I am biased and have a vested interest in Pete's success, so bear this in mind if you choose to read further (I do not have any financial or business interest in VTAF, Woody or any other products of Pete Riggle Audio)...
Pete has been a very good and close friend for several years, so I've been privileged to see and hear the arm many times through it's development. Listening has been on a TD 124 and a Garrard 301. With each new development, it gets better. AND I'm not just saying this because I'm biased or because I have such a high regard for Pete. In fact, I love to remind him that he's a deaf old bastard just about every time I see him.
That being said, the arm is a work of art and it sounds wonderful. Actually, it really doesn't "sound" at all. I've heard the 9" and 12" versions and have been impressed by how readily they simply get out of the way. Music just flows on Pete's vinyl rigs, whether through his MONDO horn rig or his Beveridge 2SWs, no matter which phono stage he has in the system. Liquid, fast, natural, dynamic, propulsive and stable with an ultra quiet noise floor are descriptions that come to mind. My only complaint is that I don't have one.
Construction is all by hand with an elegant design, gorgeous hard wood arm wands and impeccable metal work. In direct comparison to ultra -fi arms like the Ikeda or Shroeder, Pete's is in the same league and has every bit as much mojo. And believe me, I don't want to give the guy any compliments. They'll just go to his head.
(formerly of Two Bald Guys Audio)
Lovely and unique tonearm. I heard it with a lowly Shure M97 and felt it delivered
solid musicality. Would love to hear it with a first class moving coil. Here is a video I shot last month showing the master with his creation. The 2Sw speakers are also a wonder.
You guys are making me feel good. I just bought a pair of 2SWs, just because I could not resist. They are on the way. I need to talk to Pete about them, I think.
From photos, it looks like the headshell could rotate to any offset angle, since it is held in place by only a single screw. Does Pete provide a guide for setting the offset angle? After owning a Reed tonearm and after hearing a Talea in my neighbor's system (Yes, Reed and Talea in two different homes on the same block in Bethesda, MD), I have come to wonder whether there is something special about wood per se as a tonearm material.
I have a friend in Seattle who owns a talea arm. It would be interesting to compare these two very different arms.
Don't know about setting the offset angle. You might just want to contact the master and ask. He is quite a nice gentleman.
Dear Lew, First thing first. Congratulation with the 2 SWs.
I am only envious with people who own better speakers than
I do. Then the obvious. On the Reed site you can see measurements comparison between wood-wands as well between metal- and woodwands.
Nikola, What did they measure?
Talea also uses but one screw to affix their rudimentary headshell to the wood tonearm wand. In fact, by inspection of photos, the two tonearms appear to have a lot in common as regards the implementation of a headshell. For one thing, in both cases, I wonder how efficiently energy can be transferred away from the cartridge body. In both tonearms there is a wood/metal interface at the juncture of the headshell/arm wand (this creates an impedance to energy transfer), and then there is the matter of the single screw attachment, which might not afford max transmission efficiency, as regards energy. I am engaging in silly audiophool speculation; I have heard the Talea, and it works!!!
Dear Lew, They tested 'parasitic accoustic vibrations'in
armtubes made from different materials. You should be able
to understand those better than I. See: www.reed.lt ;research; wood vs. the rest.
BTW when do you hope to receive those 2 SWs? Do you need to 'upgrade' them?
Pete is finishing mine this week. Super nice guy. He is also mounting
the arm and cartridge for me.(I have no mechanical ability). There
Is a nice review of the Woodie arm on Positive Feedback.
It is possible this review you mention on Positive Feedback was by a man who is also a member over on Audiokarma, his handle is "Mr Pig".
He's running a Galibier Serac Table with the Riggle Arm, and a ZYX 4D Cartridge.
A really nice looking setup, he, and I have spent much time discussing his analog set-up with him, and he appears to be extremely pleased with how it all came together.
His take was that the Riggle Arm seemed very adequate, and compatible with the ZYX 4D Cartridge. Mark
That's not up to Mikey or J Valin superlatives.
Yes, he's there. just checked, John Hoffman is one of the reviewers for Positive Feedback. he's the person I mention above.
Yes, "adequate" is perhaps a blunt word to describe, but I think many who have owned, or used some of the ZYX Cartridges will agree, you don't place such world class transducers on just any Arm, and hope they perfom their best.
I'm sure John would be one actual hands on person who could share a lot of vaulable info about the Riggle Arm.
I'm sorry to all that I lack any journalistic, and reviewer expertise. I'm certainly no Mikey F! lol
And of course too, it is not I, who can further elaborate in detail of this Arm's qualities-attributes, and abilities. I've never owned, or used one. But John has, and has shared quite a bit with me by private coorespondence.
I do get the impression if it can live hand in hand very well compatibly with some of ZYX's best Cartridges such as the 4D, this in itself is a very high compliment to this Arm. Mark
I gather you are an aficionado of ZYX. I have heard only one model (the UNIverse) in one tonearm (the Talea), and the combination was superb. So good that I wonder whether there is a special synergy between the UNIverse and either wood tonearms or unipivot tonearms, or both.
I think I got a little bit of a taste of what the UNIverse can do, since I own the Airy 3X SB. (Low Output)
It was our highly regarded inmate Doug Deacon who steered me to the Airy 3 through Sorasound. A brand new Benz Ruby 3 I had prior, never went back on my Table after experiencing the ZYX Cartridge. I was lucky, in that I had found very suitable pleasing results with a more humbly priced Arm, the AQ PT-9.
Little doubt that a better Arm than the AQ would bring even more refinement from these fine Cartridges, but I am very happy at present.
It was I who helped prod John Hoffman into suggesting, and him acquiring the ZYX 4D from Sorasound that currently resides on his Galibier Table with Riggle Woody Arm.
John was looking for a giant killer, and I think he is more than satisfied with what the ZYX 4D does in his system.
My concerns were not so much what the 4D could do, any lack of quality of the Riggle Arm to perform, but rather if the 4D would be a compatible compliance match for the Riggle Tonearm. This Arm-Cartridge combination has apparently worked extremely well John claims.
I gather that Mr. Riggle will build the arm with effective mass to suit one's chosen cartridge, which is pretty nifty and rather unheard of among snootier tonearm makers. Of course, anyone far gone enough to order a hand-made wooden tonearm is likely to want to use it with a wide variety of cartridges.
I have been living with the String Theory arm for 3 weeks now and
loving every minute. As member Clio09 can attest, I had major static
and surface noise issues which have now been vanquished.
The arm is highly musical, detailed, and produces a huge soundstage.
Probably my favorite component. I run it with a Clearaudio Maestro on
A Merrill/Scillia modded AR, Pass xp-15, Lightspeed Attenuator,
Coincident Franks, Vaughn Cabernets. Hope MikeLavigne gets to hear
it and let us know how it stacks up to the Durand arms. Great job