Reed tonearm w/ Raven One table-how's the match ?

I soon expect to go for a Raven One, but it's tough deciding on an arm for it. Currently own an SME IV.Vi, but want easier adjustability. I'm considering the Reed 2A or 2P with cedar wood and the C37 Finewire in copper with Eichmann Copper Bullet plugs. My listening preference is mainly orchestral music.I do like a slightly soft edged, warm/dark sound and don't mind giving up a bit of top end air but wish to preserve presence from instruments at the rear of the orchestral soundstage. For any of you who have this combo,what say you? Too much warmth interfering with what I'm looking/listening for or not? I have Dynavector XV-1S and Benz Ebony LP cartridges,reasonably neutral Ear 88PB preamp,Air Tight ATM-3 amps,Dunlavy SC-4 speakers.
i have seen and heard the Raven One at shows, seems like a fine tt that plays above it's price point. i cannot imagine why the Reed 2A (i've owned one of those) or the Reed 2P (i currently own 2) would not work quite well with the Raven One. neither the Raven One nor the Reed have any 'non-linearities' which would cause any balance issues. and both your cartridges are slightly on the warm/dark side of neutral.

being more specific on the Reed 2P's. it's a very lively arm, highly detailed....with very dynamic bass performance. it does not have any mid range bloat some arms can have, i would call it a precise, finely focused arm.......and it does space and note decay.....and blooms nicely.

soft-edged? maybe not.....but that should be more a cartridge issue. lower price range arms with less precise bearings tend to be a bit 'blunt' and could call them 'soft edged'. maybe the term you want is 'sounds natural and easy on the ears'......the Reed 2P is that!

the Reed 2P is one of the best arms i've ever heard. better, to my ears, than the Graham Phantom, the Triplaner VII, any of the SME's, or even the Schroeder Ref SQ. i've had the Ref SQ and Triplaner in my system directly compared to the 2P.
Thank you very much for your comments, Mike. I greatly appreciate your informative and very helpful answer. It's refreshing getting a direct answer about a component's sound rather than one ignoring or dodging it and advising, "why don't you try component "x-y-z" instead, or "It's entirely system dependent." And yes,'sounds natural and easy on the ears' aptly describes what I had in mind, though when I mentioned "slightly soft-edged" I was trying to distance myself from the sort of super tight/clean sound I associate with hi fi-ish sounding equipment and which is virtually non existent at live orchestral concerts...Sincere thanks once more.
*** Reed tonearm w/ Raven One table-how's the match ? ***

I have never heard a reed arm but they must be some of the BEST arms available. I like that they use a wood arm tube. I also like the fact that they have fine adjustments and to my eyes they are beautiful to look at too.

The acustic one table must be very quiet,well designed and neutral table.

This combo should at the very least be a great combo. Generally speaking, it is a superb combo but if you go past speaking generally and you move into 'aficionado sonic tasting' ultimately you must taste it yourself, contemplate it, spend some time with the combo and provide your own opinion based upon the taste buds that god gave YOU. This sonic tasting should be viewed as a pleasure and not a chore!

So, I dont think there is anyway that you wouldnt basically like the combo since they are great pieces, eventually the question will arise, is the sound i am getting with this combo more than i could ever want or expect from a turntable/combo? or will the sound eventually make me eye wander elswhere?

Im not assuming the answer one way or the other and no one can definitively answer it for you.

Is it a good combo?

Generally, yes, you can expect to get a high degree of sonic virtues from this combo.

Definitively, you'll have to try and see.

There are many flavours out there. Try as many as you can and find a way to enjoy them all as you are trying them.

