The Triplanar is a good Arm from design and sonic quality. The Graham is superior with most cartridges, with very intelligent solutions to push the sonic curtain and top performing even with heavy cartridges. The Kuzma 4P is a soft sounding Arm, an excellent choice for very harsh and analytic sounding Systems. It also hides very successful internal vibrations from average turntable designs, the other 2 are more sensitive to that. The Graham can build a very precise and accurate Soundstage with sharp focussed detail and holographic body. The 4P is more like a wall of sound, just different, not really comparable. I go for performance, but when someone chooses something based on feeling, give it a try.
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Some time ago one of my customers went from a Triplanar to a 4Point and upon hearing the first few notes exclaimed the 4Point did exactly what he had hoped for. Contrary to the assertions above, it is not soft sounding nor to my knowledge has ever been described that way, certainly not when compared with the Triplanar which is rather romantic and has slightly plump bass. I encourage all interested to hear the 4Point for themselves, either at a dealer with it on demo or at CES/THE Show in January.
Thanks Syntax and Essentialaudio.
I would agree with the Tri-Planar being "romantic" and "(having) slightly plump bass". With my ZYX it's sound is exactly as romantic and plump as I want it to be. The Tri-Planar, for me, is a keeper.
But I may want to get something like BM LP-S in future and based on some readings, I'm getting the impression that T-P could be a bit too much of a good thing.
One should watch out not to ascribe sonic signatures of other (cartridge, misalignment, cable and rest of audio chain) components to the tonearm.
I have had the 4Point and sold it early 2010 to the USA.
It is a good, but not outstanding tonearm.
While it does feature some interesting design points, it is not the last word in resolution nor in transient speed.
In general it does indeed a good job of dampening resonances and thus sounding a bit more forgiving - resulting in soften edges and lack of ultra low resolution/detail.
The Triplanar is similar in his behavior - but not as forgiving.
The 4Point won't tell anything new versus the Triplanar.
The Graham Phantom does a better job regarding transparency and low level resolution. It's transient transfer is much faster and thus the Phantom sounds more live-like and gives superior detail and "air".
It is a very good match for any ZYX.
Haven't heard the 4Point but I have compared the Kuzma Airline to a Durand Talea. The Talea had a lower sound floor and was much more effective at keeping complex music sounding uncongested. Instruments and voices retained much more individuality. This was with an Ortofon A90.
The Talea is also notably superior to my TriPlanar VII in these same areas. We've compared twice with my ZYX UNIverse and all present were in agreement. If I had the funds and time to play as much as I'd like, a Talea would replace my TriPlanar, beloved though it has been.
Add the Talea to your shopping list. It's the best arm Paul and I have heard (with a UNIverse). Haven't heard a Phantom so can't offer that comparison.
Syntax already has the Graham Phantom II Supreme - I would name it the best uni-pivot so far.
i'll echo Doug Deaton about the Triplaner VII, but my experience was with the Durand Talea 1 not the Talea 2...i had only the "1" when i still had the Triplaner VII.
when the subject switches to the best Unipivot, then my vote previously was the Talea 2; however now it is easily the 12" Durand Telos.
For me the interesting comparison would be Graham Phantom II vs Talea. Two great unipivots, one with a wood arm wand, the other made of metal. Telos may be better than either (or not), but the price puts it in another category entirely, not that Talea or Phantom are "cheap". I heard the Talea with a ZYX on a Galibier table, in a system I know quite well, and I have to admit it was "unbelievable", mostly in the sense that I have never heard any analogue gear that sounded so holographic in the truest sense of the word. I felt that it might be possible for me to walk in behind the musicians, if I wanted to. Made me wonder whether I was being enchanted by some form of euphonic distortion. If so, give me more of it. The question in my mind: does the use of wood have something to do with this phenomenon?
Dear Lewm, as I am very familiar with the "phenomenon" you describe - in fact I could never do without that 3-dimensional soundstage presentation and have never since the early 1980s - I can assure you that it has nothing to do with wood of any kind as arm wand material.
Your were rather listening to a well aligned cartridge with very equal output in both coils and a speaker with less than average problems regarding phase response.
Most designers who use wood of any kind and shape as arm wand material do so because of certain aspects of dampening, weight/stiffness ratio and "certain sonic signature" inherent to wood in conjunction with fairly easy handling of the given material.
I for one prefer certain metals - due to the very same points just mentioned and some more aspects hardly mentioned at all in tonearm design so far.
But we will soon see in complete physical "Gestalt" ( if photos only ....) what I mean.
I've read that review. I was more interested in hearing what people who have heard both Kuzma and T-P in their own systems think of these tonearms and so far comments mirror my own experience but I just love that smoothness that T-P brings.
