tonearms with VTA-towers for true "VTAF"


Hi All,
I think the time has come to look at some more 'advanced' tone-arms that sport VTA towers. ('Old skool' is getting us not much further with this, or?))

During a lot of other, related postings it seems a good subject, I think.

Our experts, all might agree, that:

1) If you want to push the envelope for BEST possible replay, constant VTA 'adaptation' is an unavoidable matter. (nobody said madness :-)

2) I understand this means a TOP cart, inevitably with a 'most modern' type Fine-Line contact stylus, forget elliptical or can one even mention the word, spherical?

Add some TOP cantilever materials like:
- Beryllium (hard to get, as it is a very tricky material to work with i.e. very poisonous in powder form),
- Boron (which mostly has replaced the former),
- Titanium?? (was used by some of the better AT carts),
- Ruby, well some like it I hear,
- Sapphire?? (some one liked that better then Ruby, but VERY little seems about),
- Diamond (see e.g. the DV odd-ball 17D3), etc.

This should make for some VERY detailed and revealing reproduction (even in an MM cart), add to this the most revealing ingredients of a TOP LO-MC.

The end result is, that you can now here some marvellous detail (carved-outness of images, stage-depth -width, and on), B U T ONLY if your VTA is at its VERY closest to what the record was cut to! (Else you find your cart, record, arm, phono-pre, .... system sux :-)

More interesting yet, even the same vinyl brands have not always used the same cutting angles (over time). Anything from just under 20deg. to about 25deg. is what we find!

Next, these high res. styli also have each one their own preferred SRA / VTA angles, i.e. the stylus line-ridge related to the cantilever is a variable too.

Add this all up and you have a problem, particularly if you care for truly top play-back.

If you have a "VTA tower" it only seem to take 15sec. to change to the correct, previously found VTA, you do need to be organised though. If you want some know-how, Doug can tell, see also the discussion under:
"VTA setting for 'parabolic' and 'elliptical' styli"
http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?eanlg&1244713018

There we have mentioned 3 current contenders, I quote: "Graham, VPI, TriPlanar plus a few very costly linear trackers..."

WHAT ABOUT THE: Kuzma 4Point?!

If I wouldn't like e.g.:
- multiple added connections (Graham, 7 in total?)
- wobbly Unipivots (VPI)
- too many fiddly pieces to make up the arm (TriPlanar)
- air bearings, or worse yet 'electronic' arm-feed

If I'd have an issue with these, I've no working solution to the VTAF I'd be looking for.

What say you?

Greetings,
Axel

axelwahl
What about a more user-friendly Schroeder (wobbly, but has strings attached to it for easy pulling... weak pun intended).
Best of all would be ANY tone-arm type, but equipped with an auto-calibration detector ("ACD", proprietary technology, developed after 29 yrs of research. Dissatisfied with what was available in the market, etc, etc .....)
The ACD would not only compute the optimum tracking angle for the record being played (diagnosing the cutting angle) it would also check the real-time VTA and gauge the best angle for the cartridge being used.

While we're at it, how about a simple circuit to help us optimise the cartridge-phono interfacing???

Here we are trying to solve the mechanical set-up riddle, and, all the while, the signal going to the phono is lost in the interfacing.
I'm not joking, I'm ranting: e.g. my cartridge manufacturer very helpfully specified a loading between 100-1000ohm!!! Quite. If that ain't precise, what is! Thank you. Over & out.
Dear Axel, Thuchan can give you some comments about the Kuzma 4P mounted on his Garrad 501.
So far the one and only tonearm ever on the market who did it "right" (i.e. - VTA adjustment) is the venerable ET2.
Its VTA adjustment is a circle-segment - thus the effective length is the same at all various points/heights. All other tonearms - all pivot tonearms - do alter their effective length and the alignment when the VTA is altered.
Hard - isn't it.
A true trade-off and showing once again how much room there is for improvement in tonearm design.