With that said, I would venture to say, yes indeed that would be a very good combo!
Hi there, I think the Raven 1 is great value for money and will work with the Talia ( yes I've heard the Raven ). However given you've already got a good arm, you might want to consider going up to the Raven AC 1 and stay with the SME which is excellent. Your system is very good and will easily deliver the upgrade in sound quality the AC offers over the model 1.
Vertigo: Unfortunately, getting the opportunity to audition this combination in my own system is as difficult as reversing Earth's rotation.
Dover: I really prefer to stick with only one tonearm, and lean toward the more compact Raven One. However, I do intend to think a little more about possibly staying with my SME IV.Vi. I just had the pros at SME in England rewire it with the very fine Audio Note internal tonearm wire, and it does sound quite good. Nonetheless, the Reed does rank high on my desire list, and I very much like its looks and features as well as being impressed by what I've heard regarding its sound.
The Reed 3Q will be my next arm in addition to my beloved Clearaudio Universal arm.
I just took a delivery of Q3 a couple of weeks ago. I plan to use it on Raven AC which I should get in a couple of month.In the mean time, I mount it on Reed's base to use with VPI Classic. Very very nice. All the adjustments are very easy to do. May be not quite as dynamic, bold or as big sounding as JMW 10.5 but more quiet, smoother, better control and more detail. My Reed dealer should have his Reed arm installed on Raven one pretty soon. I am curious to hear how it would go as well.
Suteetat...I'm curious about what type of arm material your Reed is made of. If it is wood, which type did you get? Also, is the arm internally wired with the C37 copper or silver, and do you have the copper or silver Eichmann Bullet ends or one of the other types of RCA plugs offered for the Reed? Thank you very much.
Opus88, I have 12" cocobolo arm. Right now I have Air Tight and Koetsu Onyx cartridge and Reed recommended cocobolo so I can use it with either cartridge.
My dealer also got a 2p with Cocobolo arm to use with his Miyajima Kansui. I have the C37 silver/WBT RCA cable. My dealer got one with copper wire.
I have the Raven One and use the Benz LP, which is on your list of cartridges. I can't comment on the Reed arm I'm afraid, but did E-mail Thomas at TW re arm choice. At that time, he used and strongly recommended the Ortofon 309D arm, on the Raven one, which I bought.
I must say it seems to be a very good match with the Benz LP, tracking well and making a beautiful sound. I used a second hand Koetsu Onyx which was a poor match, due to compliance mismatch. Unfortunate, because I love the Koetsu sound
David: Would I be correct in assuming your Ortofon arm has a pretty neutral sound? If so, yes I would imagine that combined with the Raven and Benz, it would provide a nice balance tonally speaking. I don't know what kind of music you mostly listen to, but have you detected any kind of roll off as far as presence information from anything related to the influence of Raven One itself?
Too much warmth interfering with what I'm looking/listening for or not?

Hm, difficult, but I guess it will be more in the red bass impulses linked with a touch of blue air. In combination with a grey background the sonic result can be bulb-yellow. In short: Perfect.
Syntax: I just stole a peek at your audio system. Speaking about perfection..............!!!

Vertigo: Unfortunately, getting the opportunity to audition this combination in my own system is as difficult as reversing Earth's rotation.

I have reversed the earths rotation only once and it was hard! you have to reverse the detrotonic charge between pulses but only on the 16th day of a 31 day month, when you do it then there is no observable change. Thats why it never made the news.


Based on the above:

We can only SAY it should be a good combo AND might not find it totally satisfying to your tastes. Only after owning it will you know that.

You wouldnt want us to say...Oh its an amazing combo, go for it you'll be totally satisfied! then When something is lacking for you, you wonder where is the "amazing combo?"

There's nothing objective about our answers, if you want to just have fun and ask questions, i'm not knocking that just understand that ultimately only you will be able to answer the question of whether or not it is a good combo for you.

I dont like the kind of girls my friend finds attractive, its neither of our faults and both of us are right. I cant believe the ones he likes and he cant believe i like the ones i do...How do you get to the bottom of that? How do we get to the bottom of whether or not its a good combo?

This thread is just a fun discussion. And thats fine.

I'm saying this for all those who take threads too seriously.
Vertigo...Sure, I'm aware of what you're saying, and I do agree with you. And others'positive impressions about equipment will not necessarily guarantee the same for me or anyone else. We've all been through the mill, some more than others,with the experience of taking our chances on what others have said. This still doesn't entrely stop us from soliciting impressions. Short of actually hearing the product in question in our own system, what else do we have to go by? As a retiree,I don't exactly have the freedom and/or nearly unlimited funds to spend like some others in this hobby do. Notwithstanding, as you say, I will have to take the plunge on something if I want to move in a new direction. But, at least for the time being,I can continue to enjoy the relative comfort of remaining where I am until or when I'm reasonably secure about making the move, at which time the apprehension will return. Such a "tough" life coming and going with these "toys".
Mikelavigne: Both for sale? Where to from here?
Opus 88 Yes I would say the sound is essenially neutral. Certainly I find the Benz neutral to my ears and yes, I think the Ortofon is a neutral arm I have used the Benz, Koetsu Onyx and Zyx Airy 3 with it and what character the cartridge had, seemed to show through. The Koetsu was'nt a good match and I did'nt happen to like the Zyx. I know others are fans of Zyx, but I found it neutral but lacking some life, dynamics, compared woth the Benz.
Thomas said he felt the Ortofon was within about 5% of the grahams performance, at a bit over 50% of tha latters price, at least in the UK.
David12: I previously owned the Zyx Airy 3 also. My feelings about it were exactly the same as yours, and I ultimately became fatigued with its sound.
Opus 88,

yes, selling both Reed 2P arms.

