The Schroeder has arrived

My Schroeder Reference arrived over the holiday weekend. It has been a long wait but looks to be well worth it. The fit and finish on this tonearm is a work of art. The adjustments are actually very simple compared to many arms. Most adjustments are just a slight turn of a set screw. The arm sounds incredible. I have heard others say effortless. That seems pretty good to me as words really cannot describe how good this sounds in my system. I am still in the process of fine tuning and the wire is still breaking in so I guess it will probably sound even better. I am using a Shelter 901 on it and that seems to match up well. BTW, if anyone is looking to buy a Schroeder I would strongly suggest working with Thom at Galibier Design. He kept in contact with me throughout the lengthy waiting period and was excellent with the delivery and setup. I would though be interested to hear from any others that may have this tonearm and their thoughts on some of the cartridges that are a good match.
May I ask how lengthy is lengthy?
The wait is certainly worthwhile. I think the simplicity of the design in great - everything you need is there, but the implimentation is form following function. What is the rest of your system?

I'd suggest you experiment with the gap between the magnets. I thought the 2 card guide a bit too little and ended up slightly higher but sounding more "relaxed".

Thom's site has a link to the "suggested" cart matches which Frank posted some time ago on VA. I personally think it will match with virtually any cart so long as its within the 8-12hz arm/cart resonance range. But if you really must have a "best" match, then I'd say try an Allaerts.

Did Thom suggest using any dampening oil for the wire?
The ZYX Airy2, Airy3 and UNIverse would all be great matches for the Schroder Reference with the UNIverse leading the pack by a large margin.
The Airy3 is superior to the Airy2 in many ways, but the Airy3 can be a bit bright in some systems and depending on your taste. If you budget allows, the UNIverese is a no brainer and would be magical with the Reference and great value for the money.
Read Doug Deacon's review of the UNIverse and his reviews of the Airy2 and Airy3
UNIverse =

Airy 2 & Airy 3 Reviews =

In my case lengthy was 7 months. Apparently Frank had some issues with Incognito, his termination source which relocated from Europe to Canada during the time my arm was ready for termination. This just added to what was already a rather long lead time. Regardless the arm is worth the wait. My system is currently an early Redpoint/Galibier Testa Rosa with an aluminum/teflon platter. I am using Bent Audio's S&B stepups and a Hagerman Trumpet phono. This is going into Lamm's L2 line stage and ML1 monoblocks. Speakers are Rick Reimer's Tetons. I have experimented with the damping adjustment and it does have a major effect. If you are careful you can make this adjustment while the record is playing which makes detecting the difference even easier. I too seem to prefer the damping not quite as low which results in a more open sound. I have heard alot of good things about the ZYX cartridges. My concern may be the lower ouput level and the match with my electonics more then the match with the tonearm. I will check out Doug's ZYX reviews. My Shelter 901 sounds very good in my system so I have also thought of maybe upgrading to the 90X. I guess at these levels personal preference and system matching is the key.
I use an Airy3 LO on a DPS (described as 98% a reference by Herr Schroeder) and works well. The magnetic damping control is quite slick and effective. I use the K&K Phono stage.
Dmailer I second your endorsement for Thom of Galibier - he's a genuine enthusiast and a great guy.

I know that Zyx are very popular around here and I heard an Airy 2 on a Schroeder Ref/dps. It was almost perfect - wonderful openness and neutrality however it lacked bass weight and extension (on Stones-type rock cuts) and I personally couldn't live with that compromise.

I have also heard a DL103 and a Koetsu Urushi Vermilion mounted on the Schroeder Ref when compared to gimbal arms (Micro Seiki MAX 282 and Morch DP6) I thought the bass reproduction was slightly looser when they were mounted in the Schroeder compared to the other arms.

The kind of sound you're aiming for and the music you play will dictate your cart choice (I would expect the Zyx to sound be great on small acoustic ensembles but not for organ works), however if you're happy with the Shelter sound....

The other cart I'm curious to hear in a Schroeder is the Jan Allaerts MC1B.
So.......What type of WOOD did you get on the Wand?
And what length? I think the Reference comes in any
length from 8.5" to 12"

I am thinking of ordering the Schroder II
since I don't have the big bucks for the Ref.
I own the Shelter 501 & the Music maker3.

How much money did you have to pay up front to get
the Arm ordered?

