Recommended FR 66 service

Hi guys
can anybody recommend somebody reliable to refurbish an FR66s tonearm ?
Today I received my FR-66fx tonearm, this is not a NOS like my FR-64fx and 64fx PRO.
But what a beauty, this is one and only FR with banana shaped armtube. 

The 66fx normally goes for crazy price (just like 66s compared to 64s which I also own), I did not pay too much for the 66fx and trade off is used condition. Everything is OK, but the access to the spring in tracking force mechanism is open. I can glue this round metal part back, but maybe I have to change the grease (normally it’s hard to open up this part, but mine is already opened).

I remember my old buddy Nandric and I think he posted something about another audiogon member (Dertonearm) and his service.

Another thumbs up for Robert of Anaolog Tube Audio, who did a great job on refurbishing and rewiring my 64S.

@chak, congrats on the 66FX and be sure to tell us the sonic difference with the 64FX. While I own both 64S and 64FX, I can’t help being interested in the 66S and 66FX, despite their insane market prices. There MUST (or should, if we leave out collector’s value) be a huge sonic benefit to justify the price differential. Is there?
Thanks guys.
in the end I sent it to Richard Mak at analogmagic who refurbished it and rewire it. As it’s over 40 years old all the grease was rubbish and the wiring was frayed and oxidised. It’s back onboard the Brinkmann Balance with new silver wiring and it’s totally excellent.
Hi - I'm interested to know what sound differences did you hear before and after the service/rewire.
Hi Dover,
am very happy to share my experience of the the service/rewire.
it’s easy to get carried away, but the improvement is astonishing.
The specific reason my FR 66 needed attention was that it was starting to develop an intermittent channel cut out. This is apparently not uncommon and (as was the case with mine) caused by the old wire fraying at the 90 degree bend.
So I went for a rewire from the headshell bayonet all the way to RCA plugs, bypassing the din socket at the base of the arm, using Analogmagic silver tonearm cable. At the same time the arm was taken apart and the old lubrication (such as there was left) removed and replaced. The whole process is on the website referred to earlier in this thread.
My particular FR66 was not in bad shape relatively, bearings all fine.
The new wire was also “cooked” for 10 days by Analogmagic.
In terms of sound quality, well where do I start ? There is an immediate liveliness, considerably more resolution (as in hearing things for the first time on the most familiar recordings), more bass, higher highs, more image depth. But most importantly music is more musical, more emotional, more of an event.
Tonally I don’t hear a difference - except where there is more  “tone” in the music - I’m not aware of any tonal shift caused by the new wire. Which is not what I would have wanted.
This is the most significant realistic upgrade I think I could have made to the system and I’d have no hesitation in recommending it to others considering going down this path.

Howard, were you originally using a copper or silver phono cable prior to the re-wire?  I am a bit hesitant to go full silver, since I have seemed to like copper interconnects and phonocable in my system.
yes I was using a Vertex AQ Hi Rez phono cable., who just has silver wire. In fact I still am - I had a weird set up involving a modified phono cable with capacitance matched to my London Reference (Decca) cartridge - which is still being used - I plug the “new” captive cable into one of the isolation boxes on the Vertex cable. I’m probably bonkers but it sounds great to me !
If you are having an FR66 rewired then won’t that already have silver wire - at least from the cartridge to the DIN socket ?

Correct, silver in the arm. The question is whether to go silver all the way to the RCAs vs the DIN socket. I seem to like mixing copper and silver. 
@chak, congrats on the 66FX and be sure to tell us the sonic difference with the 64FX. While I own both 64S and 64FX, I can’t help being interested in the 66S and 66FX, despite their insane market prices. There MUST (or should, if we leave out collector’s value) be a huge sonic benefit to justify the price differential. Is there?

After a long conversation with Nikola (Nandric) about parts and repair I’ve come to conclusion that very little information available online about this particular tonearm (the FR-66fx).

I am happy that my used FR-66fx has arrived with dried up glue and ,as a result, with a fell off side panel (round panel with tonearm model number), so it was super easy to clean the rest of the old grease using a special cleaning spray (contained gasoline). Then new grease was added around each spiral of the VTA spring and the side panel was simply glued back (with new soft glue).

The new grease I used for my FR-66fx is from WURTH (Brake Cylinder Paste). It’s synthetic paste suitable for lubricating hydraulic cylinder slideways and pistons in hydraulic brake system. It gives brake cylinders an extended service life.

But after my private investigation I realized that my particular sample was rewired in Japan by well known vendor (Otomon Labo) before it was sold to me. This is disassembled FR-66fx in parts, I hope it will help others, because this is the only picture of disassembled FR-66fx in the whole internet at the moment!

This is what Ken (Otomon Labo) posted on his site about FR-66fx:

"The most famous tonearm that Ikeda-san made is FR-66S but the best one is FR-66FX.

FR-66FX is a long version of FR-66S, the armward ’s sharp is not same as FR-66S, it is in "banana" sharp, same as EMT 997 tonearm. Armward was made from special aluminium alloy. All part except of the armward were made from gunmetal, black polish, Mr Ikeda designed this tonearm for light weight cartridge, it can handle stylus pressure up to 3g, dynamic balance But it is best matching with SPU-G which is low compliance cartridge, It is also match with DL-103 series cartridge.

Ikeda said that FR-66S is his best product but many audiophiles gave FR-66FX a higher reputation. That is the reason why FR-66FX now is very very hard to get, it is even harder than FR-66S even though the price of FR-66FX is not as expensive as FR-66S.