i have (had) 5 arms on 3 turntables; the 2 Reeds, the Rockport linear tracker, and the Durand Talea 1 and Talea 2.

i made a decision to have one turntable and 2 arms.

a month ago i sold the Rockport. i've put the Beat up for sale and the 2 Reeds up for sale, and the Dobbins Garrard 301 will be up for sale shortly, and i'm keeping the 2 Talea arms and monuting them on the Wave Kinetics NVS turntable that is on the way.

i love the Beat tt, and love the 2 Reed arms. the only shortcoming of the Reeds is that they are not quite as good as the Durand Talea's. i was merrily going along with the Reeds and my friend Joel Durand decided to design and build a tonearm and used my room and system from time to time as a test bed. eventually i had to buy a Talea and then a second one.

i still wanted to keep the Reeds but find i just don't use three turntables and 5 arms, so it was time to cull the herd.

in fairness to the Reeds, the Talea is more money; the Reed is still the best arm i've heard other than the Talea. i strongly recommend the Reed tonearms....and will continue to do so after mine are gone.
Mike: I agree, three tables and five arms---not too practical. Enjoy the Taleas, and best of luck to you.
Hi Opus,

Once you start playing with reed arms and acustic tables you are starting to 'tinker' with some pretty fancy toys! You are now the head chef and connoisseur of sound.

Tonight i was shooting out a tron 7 reference with my audion quattro! The tron going into the linestage of the audion with a zen silver mk2 cable and cardas golden going from quattro to audion elite amp.

This is a good example of 'connoisseurship' wow...two great phonostages! Spitting hairs to find out 'best'. The differences are so fine and you have to really listen carefully. Its interesting to watch my ear develop over the years to be able to discern and pick up whats going on or not.

Then the results are somewhat effected by cabling and synergy its so fine it could go one way or another. I do try each component with a few different cables to try and make sure i am getting to the bottom of a component but there are so many variables that with a different system, who knows how the results would come out. This doesnt bother me , i just find it fascinating.

I mean audion quattro, tron 7 reference, this is pretty big league stuff! These designers are putting their all into these preamps and they are great but you can still hear their frailties.

Opus, did you know that at 40 years of age hearing slowly and naturally begins to drop off? Our ears are a pretty important component in the playback chain!

I guess i mention this because i am aware that i can have the most stellar playback but my ears are slowly starting to say good bye. Its ok with me. I'm just aware of this reality and we should come to terms with the degree of playback possible and come to terms with it and be grateful for what we do get. Tell you something you dont know!

I came close to buying a talea tonearm awhile back but ended up with a breuer 8c mk2.

I see components as colors on a painters palate and you and i are the painter. The talea like the breuer and the reed are great paints to begin to paint with. They're no silver bullet though... These are better than others out there because of the quality of their materials and design but more important than the paints is what the painter can put together. You're the painter! Use the best paints available as a starting point and create something unique and beautiful! The more you paint the better a painter you become. Its highly unlikely your first painting will be a masterpiece but just keep painting. Eventually we'll gain insights and get better. I speak to myself too.

I may be wrong but i believe putting together a system is an art that transcends 'this is better than that' so that good sound sometimes transcends price and hype. Make a system that transcends price, convention or hype!

May you love your sound! Good luck in your quest.

Have a good night. good night.
06-29-11: Mikelavigne

in fairness to the Reeds, the Talea is more money; the Reed is still the best arm i've heard other than the Talea.

