New Townshend Rock 7 owner


The Townshend is in transit to it's new home. I purchased this one-owner table as a package, complete w/ Funk Firm FXR ll arm, dc motor upgrade, Discovery Balanced phono cable and Brinkman PI cartridge. It come with all original boxes, manuals.

If all goes well, I should be able to get it up and running with one exception, my phono stage is not balanced. Since the original owner bought this from a respected dealer as a package, I think my best route would be to get a pair of RCA to XLR adapters in order to hear the package as close as possible as was intended.

Any thoughts on that aspect? What brand adapters would be recommended? Also, any thing I might need to know from experienced users to help with set-up? Thanks.
slaw

Congratulations Shaw! The Rock is a very unique table, with a sound like no other. The 7 contains the Seismic Pod feet, so it has excellent isolation from the shelf it is placed upon. It requires no special considerations in set-up, except one: Do all your arm mounting and adjusting before filling the trough with damping fluid, and the same with cartridge alignment, tracking and anti-skate adjustments, as the silicone fluid is pretty heavy in viscosity.

Regarding the arm jacks, you can remove the XLR's and replace them with RCA's. KLEI and WBT are two of the best.

bdp24,

Thanks for your input!
bdp24,

You may recall a thread "turntable isolation" (I believe) where I posted my using springs under my tt support (wall mount) and their effectiveness in which you remarked. I'm very excited to experience the Townshend table and the damping trough at the cartridge end. Do you recall the damping fluid viscosity off hand? I'm an ET owner. I've experienced the damping at the (other) end. This should be quite the experience!

I'm currently running Anti Cables 6.2 cryo'd tonearm cables. They use the latest KLEI rca's. I also used the original silver bullet plugs on my DIY tonearm loom on my ET. I'm a fan of his products.
The table has arrived. One question so far, I've cleaned the spindle and bearing shaft. (Wondering if there's a ball bearing still in the shaft?) When I place the spindle into the shaft, it spins freely. There is some slight horizontal play. Is this normal?
According to the manual, there is no separate ball bearing. Just wondering about the play?
Slaw, are you saying you're going to use the ET2 linear tracker with the Townshend damping trough? Based on pics of the table, I assumed that you'd need to use a pivoting arm to take advantage of the trough...am I missing something? Cheers,
Spencer
sbank,

I'll be using the FF arm that came with the package.

( I was just making an observation about the ET.)

I think I'll send my question to Dan @ EAR USA. After an initial set-up, with oil in the bearing shaft, belt on, and platter on, it seems to be fine. It's an interesting and beautiful design, IMO. I've been like a kid in a candy store this afternoon... getting to know my new friend.


Slaw, I don’t know the viscosity of Townshend’s silicone. I do know that some Rock users have experimented with thinner versions, but I’ve used only the stuff that came with my table, the old Elite version. My table’s spindle was very close in diameter to the shaft, needing to sit overnight to fully seat.

Arm’s that employ damping at the rear, near the bearings, use it more for damping the bearing assembly than for the whole arm and cartridge. Applying damping at the cartridge end provides much more damping of arm/cartridge resonances. One (American) reviewer thought the Rock to have a too "controlled" sound due to, presumably, the damping trough. The table can be used without the trough, but I got mine specifically because I’m a Decca/London cartridge fan, and they, having no internal damping themselves, benefit greatly from the Rock’s damping. The Decca was used in the development of the Rock design, and their pairing is a match made in heaven.

But ALL arms suffer from resonances, and the Rock damping greatly reduces the peak in output all arm/cartridge have at their resonant frequency. The Rock design is known for having very clean, tight bass, and the suppression of the arm/cartridge resonance plays a role in that. If you have subwoofers, or loudspeakers than go down to 20Hz, you are really going to hear the Rock’s great bass! And clean, "tidy" (as the British say) highs.

bdp24,

Thanks for the response. I think/hope it will be a great comparison to my VPI Classic 3 Sig. SE / 3D arm which has great bass/slam.

Cheers
bdp24,

I've always read great things about the London/Decca cart. You, being a musician, I'd like to know what attributes with respect to that cart/and in the Rock 7 you find appealing?