You definitely have some nice electronics there, what Table did you say you have?
I exchanged e-mails with Frank Schroder regarding armwand lengths. Longer arms have less tracking distortion. However, longer arms are not as rigid and more prone to vibrations. It is a trade off. Frank feels that for his arms, the 9" (222mm) is the best compromise. I had originally wanted a 12" arm. Frank talked me out of it. YMMV
I have the 9" Jacaranda arm. The turntable I am using is an early Redpoint Testa Rosa. I purchased this from Thom when he and Peter had developed Redpoint. I have one their earlier aluminum platters with the teflon top. The Galibier and Redpoint tables are very well made and I believe can compete with the very best. I am always upgrading equipment but I do not feel that I will ever have the need to upgrade my TT and arm at this point. You would have to discuss payment terms for a Schroeder with Thom. When I ordered I gave him 50% down.
I'm glad you're enjoying your Reference. I purchased my Model 2 about 2 years ago and it was a revelation; I waited 4 months for mine. I use an Allaerts MC1B on mine and it is an excellent match on my Platine Verdier. Fed through my Tron Meteor tube preamp (, made by Graham Tricker at GT Audio, UK - also distributor for Frank's arms as well as Avantgarde, Verdier, DPS, Lindemann, ZYX etc), Quad IIs and Avantgarde Duos, it sounds like real music or at least pretty close. Having started out in the hifi business in the 1980s with Ken Kessler, I progressed onto other things (I'm a surgeon by trade). With that background, you might say that I have a penchant for vinyl and tubes - Yep! The Allaerts is a great pickup; I still have my original Decca London Gold (Garrott Brothers) which was stunning when I had it modded by them in the early 1980s. The MC1B just blows it, and my memories of it at its pomp, out of the water. By the way, Deccas work very well in Frank's arms.

You're all making me blush, but I humbly accept the compliments. I can take the good with the bad. Those of you who want to see photos of Larry and his rig, can see it on my Owner's page:

All that I can tell you about availability is that Frank shoots for 4 months, but has been dreadfully behind this year. He lost a month alone due to a repetitive strain injury. Frank is working back toward this 4 month goal, but I strongly suspect this won't be reached before the end of the year. My best guess is that the average wait time is holding at 5 months.

Larry had a requirement for a custom length arm cable, and Garth's (Incognito wire) move from the Continent to Canada threw a further monkey wrench into the scheduling of his arm. He was great about it, and I know it's not easy to wait after you've made such a commitment.

Because all Schroeder dealers have limited arm availability due to world-wide demand, it becomes difficult to hedge your bets and to pre-order. At the beginning of the year, I pre-order 40% of my annual tonearm allotment by ordering Model-2's with Pertinax arm wands along with extra (brass) cartridge carriers.

Of course, I need to leave the remaining 60% for the remaining yearly demand - for References and DPS's which are impossible to preconfigure due to the list of available options to choose from, as well as for any other Model-2's.

So, depending on the time of the year, a Model-2 can arrive at your door anywhere from 2 weeks to 5 months. If any Schroeder dealer promises you a 2 month wait however, I would query him as to exactly what this means. I've pondered the idea of pre-ordering a 9" Jacaranda arm wand Reference (this is ideal for 90% of my Schroeder customers), but as soon as I do, I know they'll fall out of fashion.

When we set up Larry's arm, I commented to him that the problem with good arms like Schroeders and Triplanars is that you think you're done, when you have achieved perhaps only an "80% setup". The arms are so good, that unless you fiddle a bit, you may never realize how good they really are.

I'm planning on producing a setup DVD by the end of the year to help people through not only Schroeder setups (although this will be the focus) but all tonearms. There are so few competent dealars extant, that this has become a necessity.

Choosing between Shroeders and fine gimbaled arms is indeed a matter of taste, and I would be the last person to tell you that a Triplanar is chopped liver. Of course, I sell them because I believe in them as being a very viable option. The Micro Seik MX-282 that Flyingred heard (with a DL 103R) is a stunning tonearm - in the league of the Triplnar and the Schroeder. While my listening biases lean toward the Schroeder, I could easily live with a Triplanar or my Micro forever. Different compromises.

One should not get the impression that because I devote less "real estate" on my website to Triplanars that they are not deserving of your attention. Quite the opposite is the case. The Schroeder section developed primarily due to all of the misinformation out there about the arms.

As I worked my way through all of this, and reviewed my understanding with Frank, the pages evolved to the extend they have. I'm proud to have what I consider to be the best organized Schroeder page on the web. I've compiled posts Frank has made on several forums and provided the links on my Schroeder FAQ's page. Frank addresses the issues of arm wand selection, cartridge compatibility, and other commonly asked questions.

Thom @ Galibier
Hi Flyingred: +++++ " mounted on the Schroeder Ref when compared to gimbal arms (Micro Seiki MAX 282 and Morch DP6) I thought the bass reproduction was slightly looser when they were mounted in the Schroeder compared to the other arms. " +++++

Yes, you are right: the bass reproduction is one of the " Aquiles heel " on the Schroeder tonearms, other way very fine tonearms.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Dear Dmailer: Congratulations !!!. Now, if you like the Shelther sound I urge you to go for the 90X, it will shine with your " new baby ".

Regards and enjoy the music.
Hi Topoxforddoc: You have to have the MC2 Finish: it's a must!!. Nothing ( that I know and heard ) come close: real music !!!!.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Congratulations! I've heard my Shelter 901 on a Ref (in Cello's system). It never sang on any arm like it sings on that one.