Hey Mike, can you better describe/quantify what you like better in the Talea arm ? What kind of wood did you use for the wands on the Reed's ? What is the wood for the Talea ? Does Talea offer different kind's of wood for their wands ? TIA.
Vertigo...You've got me smiling, because I know exactly what you're saying when you talk about fine differences in sound, age related hearing loss and using cables for tonal coloring like the painter uses his brush. Like you, I'm certainly familiar with these things. I'm 68, and it's been nearly 45 years for me in this hobby(?). You're right, it is fascinating, and at times can be frustrating, mystifying, and let's not forget rather costly. But when they arrive, the rewards are quite substantial. Without going into details, I'll simply say at this moment I'm a bit off track in terms of where I was a short while ago. I'm confident things will bounce back fairly soon, but first I must try a few minor adjustments, and if those don't satisfy, possibly a front end change. Anyhow, thanks very much for your concern and your kind comments. My best wishes to you too for enjoyable listening!!
I heard Reed 2P on Raven One today, with Cocobolo arm, copper phono cable into ASR Basis Exclusive Phono into Soulution pre/power (the stereo amp one) with Magico Q3. Cartridge was Miyajima Kansui. I was very impressed although the speakers are brand new and not burned in yet.Very very smooth, a touch on the warm side. Unfortunately I could not compare it to any other arm directly but the combination certainly works. I heard the same Raven One with Raven arm and Miyajima Shilabe in the past but Raven arm does not really match with Shilabe due to Miyajima's compliance so it is probably not a fair comparison for Raven anyhow and I have not heard Shilabe in direct comparison with Kansui in the same system yet. But Kansui/Reed combination certainly outperform Shilabe/Raven from what I can tell by a wide margin.

one of my Reed 10.5" 2P's had Red Cedar, the other had Cocobolo.

the 1st generation Talea has Jatoba wood in the arm wand, the 2nd generation Talea has Brazilian Rosewood. i have one of each. there is no choice of woods with the Talea.

i'm not sure this thread is the place to get into why i prefer the Talea arms over the Reed, ask me that on my system thread or a new thread and i'll be glad to get into it....with all due respect.

Wow..45 years in this hobby. Pretty good. Bet you must be excited by the strides being made in the last 10 years of hi end audio.

Opus, if you rap your knuckle on those dunlevy cabinets what do you get? Is the sound low and dense or high and kinda hollow? Are they particle board with veneer or what?

I cant seem to find what you are using currently for a turntable?

I think some of the qualities you seek as per your initial question would be found in a reed/acustic combo. The reed definitely wont be cold, shrill and ringy, i speculate just the opposite... looking at its construction materials.

There might be another way to get the qualities you're looking for. Maybe explore looking at the other end of the chain. The end of the chain. The speakers.


If you like soft edged, warmth, earthy textures, along with orchestral music, i would suggest the offrande supreme. Again i have never heard it!


I have owned a modified spendor bc 1 and then went from that to reynaud evolution 3 mk3. Today, i have the reference 3a virtuoso's, which are less earthy, clearer more neutral type of a speaker.

I say the reynaud supreme because based on my experience with the evo 3 which was generally very positive but in the end, as i've moved on down the road a bit further, as good as it is, it is a little bit too dark, more translucent than it is clear! But...I know what that speaker was striving for and it was doing a great job and going in the right direction! With that little bit of context and with owning a neutral warm speaker like the virtuoso's, and from talking to bob neil of amherst audio, i would say the supreme would be a larger departure away from the slight lack of clarity of the evo but with the beautiful earthy textures of the reynaud sound.

The evo 3 was a B+ speaker for orchestral music, vocals and unamplified instruments, the offrande supreme will be a A or maybe even a A+ speaker because if it takes the virtues of the evo 3 but removes its faults it truly must be a great speaker for orchestral music.

I know its flavour will still be different from my virtuoso's but both these speakers excel at what they do and are champs!... but in different departments!

Ultimately, i would say the virtuosos are a much better speaker than the evo 3's but because the offrande supreme is supposedly superior to what the evo already does well, i imagine it would be a real close shootout between the virtuosos and the supremes.

The virtuosos do rock better but the supremes orchestral. The way the reynauds can imitate the woodiness of a acoustic guitar body is superior to the virtuosos because the virtuosos go a bit too clear so as to remove the textures of a wood bodied instrument.

What am i trying to say?

I think the reynaud offrande supreme is a speaker who's forte is ...the qualities you seek. You listen to mostly orchestral music you say. Why not have a speaker who's forte is reproduction of the classical music concert hall but isnt dark or opaque?

So, you could dial in the warmth at the front or at the end of the chain to get the desired results.

Yes, Opus, good on ya. See if small inexpensive changes can steer your sound in the direction you are looking to go.

I would experiment with mats. Or look at what your amps are sitting on.

I have steered from a sound that was brittle and hashy to warm and smooth by simply placing a ebony shim between my cart and arm.

Cut from the base and shaped from of a $3 statue i found in a thrift store.

Do you feel like taking a crack at trying to describe what you dont like about your sound? I'm sure it has good qualities but what aspects about it dont you like?