As Ikeda founded Ikeda Sound Lab, he made a new tonearm IT-407 and IT-307 and IT-407 was developed based on this FR-66FX tonearm not FR-66S.

Due to the order of the customer, I did an overhaul on this tonearm. My customer wants to use this tonearm the same as FR-66FX PRO, no need for anti-skating, rewire with a bigger wire of Mogami 5248. After rewiring, it will become FR-66FX Pro, using a cartridge that has stylus pressure higher than 2g. As you use cartridges with pressure higher than 2g, you don’t need anti-skating. Many audiophiles don’t like anti-skating because it makes it sound worse.

I also did maintenance, readjust the stylus pressure mechanism, cleaning all parts one by one, As you use dynamic balanced tonearm, stylus pressure will become less accurate after times and you need to adjust it.

You can see in the picture that the stylus pressure of this tone arm is nearly the same as the Empire 98 tonearm, I think Ikeda designed this one based on the design of the Empire tonearm.

Final test: Tonearm is tracing perfectly on record without anti-skating. Sound is deep with the beautiful bass sound. It seems that removing the anti-skating makes the sound deeper and musical but the detail is not better than the original. The sound is very well balanced and dynamic overall with the new upgrade."

- Ken (Otomon Labo, Japan).

I’m not sure about everything he said, but the most interesting part of his message above is GUNMETAL, and it’s true that I can see yellow-ish metal under the black paint only on FR-66fx sample (the FR-64fx is different, it’s black anodized aluminum). I see the color of bronze, copper, gunmetal, but not the aluminum!

So it can be true that super rare 66fx (or some parts of this arm) made from gunmetal, not aluminum like cheaper and shorter 64fx.

Sonically the 66fx is completely different from my 64fx, the difference is HUGE especially in low register, this is the deepest bass I ever heard from my FR-7f cartridge. The cartridge is also interesting, it’s silver color with two digits serial number (early production), but it’s "F" (they are normally black, but mine is silver).

I put my 66fx with N60 stabilizer on the left side on my Lyxman PD-444 instead of 64fx (with big W250 counterweight and N60 stabilizer) using same zu audio phono cable and ZYX CPP-1 headamp (and JLTi phono stage). My preamp is passive First Watt B1 (I just put it back) and my power amp is Yamamoto A-08S with National Union 45s from the 1940s. The speakers are big Tannoy System 15 DMT II professional mail studio monitors (101 db).

The arm (66fx) is giant killer over the 64fx (which is a great tonearm too). I think the higher mass 66fx is just better match for my low compliance FR-7f cartridge.

My 2nd arm on the same turntable is 64s with B60 VTA base, but I will compare 66fx to 64s later.

I want to admit that battery powered ZYX CPP-1 headamp is perfect for FR-7f series of cartridges.

BTW disassembled 64 is here and disassembled 64s is here

And a post from unlucky guy who did not finish with his 64fx here
@chakster that's interesting, thanks for sharing. I've read several report that the sonic difference between 64S and 66S is relatively small and not justifying the enormous price difference. So I'll stick to my 64S and be done with it.

I didn't know the 66FX was gunmetal instead of aluminium, which would explain the large sonic difference with the 64FX that you hear. I really like the 64FX though, but in the end I do prefer the 64S for my most treasured cartridges. My favorite arm however is Audiocraft AC-4400, which just happens to be made from gunmetal as well. Judging from its performance gunmetal must to be a great material for tonearms. I think the Micro Max tonearms were also made from this material. Never heard one, but by all accounts a great tonearm as well.
However, Ken from Otomon Labo said the arm tube is not gunmetal. It’s been said before by expert that FX armtube is composite materials. Ken claimed that gunmetal used for other parts of 66fx tonearm (except the armtube).

But the users or 64s tonearms always refer to “aluminum” as disadvantage over ther stainless steel armtube of 64s/66s.

Very few people understand that early versions of Ikeda IT-345 (and long IT-407) also have stainless steel armtube! These early Ikeda tonearms are rare. They are satin finish and the armtube is not painted over, it’s unpainted stainless steel armtube (I have one of these too). But current versions of all Ikeda tonearms are no longer stainless steel, the armtube is composite or aluminum.

Adjusting my FR-66fx I noticed slightly different geometry, I believe it’s the same as Ikeda IT-407. But using my FR-7f cartridge (with fixed overhand) with PS distance set to 295mm the stylus tip on my Feickert NG protractor was somewhere in between of Baerwald and Stevenson. Same cart on short 64fx tonearm is spot on (Stevenson geometry). So the 66fx (“12 inch Banana shaped armtube) may have different geometry.
Maintenance of my FR-66fx tonearm has been done quickly and easily. On my images you can see the process step by step: Old grease removed; spring cleaned; new grease applied; reservoir sealed back again with soft glue. Most important: new grease for FR64fx is WURTH (Brake Cylinder Paste) suitable for lubricating hydraulic cylinder slideways and pistons in the hydraulic brake system. Done!

Long time favorite Fidelity-Research FR-64fx tonearm has been finally replaced with mega rare FR-66fx with N60 stabilizer nut on my Luxman PD-444 turntable. The 66fx with its banana shaped armtube is predecessor of the Ikeda IT-407 tonearm (I have IT-345 and I love it). The FR-66fx is stunning compared to both FR-64s and 64fx in my system.

*check the linked files before they are gone.