Linear tracking turntables, whatever happened?


Curious as to the demise and downfall of the seemingly short lived linear tracking TT.
Just from a geometry point of view I would have thought a linear arm should be superior to one with a fixed pivot that sweeps through an arc.
Obviously there is much more to it than that, sort of the reason for this thread.
I am genuinely interested in trying one out for myself as well.
6db47fb2 f8db 415d a4f7 49a7b6ed12b0Ag insider logo xs@2xuberwaltz
Very happy 20 yrs + user of a linear tracker, the great ET2, here.

First, while he has mentioned his thread, I think it should be stressed what a great resource ct0517’s thread is; not just for users of the ET2 to learn about proper setup and to get “outside the box” practical tips, but for anyone contemplating “going linear”.

https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/eminent-technology-et-2-tonearm-owners


By the time that I acquired my ET2 I had owned and lived with several pivoting arms including the SME V, Grado Sig, Sumiko The Arm, Premier MMT, Alphason and Syrinx PU3 (only one I still have). I have used more different cartridges than I can remember of both the MM and MC type and I consider myself fairly adept at tonearm setup, but far from a perfectionist in that respect. I still own several of those cartridges from way back and none have suffered cantilever or suspension issues due to use on the ET2.

There is no question that living with a linear tracker is more complicated than using a pivoting arm for the reasons already mentioned. However, once set up, I did not experience at all the need for constant fiddling and one of the beauties of this arm is that it makes the rare need for relevelling so easy. Which brings up what I feel is one great advantage of an arm like the ET2; I can’t speak for any other linear tracker as I have never owned any other. The ease with which the various setup parameters can be adjusted makes getting the best out of a cartridge infinitely easier in my experience. VTA on the fly is a miracle and I think many would be shocked at just how much just this one feature of the arm helps.

For me, the most important advantage of the arm is that, compared to all the pivoting arms that I have used, there is a fundamental difference in its sonic presentation that I find to be more realistic both tonally and in the way it portrays the soundstage. All those pivoting arms always left me with the impression that the shape of the soundstage and it’s boundaries were dictated by the arm and not necessarily what was recorded. None of them came close to conveying the sense of wide open ambience and stable layering of instruments that the ET2 is capable of conveying. The size of intruments and voices relative to each other always seemed distorted to one degree or another by the pivoting arms compared to the ET2 which tended to sound more realistic in that regard.  I also experienced far fewer instances of having a cartridge which had a tonal flaw that I could not live with which I could not make livable by adjusting setup parameters; adjustments which were typically far more difficult or impossible with the pivoting arms.

A very condensed account of my experiences only and I have no interest in presenting them as definitive; just one more bit of support for linear trackers. Happy New Year to all.


Fully understand what Frogman means by "... fundamental difference in sonic presentation ... more realistic both tonally and ... in ... soundstage ... wide open ambience and stable layering of instruments ... sounded more realistic ..." Well said.
IMO in short, the best linear trackers produce less artificial sounds and more music. They are not perfect yet but very close.

I have owned only B+O linear trackers over the last 40 years and have been very happy with them.  Very elegant looking, simple to operate, no fiddling and extraordinary sound.  I started with the original 4000, I believe it was called.  I modified the arm to take a conventional moving coil cartridge and was very happy until the TT finally expired.

 I replaced it with a TX2 which has some issues,  due to its lightness but which were resolved with proper feet and the use of sorbethane as damping on the body and even the platter.  Sorbethane is much underated because it is widely misused.  I use small , thickm dense sorb, glued in place and covered with layers of tape so that it acts as  'constrained damping.'  This makes it far more effective than the usual sorbothane footers. 

The B&O cartridges are no slouch  With the TX2 I bought the second most TOL model  that B&O sold and find it more than a match for my older moving coil. 
Sat down to read Stereophile and one of the first articles was of a new tangential tracking pivoted arm.
Made by Klaudio and coming in at either 9k or 12k it looks like a major mechanical Marvel.

Some other brands of current production tangential arms noted were;
Bergmann , Clearaudio, Kuzma , Reed, Schroeder, Thales, etc.
Still very much alive today.

https://klaudio.com/tangential-tonearm-12-inch-equivalent-kd-arm-ag12
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