OTOH, the ZYX models Cello mentioned all outplay the 901 pretty easily. Flyingred is correct that the Airy 2's bass can be suspect in some systems and rooms. That is not an issue with the Airy 3 or (especially) the UNIverse however. The ZYX UNIverse/Schroeder Ref combo is the second best thing I've heard. The best ever was Frank's Lyra Olympus, but they don't make that any more. The UNIverse came so close to the Olympus that we had to go back and forth quite a few times to ascertain the differences.

Enough on cartridges. You've got one of the world's premier arms, which I'm sure you'll enjoy for life. It's a true work of art as well as the supreme expression of a great man's love for music and vinyl.

I really wanted to finish the last 90 pages of "The Da Vinci Code",that was given to me as a birthday gift.Now,with all this delicious new stuff to read through,I'll have to hold off on "Langdon's search for the HOLY GRAIL".Thanks!!
Hi Doug,

You can still get an Olympus. It takes is some leg work however, along with the requisite cost of entry.

You need to first locate a Lyra Parnassus with platinum magnets (not the Parnassus DCT). All you're after are the magnets. If you want to buy some time to listen to the Parnassus, then by all means it should be a working cartridge.

Lyra will then build an Olympus for you - recycling only the magnets. For reasons I don't understand, the Platinum magnets are unobtanium, but if you provide them, an Olympus can be yours.

Thom @ Galibier
Hello Flyingred, hi Raul,
As this might be of interest to you and other Schröder owners, I'd like to give a little advice on how to tighten up the bass and/or add bottom end "authority". I gladly agree that, if not perfectly adjusted("tweaked"), bass tightness and punch might not be up to the rest of the spectrum.
Try the following: Adjust the gap between the magnets until you've reached maximum topend "air" and extension without loosing the focus of individual instruments yet(no more than 0.5mm in my experience). Now tighten the counterweight grubscrew incrementally which will get you a tighter bass. Too tight and the midrange purity will suffer a tad. Now if you find the image too "tightfisted"(foreshortened decays), slightly reduce the torque on the screw that holds the headshell plate. This should result in a further improved rendition of the recording venue's accoustic.
Finally go back to the VTA and gap setting(smaller gap:tighter bass, less bloom). Make sure that for every change in the gap you alter the VTA setting accordingly.
The finetuning of the tracking force should follow lastly, but since the optimum setting is temperature dependent you might want to recheck every three months or so(to some extent true for all carts regardless of the arm in use).
In some cases(cartridges with little inherent cantilever suspension damping) the addition of a drop of silicon damping fluid(wiped off onto the bearing thread so it can "travel" down into the well) will yield a tighter bass. Too much silicon and the rendition of microdynamic differences will suffer(usually not recommended).
And a final note about the wiring. Those customers ordering the arm with the thin solid core wire should know( and I'm telling my dealers to relay that message) that it takes a long time(2-3months, 2hours playtime a day) for this wiring to break in. At first it will sound too thin! So give it a little time, once broken in, the bottom end will not sound undernourished, highs will be pure(not sweet as in sugary), then again, it's what you're hearing, not what I'm telling you to hear, that matters...

Have fun guys,

Hi Frank: Tha's all about: first hand info, great Frank.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Hi Frank, all ...

Not only does a link to your "keeper" post land on my Schroeder FAQ page, but I'm framing it !!

Your comments have great value for owners of all tonearms - not just Schroeders. For example, I encourage Rega owners with aftermarket counterweights to play with the set screw tightness as well as their cartridge screw mounting tightness.

I recently delivered a turntable to someone who also owns a Micro MX-282. Quite a few former Platine-Verdier owners have this arm. He was quite amazed at its tuneability - an arm he had on his Platine for 3 years.


In my setup procedure, I had been working by starting with the counterweight, then moving to the other parameters (headshell screws, magnet spacing). I would begin with a close magnet spacing and then tune for air and bloom by working the counterweight set screw tightness. From there, I'd work back to the magnet spacing and headshell screw.

This procedure has gotten me to 99% of the bass performance of my Micro Seiki MX-282 which I consider to be as good as any arm I've heard in this regard.

Of course, the Micro sounds like a machine (as you work your way further up the spectrum) in comparison with the organic sound of the Schroeder - a liability, in case you have any doubts about my listening biases.

My setup (as heard by Flyingred) is another case of thinking you're done when you've actually stopped before reaching the finish line. Because I listen to mostly acoustic music, I had not chased this last bit of bass performance, but you've once more inspired me to get even more out of my setup, Frank.

I need to re-emphasize something because in reading this and other threads you may get the wrong impression.

Don't for a moment consider any of these setup comments to be statements that a Schroeder is a finicky tonearm. Quite the opposite is the case. I look at this as the arm being responsive to adjustment.

