SAT 30K+$$ TONEARM: W O R T H T O H A V E I T ?


http://www.swedishat.com/

That is the everywhere touted and very expensive tonearm. Touted by all professional reviewers and obviously " satisfied " owners ( around 70 of them. ).

Here some reviews:

https://www.stereophile.com/content/swedish-analog-technologies-tonearm

http://www.monoandstereo.com/2014/06/sat-swedish-analog-technologies-tonearm.html

http://www.absolutesounds.com/pdf/main/press/AirForce%20III_SAT_HiFi+_0817.pdf

and you can look elsewhere the TAS one and others.

Obviously that the proudly owners started to buy the tonearm because those reviews and trhough audio shows but mainly for the " great " reviews.

It was ranked class A in Stereophile and I know are coming two new models that inludes a 12" tonearm.

Other than the very high price I never was interested on the tonearm design due that is totally out of my budget. Its price cost what a decent whole audio system cost.

Anyway, a few months ago in an other analog forum and through a TT review the SAT appeared in that discussion thread and was here when I decided to analize this regarded tonearm design where I found out that those 30K+ dollars are a true money lost and does not matters of what reviewers and owners think about where there are not clear facts all of them are extremely satisfied with the SAT.



Let me explain a little why I said that through my post to MF:


"""""""

from your Stereophile review the SAT specs are as follows: P2S: 212.2mm, overhang: 22.8mm, offset angle 26.10° with an effective length: 235mm.


Those numbers tell us that you are listening ( with any cartridge. ) way higher distortion levels, that you just do not detected even today, against almost any other tonearm/cartridge combination.


Obviously that the SAT needs a dedicated protractor to make the cartridge/tonearm set up but we have to analize what those specs/numbers has to say:

the SAT maximum traking error is a really high: 3.09° when in a normal ( Jelco or Ortofon. ) 235m Effective Length tonearm Löfgren A alignment ( IEC standard. ) is only: 1.84°

the SAT maximum distortion % level is: 2.67 when in that normal tonearm only 0.633

the SAT average RMS % distortion is: 0.616 when in normal tonearm only :
0.412 ( Löfgren B even lower: 0.37 ).

All those makes that the linnear offset in the SAT be 10mm longer than in a normal tonearm ! !

All those are facts and you or Mr. Gomez can’t do nothing to change it. Pure mathematics reality.

You posted in that review: """ Marc Gomez has chosen null points of 80 and 126mm instead of the more commonly used 66 and 121mm. """

that’s a deep misunderstood on tonearm/cartridge alignment input/output calulations in the overall equations used for that alignment:

NULL POINTS WERE NOT CHOOSED BY MR. GOMEZ BUT ARE PART OF THE OUTPUT DATA ON THOSE ALIGNMENTS CALCULATIONS.

In the same is not true your statement: """ the more commonly used 66 and 121mm. """

that " commonly " just does not exist and only depends of the standard choosed for the calculations.

There are several other things in that SAT design that not only are not orthodox but that has a negative influence in what we are listening it:

he said that the tonearm owner can change the bearing friction levels and this characteristics could tell to you that’s a " good thing " but it’s not but all the way the opposite because makes not a fully 100% steady bearings.

Ask you a question?: why the best top cartridges use cantilevers of boron and not carbon fiber, it does not matters that laminated carbon fiber the SAT has.

Carbon fiber is way resonant no matter what. In the past existed cartridges with CF cantilever and sounds inferior to the boron ones. ....................................................................................................................................................................... the designer was and is proud that the tonearm self resonance happens at around 2.8khz, go figure ! ! !. It happens way inside the human been frequency range instead to stays out of that frequency range. """"



Dear friends and owners of the SAT: way before the mounted cartridge on it hits the very first LP groove and against any other vintage or today tonearm you have way higher distortions that per sé preclude you can listen a real and true top quality level performance and does not matters the audio system you own.


What we can listen through the SAT is an inferior quality performance levels with higher distortions. Obviously that all reviewers and owners like those heavy distortions but that does not means they are rigth because and with all respect all of them are wrong.


Some one send the link of what I posted to the SAT designer and latter on ( I do not knew he read my post. ) I ask for him for the information about the effective mass of the SAT. He gave me a " rude " answer and did not disclose that information that in reallity was not important in that moment.



I have to say that at least two professional reviewers bougth the SAT tonearm., both with the Continnum/Cobra TT/tonearm. At least one of them say the SAT outperforms the Cobra one ( maybe both, who knows why bougth it the other reviewer. )

The credentials of the SAT designer are impecable and really impressive ones but no single of those credentials speaks about audio and certainly not on analog audio.