Thanks!
bdp24,

Could you comment on my observation that when I cleaned the spindle shaft/bearing well, then inserted....I noticed some horizontal play. After installing oil and an initial set-up, this does not seem to be a problem.

I'd appreciate your comments.

Thanks!




Looking forward to hearing your comparison, @slaw . Cheers,
Spencer
sbank,

Sure. I plan on reporting my experiences. Thanks for your attention.

It may be a few weeks.

Cheers!

Slaw, the play in the bearing of your Mk.7 Rock is troubling. The Elite Mk.2 version of the Rock (what I own) has an inverted bearing, the spindle being fixed to the plinth (rather than to the bottom of the sub-platter or full platter in tables having non-inverted bearings, such as Linn’s, VPI’s, Oracles, etc.), and the shaft the spindle is inserted into being part of the sub-platter (rather than being bolted onto the plinth or suspended sub-chassis, as in the tables just mentioned). The ball bearing that sits between the top of the spindle and the bottom of the shaft is located at the platter’s center of gravity, which aids achieving platter stability and low rumble. My spindle has a very thin, shallow channel machined into it, circling around it barbershop pole style, to draw lubricant from the bottom of the shaft and bring it to the top. Ingenious!

I attempted to find out if the Mk.7 Rock also has an inverted bearing, but all information about the Mk.7 has been removed from the Townshend Audio website, as a new version is in development, the table being currently unavailable. I would give Max a call in England and talk to him about the play in your bearing. I’ve spoken to him numerous times, both on the phone and at the Vegas C.E.S., and he was happy to talk. The U.S. distributor is not exactly a fountain of technical information, or help of any kind.

The London cartridges have a very unique sound, one not provided by even the most expensive moving coils imo. I call it "immediacy", other adjectives used to describe it being alive, startling clear, transparent, dynamic, and exciting. It IS the most dynamic cartridge around, both micro and macro. Affording very "fine" dynamic graduations, the cartridge is quite "snappy", with lightning-fast transients. Snare drum shots really "POP!". It does percussion like no other---drum smacks, the "click" of a drumstick on a cymbal, piano hammers-on-strings, stand-up bass strings being slapped, etc. The "attack" of the cartridge makes others sound slow. It also excels in instrumental textures---the sound of a bow being dragged across a violin’s strings can be felt as well as heard, and actually almost "seen", the rivets in a sizzle cymbal bouncing on the cymbal’s brass the same, the throat and vocal chords of a resonant singing voice, the sheen of a large orchestra’s string section, fingernails picking notes on an acoustic guitar’s wound steel strings, etc. And really deep, explosive bass! The bass register keys of a grand piano being pounded, tympani mallet felts striking calfskin heads, a bass drum pedal beater smacking a batter head, a standup bass string bouncing off the fretboard after being "yanked" away from it, a Fender electric bass playing a descending scale down to the open E string, the throaty roar of a pipe organ’s bass pedal notes at thunderous levels---pure exhilaration!

But the cartridge is ruthless in revealing any tonearm failings---rattling bearings, arm tube resonances, etc. That is because the cartridge has virtually no suspension, transmitting a lot of physical/mechanical energy straight into the arm (imagine a car with blown shock absorbers). It is for that reason that arms employing damping have long been recommended for Deccas and Londons. As should be obvious, the cartridge really benefits from the Rock’s front end damping. Like I said, a marriage made in Heaven!

bdp24,

I spoke with the US distributor today and I concur with your assessment. He did give me Mr. Townshend's # and did provide a willingness to help in any way he could. The trough fluid viscosity is 12,500 cs. According to him, my tt is a later model that does not use a separate ball bearing. I have lots of questions for MT. I'll report back when I get the answers.

Thank you for your description of the London/Decca. Sounds fantastic!

I appreciate your time and expertise in responding.  Thanks!