The reynaud offrande supreme might be a color you should explore painting with. (smile)

No problem. Thanks Mike...
Vertigo...Knocking on the Dunlavy produces a high, kind of hollow sound, but I've long known that. I've still been able to work with related equipment in such a way that I've managed to "paint" as you say a pretty satisfying sound. I read some comments on the Reynaud Supreme just to get an inkling about it. Evidently, both the developers and others who had either purchased or auditioned it didn't like some of the things they were hearing. The result was Version 2, and that seemed to have mainly erased the complaints. Frankly, at this point in my life, I'm not too interested in fishing for another speaker. If I did make a change, I'd probably go for one of the current and better Quads, but for now.....

Without details again, I partially lost what I was pretty satisfied with, a slighly warmish/darkish sound resembling what I typically hear in the concert hall, easier on the ears and musical to my tastes. I have some options which I feel offer a good chance of restoring what I like, the less expensive one(s) preferred. So that's where I'm at. Again, thanks for your ideas and desire to offer some help. Oh, and regarding the kind of shim you alluded to, it sounds interesting and worth a shot.
Mike: if you'd like to discuss the Talea here, that's perfectly okay with me. I'd be interested in hearing your impressions too. I'll leave it up to you.
Vertigo: Forgot to mention, I have the long discontinued VPI HW-19 Mk.3 turntable.
I am surprised that no one else seems to have focused on this, but there seems to be a consensus (elsewhere) that you pick your tonearm to match your cartridge, not your turntable. If the turntable is doing its own job well, then it will collaborate with the tonearm/cartridge combination. I consider the tonearm and cartridge together to be a component per se. With the Reed, you can choose from 6 or 7 different kinds of hardwood, which gives you the opportunity to tune the arm and optimize effective mass to complement your cartridge. I think I calculated recently that there are well over 150 versions of the Reed when you take into account the choices of arm wand material, wiring, connectors, optional features, and main structure material, not to mention length.
Lewm, you are right but in a way, all the combinations from Reed make it rather confusing. Some of the wood have to same effective mass so it is really hard to figure out which wood to choose. I went by what Reed suggested for my particular cartridges since I could not afford to buy 2 or 3 arms with different material to try.

I am not sure if there is any particularly good reason that the wire has to be attached to the base of the tonearm. I would love to be able to swap out different arm using one base unit. I would not mind that the phono wire has to stay with the arm itself. It would still be cheaper than buying 2 or 3 Reed arms and it would make experimenting with various wood more economical.
" pick your tonearm to match your cartridge..."

Lewm, did you mean, pick your cartridge to match your tonearm? That seems easier. But since each component has its own makeup and sound, it's still a complex issue. I had an interesting experience several years ago. At that time, I had the same table I have today, the VPI HW-19 Mk3. I was seriously considering the purchase of a new table. Without mentioning its name, I was given the opportunity to audition it in my own system. I'll only say it was and is no stranger to a number of Audiogon members who have owned it or one of the other models in its line. And, it cost at least four times the price of my VPI. With this table I was supplied the armboard and hardware to mount my SME IV.Vi tonearm with either one of two cartridges I had at the time, a mid priced Benz and the low output Grado Sonata. I did let the table run in for some time. I heard what I felt were the same basic sound characteristics using both cartridges with the same tonearm. I'll mention only one that was quite prominent--a lifeless quality. I did not hear these things at all using the same arm/cartridge combinations with my VPI table. I returned the new table. There was verifiably no mechanical problem with it. This experience seems to confirm though a table "does its job well", it will also contribute to producing some different sound or sounds with the identical arm/cartridge combo.

Of course, you allude to the Reed's many different combinations. This is why I wrote to those at Reed, asking what kinds of sounds are imparted by some of their wood parts and copper versus silver wires. They also offer Eichmann silver and copper bullets as plugs inputting into one's phono preamp. I have previously done my own research as well as listening comparisons with both types of Eichmann plugs on the same cables. In addition, I've compared and presently continue to compare the sounds of different types of internal tonearm wire. It is very obvious to me that these different plugs and wires contribute to audible differences that are in no way[s]minor.