He is a true " roockie " enthusiast ( and I say it with respect.) and obviously that is welcomed in the high-end " arena/area/ring " where all of us are learning at each single day. Any one that’s marketing an audio item has a true merit and this is not under discussion: SAT designer has his own merit for that.

You that are reading this thread permit me to ask: what do you think, overall, about?, at the end audiophiles are the ones that has the last " word " or should be that way.


Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,

R.






Ag insider logo xs@2xrauliruegas
That tonearm is complete and utter nonsense. 
Well, there are some that actually think that the 1200G files sounded better or close to  that 150k setup.  The problem is if it is that close, thats a problem.  4k table vs. 150k table.  It should not be close at all.  Thats an eye opener.  Maybe you are right. Maybe the arm is not what it is all cracked up to be regardless of price.  People put down that arm on the 1200g all the time and in fact there may be better arms out there, but it was competing with a 30k arm with the same 8k cartridge with stock headshell.  omg.  
$30,000 will buy a lot of records. If you spend $30,000 on an arm, you should have at least 30,000 LP's.
I have no reason to take issue with Raul's fact based analysis. In my opinion the SAT is probably not the  tonearm that is way overpriced. I could site a few others that also strike me as being poorly designed and yet cost greater than $20,000. Caveat emptor.
I'll stick with my Thales tonearm that has a maximum distortion anywhere in the record of 0.006 percent. 😁
For an over-achiever (price to performance relationship), check out the Trans-Fi Terminator.
Nevertheless, the SAT tonearm remains on my short list.  Unfortunately, a proper home demonstration may prove challenging.  While I cannot ignore some of the questionable technical figures as the poster stated above, actual playback may prove more enlightening. Apparently, this person initiating the thread has never owned nor heard one.  Continuum Labs Cobra never piqued my interest, namely due to its quasi uni-pivot principle.  For linear tracking air bearing arms, the Kuzma Airline I find hard to ignore.  Prior to reading this thread I was not familiar with the Trans-Fi Terminator, but after some research appears an inexpensive diy kit type, which does not interest me in the least.  Pride of ownership remains vital.     

   
Though it may look home-made, the Terminator is not a DIY kit. You do have to hook it up to an air supply, but that is true of all air bearing arms.
+1 rauliruegas! $30K is an appallingly high price for a tonearm! I will stick with my vintage FR29 and FR54! Both get the job done with low-compliance mc cartridges.
Wow when i have a few hours i will read this however i have TW 10.5 tonearm its only 6K I'm very happy.Im sure this arm is great the reviewers get it for only 15k or less let them enjoy it.
While I agree that some of these specs seem odd, I learned long ago not to judge a component based solely on specifications.
I wrote above, "In my opinion the SAT is probably not the  tonearm that is way overpriced."  I pecked that out on my cell phone; what I meant to say is, "In my opinion the SAT is probably not the ONLY tonearm that is way overpriced."  That's sort of a distinction without a difference, but I wanted to be clear.

I agree in one respect with cleeds:  You cannot really be sure how something will sound based only on its specifications; ultimately, you need to listen to the particular piece of gear in the context of your own system before passing judgement.  However, I often do what Raul has done: Just assess the article based on its external features vs price.  When the article is very very expensive, that's about the best one can do because it's not going to be available for personal evaluation.  For another example, I often wonder about the Boulder phono stage that costs way in excess of $30K and sports a S/N ratio of around 60db (only).  One wonders how it does so badly for S/N, given that it is a solid state design.  Nearly any good tube phono can do much better. Or the Ypsilon phono stage that offers only 39db of gain, barely adequate even for an MM, if you want to use a passive or very low gain linestage. I also question megabuck tonearms that hang the counter-weight way aft of the pivot or that fail to position the center of mass of the CW so it lies in the plane of the LP surface. (Durand Telos.) Or tonearms that totally lack provision for anti-skate. You may choose not to use AS, but it ought to be available for your option in a tonearm that costs in excess of $20K, in my opinion.  But I think that the market recognizes that the traditional desire of every upwardly mobile yuppie to own a nice "hi-fi" is dead or dying slowly.  The manufacturers have responded to this phenomenon by creating a category of cost that is palatable only to the very very wealthy who are likely to assign an "assistant" to assemble an audio system, where said assistant is given carte blanche to spend without thinking.  The SAT tonearm is in that category.

By accounts of those who actually own it and whom I trust, the Continuum Cobra tonearm is actually very good. Anyway, it seems cheap compared to the SAT.