Cheers,
D.
Hi D. & Gregm,

well, well, well, ask for a sausage and get the hole pig :-)

I'm aware of the VTA vs. overhang influences, even before D. rubbed us all up on Egyptian geometry as applicable to tone-arms.

But, as we (maybe just me...) are now starting to accept that even 'minute' variation play more into it, then more generally accepted, even a more modern (low-tech?) VTA tower with a **robust** arm may be a proposition.
(Whilst we are awaiting the next big step -- Gregm's auto-calibration detector)

I had a look at the ET2 / ET2.5..., lo and behold, an AIR-BEARING linear-tracker, ouch.
Raul once mentioned, and I think he has a point, those would have some short comings in the bass and treble in lieu of a marvellous mid-range.
Some say: they can't 'close the acoustic loop' as those type of bearings can't 'sink' any arm-resonance... not to open yet another Pandora’s box, but it has some logic to it - at least for me.

So, beyond the "4Point" and it's 'minor' overhang related issue, is there anything else out there - that one actually can buy?

Greetings,
Axel
I suppose that the easiest implementation to do repeatable VTA change would be the digital readout approach of the Kuzma. The other useful approach would involve changing VTA by remote control (Air Tangent). The VTA tower on the Triplanar and other on-the-fly implementations are still too much of a bother to me. Also, most VTA adjustment schemes do compromise arm rigidity/grounding of vibration to the turntable base. Those approaches designed to minimize the negative effect of a VTA calibration mechanism, such as the Basis/Vector approach, are not exactly convenient for making constant changes.

Still, changing VTA constantly would be a BIG hassle that would, for me, largely negate the pleasure of listening to records. For me, the biggest concern is with varying thickness of LPs affecting VTA. For that, the only somewhat easy to implement way to mitigate the problem is a long tonearm.

Vinyl listening inherently involves listening past a whole lot of performance compromises. Remarkably, it is still one of the most enjoyable of media. I just choose to ignore the comromise of non-optimum VTA for each record.
Dear Axel, yes, a FR-64s w/B-60 VTA-on-the-fly base.
Still about the most comfortable VTA ever made.
Not really a surprise this proposal coming from me sooner or later........

The new VTA-base by TW is another option and more universal.
The Technics EPA-500 system tonearm is another.
Then there is the old working horse MA-505.

The ET2(2.5) performance in the lower register do very much depend on air flow and pressure. With the usually used Hi-blow and Wisa pumps its indeed quite poor. But there are other more sophisticated options regarding air supply and these do greatly enhance the bass performance - but still not to top-notch-level, while comparable with most that is there today for much higher retail.
The ET2.5 is vastly underated and needs only a bit of brain and investment in the periphery to become a top contender.

Cheers,
D.
Well, wow, that's some serious stream-of-consciousness rambling there, but another contender in a state-of-the-art airbearing linear tracker is available for far less than usual in a Trans-Fi Terminator 3. See link: http://www.trans-fi.com/terminatortonearm.htm .

I just received mine; it's beautifully made and a shocking bargain.
Dear Kristian85, interesting attempt indeed.
Good value for the money too. The VTA-adjustment however does have the same problem as the Air Tangent, Denessen, Goldmund T-3F, Kuzma Airline and all pivot tonearms - the adjustment of VTA does change the overhang and thus the whole geometry does loose "track".
Even on a linear tracker...
Cheers,
D.
Hi Larryi,
you mention something VERY interesting
>>> For that, the only somewhat easy to implement way to mitigate the problem is a long tonearm. <<<

An aha, moment?! - But is it not, that if e.g. 1.5mm arm-up on a 9" arm is required to get 'ball-park' from one to another kind of vinyl, this would translate to even MORE change with a 12" arm?

I don't say that's all there is to it, but you know -- the old Egyptian, or should I say Pythagoras come to mind... the trigonometrical-functions.

It'd be just the ticket if a 12", 10.5" or 11" be more 'forgiving'.

Just this afternoon I played some very famous Swedish Jazz Ensemble's LP (my Audio friend brought along). And after running it through my RCM it played better more correct with cymbals etc. going 0.2mm down on VTA... eish!