We are almost continuously reminded of the complex interrelationships between different components and the variety of sounds they produce. Most of the time, unless we're able to actually audition something in our own system, we take our chances based on the impressions of established reviewers and/or non reviewers. Typically, turntables and tonearms are among the most difficult components to secure auditions for. Considering the big sum of money one might be spending as well as the realization that though the chief reason we're looking to buy something is because of its sound, it is troubling to say the least that we often can't get an idea as to whether or not we will be satisfied with what we're anticipating shelling out a healthy sum of money for....Well,'nuff of all that for now.
Dear Opus88, I guess I meant it either way. If you own the tonearm, then pick your cartridge to match it. If you own the cartridge and are shopping for a tonearm, it's vice-versa. The important point is that assuming the tonearm can be mounted on your preferred turntable, based on the available geography, then more attention should be paid to matching tonearm and cartridge than on matching tonearm and turntable. However, now that I think about it, there are some basic tenets that seem to be repeated and so may be true. For one example, many say that using a unipivot on a suspended table is not a good way to go. Linear tracker on a suspended table may not be a great idea, either. Never tried either match.

Yes, it is near impossible to know what choice of wood and wire is going to sound the best a priori, which makes those choices difficult when one is ordering a new Reed tonearm. But that situation is no different when shopping for any tonearm where typically one has no choices available. I would suggest that one could choose the wood based on the expected and desired effective mass.

Dear Suteetat,
The makers of the Reed are very true to their beliefs, and one of them is that elimination of connectors in the signal path between cartridge and phono stage is a "good thing". Accordingly they are reluctant to violate that principle by offering the user the option of playing with different phono cables. This came up on another thread where someone was agitating for interchangeable arm wands on a Reed (which I would welcome too). In any case, if you really want to be able to play with different phono cables, you could always terminate the leads coming from the tonearm into a box, with female RCA or XLR jacks on the output side. Triplanar offers this option direct from the factory. IMO, Reed are correct in their preference for a straight path to the phono stage, however.
For anyone interested, check the chart at the bottom of this site page for information regarding type of wood used with and effective mass of Reed tonearms with or without an azimuth adjuster:
According to the Reed own R&D the Red cedar, Pernambucco and Panzerholz have the best measured 'properties'. But because of the different (wood) mass the choice of the wood kind should be made as Lew described. All the Reed tonearms
are hand made by Vidmantas ( the owner/designer) but he assumes some consultation with the customer in advance. So one can sonsult the Reed (Vidmantas ) in advance about his/her 'desire'. The Reed tonarms are made on order so side by
side with the national dealer one can also consult the Reed (
I was going to get Pernambucco wand since the weight was identical to Cocobolo but the article mentioned that Pernambucco measurement showed it to be ideal material for heavier arm for Koetsu. However, for whatever reason, Reed suggested Cocobolo rather than Pernambucco for my Koetsu. So I assume there was some other reasons besides what measures the best as well. What it is, I have no idea though! Mind you, I have no regrets going with Cocobolo because it sounds great in my system and looks much better which is an added bonus.


I did not specify in my post but i did mean the newest reynaud offrande supreme. Yes, I am aware of those complaints, the first offrande supreme was considered a bit too "cerebral" except for use in some studio applications where that quality is sought after to dissect and direct a recording. It is the new offrande supreme II that i was thinking about and suggesting, this one is in the sweet spot of ALL the incarnations of the offrande and the pinnacle of j.reynauds work. Clearer than the oldest offrandes which were a few hairs too opaque and not as cerebral as the previous offrande supreme 1. I believe it is his personal favorite and flagship model.

I heard a vpi mark 4 and liked it very much. Musical, neutral and quiet. Really, a get off the merry go round kind of satisfaction is possible with it if you want to stop splitting hairs about this sonic parameter or that sonic parameter.

I have snell civ's too. When i rap on its cab it knock is "high and hollow". The royal virtuosos knuckle rap is "low, dense and short". Interestingly these two speakers exhibit a very similar sonic signature in that they are not romantic or syrupy but neutrally warm and musical. The virtuosos take all the qualities of fine snell speaker and improves on them significantly. Anyways, i hear the differences between these two kinds of cabinets and the degree of success they have in "tuning" the final outcome of the sound the woofer and the rest of the system produce.

The snell cabinets remind me of the distortion i used to hear with a b&W 602 s3 speaker i used to own which had cheaper cabinets too. The damped corian virtuoso cabs exhibit warmth, refinement, clarity and truthfulness of timbres. The cheaper cabs exhibit a coldness, a dirtiness and a mechanical hash. It "fumbles the ball" just before the signal comes out of the speaker. This is in degrees. And anyone reading this should not conclude the snell is not a worthy speaker. That is not what i mean to say. It is in fact at its price point on the used market a steal! for someone who is on a budget.