I have not heard this arm at all, so I cannot comment on its sound.  It is clearly designed to go into a system where very little compromise is made with respect to what it costs to achieve top performance.  I would never say that something is ridiculous, even if I heard it and disliked it because that judgment would be a product of personal taste, and perhaps, system matching issues.  If some people who have heard it like it and were willing to pay the price, almost by definition, it has a rightful place in the market.

As for the engineering criticism, I don't see this as dispositive of anything.  As far as I can see, it has a slotted headshell and it looks like the base can be moved so it can be adjusted to whatever alignment one prefers within the limitations of it being a 9" arm.  The designer has chosen this length because, above all else, he is seeking to maximize rigidity and damping within the engineering confines of a not exceeding a particular effective mass.   The 2.8 khz resonance figure is for the FIRST resonant node, not the predominant frequency and it demonstrate extreme rigidity.  Whether or not extreme rigidity and the kind of extreme damping claimed by the designer, particularly if some other quality is compromised, is desirable, is an entirely different issue.  But, I don't see how the design can be categorically dismissed by just examining the literature instead of listening.  As for the claim about adjusting the bearing, there is no such thing as a perfect bearing and any particular design/adjustment involves tradeoffs between rigidity and friction; that the SAT arm allows for adjustment can hardly be deemed a fault in the design. 

I don't own this arm and I never will (absent extreme luck with Powerball); that simply means it is not right for me, but that does not rule out that it might be right for someone else.

I am sure that the arms sounds fantastic.  However, after listening to the files, I am glad that one can attain decent performance at a modest cost when comparing to a 200K turntable.  IT SHOULD SOUND BETTER AND BETTER SOUND BETTER
Admit it Raul, you really want one of these but are just trying to talk yourself out of it.   ;) :)
Only if you need some evidence that will stand up in court to prove you are insane .
Btw the SAT tonearm is now discontinued and will be replaced with two new models . One of them is a 12 inch.

 You would be so happy your 30k tonearm is obsolete in only a few years
Dear @ferrari275: """  this person initiating the thread has never owned nor heard one.  ...."""

agree but that is not the main subject here and elsewhere.

What we ( you, me or any one else. ) like it or not is non-important but to stay truer to the recording, this is my main home audio system/room target.

Now, please let me know if ( even that you have the kind of money to do it. ) or ask your self:

will you buy a  new Ferrari Testa Rossa knowing that it has/comes with a motor/engine manufacturer defect/failure?

Well, that's something similar on what happens with the SAT tonearm and even worst than that. 
The whole SAT subject goes " deeper " that what we can imagine and let me explain a little on it:

- it's incredible that all the prpofessional reviewers and tonearm distributors along the tonearm designer never ask by it self: WHAT AM I REVIEWING OR SELLING OR DESIGNED FOR ???

-  the tonearm was reviewed by at least two gentlemans considered in the AHEE as the analog " gurues ", no one knows more than they. Obviously that the corrupted AHEE tell us a different history here.

- I'm not a professional reviewer not even a reviewer but only a learning ecah single day audiophile but even that I'm only a simple " mortal " in the last years I don't trust any more in that corrupted AHEE and the SAT tell to all of us the whys/facts.

- a professional reviewer has at least a  minimum responsability that's to inform audiophiles what is happening " down there " in any item review and no one of those gentlemans did it and I'm convinced ( I have facts ) that they did not by their ignorance levels on the SAT subject.

- I want to think that the designer did not disclosed those numbers by " ignorance " too because if he knew those " numbers " and choosed not disclose it then the situation is really critical. So, it's better for all us to think was by his ignorance levels on that regards.

- I made the SAT calculations first to know if those 30K+ dollars comes with a true advantages over what exist in the market and to my surprise I found out that it not only does not comes with advantages but that comes with true disadvantages even before the mounted cartridge on it can hits the first LP groove ! ! ! 

- as I told MF: good that you like it but problem is that what you like are only higher distortions. Obviously that those higher distortions is what like too the other reviewers and all those SAT owners that losted ( this is the rigth word: losted. ) 30K+ dollars .

- I'm in " shock " that no one analized nothing on the SAT overall design ! ! !   This was and is the analog centuries " stampede ": 

" hey why are we running ?  don't ask and keep running .  To where?  : never mind and keep running .  Ovbiously  to nowhere, a complete disaster.

But look what one of those regarded reviewers said it: 

"""  What I found fascinating is thatbMarc tracked my two cartridges ( Atlas and A95 ) way below their recommended VTF with no mistracking. That results in less groove deformation as well as less wear and tear on stylus. .......................................................................................................