Great Slaw, Max is a really nice guy, and a very talented designer. He also makes cables, loudspeakers, a ribbon super-tweeter, and State-Of-The-Art isolation feet named Seismic Pods. Townshend products aren’t common or well known in the U.S., the company having a low profile and few dealers (same with EAR-Yoshino, also of British origin and sharing the same U.S. distributor).

The Mk.7 Rock was made in two versions, the original in a gloss finish, and the revised (Mk.7.1?) in matte. A Google search will reveal that the Rock is a well-kept secret, considered by those who’ve heard it as an absolute bargain, one of the world’s best turntables, and in some regards THE best.

Bdp24, Lovely description of the Decca sound. I love mine for all the reasons you mentioned. I met Max in London when he had just released the first Rock. He played Pinl Floyd The Wall and I barely recognosed it - the bass was unreal...utterly fast, clean, black between notes down to 30Hzwith no plumminess. My only criticism then was that the table sounded a little dark - like a dark-purple-black coloration.
I heard his newer deck at the NYC Audio show a few years ago and it was not good - sterile and waaaay too bright.
bdp24,

I just spoke with Max. He told me the bearing does have a slight bit of play and mine should be fine. The power supply I have (Merlin) he said isn't a completely dc design. He went on to say he worked on a dc motor for three years and couldn't overcome a glitch that affected speed accuracy and dropped that project. The Merlin he says is his best design and 100% reliable a stable.

He said his new tt will come out in around 6 months and cost 4 times of my unit. He says my tt has bested 10k+ designs and says "I have gold dust".

Yeah Slaw, consider yourself fortunate to have nabbed your Rock! They don’t come up for sale often, their owners often never finding another table they would rather own. I hope to someday find a Rock Reference, reportedly the best of all versions. Except perhaps the upcoming one!

Noromance, the darkness you heard in the original Rock is probably why some people use lighter gauge silicon in their trough, others filling the trough to a lower level, both done to achieve less damping. The over-damped sound is likely one reason the Rock works so well with Decca/London cartridges, which can sound brash (especially older Deccas, and even moreso if they aren't loaded at 15k to 22k resistance and some capacitance, to flatten the high frequency resonant peak the cartridge has). I've heard the Mk.7 Rock, but only at shows and with unfamiliar LP's. It's undamped acrylic platter may have something to do with a brightness, which is not the case with my Elite's platter. It has an acrylic coated top, but is a plaster-of-Paris filled metal disc. No ringing in it! 

Congratulations, Slaw! Your new TT will astound you.

I've had my Rock 7 for several years and I absolutely love it. I have yet to hear a better sounding front end... really, this is a special little known TT that when matched with my Helius Omega arm and a Kiseki Purpleheart cartridge, blows away much more pricey competition. The Merlin motor upgrade is expensive, but worth the money, offering an immediate and obvious improvement in sound quality, timing, slam and ease. 

bdp24,
The question of the "un-damped acrylic platter" of the Rock 7... In my conversations with Max, he says it is made of the same material that vinyl records are made from, hence allowing all mechanical vibrations produced at the groove level to dissipate easily throughout the platter and not bounce back at the stylus and creating distortion. A simple, yet ingenious design that really works.

I'd like to offer up another very noticeable upgrade which is probably the least expensive tweak available: replace the standard belt with a custom belt made by Mark Baker at OrginLive.com in the UK. At first thought, I found it hard to believe that a different belt would make any difference at all, but I was very wrong. It was not subtle at all. The belt tightened up the bass even more, focused the instruments in space (especially on jazz and classical) and increased the "jump factor" significantly.
alonski,

Hi,

 In my research, the Rock 7 platter is of a substance called "plastisine"(spelling may be off).

It is indeed a material to mimick the vinyl record. I have had several "acrylic"  platters in house, this is different. Though I've yet to hear it, it is of a different feel, and overall weight as well. Interestingly, as opposed to my VPI's heavy platters, this fairly lightweight platter w/ no ball bearing, spins very, very freely. Almost like one would expect from a heavy, especially heavily outer weighted platter. (This seems to be just one more positive attribute of a very well thought out design!)

I had recently been looking into Origin Live products for a tt project I have going on. In researching the belt, I've found nothing but positive remarks. I obviously, cannot remark on anything yet. It is in my thoughts.