As Frank and I have mentioned, much of this setup protocol is applicable to many other tonearms.

Thom @ Galibier
Frank - thanks for your helpful response and to Thom for further enlightenment into the mysterious art of vinyl set-up.

I just re-visited the thread links on the Galibier Schroeder page and there is such a wealth of helpful information available.
Thanks for reminding me about the Parnassus/platinum -> Olympus upgrade path. Frank did mention that and explained it just as you have. One friend of mine who owns a Parnassus is considering it. He also owns a UNIverse, so he'll be more spoiled than any audiophile has a right to be.

Thanks to you and Frank both for all the fine-tuning ideas. I'm sure all here would agree with your take on "responsive" vs. "finicky" components.

The second picture of you on Thom's owner's page is priceless. Kneeling at the alter of vinyl-dom! I genuflect before mine weekly, just to remind it who's boss.
Doug that was a great observation. We should all pay our respects to Vinyl-dom on a regular basis.
Dear Tom: +++++ " Of course, the Micro sounds like a machine..." +++++

I own all the differents arm wands for the MAX 282 and I already try each one with differents cartridges and never give me the impression of a " machine " ( very far from that ), right now I'm using the XP 282SM with the Goldbug Brier: stunning combination, rivals anything you already heard.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Dear Frank,and Galibier systems,

Thanks for possibly ruining my summer,here in New Jersey.I was totally happy rationalizing not having to spend any more money on this hobby,for at least another year or two,and very interested in obtaining two,new,and pricey tennis rackets.These new rackets would help me to drive my "topspin" backhand past my most competitive "court" enemies,all summer long.As of now,I'm not putting enough "juice" on my backhand passing shots.You know,Frank,like "BECKER" did to Lendl and MacEnroe,for years.I had hoped to do the same,this summer,but,thanks to this NEW recent thread,along with the plethora of supporting candy(to me)from the Galibier website,I will probably have to start saving my pennies.

I'll be cursing you,Frank,every time I approach the net,and am passed by one of my "Arch Rival's" shots.Thanks Alot!!!
Dear Frank: I read, through the Thom/Galibier web site ( excellent one ) and AA , all about the differents wood arm wands Self damping: long fibres, etc.. ) and their choices about effective mass/compliances that you already post.

I don't have an intensive experience in my own system with your tonearms but I have experience with wood arm wands ( like Grace tonearm ) and with wood build audio items: TT, clamps, cartridges, etc,, and the wood like any other material has it's own " signature ": a little " soft " sound reproduction, including hard wood like Ebony.

I wonder if the bass signature of your arms has to " see " with your wood arm wands choice instead metal ones, I think that the wood is the problem with that kind of low bass reproduction.

Frank, I don't want to be controversial here I'm only try to understand what really happen with the low bass Schroeder reproduction, because I think that it will be very difficult to fix it with wood arm wands.

Btw, you have a stunning design and this is not the point here. Do you already try other materials than the wood: a metal one? how they sound against wood?

Regards and enjoy the music.
Dear Thom: Maybe you already know that the Micro tonearm instructions for set the overhang it's different from the universal two points setup, these two method give you two differents overhang and different sound reproduction. Which one do you use it? and when you are hearing like a " machine ", how much damping do you use? and which arm wand do you use?

Btw, other way to use the MAX 282 dinamically balance tonearm is in static mode balance: here are some differences in the sound reproduction.

All these issues are very important for the evaluation of this tonearm.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Thanks, Raul.

I was using a standard 2-points Baerwaald alignment.

I've primarily used the dial (spring) to set tracking force - of course verifying with an accurate tracking force gauge (see for my interpretation of the setup that Wally sells).

I'll set the indicator for say 2.5 gms (Denon DL103R) and then adjust the counterweight until I read this on the scale.

I haven't played much with setting the spring force to zero. I know I have not worked to get the most out of this very fine tonearm.

Please note that when I said "mechanical" it was only in comparison with the Schroeder. I was searching for a means if differentiating the two arms.

I haven't used any damping - primarily because I move arms around so much that I hate making messes :-(( My suspicion (allowing of course for the very real possibility of being wrong), is that I'll prefer the arm undamped. There's only one way to know for certain however.

You are absolutely correct - that I need to give this arm more attention. I can no doubt get it to sound even better.