Let's say listening to the SAT arm really answers a lot of questions about the analog medium. It is a very special arm.  """


Sure is very special but he ignored why is so special ! ! ! ? ? ? ?  That reviewer was the worst ignorant of all them.



You posted:

""" 
Nevertheless, the SAT tonearm remains on my short list .  """


Go a head and welcomed to the AHEE where all of us belongs.


Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,
R.







I have a SAT, before that I used SME V and Graham Elite on my TechDAS Air Force One turntable. SAT has blown the previous two arms away by a very clear margin.

I am not a scientist, just a music lover. The sound from SAT is simply better, more resolution, more dynamic and less noise.

The overhang from SAT protractor is much larger than other. I used Acoustical Systems smartractor to try different settings. The sound was not as good. They are dim and flat when compared with SAT one. You may call it as distortion, but to me it is a distortion in a good sense.

I know a few SAT users, all of them are very happy with it. Tango in Thailand actually bought a second SAT after the first one to be installed onto his multiple turntables. The fact and the sound speaks for itself.

SAT is a good tonearm. I have no doubt about it. Listening is believing. 
Dear downunder: """  Btw the SAT tonearm is now discontinued and will be replaced with two new models . One of them is a 12 inch.

 You would be so happy your 30k tonearm is obsolete in only a few years """

I don't know what @tli  can think about been a SAT owner or Tango whom bougth two units ! ! 

Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,
R.  


 

Dear @larryi :  """  As for the claim about adjusting the bearing, there is no such thing as a perfect bearing and any particular design/adjustment involves tradeoffs between rigidity and friction; that the SAT arm allows for adjustment can hardly be deemed a fault in the design. """

Certainly it's and that's why the designer changes in the new models:

""" A new small yoke houses new bearings that are pre-loaded during manufacturing and then sealed. They will keep their pre-load and extremely low and even friction characteristics throughout the arms’ life; they are not user-adjustable. This new bearing system for the movement in the vertical plane is stiffer and much more robust than the previous design. The risk of damaging the bearings during shipment or handling under normal conditions is eliminated. """


You posted:


""" 

I have not heard this arm at all, so I cannot comment on its sound. It is clearly designed to go into a system where very little compromise .... """


how is that? did you consider " little compromise " the huge distortions choosed by its alignment design?, for me is a " huge " compromise so you can have any audio system quality level because by " design " is faulty as that Ferrari Testa Rossa example.


Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,

R.




Wow
This post has disappeared from the radars and now it's back. 
Magic ! 
Raul, If you will take a look on Vinyl Asylum, you will see that one of the inmates there plotted out the tracking distortion as a function of distance from the spindle.  You are correct that the inner groove distortion is very high, but the payoff is that the tracking distortion is very low (for a typical pivoted tonearm) in between the inner and outer null points.  The plot is there for anyone to see.  I'm not defending the SAT, but it is only fair to keep the facts straight, so far as we can know them.

Send all those faulty Testarossa's to me, please.  Especially the 1957-59 race cars.
The fellas who bought the arm are the type who just have to have the very best, and can afford to do so. They will therefore have to get the New! Improved! model when it becomes available. I imagine there will shortly be some great deals available on the original model.
@rauliruegas ,

Have you listened to the tonearm?
@bdp24 Except that in this case they will have something far from the very best. I listened to one and fondled it at a show. Meh.

I’ll stick to SME. Makers of the real very best tonearm.

SME does 100,000 more engineering, machining, finishing, and fitting of their products. And all for a fraction of the cost of SAT.
This is another kind of "theoretical" discussion. Do the people that criticize the SAT arm design actually had the arm in their system ? Did they compare the SAT arm sound with other well known and respectable arms in their own system ? I did. I bought it, because it is as much free of distortions as could hear, the sound is so clean and performance is beyond of anything I have heard. The design and quality looks fantastic, I have not seen this kind of precision and quality in any other arm I have had in my hands.

I’m curious as to the makeup of the systems into which a $30,000 tonearm is added. I wonder what tables the arm is being mounted onto, and what pickups are being mounted onto the arm. What system can justify an expenditure of $30,000 for an arm alone? jareko, care to share the details of your system?
Dear @tli : Scientist?, not me either. As you first than all I'm a music lover. Tonearm alignment is not rocket science. It's extremely simple, almost a kinder-garden game.

The SAT comes with its dedicated protractor and the critical subject is your post that helps in some ways to put some ligth about the designer choosed higher distortions through the dedicated alignment in the SAT where you said that with other kind of normal alignment you said: " thesound was not as good.Dim and flat...". Let me to think in " loud voice ":

the SAT comes with a non-standard knows aligngment by design. J.Ellison says: """  most tonearm manufacturers don't understand pivotal tonearm geometry! "" and I can add that  reviewers neither.