One of my (need to own) cartridges is the K Purpleheart. I'd love to know what viscosity of trough fluid you use with that cart?
bdp24, alonski,

One of the issues I'm running into (without even hearing it yet) is when I get the platter level, I then put my level on the arm pillar, it is off level.

This is just one aspect, (similar to using an ET arm, and thankfully I have that knowledge going in) that makes taking time at first, that benefits the actual, later experience!


Slaw
Congratulations on obtaining your Rock 7 table.  I purchased the Rock 7 2 years ago with Metlin motor upgrade and I continue to he stunned by its performance.  Damping at cartridge makes sound so much cleaner with gery natural tight bass clear highs and excellent dynamics.  Best TT setup i"ve experienced.  Interested to hear your comments concerning VPI. Good luck
Nick
Hey Slaw,

I use the original trough fluid that Max supplied, which seems to work really well for me.

As for leveling issues, I bubble-level to the platter and the arm board surface. I use the smallest, lightest bubble level because on a suspended TT like this, even the weight of the level itself can slightly affect the reading, especially if you don't have a bubble level that sits dead-center over the spindle and have to level to another spot on the platter...

The Purple Heart/ Rock 7/ Helius Omega combo is magic. I had already been floored by the Kiseki when I installed it on to my TA Excalibur 3, but not very long after that, I took a deep breath and upgraded the tonearm to the Omega. The Helius took the sound to yet another level.

Every step of the upgrade has been significantly beneficial to the sound of my system, which is all I really care about. Most audiophiles that audition my system are blown away by the ease, naturalness, and dynamics that this immersive "you are there" musical experience creates.

My analog front-end set-up is roughly $12K now, and when comparing it with other source set-ups in its price range, there is not a contender I could find. Even set-ups at five times the price have a hard time beating this ingenious cartridge-damped technology. Just throwing money at a system won't make it musical... everything needs to play together well in a synergistic way. I consider this front-end to be one of the best values in high-end audio today. it feels good to be done upgrading for now and just enjoying my music.

Just my $0.02
nsp,

I will comment on the differences at a later date. Thanks for your comments.

alonski,

I'm using a MANA bubble level. I don't see the bubble change enough when I place it on any surface for it's weight to be a factor. I'm having to make some shims out of paper to get the arm pillar level when the platter is level. What I've learned when leveling the table is to get your tt support platform level so I don't have to adjust the stock (feet/springs). Using the counterbalance weight solely for the leveling is optimal as the tt remains more stable. Almost there. I couldn't wait any longer and did a rough cartridge/alignment and quick listen. Without the cart being perfect and no trough fluid, I could hear a basis for very good things to come. The motor speed is a little fast. I believe I need a new belt. I set the motor further out that recommended to get the speed close to correct with my Timeline.

Thanks.
I thought I should go ahead and make some initial observations after some 10 hours or so of listening. This isn't a formal comparison to my VPI Classic 3 SE Sig but a small bit of insight to what I'm experiencing. This is in part due to my excitement and to document what I'm hearing initially. My phono stage isn't balanced so I cannot use the same cable to compare my two tt's.

When I switched out my VPI for the Townshend, I had been listening to my Acutex 420 STR w/ shibata stylus re-tip and then switched to the Brinkman Pi. I used my Anticables 6.2 cryo'd phono cable w/ that set-up.On the Townshend, I put on my Dynavector Karat D3 that has many hours on it. I'm using the Discovery Plus 4 here.

On my "go to" lp for system evaluation, (Shawn Colvin "Steady On"), the center image is the most focused/stable as I've ever heard. The two female vocals, when singing together are better articulated and very easy to separate individually and are more in "their own space". (this aspect continues on through every lp going forward). LP surface noise is lowered. This all brings increased transparency and a clearer overall sound. Live recordings sound more, well, (live) and a greater sense of "you are there".

On recordings with piano, the key strikes are present very clear and accurate. I'm getting a grater sense of no electronics is the signal chain.