Dear Raul,
Your question regarding the choice of arm(wand) material is valid and I'll see if I can address the issue to your satisfaction.
Low frequency reproduction is quite strongly linked to the quality of the rendition of upper harmonics. This is why adding a "supertweeter" often improves the perceived bass quality of a speaker. A tonearm(wand) that exhibits pronounced high frequency resonances(a "metallic" sound when tapped) will emphasize(read: exaggerate) the leading egde of the note, followed by some, more or less well damped, ringing. The ringing obscures fine detail and decay and corrupts the harmonic envelope of a sound(of an instrument), the exaggerated upper harmonics content of the low note might be perceived as "better attack". But, when a double bass player lets go of(fingertip releasing) the string instead of plucking it, the resulting sound is quite soft, dominated by the resonating body of the instrument(sometimes difficult to locate in space). Most arms can't capture that bloom realistically. Much more in demand seems to be the kind of "funky" bass that I hear at show demos left and right..
Over the years many audiophiles have gotten used to an exaggeration of upper harmonics, resonant arms(platters, too), bad amplifiers(often solid state, sorry) and cartridges with high frequency resonance peaks as low as 12kHz(!) being some of the contributors.
And sometimes this little added "spark" might just be what is needed to compensate for a poorly designed(weak) turntable drive system or the WRONG step up transformer(veiling the original signal), creating an overall quite pleasant, nevertheless inaccurate, and ultimately dissatisfying facsimile of real music played by real people(or the event as recorded by the engineer). We have all witnessed others mistaking MORE highs for MORE detail.
So, should I design my arms to match well with severly flawed components? Certainly not.
It is not this "HiFi sound" I'm trying to adhere to, but rather produce a component with as little a sonic fingerprint as possible(there'll always be SOME signature, if only because no perfectly neutral wiring exists), one that allows the listener to differentiate between "soft" and "tight" bass, one that keeps not just the sound of A violin, but the sound of any violin reproduced as distinct and recognisable as that recording engineer managed to capture it.
I have built tonearms for more than 25years and tried ANYTHING that you could possibly(lets say reasonably) use as a material for the various elements of a tonearm. Initially I did use metal(sandwiches) and carbon fiber as armwand materials(and, upon request, still do!), but when comparing the properties of some woods to the more "traditional" materials like aluminum, steel, ceramic tubing or carbon fiber, I found those woods to be superior in many respects. For a mass produceable arm wood is a poor choice. Too many variables to compensate for, possibly inconsistent supplies, etc... But you can use the differences between various woods to your advantage, see my comments on maintaining outer dimensions while having a wide choice of eff. masses on this forum and elsewhere.
You mentioned the wooden Grace arm. Let's just say you'll never see one of my arms with a Teak armwand(but Teak was and is easy to come by in decent quantity and quality).
BTW, Ebony is not a particularly hard wood. Snakewood, Grenadill, Acacia, Horizontalwood are much harder(to name but a few). If I were to use the different woods without any treatment(this doesn't refer to a coat of wax...), each would indeed have an identifiable sonic character. But I do saturate the armwands with a variety of oils, some remaining liquid, others solidifying over a period of three to six weeks, until they all exhibit the same internal damping properties. This is rather important as the cartridge tracking a signal will "send" spurious energy down the armwand, which in this design needs to be dealt with(damped) in the arm(wand) and bearing as there is practically no energy transmitted via the bearing to the armboard to be dissipated there(the conventional way of doing it).
Reducing the internal damping or using, say carbon fiber for an armwand, will yield a sound closer to "conventional"(no disrespect intended) arms, with the benefit of near zero bearing friction(more importantly, zero "stiction"). The added sense of "zing" at the cost of a natural, non-mechanical character might be prefered by some people, all reasonable inquiries will be executed...(and so will be all unreasonable inquirers, - just kidding ;-)
Now, lastly the issue of bass "authority" or power. An example: At the last thorough comparison with a Triplanar arm, the consensus was, among other things, that the Reference arm had more authority below 80Hz and lower bass extension too(not that the Triplanar was flabby sounding, on the contrary!). Now put the Triplanar onto a different deck and the situation might be different. That's because most other arms do not only depend upon the mounting board for dissipation of energy, they also pick up energy and relay it to the cartridge. Put your turntable in the adjacent room(I know it is impractical...) and you'll see(äh, hear) what a fabulous microphone it was, sitting so close to your speakers(or in their soundfield). A SME V on a Linn LP12 has terribly illdefined and bloated bass, the same arm on an SME 20 or a Sota Millenium is capable of excellent bass performance.
My arms are far less dependent upon the mounting surface, which was one of the design goals from the start. But, as there is no possible mechanical incompability, there is also no chance for that lucky case of perfect synergy....:-).
It's late over here and I'd better hit the sack. Feel free to comment or dig deeper.


Hi Speedy,

I'll absolutely have to get together with you and Doug when I make my way back East (this Summer?). I'm a native New Yorker. Some say I wear it all to obviously - others are surprised to hear it ... whatever.

I'm just drooling to show Doug how a Galibier sounds against his Teres (Doug ... no doubt you can teach me a thing or two about Triplanar setups - I've not lived with any for long enough to really get to know them).

Speaking of Doug and ZYX cartridges, you all may not be aware that Audio-Note UK is blasting out the Trans-476 MC step-ups at 170 GBP each.

These are a much nicer match for the lower DCR's Lyras, ZYXs, etc. than the very nice S&B's which I also own.