It's obvious that the SAT designer dis not likes what he listened with any of the standard alignments ( Löfgren A, Löfgrens B or Stevenson A. ) and he made it calculations for a dedicated alignment where he likes what he listened ( I don't know in how many different audio systems he tested/voiced the tonearm and certainly with which different cartridges. Certainly too no one of us know the tonearm designer priorities in audio/music and his targets/goals to fulfill those personal priorities. ). Exist no mathematic models that can tell me what will likes me or not so he had to do it my test & error till he found out what he likes it.

All the reviewers and owners ( like you ) are in love with and you said: 
"""  You may call it as distortion, but to me it is a distortion in a good sense. """

sorry but for you or for any one and especially in analog audio there are no distortions " in the good sense ". Distortions at any level and everywhere always are not welcomed even if we like it and are not welcomed because are something added through the audio room/system that does not comes in the recording, it's an added coloration but even if we like these " colorations " all of them are a bad thing are wrong. Our target always must be to have all kind of distortions at minimum to stay truer to the recording that's where MUSIC BELONGS .

We can like those " new " SAT distortions and I can't argue against what all of you SAT owners or lovers like but what I can say for sure is that are wrong.

In the other side, if with a standard tonearm alignment the sound comes flat it can says at least: lower distortions . and this fact is incontrovertible because calculations says the dedicated alignment has higher distortions over the LP surface. @lewm the area between SAT null point is only 46mm against 56mm in Löfgren A but even in between the SAT has higher than with Löfgren A or B.

@tli , you like those " new " distortions and as the other owners can't be in other way because all of you already paid 30K+. So you have to like it.

The designer knews very well what I posted in the MF thread because he showed he read my posts through his answer to my mail and I'm sure he knows the existence of this thread and I think is a clear opportunity for him and all SAT owners that he can comes here or at MF thread and give an explanation why he is rigth on what he did it and why I'm totally wrong.

I think that's the minimum responsability he has ( like it or not. ) with all those in good faith gentlemans that gave those big dollars to him. They all deserves an explanation even if they are not asking for.

In the other side those reviewers have the same responsability to disclose those information in their respective magazines. Which is the each one reviewer explanation on that SAT alignment subject?  with facts why they like what they listen trhough other that that no sense subjective: " I like it what I listen " that has no real value against " to be truer to the recording ".

@tli , """   Listening is believing . """, wrong. That's what the AHEE teach every one of us but it's absolutely wrong. Welcomed to that " corruption " where all of us belongs.
That's what we learned, what they on purpose teached but unfortunatelly for us is totally wrong. What you learned trhough is why you like the SAT .

Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,
R.




@tli : Knowing with certainty what " listening is believing ". That " knowing/certainnty " is what makes the paramount differences against what the AHEE pushed all of us through the years to believe, that's wrong.

R.
I remember listening to MF's needledrop of Bowie's "After All" featuring the SAT and that track was so far into the inner groove it was almost climbing the label :D :D
Versus Cd the sound was wonderful so if this is distortion I want more of it! ;)
Dear @jareko :  """  I bought it, because it is as much free of distortions as could hear, ....."""

How do you know with certainty that: " as much FREE distortions?  how do you know that those " free distortions " are not only new distortions levels listened for you by the very first time?  where are those facts that can tell you for sure about " those free distortions?

If you have the answers about you only have to share with every one including the designer and reviewers.

I will repeat what I already posted:

WITH ANY CARTRIDGE MOUNTED AND ALIGNED IN THAT TONEARM  AND  BEFORE THE CARTRIDGE STYLUS TIP HITS THE FIRST RECORDED LP GROOVE THIS TONEARM HAS HIGHER DISTORTIONS THAN ANY OTHER TONEARM IN THE MARKET .

That is a proved fact and objective one and till this moment nowhere the designer or reviewers  refute/deny with true facts that my statements here are wrong/false. I hope you can do something to put some ligth on that " free distortions ".


"""  This is another kind of "theoretical" discussion. Do the people that criticize the SAT arm design actually had the arm in their system ? ....."""


No sir it's not theorethical and I have to say that I don't need to listen the tonearm because your self and my self training in audio/MUSIC certainly is different and I know is different because your question that says you can't understand how in " hell " I can speak that way.
When you through your future audio/MUSIC self training experiences  permit you can understand that subject then you are " there " and you will know what I'm talking about.

Btw, I'm not diminish its build quality level and excecution of the tonearm, it's not the subject. No one charge 30K+ in a tonearm just for fun.

Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,
R.


I think it’s not new that SAEC, SONY, even Technics comes with their own protractors for some reason, if we set-up those arms with their own "unique" protractors and then will put the needle on Stevenson, Baerwald, Lofgren if will be off!

Why those big Japanese manufacturers developed their own proctactors if they could simply use one of the well known at that time Stevenson, Baerwald, Lofgren @rauliruegas ?
@rauliruegas I disagree Raul. Hundreds of companies charge ridiculous amounts of money for all sorts of products and it's not because they're worth that. And sure some do it for fun too. 
@rauliruegas
It would seem, that you have in your post, managed to reduce all who love listening to music to mindless sheep who have no concept of reproduction, or the validity of their ears when it comes to what they like to hear. Clearly, we are not to have an emotional response to the way music is reproduced in our homes, but rather, from the mouth of God to the ears of Stevenson, Baerwald and Lofgren we are to bow down at their subjective notions of what the "truth" is when interpreting information that has been embedded into a medium in a manner which is in complete opposition to how it is being reproduced (unless you are using a linear tracking arm which comes with it’s own set of challenges)... The whole is, when done properly, always greater than the sum of it’s parts. Throughout history, the "rules" that have been dogmatically perpetuated by myopic facilitators of a particular belief system, have been broken by those who have stepped outside of the box and have brought their own insights to how a "problem" should be addressed.

I have never heard the SAT, although I would love the opportunity to have it A/B’d so I might hear whatever benefit it may or may not bring to a recording. And I suspect, 30K is an amount that I will never be able to put towards a tonearm. That does not mean that I would ever dismiss it because a set of numbers do not, on paper, make sense.

The proof is in the pudding.

@chakster I tend to agree. Every device is unique and as such would benefit from its own implementation of geometry when translating what is essentially a straight line, into a portion of a circle.



If one were to go by theoretical calculations of distortion or other performance measurements, why would one bother at all with vinyl?  By many orders of magnitude, digital reproduction has lower distortion, less problems with speed variation, etc.  But, we all know that measurement does not come close to correlating with what we hear and prefer.  There is nothing wrong with discussing the theory and engineering decisions made for the SAT arm, or any other arm.  But, drawing conclusions that it is impossible for the arm to sound good and/or that any purchasing the arm is a dupe, without having any actual experience with the arm, merely exposes one's prejudices, and that isn't enlightening at all.

I still don't understand whether the supposed geometry problems with the arm involve the setup tools that come with the arm or whether it is somehow built into the arm and cannot be overcome by using a third-party protractor.  Anyone care to explain?
rauliruegas
I will repeat what I already posted:

WITH ANY CARTRIDGE MOUNTED AND ALIGNED IN THAT TONEARM AND BEFORE THE CARTRIDGE STYLUS TIP HITS THE FIRST RECORDED LP GROOVE THIS TONEARM HAS HIGHER DISTORTIONS THAN ANY OTHER TONEARM IN THE MARKET .
Repeating what you've previously claimed, even if using ALL CAPS, doesn't make the assertion any more true.

In fact, I'm pretty sure you're completely mistaken. For example, there are pickup arms that have zero offset, such as the ViV arm. I've never heard one, but many who have experimented with so-called "under-slung" arms claim they have extraordinary fidelity. And by consequence of having no offset, they must have higher measured tracking error than the SAT.

A challenging aspect of audio  is correlating how measurements relate to what we actually hear. That's a tricky undertaking, and why I don't think you can know for certain how an audio component sounds until you've actually listened to it.

 
The last 3 posts are the most intelligent thing I have read on this forum. Any one who has built tonearms has to know there are lots of variables which effect the sound. Null points are not that big on the list.

People who talk in absolutes should be viewed with a grain of salt. Anyone that posted on the importance of null points, able to hear a record without looking and hear the 2 perfect null points? Then change the points play the record again and listen for perfection. You get the idea. Math is a wonderful thing but not extremely useful with emotion. That said if you listen with just your head, maybe it is all you need.

In regards to 30,000 big ones get real!!! Only one justification for that. R+D!!! Like to see what took that much time. That being said if it sounds the best in someone’s system and MONEY is no object, then let capitalism do its thing.

