I have the Schroeder Model 2 running with Shelter 501 MkII. This is the best arm I had (I used to have all Kuzma models besides the Airline)...Sure a Graham or Hadcock might have a different presentation of the music but I believe that they won't be better. The Schroeder has a unique freedom of mechanical "after taste" to the sound...and just sounds more natural than any other arms I tried.
The Schroeder needs a lot of care to balance all parameters therefore a Graham is much more comftable. The effective weight depends on the choice of arm tube material (carbon, wood...) and also the choice of headshell-plate (aluminum, brass...). Therefore Mr. Schröder can fit the arm perfectly to your needs.
Mine has the carbon tube with brass plate and is around 14g, wich is more on the heavy side of "middle weight"...perfect for "stiffer" carts like the Shelter or my Koetsu rosewood.
Having been a long term user of the Model 2, I'll share my experiences with it.
The Schroeder tonearm is like no other due to the lack of bearings and the use of magnetic dampening. The music flows much smoother than other tonearms, gimball or unipivot. The wood versions have a more rounder presentation, while the carbon fibre model is more snappy - I prefer the later as it seems to be faster. Arm mass is 12g so it should match with most carts. For the Denon 103variants, Frank has a brass mounting plate (+6g) for low compliance carts.
Certainly there are better arms out there, but these would not be in this price range.
On my high mass Schue DL2, with Mapleshade brass footers under the Herron VTPH1mc, it is a wonderful mix of power, dynamics, musical nuances and quiet background which is really hard to come by. Now the real problem is finding one.
I hoped you were watching!
Your hands-on experience with the carbon fibre Model 2 echo my gut feelings regarding the wood option. You can coat it, soak it, sand it and compress it (whatever), but I feel wood is somehow going to colour sound in the audio chain. The taughtness of the carbon fibre, as you have surmised, give it speed and enunciation. Qualities, I would guess, that are missing in the wood option.
I wonder what the designer didn't like about ceramic? Is his preference for wood motivated by its non-interaction with the magnets? One can only speculate.
You are running the arm with a low complience MC cartridge. I wonder how it would fly with my Ortofon 2M Black MM high compliance cartridge....
You actually have missed a step in my tonearm procurement program. I assemble the funds, then I look for one to buy. That's the wonder of the 'net. I can research my options throughly in the mean time.
You have quite an exotic set-up there. I guess that you thought and hard about the components and their interaction. Thanks for the input- very valuable indeed.
Hello Xronx (from the Bronx?)
More valuable input- thanks! I notice that you too have opted for the carbon fibre. Your observations say that the Schroeder Model 2 gets out of the way of the music and reproduces what is on the recording- without (much?) colouration. Just the ticket.
How well does the thing track? For example, how would it go playing a 12" single that is spinning at 45rpm, mastered at high levels, with a slight warp AND pressed slightly off centre?
Hmmm...I never had problems with mistracking even of 45rpm 7" and 12". From touching the arm it feels a little more stable than a traditional unipivot. So therefore I was expecting a rather lightweighted sound BUT I was almost shocked at how fundamental tight and solid the sound was when I was playing it the first time.
So from my experience there is no worrying about any mistracking problems due to its construction.
So since no component is 100% neutral I only can say that acoustic instruments sound more like real instruments than with any other arm I tried. Especially the fine dynamics are just so natural.
You can call Mr. Schröder, he will give you advice on choosing the right material for your taste. BUT as you might know the waiting time for a Schröder is 1 year at the moment.
Thanks Xronx- yes, unipivots can be unstable and it was good to read your comments regarding the Schroeder's ability in that area.
Another thing is the tonearm's magnets and their suitability on a Technics turntable that has a direct-drive motor with many (?) more magnets. Do any of you feel there could be a problem with the motor interfering with the arm? (ie as the motor spins, would it generate a magnetic 'flux' that could throw the Schroeder right off it's game?)
The magnets are very powerful. The motor's magnets should not cause any problems. One of the key parameters of setting up the Schroeder is the magnet gap, which is typically very close, like 1mm. You would have to experiment to see the impact on the sound.
Like what Xronx mentions, setup is more time-consuming, since any changes in the counterweight affect other parameters - anti-skate, azimuth. The initial setup requires you to be patient. Once that is done, its pretty much maintenance free.
By a simple change of the cart mounting plate, you can mount a wide range of carts. It would be advisable to ask for the brass and alu mounting plates at one go. You can then play around with whichever cart floats your boat.
Good luck with your search.
Thanks Cmk, I suppose I was getting a bit paranoid, but with a finely tuned tonearm like this, it pays to ask! About the tip you gave regarding the mounting plate choice- I assume you mean the headshell?
A question for Xronx and Cmk- How tall is the tonearm when set for 'average' VTA? Also, it's hard to tell from the pics- what sort of footprint does it have? (ie how wide is its mounting base?)
Yes, the Model-2 has a 222 mm pivot to spindle distance and a 239 mm effective length.