Peter Qvortrup tells me that the 476's will be around for a while. He has miles of silver wire, and apparently enough core material. Of course, he'd love to sell you his new generation trannies at $2K (USD) for the pair.

I should be receiving my 476's within the next couple of weeks, and will report back.


Ah yes, the days of Borg, Connors, McEnroe (I still can't find myself liking that incredibly talented brat), Nastase (another maniac), Villas. I can only now bring myself to watching tennis when Federer is playing - the first fellow since Stephan Edberg (and maybe Geruliits) whom I can bear to watch.

I understand the need for more gear - trust me ... I'm an incurable gear head. With a handle like Sirspeedy however, get to the ball a bit sooner, turn your shoulder, and let that topspin rip down the line. A new racket can't replace technique. I know ... given equal technique, superior gear wins out. It's one of the problems I have with watching professional cycling. I think they should raise the weight minimum on the bikes to say, 19 Lbs (about 8.6 Kilos).

I haven't played tennis for quite some time, but it's one of the few games I've ever been passionate about - along with fly-fishing, climbing, skiing and riding.

Dear Frank: +++++ " Low frequency reproduction is quite strongly linked to the quality of the rendition of upper harmonics. This is why adding a "supertweeter" often improves the perceived bass quality of a speaker. " +++++

You are absolutely right: this happen when I add my Tannoy ST.

+++++ " Over the years many audiophiles have gotten used to an exaggeration of upper harmonics, resonant arms(platters, too), bad amplifiers(often solid state, sorry) and cartridges with high frequency resonance peaks as low as 12kHz(!) being some of the contributors. " +++++
THis is one of the " audio cancer " type.

+++++ " So, should I design my arms to match well with severly flawed components? Certainly not.
It is not this "HiFi sound" I'm trying to adhere to, but rather produce a component with as little a sonic fingerprint as possible. " +++++

I applaud you for this.

+++++ " But I do saturate the armwands with a variety of oils, some remaining liquid, others solidifying over a period of three to six weeks, until they all exhibit the same internal damping properties. " +++++

THis kind of care about speaks for your dedication on the research/design/build/test process: great!!!!!

I will have to look the opportunity to try your tonearm on my audio system: I deserve that!!!!!

Tks for your time and delightful explanation about. I think that all of us really appreciate that.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Dear Thom: It is sad that Micro Seiki is out of business. The MAX 282 is only a product that speaks about this quality oriented company.

Btw, the MAX 282 use torsion bars instead the common spring for the VTF.

Tks for your answers. Always is pleasing that people like you really are on " target ", with audio items like the Micro tonearm.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Thom,you are absolutely right about getting to the ball quicker,and the shoulder turn,for a hard topspin shot.Watch Federer for the textbook look.As for me,I always considered myself an "A" player(40 yrs of hard competition),but my rackets are 12 years old.There was a time when tennis dollars came first,now it's audio,in the driver's seat.Though I am hitting a damn good ball.Just that there are 2 "biggies"at my local courts(a couple of yrs older than me,too)who can hit the crap out of the ball.On the dead run,no less.I'm close to these guys,but no cigar,and I'd love to wipe the smile off their faces,and will,in time.Just have to follow the methodological approach,that I did with my system,over the years.Take one weakness at a time.It's not as crazy as it may sound.That was my summer goal,until this thread.Now I'm thinking audio,in June.Hmm,I guess I'm going to hear that familiar "Dzzzzt,Dzzzzt"sound passing my head(what transients do you think they might be?)when I hit a crappy approach!!

Enough kidding about tennis.Frank,you have a very valid point about bass,as you clearly know.I see a trend in this hobby(look at the amount of ported speakers,and very few sealed enclosures)towards lots,and lots of really crappy(too strong a word)bass.Let's just say that many designers are happy to give the public what most people like.Lots,and lots of bass.Not accurate bass,mind you,but no true pitch definition,in the lower,or even mid frequencies.This blows my mind!!

I have heard SO MANY pricey set-ups where the average person thinks the bass is great,only to look at the expression on my audio friends's faces(very experienced hobbyists,who preach bass accuracy over quantity),to realize these people would not know a tympany drum from an amplified drumbeat,on a synthesizer.

When we are stopped at a red light,and the car next to us has his boom box turned up,do you think that guy is concerned with accuracy in bass,or overblown dreck?We all know the answer to that one.It's sad,but a fact,and many mfgrs are all to happy to design products,while maybe not as exagerated as my example,but not accurate either.

Myself,I need accuracy,as Frank describes.Makes more sense to me,and sounds better too.To the average dude,who knows what they like.I like my tympanies to "sound" no larger than a 38 inch skin,and I could care less about anything under 35 hz,although it's nice to have it,but most LP's don't have alot below that.Oh yeah,I happen to have a good sub,and would bet a Shroder Ref could do the low thing,just to my liking,wood or whatever!!
From an email sent to me from a leading setup authority:

"According to my Japanese books from 80s the Effective Length of your Excellent Arm is 282 mm (pivot to stylus). The manufacturer's Overhang is specified for 12 mm.
This is not correct. The calculations based on Prof. Baerwald formula give Ovhg = 14.5 mm. So the distance from arm pivot to platter spindle should be 282 - 14.5 = 267.5 mm."