Queen's "News Of The World"/We Will Rock You...the foot stomps and hand claps sound much more realistic and have a greater spread.

Low bass, 30hz + below is more meaningful and I get the sense that these frequencies are more "filled in".

Cheers!

bdp24,

I thought you may be interested in this...

Last night, PBS had a special "The Last Waltz" concert. After watching a while, I put on my MFSL "The Band".

I had previously thought it was kind of murky or muddy in the lower frequencies. Not now! Also, the whole lp is more like "you are there". The rest of the frequency range is more transparent and revealing. This may be why some have described their experience with this tt, upon listening to a studio recording, "like listening to a master tape".

I've never heard a master tape but I think I now understand more this sort of description.

Cheers!
One (important) thing, ...I just realized...

I don't feel a need to adjust for differing record thicknesses.


OK..... I've been listening today for 12 hours straight.

Still not tired. My plan is to go for 12 more hours.

This would not have been a possibility before.

Right now, I've got Mark Knopfler/Emmylou Harris "All The Road Running" spinning. Sounding fantastic!
anyone out there who would like to keep me honest?

I'll try and check in every hour with my play list.

The Rock 7 is sounding fantastic!

I did change some cables during the day. I found that the cables I was using with the VPI weren't the best for the Townshend.

I'm going mostly copper. The Discovery Plus 4 & Bob's Devices (mid level) cable on the front end.

My speakers are Usher Tiny Dancer,  Mini One, Diamond's. I'm very much liking my Abbey Road  Bi-Wired  speaker cables.

Up next... Mark Knopfler "Shangri-la". Should be great!

Cheers?

...did you ever hear the one about...???
should I be enjoying listening while keeping my promises? We will see. I'm trying to decide what to put on next after the (masterwork) I'm currently listening to. Hum???

So. today I've been evaluating in my mind..

The tonearm
The platter.

The VPI's 3D arm is/was fairly neutral. Or so I thought?

The Classic platter/bearing? Yes! Wait!. NO ...after hearing the Townshend platter made of plasticine, a material that mimicks a vinyl record. ...

( This does seem to make a BIG difference my friends!) I tried different clamps/weights on the Townshend, to no positive attribute. This is a GOOD thing!

I think the motor is not a high torque variety. When I barely apply force enough to clean the platter while it spins, it bogs down easily........

Up next... Neko Case "Canadian Amp" ... if I could only............


Listened to side one of the NC lp. Now putting on "Black Star" /David Bowie.

A great listen... in the dark. This lp may not be for everyone. Upon several listens, it is really a masterwork, IMO. Sonics are very, very good!

Check out "Lazarus"!!!

( I think Bowie knew.....)
Although I've never bought much Bowie, I've always appreciated his work.

Somehow, "Black Star" just grabs me and won't let go. I'm thankful that his last work appeals to me so.

A great, late night lp!!
Cleaning Buddy Guy's "Walking Through The Woods"/MCA  heavyweight lp. I have not listened to this lp but once, well over 20 years ago. Now is as good a time as any, right?  I thought you'd agree.

(Saw him several years ago locally. He was very energetic and actually very vocal on how much he respected newer (blues) artists. He made it clear how much he thought of John Mayer. Buddy walked around, while playing, he walked through the audience then up in the upper seating then back down. He is a great (showman))!!!!

The Townshend just sounds right! It's a joy to listen to, or through? Because it really kind of makes all of my equipment disappear. Nice... real nice!

Just started side two.


Don't think I'll make it folks. been listening for around 15 hours straight. The Townshend is still rocking!

Peace!
Good stuff. Love that feeling where it all just works!
noromance,

I really appreciate your response!

It was my goal to, (instead of the usual comparisons of equipment), instead to have a "live" kind of experience for anyone reading. I thought this would be a new/appreciated way of doing things.

I've listened for around 8 hours today.

Suzanne Vega's Solitude Standing"... Wow!!!

I'm hearing all of the "lost" subtle info now. Her voice takes on a new, more personal meaning!

I've found my "holy grail" in turntables!
I think I have to go to work tomorrow.