If the Rega is mounted on a Rega turntable, then they use a Stevenson alignment which is slightly closer to the record spindle, with the cartridge mounted to produce a 237 mm effective length. Many will mount their Regas on other tables to 222 mm pivot to spindle distance (239 mm effective length).
In any case, the hole diameter for a Rega tonearm is larger than the arm stub diameter of a Model-2, so that you can mount it correctly (at 222 mm) on any turntable that was drilled correctly (either to Rega's alignment or the Baerwaald 222/239 alignment).
Also, as I mentioned in the currently active thread on getting pivot to spindle distance right (http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?eanlg&1210959908&openfrom&17&4#17
), the Model-2 allows you to move the cartridge fore and aft in a slot in the arm tube. This is not the case with the DPS and the Reference which both lock your effective length for any particular cartridge.
Also, the wait for Schroeders is about two years these days. I receive them so infrequently that it's impossible to have real-world statistics, but know that my next in line Schroeder customer ordered his tonearm in June of 2006.
Thom @ Galibier
Thanks for weighing-in on this unusual quest.
As I would want to use Baerwaald alignment, and if I used the Rega-friendly mounting plate I already own, would I just mount the Schroeder 2 further back on the plate? (since the hole for a Rega is larger than the hole needed for a Schroeder there is 'room to move' available)
Alternatively, would I be better off having the manufacturer of the plate make one specifically for the geometry of a Schroeder that would also position the arm exactly according to Baerwaald alignment? (then I could move the cartridge every so slightly if the positioning was slightly off)
There is also the question of arm height. The mounting plate I bought (made to take a Rega RB300/RB250) positions the tonearm lower in the plinth to allow for the height of the Technics platter (as already mentioned, the plate also positions the tonearm further back and away from the platter to enable the correct alignment of a Rega type arm)
Looking at the pictures of the Schroeder 2, the arm looks rather tall. Do you know how much VTA there is available of the Schroeder 2? Is its height also similar to a Rega RB300/RB250 tonearm?
Tom- I forgot to ask how well the Model 2 can accommodate a Ortofon 2M Black high-ish compliance moving magnet cartridge?
If I remember correctly, the standard Rega mount uses a 222 mm pivot to spindle distance to achieve a Stevenson alignment with a 237 mm effective length (along with some unknown to me offset angle).
The Model-2, with it's 239.3 mm effective length yields a pivot to spindle distance of 222 mm to achieve a Baerwaald alignment.
The only potential problem you'll have is if my memory has faded and your pivot to spindle distance deviates by more than about 2 mm (e.g. less than 220 mm or greater then 224 mm).
Get out your metric ruler and measure it.
Let's assume a worst case scenario - the center point of the mounting hole coupled with its diameter will not quite permit achieving a 222 mm pivot to spindle distance for your Model-2.
You certainly won't be off by much, and if you encounter this problem, you're still not out of luck. You can buy back the mm or two that you're short by grinding / filing the hole a bit.
As an aside, the current Model-2's come with a mounting collar that uses a single bolt, like that of the DPS. It is mounted near one edge of the collar so that you can rotate the entire tonearm along this eccentric point to effect both fine and gross changes to pivot to spindle distance. Of course, as I mentioned above this movement is limited by the amount of clearance between the arm stub and the larger Rega mounting hole.
I suspect your height question is twofold - being able to achieve correct VTA as well as clearance from any dust cover.
From a VTA adjustment perspective, know that the Rega is one of, if not the most limted arms on the market. You will be able to achieve a correct VTA adjustment with a Model-2.
Unfortunately, I have neither measurements handy nor a Model-2 on hand, but my memory tells me that it is of average height from a dust cover clearance perspective. DPS turntables are fairly short and have no dust cover clearance issues with Model-2's and DPS's.
The photo on my Schroeder page (http://www.galibierdesign.com/prd_schroeder.html
) shows the Model-2 standing quite tall (adjusted to maximum height), but view any dust cover clearance issues from the perspective of how much above the center line of the arm wand, the top of the bearing tower is. It's not that much.
Also note that this Model-2 photo shows an older mounting collar with three mounting bolts. Scroll to the DPS photos where you'll see the eccentric, single bolt mount which is also currently supplied with Model-2's.
Compatibility with a high-ish compliance cartridge will be a crap shoot. The Model-2 (both carbon fiber and pertinax) has an effective mass of 12 gms. If memory serves me, the Rega is in the 10.5 range. Sometimes, 1.5 grams can be inconsequential, while other times it can tip you over the threshold.
Thom @ Galibier
Thanks for the valuable info. I think, perhaps with a little tinkering, the Model 2 just might work.
The plate I bought for fitting a Rega (which is a tonearm that you rightly pointed out as having very little VTA available) lowers the arm slightly in relation to the plinth. This is done because the stock Technics tonearm is set in a recess below the level of the plinth. The platter is quite short and that is why the Rega compatible plate I bought is also recessed. The Model 2 looks like there is quite a bit of VTA to play with- correct?