It would certainly be interesting to hear comments from Graham (now Supreme) and Talea users but also from people, if there are any, who have also heard 10" and 12" Grahams and would care to comment what did those bring to the table that 9" didn't... There is a thread like that already but it talks about other sorts of instruments :)
I would love to mount a Phantom on my Galibier and do a comparison. Unfortunately, Bob insists on that stupid cable out the base mount. That precludes the use of the same armboard and so cannot be compared apples to apples. I really hate not being able to give a world class arm a fair chance.
Galibier and Talea dealer disclaimer
Reverb here (echoing Mike Lavigne's echo). Our comparisons were also with the Talea 1. The Talea 2 is reportedly a sonic improvement, which would only increase its advantage over the TriPlanar and Airline.
With regard to why some arm designers choose wood, I've spoken at length with two (Frank Schroeder, Joel Durand) and neither is seeking "warmth" or any sort of coloration. The idea that wood adds warmth (other than visually) is a myth. (Proof: the Talea is not particularly warm sounding. Schroeders are but that's due to the mobility in the "bearing", not the wood in the armtube.)
Wood is a chaotic material comprised of millions of random grain boundaries at varying angles surrounding cells with differing sizes, shapes and densities. Such a structure tends NOT to allow standing waves (resonances) to propagate or reinforce each other. Acoustic energies which flow into wood tend to be repeatedly scattered into disorganized packets with randomized frequencies and amplitudes. This makes it easier for the arm and armboard to dissipate them, rather than reflecting organized energy back toward the cartridge. Result? An armtube that adds LESS color to the signal than one made of (say) an organized (crystalline) material like most metals.
Of course there are ways around this for the maker of metal armtubes. For example, one could make a tube of sintered metal. Expensive, no doubt, but probably effective in similar ways to wood. I don't know if any metal armtubes are actually made with this in mind or not, just sayin'...
Dear Doug, Thanks for your thoughts on the virtues of wood and why the Schroeder "sounds" as it does. But statements like: "Acoustic energies which flow into wood tend to be repeatedly scattered into disorganized packets with randomized frequencies and amplitudes. This makes it easier for the arm and armboard to dissipate them, rather than reflecting organized energy back toward the cartridge." are really hypotheses that you favor, not facts. Appealing ideas but not proven. We audiophiles, myself included, do this all the time.
I loved the Talea in the set-up I heard, but I note also that the piece of metal onto which the cartridge is mounted is affixed to the wood arm wand by one single bolt, which does not suggest to me that energy transfer from the cartridge into the arm wand is super efficient. Also there would be energy reflected back into the cartridge at the wood/metal interface. These structural elements tend to make me wonder to what degree your hypothesis is a real factor in the resulting sonic quality of the tonearm.
i hope you all get a chance to hear a Telos.
wood arm wand?
single bolt holding the cartidge plate to the arm wand?
either the Telos is the least distorted piece of audio gear i've yet heard in spite of those handicaps or because, in part, of those advantages. and relatively, i could say the same thing about the Talea 2.
It's not the object of this thread but it's very interesting to discover much more interest in wood arms than in the past. Maybe it's only a sort of temporary fashion from the manufacturers?
I purchased recently a Reed tonearm (here in Europe it's more affordable than U.S.), in replacement of a Sirynx Pu-3 and an old Triplanar Mk.II and I'm very satisfied about the sound; maybe I'm influenced by the interesting researches on resonances of different wood you can find in the manufacturer website... despite this I suspect that the Reed tonearm is competitive with the best contenders.
Cartridge is a Zyx 4-D.
Dertonarm: "Syntax already has the Graham Phantom II Supreme - I would name it the best uni-pivot so far."
Daniel, have you had a chance to try out the Spiral Groove Centroid? It looks promising...
That is one strange looking counterweight. It seems as though they are not only getting the center mass of the counterweight below the pivot point, but also putting it as close to the pivot point as possible, even next to it so to speak. That would certainly make the arm more able to react quickly, having that mass on the pivot point.
Ptmconsulting: "That is one strange looking counterweight. It seems as though they are not only getting the center mass of the counterweight below the pivot point, but also putting it as close to the pivot point as possible, even next to it so to speak. That would certainly make the arm more able to react quickly, having that mass on the pivot point."
Ptmconsulting, you're right and I think that is the intent of the design. Now, that certainly is a little different in the counterweight of the Durand Telos, isn't it?
More pictures of Centroid for entertainment purpose:
Spiral Groove Centroid 1
Spiral Groove Centroid 2
Spiral Groove Centroid 3
Spiral Groove Centroid 4
Spiral Groove Centroid 5
Spiral Groove Centroid 6
Spiral Groove Centroid 7
Spiral Groove Centroid 8
Spiral Groove Centroid 9
Centroid YouTube videos
Dear Hiho, I will give the Spiral Groove a good look.