Slaw, your appreciation for the Rock reminds me of why it's been my only table for over twenty years now. It replaced a VPI HW-19 Mk.2, which I liked a lot. The legendary turntable master Brooks Berdan was my go to hi-fi guy, and I was not his only Rock owner. It's been a well-kept secret for a long time, with a cult following in the States (much like the Decca/London cartridge). In England it has a much higher profile, some of the long time hi-fi magazine reviewers and editors using it as their reference table. John Bamford of Hi-Fi News & Record Review has both a Rock Reference table and the massive Townshend loudspeakers, another of Max Townshend's brilliant designs. The Rock turntable is the result of a design program at a mechanical engineering college in England, looking at the job of a turntable from the ground up. Max Townshend acquired the rights to manufacture the table as a commercial product, adding some of his own ideas to the design. 

One analogy made concerning it's sound is to that of a camera tripod. A camera mounted on a tripod of sufficient mass produces an image without the "blur" of a hand-held camera. Looked at in terms of the size of the groove modulations relative to the length of a tonearm, if a groove modulation were to be only less than an inch wide, the corresponding tonearm length would be many, many miles. While the back end of a tonearm is held firmly in place by it's bearings, the cartridge end is free to move freely, as it must. But it needs to be free to move only enough to allow it to follow and support the cartridge as it traverses the LP groove (both laterally, and vertically for LP warps), which is at very low frequencies (33 1/3 RPM is less than 2Hz). At higher frequencies (above the just mentioned mechanical frequencies, but below the arm/cartridge resonant frequency, ideally around 10Hz), the Rock front-end damping mechanically "locks" the tonearm's headshell to the table as securely as the rear-end bearings do the rear of the arm. Again looking at the arm in terms of it's size in relation to the LP groove, the headshell is vibrating like crazy, depending on it's design as to degree, in response to the mechanical energy being created by the cartridge and then passed into the headshell. The Rock damping absorbs and dissipates that vibration, removing it as a source of cartridge/tonearm-created "blur". The more energy a cartridge produces, the more of benefit is the Rock damping. It is for that reason the Rock is THE table for the Decca/London cartridges, which, being themselves undamped, create a huge amount of vibration, resonance, and microphony. But all cartridge/arm combinations have a resonant frequency, and the Rock damps that very effectively as well, whether the cartridge is microphonic or not.

But it's not just the headshell of the arm which is vibrating. The entire length of the arm is free to vibrate as well, creating resonances determined by the design of the arm. With the front end of the arm locked in place at audio frequencies, the ability of the arm to vibrate (and even, in strictly structural terms, bend) is drastically reduced. The criticism of the Rock from some (particularly the Linn crowd) is in it having an "overly-controlled" sound. I, myself, don't want to hear the ringing of undamped resonances, but that's just me! The damping trough is only one aspect of the Rock's unique design, but a major one.

Congratulations, Shaw, you are now a member of the Townshend Rock cult! Now, to really hear what's in your LP grooves, get yourself a London cartridge ;-).

bdp24,

I've read through your comprehensive explanation of the principles behind the Rock's design and how they work in practice. I thank you for taking the time to write this. I loved reading it!

One statement you made really stuck out to me..."I, myself, don't want to hear the ringing of undamped resonances..."

After listening to my VPI Classic 3 SE Sig, that has the 3d arm,  then the Rock.... with the sonic differences I'm now hearing, this makes perfect sense! I may say that the VPI's design being mostly (mass)... while having attributes, doesn't really compete with the Rock's unique, simple and effective design.

Do you or any others here know whether or not the motor w/ the Merlin upgrade needs to be oiled? Thanks.
I was just wondering... how many more years of pleasure, how much money I may have saved, how many smarter purchasing decisions I may have made through the past 30 years if I could have had this table from the beginning?
I mentioned earlier, setting up the arm pillar.

What I've found is the center pillar risers that are basically long through-threaded nuts...... when using the supplied bolts without any washers, the top & bottom bolts will "bottom out" or "meet" inside of these "threaded nuts/risers" before the top and bottom plates can be fully tightened. I ended up using a metal washer between the bottom bolt and the bottom plate in order to allow enough space inside of these "long threaded nuts" so the whole set-up could be completely tightened.