Yes, you are right- my question regarding the VTA was two-fold. I also have to clear the dust cover. I have seen a couple of DPS turntables on the 'net and I think the lid clearance issue should be OK.
You don't happen to know the diameter of the Model 2's foot that screws to the arm board?
As for the Ortofon 2M Black, it's stats are as follows-
Tracking ability at 315Hz at recommended tracking force 80 µm
Compliance, dynamic, lateral 22 µm/mN
Stylus type Nude Shibata
Stylus tip radius r/R 6/50 µm
Tracking force range 1,4-1,7g (14-17 mN)
Tracking force, recommended 1,5 g (15 mN)
Tracking angle 20°
Internal impedance, DC resistance 1,2 kOhm
Internal inductance 630 mH
Recommended load resistance 47 kOhm
Recommended load capacitance 150-300 pF
Cartridge weight 7,2 g
Does this give more of a clue toward if it would be a suitable match for the Schroeder Model 2?
is this actual how the Model 2 looks like?
Mine looks like the DPS with the counterweight like shown on the No.2 on your page. I got mine from a friend. I was talking with Mr. Schröder on the phone after I got it and he knew the specific arm and also said its a No. 2...but as I said it's unlike the Model 2 on your page.
maybe there are different versions?
Hi Xronx, Thom_mackris said exactly that. The new (er) Model 2s have the mount from the DPS, but the rest is the same as the Model 2 on Thom_mackris's web page. Well, at least that's how I see it.
I can't guess how well your cart will mate up with a Model 2, and frankly neither can anyone who hasn't actually heard them paired together. The numbers do not tell that story, they can only warn of a gross mismatch, which this probably wouldn't be.
OTOH, I'll echo the words of the owners above. The Model 2 is a very fine tonearm, the best I've heard (with several carts) anywhere near its price point. Schroeders are something of an art to set up and optimize, but when it's done well they tend to bring real musicality from a wide variety of cartridges while often helping ameliorate a cartridge's weaknesses. In particular, if a cartridge has any tendency to be edgy or rough sounding, a Schroeder's excellent resonance damping will often help "tame" it. The Reference is a champion in this regard, but it's little brother has more than a little of that capability.
Doug says it best - that compliance numbers and effective mass can tell you of a gross mismatch, but other than that, it becomes a plug it in and try it out sort of thing.
I'd guess that your cartridge would be a mismatch for even a Rega (est. 10.5 gm. eff. mass), and a slightly worse match for a 12 gm. tonearm. It won't hurt the cartridge to listen however, as long as you respect its tracking force range.
As far as what a current Model-2 looks like, I haven't seen one in about a year. Being the craftsman that he his, Frank will make minor cosmetic changes from time to time. An example of this is the knurling pattern on the anti-skate and tracking force fine adjustment knobs on the Reference.
Over time, minor improvements will creep into his designs - like the single bolt mountng collar used on both the DPS and more recently the Model-2. From memory,the mounting collar is about 1.75" in diameter. I could be off by quite a bit however, as I last handled one about a year ago.
Thom @ Galibier
Thanks Dougdeacon and Thom for the insights. Ortofon are using a Rega RB1000 in their advertising campaign, so I'd imagine that it would be happy in that.
I know the word EFFECTIVE is important in the tonearm mass equation, but I have a feeling the actual size of the tonearm tube would be another parameter that must be addressed.
The Hadcock and the Schroeder have very slim tubes. The Music Maker cartridge is a medium to high compliance cartridge that really sings in the Hadcock. Yet I read recently that the Hadcock has an effective mass approaching 14gms
Something is at play here and I'm guessing it's combination of the unipivot design and the slim arm tube that enables medium to high mass cartridges to swing, not (just?) the effective mass of the tonearm. Any takers on that line of thought?
The mounting base is just shy of 2".
As the dust cover, if it doesn't fit, get rid of it. If you're this serious into getting the Schroeder on, I wouldn't bother if the dust cover doesn't fit.
I have heard the Music Maker cart with the Model 2 and it is a fantastic match. It was so good I thought I was listening to a really good MC - smooth, extended, and musical.
Hi CMK- Your audition of the Music Maker moving iron cartridge seems to suggest that the Ortofon 2M Black might me a good match for the Schroeder. Thanks for the diameter measurement for the tonearm as well. As for the dust cover, I live near a freeway and I actually need it to keep off dust!
I have a Shelter 501 mkII on my mdl 2 Schroder arm.
Mine mdl 2 has the wood wand, & I am using the brass
plate on the head shell.
I find the arm sensitive, but easy to adjust. & the sound
is natural, neutral, & sweet.
my table is a Vpi TNT V hotrod with a Teres 3.75" cocobollo
platter, VPI modified P-ring, & Gallibier anvil.
motor is Teres reference with 12v battery.
I think for the money $3k for this arm & cart, It performs
very nicely on my somewhat exotic rig.
These arms will become collectors items, (not the kind that sit around), get one while you can. The waiting list
will no doubt just keep getting longer as time goes on since only one man makes them.