Enjoy the ride
Tom
cleeds, I agree with your citation of "underslung" or "underhung" tonearms as an example of why tracking angle error may not be such a big deal in determining the "distortion" produced during vinyl reproduction.  Because you're quite right, such tonearms exhibit much higher tracking angle error at points distant from their single point of tangency to the groove than do conventional "overhung" tonearms.  However, I have observed repeatedly that my RS Labs RS-A1 (underhung) tonearm seems (meaning to my subjective ear) to produce actually LESS distortion than does the typical overhung tonearm.  To use one analogy, sounds closer to that of a master tape. (Probably someone should make actual measurements of the distortion introduced to the audio signal by both types of tonearm.)  I am such a fan of the RS Labs that I thought long and hard about buying a Viv Float last time I was in Tokyo visiting our son.  (The cost in Tokyo is about 60% of the US cost.)  But I didn't pull the trigger, only because I already own far too many tonearms. Maybe next visit.

So, I thought, what distinguishes these two types, besides the spatial relation of the stylus tip to the spindle?  Headshell offset is one answer.  In an overhung tonearm, the headshell offset angle is necessary to permit the cantilever to achieve tangency to the groove at two points along the surface of the LP, the inner and outer null points.  But the offset angle introduces a source of skating force that is always present, even at the points of tangency.  Maybe that (zero headshell offset angle) is a factor in the relative goodness of the few underhung tonearms available in the marketplace.

The designer of the SAT appears to have chosen to minimize tracking angle error/distortion between the two null points of his chosen geometry (as pointed out by John Ellison on Vinyl Asylum), and this results in lots of error of both types on inner grooves.  If you're playing LPs with a large empty space ("run-out grooves") between the end of the playing surface and the edge of the label, maybe that's relatively inconsequential.
In analog playback, there are just too many variables that can affect the sound. Measurements while good doesn’t mean for something to sound good. Very rarely does good measurements correlates to good sound. Larryi said it best. Digital measures perfectly and somehow doesn’t sound good. Measurements should be taken with a grain of salt. Listening with your ears is more important. 

I dont own a SAT arm nor do I represent one. It is one piece of work. Lucky for those who own one like and enjoy their sound. 
Dear @lewm @tomwh @perkri friends: I know very well the JE analysis and learned many things from him. Now I was enfatic that the measures were taking Löfgren A with IEC standards.

Maths is a perfect science what's not perfect is any pivoted tonearm and in any kind of alignment ( even custom one. ) exist trade-offs, always exist a compromise. Stevenson is the extreme of those compromises.

lewm, I'm not talking of inner grooves. If we have a little lower distortion level in between null points then out of those null points we will have higher distortion level. 

Any one can choose to has a custom alignment as the SAT designer and that's why we need to use its dedicated protractor. 

If I remember VPI mix/combine two kind of alignments and that's why was a pain to align it with universal protractors.

Seems to me that that could be the SAT kind of alignment using " in box " calculations ( btw, I always try to think " out of the box " and see what happen. ). The main knowed parameter ( critical if we don't know what choosed the designer. ) in the SAT is the P2S distance and using a custom standard ( not IEC, DIN or JIS. ) inner most/outer most groove we can be rigth there. Combined Löfgren A and B is not so dificult due that both alignments comes with the same offset angle.

Again, with its own trade-offs. My post to @tli try to explain why with his protractor tools using a " standard " alignment he said that the sound is not so good but dim and flat. 
Dim is not a good thing but flat is a different matters.

tom, I built my own tonearm and yes there are several variables that have an effect in the quality of sound and  one of those variables, other than bearing and damping,  certainly is the alignment of the cartridge/TT/tonearm.

Now, in no single way I'm diminished the SAT build quality level or the designer " credentials " in his specialities. The subject is different.

The SAT price tag deserves for the customer a clear information that can corroborates the reviewers/owners believes on that " unique " kind of sound.
Seems to me that the SAT owners/reviewers experiences tell me that all today tonearm designs comes only with average/mediocre quality level performance.

Btw,  we don't know the two newcomers  models ( 4 units. ) operation design and the already SAT owners do not know either if they will have a retro-fit for the very fast " obsolence " of their units and the main subject here could be if the new units outperforms the out of production today SAT.

I can think the newcomers will outperforms the today ones. Where outperforms the today ones? this is something that only the today owners can answer .

Anyway, there are things with the SAT owner/reviewers that makes not exactly sense as is those top cartridges that were mounted with a lower VTF that the manufacturer specs and " everybody " happy with.

I don't know what J.Carr or J.Allaerts or Ortofon can think about because that VTF range specification is to have centered coils as a main target and asure the best quality sound level.
Only think that the Allaerts MC2 Finish/Formula one has only 0.05grs of tolerance on VTF ! !  

The VTF specs were determined by the cartridge designer not only for best grooves tracking during playback but to asure that the cartridge stylus tip and the LP grooves can " suffers " a minimum  wear and more preservation time.