Even then, I made some paper washers of different thicknesses and through trial and error am using one or two in (2) different places right beneath the top plate. This gives me the best leveling of the arm pod.

All of this really makes a big difference regarding my cartridge azimuth and having the center image really shine!

Since I purchased this table used and on-line without the benefit of a well written manual and/or a dealer's help, this is what I've come up with. It's really sounding fantastic!
currently listening to Porcupine Tree "Fear of a Blank Planet".

I've not previously heard this lp sound So good! The transients are really tight and crisp. The bass is very musical and clean. The overall presentation is of the highest caliber for a modern rock record.

The entire soundstage, while having each instrument and vocal portrayed in a proper space... it is more organic, more complete!!! Not a feeling of a wasted space! (I've never experienced this before).
Also, the soundstage "bloom or air" seems limited only to one's room size. Awesome!
I've discovered for micro-leveling at the arm side... determine an appropriate amount of blue-tack and just lay it at any point on the upper arm pod plate. Simple, no resonance.  Done!

I just, almost had an "out-of body" experience. I put on Montrose "S/T". I did not know this record could sound this good!

Sammy may be forgotten as one of the great rock singers.
more thoughts upon extended listening...

The trough... this is an integral part of the design. (and a game changer) It should be initiated throughout the industry as a standard. As a layman, I can say that it seems we all have been trying, (through all of our ongoing upgrades, whether it be a multi-thousand $ cart, 12" tonearms out of exotic materials, multi-thousand $ tt's, equipment supports, etc....) to achieve an, up to now.... an elusive sound, one that can enthrall you, one that keeps you entertained with all of your lps, no matter how well recorded.

With all of the well-intentioned designers of high-end carts/tables, what has been missing with-in my experience, is this Townshend Rock 7 /and it's trough. This design will make you sit up and think, "what the hell have I been doing all of my audiophile life?"

I just bought a couple of lps through Insound. At half price and free shipping, well, how could I refuse? One of them is Jethro Tull "Minstrel In the Gallery" the Steven Wilson mix. I confess I haven't complete knowledge of the entire Tull catalog, but just let me say, this lp has over this weekend, become on of my favorite lps this year! The sonics are amazing! I can say that this is a Tull "masterwork", no _hit!

I've read reviewer's posts of the Dyna Karat D3, which I'm currently listening to with MANY hours on it. Actually, it is my second one. (I always felt there was something special about this cartridge).They have said it has a "golden glow". Nothing could be farther from the truth! It is very revealing. and emotionally involving. Of coarse, those reviewers did not have the Rock 7 as their source did they.

more to come..........
just wanted to remark on the Funk Firm FXR tonearm.

My first hearing/listening to a Rega /(based) tonearm.

When I called Max Townshend a couple of weeks ago, I told him that my table came with this arm. He seemed to not know of it. When I said it was an upgraded Rega with better bearings and a stiffer arm wand,  he remarked that the Rega had excellent bearings. (I got the feeling he did not think it could be improved). He seemed to be unaware of this arm that was reviewed in Stereophile with this table around 3/4 years ago! (I've learned to give designers a pass on what's going on in the industry because they are so focused on their own projects.) Ok, so what? All that matters is I've seen it, heard it, felt it in my hand... it is a solid arm and I cannot now find of any faults. 

more to come.............
Slaw, a while back Max was offering an arm that was a heavily-modified Rega 300, with the outrigger assembly built into the front end of the arm. It's model name and number was Excalibur 3, and retailed for $2500. The classic arms found to work especially well on Rocks are the Zeta and Fidelity Research 64, higher mass designs. A modern arm often partnered with the table is the Helius Omega, a really sophisticated design. It is available with tungsten bearings and copper internal wiring for around $3200, I believe, and with ruby bearings and silver wire for $5200.
I love my Moerch DP-8 paired with the Rock. What a combo for excellent bass!

I also had great luck with the Audiomods Rega-based arms. A great value and another wonderful match.