Anyways opus, as usual i digress a bit. But when i googled your speakers and saw a pic of their cabinets, i wondered if they were similar to my snells cause they look very similar and thought that maybe the reynaud could bring alot of things to the table that you seek. You're not looking for a speaker change. I understand no prob.

I like what Lewm says about cart arm relationship. From what i know and understand there is a chain of energy transfer not only going on between the cart and arm but also between the plinth/armboard and the arm as well. Then there is the relationship between the plinth and platter and record too. I'm not providing any new information we all already dont know, i'm just wanting to say that when i look at the puzzle, i really do see EVERYTHING as being important. Unfortunately, this makes discourse much more difficult. It turns our discussions to some degree to dogma. With that said we can follow general rules and experiment the rest of the way to arrive at a place that floats our sonic boats.

Opus, just as a friendly reminder, make sure you have experimented will with vta and tracking forces, and cartridge bolt tightening torques. That is, after experimenting with this and you feel you have a confidence that you are in fact hearing the table in ideal conditions, you can continue exploring a major change. I say this because i think even many seasoned audiophiles conclusions are amiss about a component simply because of set up.

Me included. Even just this last week, i started "re experimenting" with my allaerts and vta. My God, this cart is so sensative to vta. I was not hearing records like i should have been hearing them.

You know what brought the best results? Well, i currently have a 2mm panzerholz shim between the breuer arm and allaerts cart. Along with adjusting vta by 1/4 turns on the armpost i started fooling around with azimuth. How? by tighting one cart bolt and loosening the other. I must have made 5 seperate incremental changes like this one, re listening each time. The 1st time was a positive change, so i kept going doing the same thing. Each time it got better and better so i just kept going.

I realize that i am probably changing more the resonant relationship between the cart and arm more so than i am vta but all i know is that the focus improved and i got more music out of the grooves.

Just when i think i really understand the importance of proper set up i prove that i dont undertand it because i start looking around for a new component to bring some improvement to the neglect of experimentation. One is work and thinking, the other is the magic pill that will bring nirvana. This is a non negotiable for superb playback. There is too much we dont know about about how resonances will transfer. The only way is to literally spend hours experimenting and listening by ear.

Honestly, i have to laugh at myself as an audiophile. I really do smile and laugh and think it a great joke! I have a 5000 dollar cartridge and a similar priced arm and i'm listening to it in an unideal fashion? And i'm wondering where's the performance? Pretty dumb. Pretty human!
Vertigo: I fully agree about being aware of some of the important variables you and Lew mention that are associated with different parts of the turntable, their interaction with the tonearm and the kinds of problems that might ensue if vigilance and practical care are ignored. I'm of course always concerned too with the usual matters of VTA, stylus force, anti-skate, etc. I haven't had to be really concerned with azimuth since that parameter is fixed with my SME tonearm. Should I eventually go for the Reed, I assume that matter will become one of concern. I do recall some modifications concerning resonance when I previously owned the Grado and had added mass to the top of the SME to secure more optimal trackability. I certainly support continuing to experiment with inexpensive options and the goal of achieving a more pleasing sound. It's those very expensive items that can bite back painfully if they fail to meet expectations.
Suteetat, Vidmantas get's feedback from his customers and
dealers about the used carts. In my case he had no info about the Phase Tech P-3G so I made an 'educated quess' for Pernambucco wand (2A,12"; 27g.) and am very happy with the result. So obviously Vidmantas adviced Cocobolo for your Koetsu for good reason.


****I haven't had to be really concerned with azimuth since that parameter is fixed with my SME tonearm***

It could very well be that your azimuth is spot on just by installing your cart and tightening the bolts. Equally so, it could very well be that your azimuth is "off" simply by just installing your cart and tightening the bolts.

Its not that you arent concerned about it, its just that your arm has kinda forced you to ignore it because to address it is going to be tricky and difficult because you have an arm that does allow for it.

Cantilevers get twisted, diamonds are installed sometimes slightly off, etc, so in an imperfect world experimenting with azimuth is important. Especially i think, with high performance cartridges which operate optimally within a very narrow window. This is one thing that frustrates me a bit on some days. You would think having shelled out alot of money for good playback would allow and guarantee you to just sit back, relax and enjoy your music when actually your given more grief, work and head aches and unknown variables! (ha ha! i am laughing! and shaking my head)

Good quote... " the easiest thing to do in the world is to playback an lp wrong!" (smile)

Opus, the breuer arm has no azimuth adjustment either but i still try to incorporate some method of azimuth adjustment. Whether its compressing one side of the panzerholz shim more than the other using the cart bolts or installing something larger on one side of the cart and not on the other i can at least get a radar fix (through listening) if in fact i'm close or not, to operating the cart within its optimal range of performance. If the playback suddenly sounds alot better than obviously something wasnt quite right.

