in the order of 4.5Hz, since I use EQ-H-Frame subs the woofers were botoming even having 52mm X-max.
BTW, I did not move the new CW X4 to the normal distance, I gues it was less than double. Please note the massive reduction of mass at the tip of the arm, changing HS material (from AL or ceramic = std Goldmund) to Ebony.
I first had the intention to reduce size of the CW and put it even closer to the bearings using a CW made of Tungsten (I found in China a bar that has 20gr/cm3 density).
Reason was the T3F cinematic is not really tangential but moves in arcs of 2-3o at a time, I was convinced that it would behave like a pivoted arm rather than tangential (high mass CW closer to the pivot VS low-mass CW far away from pivot for tagentials). The head of Lyra asked me to wait a little he was going to contact Mr. Carr. Finally he came to me and confirmed that "due to the many forces" the T3F must be considered as a tangential tonearm. I then went and prepared the stuff to modify the arm according to this. Mr. Carr could not be more correct. With the new CW system the res-freq went up to 10Hz.
Do you have an idea Lewm what this mean ? can you imagine a 200gr mass so close crushing the bearings ?
It was not how the arm moves that made Syntax reach his conclusions about T3F it was this idiotic massive CW so close to the bearins.
Then we have the damping fluid, normally a std. T3F needs more DF than normal to perform decently, after the mods in the CW you can use the quantity you wish, the improvements in HF are nothing short of a miracle. I read about negative effects of too much DF in a tonearm paper from VdH.

Regarding Studio suspension it is well known (from at least two decades) that it performs much better with its suspension defeated.


Anyway Lewm, T3F and the Goldmund Reference are now gone unfortunately. I'm a personal follower of your (and Halcro's system BTW) I'm now in the hunt of a P3 or a L-07D my prefer DD TT.


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 cueing 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.

Regarding the modifications which use a lighter counterweight at a further distance: Isn't the effective mass of the arm increased by moving a counterweight further from the pivot? The effective mass has to do with the product of the mass of the weight and its' distance from the rotational pivot. Depending on the cartridge used, this may not be a good change.