On the other hand I will join the ever growing group of tonearm designers very soon.
Thus I will not comment on any other tonearm design - especially not current/new models introduced only recently.
My statement regarding pivot tonearm will be introduced here on Audiogon later this winter.
I will rather let facts speak for me - same as I did regarding tonearm alignment.
Daer Syntax, if you hear and care to comment on sonic differences between different lenghts Grahams it would be greatly appreciated! :)
Oscilloscopium, your comment is particularly interesting to me, because I found I prefer my Omega on the T-P (VII though) and since I put it there I haven't bothered to experiment. I'll have to mount it on the Reed 2A and see how I like it now after I've lived with the T-P for some time. T-P does track it better and it sounds more weightier though.
Read Romy the Cat's take on mikel.
Huh. Not all in audio is Art for the Ear. Each his own, but indeed, the worst sounding Systems I ever listened to, by far, were extremely expensive ones. Not all, but quite a lot. And all those owners love their stuff, I think, a few of them fall onto their knees and pray in front of it before they go to bed, so why should I talk about it. All I can say, when I am interested in whatever unit (cartridge, Arm, Turntable...) and one of those recommends it enthusiastically (to me or generally), I bury the idea from one second to the next (ok, let's say, half second). I mean, deep, minimum 6 ft under.
So, I like these discussions and 'recommendations', especially those were you can discover the unknown audiophile in yourself, a knife and a piece of wood is a good start (today) :-)
Wood is a chaotic material comprised of millions of random grain boundaries at varying angles surrounding cells with differing sizes, shapes and densities. Such a structure tends NOT to allow standing waves (resonances) to propagate or reinforce each other. Acoustic energies which flow into wood tend to be repeatedly scattered into disorganized packets with randomized frequencies and amplitudes. This makes it easier for the arm and armboard to dissipate them, rather than reflecting organized energy back toward the cartridge
Really? Is this why instrument makers play with wood the way they do?? Seriously, don't make statements like this and expect to be taken seriously at the same time.
even though i'm likely at the top of Romy's list of morons (and have been proudly on that list for 10 years), i find him mostly entertaining even when i'm the target. i never take his comments personally.
just to set the record straight; Mr. Feil's linked 2006 post of Romy's is correct in as far as how my room sounded back then; it did sound like sh*t. and also true that i was not completely aware of the issues my room had.
You guys are going to have to do better than "they make musical instruments out of wood". Well, yes. And they DON'T make bells out of wood, for very obvious reasons. Any body can show this. What is going to hold a standing wave longer? Wood or metal? And let's stay within the materials used to actually make something resembling a tonearm.
All of those curved arms, damping material added to metal tubes, damping troughs and fluids. Why was all of this developed? Because of standing waves in metal parts.
Yes, and at the same time a set of wood blocks can be quite loud, as can even a set of drum sticks. And they make instruments out of metal too- a dobro is a good example.
The point is that wood is not **inherently** non-resonant. If its going to have non-resonant properties, it will have to be treated, just like metal has to be treated. Anyone who tells you otherwise is pulling your leg.
I would think a further issue of wood has to do with dimensional stability, especially with respect to humidity. I know you can seal wood to a certain degree, but IME humidity will still seems to find ways to affect it. Anyone who plays an instrument or dealt with a sticky door has experienced that.
Although most metals would seem to have greater resonant properties, the big reason they get used in an application like this is that the properties are quantifiable. If you know at what frequency a particular structure will become resonant, it can be a fairly simple matter of damping it effectively by other means. We do this all the time with our preamp chassis- the front panel resonates at one frequency, the chassis at another, tightly coupled the two rob energy from each other and will not resonate. Empire did this with the platters of their 498, 598 and 698 models.
Wood is less quantifiable. Instrument makers are well-known for using a small hammer to strike a wood sample to see how it sounds. Same species, same forest, same glade, same tree and several cuts can all behave differently. I've built a number of flutes and experienced that as well
Thank you for offering a sublime example to buttress my argument (viz., musical instruments made of wood). Instrument makers use wood precisely because the phenomena I described occur differently depending on the particular wood. This allows them to control the sound of the instrument. It's the reason we have spruce sounding boards but ebony or cocobolo fingerboards and bridges (and tonearm wands).
The following are demonstrable and proven for any kinetic energy travelling through any material:
- the energy will reflect and/or diffract at a material boundary.
- the velocity of the energy will vary with the density of the material.
- the energy will be reduced in amplitude, slew rate and/or frequency in proportion to the flexing of the material in response to the energy, if any.