One of the overlooked tuning features of this arm is the tightness of the dial used to hold down the arm.
Dear George: The Baerwald formula is totally right, overhang= 14.5.

The Micro Seiki manual operation specifications gives: 15 mm ( overhang ) for the 282 and 12mm for the 237 models respective.

Tks George.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Hello Raul,

My Max 282 manual actually has things backwards: 12mm for the 282 and 15mm for the 237. This I believe has caused some confusion in the past and reason for my post.

Does your manual actually have overhang for the two arms printed correctly?

A truly wonderful arm.

All the best,
Dear George: A big mistake for my part. Mi manual it's the same like yours: 12mm for the 282 and 15mm for the 237, sorry.

+++++ " A truly wonderful arm. " +++++

Yes, it is.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Thom, I would be curious if you used the correct 15mm overhang or the erroneous 12mm one given in the manual for the MAX 282. Might be the reason for the mechanical sound.
Hi George,

Because my armboards allow for adjusting the p-s distance, the choice of protractor (and alignment) determines everything in a straightforward and simple manner.

The short answer is that I used a Baerwaald alignment.

Think of an SME tonearm where the offset angle is frozen because the headshell has mounting holes instead of slots. The SME adjusts p-s distance by moving the arm on a rail to achieve the correct alignment. By moving the arm on its rail, you change the pivot to spindle distance and therefore the overhang (overhang = effective length minus pivot-spindle distance)

Since for a given alignment there is only one combination of offset angle for any one effective length/pivot to spindle distance, the problem is reduced to one adjusting the p-s distance (overhang) to "null out" at the two Baerwaald (or alignment of your choosing) points - dialing in the correct overhang in the process.

People are reading too much into my mechanical sound comment. This is was only an attempt to describe the arm and is relevant *only* in comparison to the Schroeder Reference which is to my experience in a class by itself. The MX-282 is a very fine arm and as a whole, it is not mechanical sounding ... unless you hold it up against a Schroeder.


I did some more playing over the weekend, both with the MX-282 as well as a Triplanar. The cartridges in question were a Benz LP and a Denon DL103R. These two arms are far more alike than they are different. If I had a perfect cartridge (which was a compliance match to the MX-282 arm, of course), I'd likely opt for the MX-282 over the Triplanar.

There is an important real world caveat however. A cartridge is only perfect by sheer luck. In this day and age, it's difficult to count on them being so. Jonathan Carr (Lyra) recently posted on Audio Asylum that he goes through all sorts of grief with his supplier of cantilevers/tips and can only get them to agree to +/- one degree alignment.

Jonathan would specify half that if he could. This comment alone should emphasize the importance of being able to compensate for the real-world manufacturing difficulties of hand made items like high performance cartridges.

In this very important practical respect, I have to give the nod to the Triplanar over the MX-282. I have growing intolerance for any arm of world-class pretenses that does not permit azimuth adjustment.

Even with the "lowly" Denon DL 103R cartridge, you can hear the effect of "spot on" azimuth.

Now, the DL 103R and its conically tipped brethren are fairly benign when the azimuth is not quite right. You won't hear any real nasties, and will never know that it is out of adjustment. If you have an arm capable of adjusting the azimuth however, only then will you get the magic it is capable of however.

Sorry to get on a rant about this. I'm dreadfully behind in replying on this thread and these above comments had some relevance to earlier posts ... even though their questions you didn't ask.

Thom @ Galibier
Hi Raul,

Yes, the folks at Micro Seiki were real maniacs.

Did you know that the last year (or two?) of their operation they were owned by the Pilot Pen company?

I don't know more about this story, but can well imagine it involves an audiomaniac member of the board who pushed this purchase, with the Board finally "wising up" to this acquisition ... driving a stake into its heart and killing Micro once and for all

Thom @ Galibier
Hi Speedy,

Off topic .. I understand your competitive urge at the tennis club. Since I was never that good, competition was all about measuring personal improvement rather than climbing to the top of the ladder.

I was (and am) terribly hard on myself however ... at least this is what I'm told. These days, it's more about maintaining rather than getting better, and the focus is more on bicycle riding, rock climbing, and back country skiing (picture of me bouldering on Flagstaff Mountain in Boulder on my blog page if you're interested).

Yes, you're preaching to the choir as far as bass is concerned. A culture of MP-3's, THX home theater and boombox audio ... very sad, IMHO.

Thom @ Galibier
Dear Thom: I never heard about Micro Seiki/PIlot pen.
Btw, I really like the LP on the MAX 282 and I agree with you about: " no perfect/build cartridge ".