I don't know what all of you and especially the owners can think on my points of view but I don't think that as some of you already did it try to diminish all those facts.

@jperry , no I don't have the opportunity to listen it yet and I'm not in a hurry. Better to wait not only for the new models but for a more steady/experienced designs.


Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,
R.


Dear @genesis168 : Measurements always can be correlated with sound if we know what to look for and how to do it.

Through the AHEE all we " learned " that subjectivity is the name of the game but this was and is for convenience of that AHEE.

Today what measures good sounds good, in the past things were way different. Today audio designs achieved a very good grade of maturity in almost all orders.

In many ways the AHEE accustomed to like more what is " wrong " than what is good and they teached us with no single explanation/facts other than : " listening is bealieving or I like it ", no matters what.

I'm not against the SAT, every audio newcomer is always welcomed, no doubt about but there are not very clear information on it. That's all.

Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,
R.


Dear @tli @jareko SAT’s owners: """ The sound was not as good. They are dim and flat when compared with SAT one..... """

I seen no apparent reasons for that kind of bad quality performance.

Now, the SAT choosed alignment is a custom one that " plays " inside its own " rules " and if we want to test the SAT with the standards as Löfgren A or B then we have to play inside those standards alignment " rules ".

I think that all of you have a universal protractor with standards kind of alignment and all of you can make some tests changing the SAT custom alignment to one of those standards alignment preserving some parameters.

My advise to all of you is that do it using the " normal " protractors you have.
To do that you have to start changing the P2S distance where you have the SAT rigth now for the tests goes according the standards alignment " rules ":

for Löfgren A/Baerwald ( IEC. ) the P2S is: 217.36 and for Löfgren B ( IEC. ) is: 216.86mm.

@tli your smart tractor is useful for the P2S distance. Now, if you made those tests where you found out a bad performance and did it changing the P2S distance then try a new intent and obviously listening to LP tracks you know extremely well.


I hope that the SAT headshells slots permit the new offset angle that has advantages over the 26.1° in the custom alignment.

I’m taking my time with the SAT because I always try to understand what is happeniing " down there ". Unfortunatelly I don’t have the SAT " on hand " to make those tests but all of you have it and those tests will be really enligthing for all of you.

If the SAT/TT permit it and all of you have the time after that kind of tests you can try a P2S of 220mm. and " see " what happens.

Will be and is appreciated that you share those tests experiences with all of us.

Btw, any one of us can develops any kind of custom/dedicated alignment and the only trouble is to have a dedicated protractor for each custom alignment we want.

This thread is not to blame the SAT but to understand it and if I can help to the owners/audiophiles then that’s the main subject here . Maybe all ofg you already did it and then you just do not need any " help " about but maybe for some of you can be interesting to test it just for " fun ".

Thank’s in advance.

Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,
R.





This is all you should have posted...

@jperry , no I don't have the opportunity to listen it yet and I'm not in a hurry. Better to wait not only for the new models but for a more steady/experienced designs.


Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,
R.

Dear @advanced101: Obviously you are to " advanced " for me.

Your marvelous post was and really enriched the thread and other posts on it.

Thank's for your great contribution, as always was and is a learning one.

Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,
R.
@rauliruegas ,

Great information and write up on something you haven't heard.

I will be looking forward to your next review of something you haven't heard.
Dear @jperry : First than all I’m not reviewing any thing but trying to understand what’s behind that 30K+ tonearm.

Thank’s to @tli owner’s post I posted something that’s really important for the tonearm’s owners ( could be that any one of them is interested on that. ) and was and is to make that tonearm/TT/cartridge set up using standards alignment taking in count the manufacturer 235mm effective length spec and those standards rules.
Even my advise was that after those tests ( I gave the new P2S for both standard alignments. ) they can make other test with 220mm on P2S.

Of course that I did not heard yet the tonearm but the important subjects are for the owners not you or me. Even if I have that kind of money that tonearm is not for me, I own my self tonearm design.

In the other side, if you can’t ( yet ) give an opinion with facts on something that you never heard/listen that only tells that you and me have different audio training with different kind of experiences and means that your knowledge and ignorance levels between you and me are different. Tha’s all.

I know for sure that in the future when you can do what I do you will understand perfectly the whole subject.


Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,
R.


That was classic and thanks for explaining how you can opine on the sound of something you haven't heard. 
Dear @jperry : Wrong again. I did not tell if sounds bad, average, good or totally bad.

Where did you read that?

R.
What we can listen through the SAT is an inferior quality performance levels with higher distortions. Obviously that all reviewers and owners like those heavy distortions but that does not means they are rigth because and with all respect all of them are wrong.