Perhaps you've not considered that these phenomena occur at the microscopic/cellular level inside an acoustically excited piece of wood. The laws of physics apply inside the wood as much as outside. We just need to think INSIDE the box. ;)
My remarks to Doug were merely meant to indicate that there is some question in my mind whether the cartridge vibrations have an unimpeded path into the wood arm tube in the first place. If the mechanical energy put out by the cartridge cannot get to the wood, then those properties of wood cited by Doug would not be of any benefit. Because the rudimentary headshell consists of a piece of brass(?) held at an angle against the flat surface of the wood, I wonder how efficient is the pathway of energy transfer. This all goes without saying that I heard the Talea in a system using speakers like mine (Sound Lab) and amps like mine (Atma-sphere) and absolutely did like what I heard, very much. So regardless of the physics and these airy discussions, the Talea does a lot right.
I read Romy's remarks referenced by Audiofeil. It's OK with me if he wants to blast Fremer, because Fremer is sort of in the public domain and is willing and able to defend himself. But his shot at Mike was unconscionable and unforgivable, not to mention senseless and unnecessary. So what is Audiofeil's motive here?
Doug, Just now after responding to Mike I read your two posts above mine. So the issue is what is the coefficient of energy transfer between the piece of metal (which appears to be brass) and the wood arm tube? Since Durand undoubtedly used a "hard" wood, and like substances wrt density usually present the least impedance, energy transfer may be good, or it may not be so good. Having only one bolt there does not suggest that one could attain a really tight boundary between the two, which would also facilitate energy dissipation. I am only thinking out loud here, and no slur on the Talea was intended. If Durand and his team found that this construction sounded best, and it seems they did, then I really don't give a darn about energy transfer per se.
Lewm, one bolt is plenty. The surface contact area between the brass mount plate and the "headshell" is about 1 x 1/2". If there were vibrations not allowed out of the cartridge, or not drained away through the arm and base, you would have heard that as a nervous presentation. I assume from your comments that there were no such objectionable issues.
Lew, I agree that an armtube's internal energy transmission properties can only affect energies which cross the headshell boundary into the arm, and the design and materials of the cartridge mount affect that transmission.
FWIW, the single-screw plate design seems to provide some effective coupling in Schroeder arms. For example, I've A/B'd the Model 2 with a carbon fiber tube vs. a pertinax one. (Pertinax is a composite of resin-bonded paper fibers, somewhat similar to a treated wood, though less dense and chaotic than the exotic hardwoods used in the Reference and Durand's arms).
Audible differences between those armtubes were readily apparent. Pertinax provided a lower sound floor and greater individuation of tones than carbon fiber, which is consistent with my blah-blah above. In this case at least, the one-screw cartridge/headshell plate passed sufficient energies so that the energy transmision properties of the armtube material itself made some audible differences. The cartridge/headshell connection of the Durand design is virtually identical, so one would expect similar behavior.
That said, there is a boundary so some energies will indeed be reflected back toward the cartridge, as occurs in every tonearm. My only point was that whatever energies *do* cross that boundary into the armtube will be more effectively dissipated by a material with a chaotic structure than an organized one.
my comments were not any sort of criticisim of yours. only that i don't know so much about cause and effect, but that i hear the result.
i know that Joel Durand has tried literally hundreds of arm wand materials and shapes and also has access and skills to use many various analysis tools. i've been directly involved with listening testing of material differences for various bits of the Telos and have heard differences i would have never expected.
i agree that using a wood arm wand and a single screw to attach the cartridge plate to the wood arm wand appears on the surface to be less than optimized science....and your's and other's reactions are understandable.
i'll leave the scientific discussions to others.
Dougdeacon, I think the thing I am reacting to in your posts is the word 'chaotic'. What meaning/context are you using that word? As in Chaos Theory? BTW that is the meaning that I used.
I maintain that wood is relatively unquantified with regards to other materials. You can have two sample taken from the same board side by side and have different properties. I have yet to see any that I would consider 'non-resonant'. 'Non-resonant' would be materials like E.A.R.'s 2003 compound or some of the damping materials made by 3M. Wood will still need damping materials to really control it.
Am I just being too literal??
Something else that has bothered me in this discussion: people have been talking about vibration moving from the cartridge to the arm.
FWIW, the cartridge should have no such vibration, being held in locus by the arm. The difference between the motion of the cantilever and the cartridge body will effectively be describing the resulting output signal. Now it **is** possible for the arm tube to move, sympathetically due to vibration elsewhere in the room, most likely from the loudspeakers. This can color the presentation as this vibration can be added to the locus of the cartridge body.
This is why an arm tube should be damped. A very simple proof of this is to use an undamped tone arm to make a tape recording without the speakers playing. You will find that it sounds quite a bit different (better) when compared to the same track but influenced by speakers playing at the same time.