I don't want to do a " controversial subject " about the " mechanical " sound of the MAX 282 against the Schroeder tonearm. My opinion is that under " some circunstances " that can be true ( I believe you ) but I think too that in different circunstances the " mechanical " sound can will comes from the Schroeder: nothing is absolute, all is relative.

Dmailer, I apologize for intrude on your thread. Sorry for that.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Thom,I'm kind of sorry for my generic tennis/bass rant.It was nice of you to reply,though not necessary.I do realize that this thread/forum really should be about more specific topics,RE: your product line,as well as the Shroder(which I'm fascinated with).

Best of luck to all involved!!
Hi Speedy, Raul ...

I know what you mean about off-topic. OTOH, I've come to the opinion that these sorts of things help all of us get to know each other better.

One of the problems we face behind a keyboard is that we sometimes gain too much "courage" and hurt feelings ensue. Some of these off-topic bonding sessions can make the on-topic conversations more meaningful. It can help us triangulate on who the poster is and how to interpret their comments more meaningfully.

To Raul ... I may have come on too strongly, and for this I apologize. I absolutely consider the MX-282 to be one of the great tonearms. Ah ... if I could only make it jump through the azimuth hoop, but that's a whole other story.

People who have met me are shocked that I'm the same guy they see on their computer screen. The frequent comment is that this (sometimes) obnoxious, (mostly) nerdy, New Yorker type is such a Mister Mellow Dude in person. This was one reason I put up the blog page on the website. For better or worse, I figure people knowing more about me can't hurt.

This e-mail and forum stuff can get a bit impersonal at times, and any way we can bridge past this is a good thing.

Back to our regularly scheduled programming ...

Hello Thom,

Thanks for all the information imparted in your post. You make an excellent point about the lack of azimuth adjustment.

Micro Seiki does make a J shaped arm without headshell to which one could add an azimuth adjustable headshell. Of course you now no longer have the rigidity of an integrated non-adjustable arm but it always seems to be about trade-offs. It might be an interesting experiment to do at some point.

Raul, any opinions on the sonic differences between the J and SC arms?

Thom,the Galibier pages,especially regarding the seemingly fascinating Schroeder Ref. was a fabulous read,to me.I thought the points made about the, "not necessarily an advantage",12.5 vs 9 inch arm length was quite interesting to ponder.

Also,and to me,an arm like a Schroeder,which seems to be infinitely adjustable,is a HUGE advantage(like that Frank?).I really don't get the concern of some hobbyists about it being so adjustable.I,myself,see that as allowing it to be fine tuned to my specific voicing tastes.

I guess there are some people who don't really get the most out of their stuff because they are afraid to familiarize themselves with it,and rely exclusively on the dealer to voice a system.However as time goes on,and we become more experienced it is a GOOD thing to go "Hands On" and learn to extract as much from our stuff as we can.It has helped me to get MUCH more from my own set-up!!I would have a field day with an arm like the Schroeder REF!!One question,there is mention of the variety of cartridges that would mate to a specific wood's mass, in the arm tube.I did not see what mass tube(12 gm Bacote vs 15 gm Jacaranda)would best mate with my 7.5 gm Transfiguration Temper-V.

My only criticism,of the comments,on the Galibier site are of the early review of the Schroeder Ref,where it is stated that this is NOT the reviewer's set-up,and then the reviewer goes on to comment on the "ARM'S" characteristics.The reviewer does mention the comments are in "broad strokes",but how does one really tell the personality of the arm,when it is someone else's set-up.Here,in this particular review,we are told that there had been an arm and cartridge change,recently.Maybe climate conditions changed,or vta,or sra,or almost anything which could have slightly re-voiced the sound,so these comments,although fascinating,are to be taken with a grain of salt.Heck a cable cleaning,alone, could have contributed to a better perception of "Dimensionality".

That being said,I DO DEFINITELY feel this arm MUST be really special!I'm not,in any way,trying to be antagonistic,and loved my 2 hour lunch break,while absorbing all this juicy stuff.It's good to be the boss!!

PS--I DID play tennis,later that day.Got my ass kicked too.TRUTH IS,I DIDN'T EVEN CARE!!!
Recalling that you have a Graham arm my friend mentioned that another tuning feature is how tight you make the cap over the fluid resevoir. I don't have a Graham so this is about all I know.
Good luck,
Dear George: +++++ " Micro Seiki does make a J shaped arm without headshell to which one could add an azimuth adjustable headshell. " +++++

Very good point. Till to today I never try my J shaped arm and I don't have nothing to say against the SC arms. I have to do it.

Regards and enjoy the music.
George,trust me on this.The cap tightness"thing",on the Graham, is fantasy.The cap is,actually part of the bearing assembly,and must be tightly mounted.Why anyone would not want it that way would be a mystery,to me!!Thanks,and you have a good memory too.

I hail from Montclair in NJ, where in NJ are you located?