The problem arises [going about it this way] as to discerning whether it was in fact the azimuth that brought about the change, the resonant relationship between cart and arm, the path the stylus travels along the record or something else? In the end i mostly by experimentation, by trial and error find the sweet spot where the sound snaps into "focus". In other words, i dont really worry too much what brought about the change but rather, more importantly that the change that comes is HEARD and IS good!

To add to this...through experience i have noticed that yesterdays perceived success in dialing in the cart to the sweet spot was in fact yesterdays failure since more experimentation, dialed in the cart even further. In other words yesterday experimentation was a "relative success" since we have no reference point for how good the cart can sound, until the sound is in fact improved upon the last improvement do we ACTUALLY realize what is possible!

I usually do this by playing a favourite well recorded track over and over and then when i've got it sounding real good i try it out across several different kinds of records. This way i eliminate the variable of different records being cut by the cutter at slightly different angles and skewing my perceived improvements.

Later, i only have to worry about vta from record to record as the other parameters should be pretty good now.

With the allaerts mc1b mk II i have noticed a "greying" of timbres, a slight mechanicalness and hash when azimuth ,vtf or vta is out. The richness, tonal density and silkiness is lost.

Its a poor return on our time and money invested to leave azimuth to chance by just hoping its correct. Hope this helps.
I've had very good results with adjustment despite the fixed azimuth of the SME, and have been able to hit that sweet spot with some regularity by attending to other adjustments. Invariably, I still know what to listen for, and as you say, when it pops in, you know it! It always helps to have about a half dozen "test" records that we're as familiar with as the nose on our face. Continued happy dialing!!
I just got a 12" Red Cedar Reed 2A from Steve Dobbins to go with my SP-10 and his plinth (which is gorgeous and enormously heavy.) This will be used with my Kansui cartridge.

Steve mentioned that he found very little difference between arm materials with the Reed as they are all oiled and their density differences tend to diminish. I trust his judgement and decided to spend the $250 difference between Cocobolo and Cedar on more vinyl.
Dear Jarret, I agree with Dobbins that Red Cedar is the
best 'universal' choice ( aka suitabble for the most modern
carts) but that 'they all are oiled and their density difference tend to diminish' make no sense to me. The difference is in the eff. mass. My 2A ,12'' is 27 gr.eff.mass. You
can compare your Red Cedar 2A , 12" eff. mass with my Pernambucco and see the difference.

Hi Jarrett, I notice you have an Ortofon A-90 in addition to the Miyajima Kansui. Any chance you might be able to provide a brief comparative description of the sound of each with your Reed arm once you've had the chance to try those combos? Thanks very much.
Here's what Steve sent me on the eff. mass:

The hardwoods add effective mass and tend to favor lower compliance carts, although only slightly. In any case, don't get hung up on wood choice. It matters very little in sonics and cart choice, unlike most other arms. There are SO many more factors involved in arm/cart matching than effective mass.

I don't have the A-90 any longer so unfortunately I can't make the comparison to the Kansui in the Reed. The Kansui was more natural and solid than the A-90 in my previous VPI 12.5 though.
"The Kansui was more natural and solid...". That sounds fine with me. Thanks.
Jarrett, I assume your Kansui cartridge is a Miyajima.
I just heard it with Reed Cocobolo wand. Great sounding cartridge that matches better with Reed than TW Acoustic Raven arm.

If I get a second Reed arm, (may be in the next year or two, hopefully), I definitely am thinking about Red Cedar as well. I think that with Red Cedar and Cocobolo, The two should cover almost all the cartridges available that I might consider.
***I've had very good results with adjustment despite the fixed azimuth of the SME, and have been able to hit that sweet spot with some regularity by attending to other adjustments.***

Or so you think.

Without experiment you cant say with any authority that it is in fact in the quintessential sweet spot.

This isnt a confrontational statement but just a observation based on reason and deduction.

You want to BELIEVE your azimuth is perfect but you take that by faith not by proof.

As i laboured.

Todays "sweet spot" isn't "tomorrows sweet spot."

Are you open?

From one audiophile "beggar" to another...experiment with your azimuth adjustment.

Take it to the next level and remove that question mark from the equation.

Do you want to progress or do you just want to chat?