So could it be, a longer arm IS more forgiving?

D.
Technics EPA-500 ===> Titanium Nitride, ah so,
FR-64s w/B-60, oh yes, look most desirable objects and surely as scarce as chicken teeth, methinks :-).

Greetings,
Axel
Axel, what is VTAF? I think you my have confused vertical tracking angle (VTA) and vertical tracking force (VTF). And would you call the Graham Triplanar adjustment devices towers?

Many arms incorporate a knob to adjust VTA, as opposed to one or more set screws on the arm base shaft. But not all of those allow for adjustment of VTA during play, if that is what you're asking about.

Easy examples are found with VPI arms. The JMW-9 has an adjustment dial but (I don't believe) it is recommended during playback. The JMW-10 and 12 series have a more refined adjustment gearing so allow changing VTA during playback.
Axel,

Consider the pivot of the arm to be at the center of a circle and the stylus at a point on the circle. Now imagine a change in position of the stylus representing the change in thickness of a record. The movement could be represented by the arc on the circle and the angle between the two positions. Bigger circle (longer arm) means a smaller arc and a smaller angle change, hence less change in VTA as well. Perhaps the change between a 9-inch and 12-inch arm is not that great, but, most of the radial tracking arms are much shorter than 9 inches and I bet record thickness, and the need to adjust for changes in thickness, would be an issue with these types of arms.
I think that the constant bashing of conical and elliptical stylii really highlights a dichotomy in our hobby. Some users are interested primarily in detail, and others primarily in tone or dynamics. Of course we all want everything, but most listeners, if forced to choose, would pick one over the other. Many of the cartridges sporting the less advanced stylii are revered for their tone. An analogy in electronics would be the Shindo, or even vintage devotees. Though your dismissive comments may be appropriate to the hierarchy that you seek, the paradigm may be quite different for other users.
Hi, Pryso
>>> Axel, what is VTAF? <<<
VTA/SRA on the F = FLY, a pretty well known concept actually.

>>> ...would you call the Graham Triplanar adjustment devices towers? <<< yes, 'VTA adjustment tower' using a micrometer type spindle for fine adjustment.. ON THE FLY.

>>> ... not all of those allow for adjustment of VTA during play <<< during play = on the fly another well.., yes.

Maybe they do not all quality, which would be a little more limiting in quickly finding a VTA 'sweet spot' - but their quick up down action including a graded dial is about this here inquiry.

>>> The JMW-9 has an adjustment dial but (I don't believe) it is recommended during playback <<<
I think that was at least the idea? --- and maybe Harry doesn't mind? :-)

But as to VPI, and as mentioned above: some say they wobble too much for their liking...

Larry,
a good point you make, it sounds like Pierre Lurnés analogue thoughts revisited,
http://www.tnt-audio.com/intervis/lurne_e.html

I actually just mentioned this on the old skool tonearm thread ------- BUT, VTA is more a vertical only affair, yes?

If that is true, we'd be back with a^2 + b^2 = c^2 and the same angle alpha (enclosing A & B) over a longer C and B = a bigger A. Hm, (Trigonometry by Notepad :-)

Hello Viridian,
hey, we love those funny older 'pegs' for their music making! :-)
Where ever I put this hierarchy you refer to, it was strictly about detail retrieval and resolution, regarding their (conical et al) forgivingness compared to hyper exact VTA settings needed for those other fine-line jobs.
As you rightly point out, detail retrieval and resolution is NOT = to musicality as such.

So yes, horses for courses, but it wouldn’t change the facts about their (o) specific strength and weaknesses.
No bashing intended at all! For my own liking -- I think elliptical to be musical enough, else next we gonna argue about a more high-end kind gramophone needle.
(Can't remember that cool sounding metal some used, maybe someone can help my memory).

Many thanks,
Axel
Hi Axel, I've only been in this hobby for 40 years and I've never heard the term VTAF, so while I agree the concept is well known, I would question how common that abbreviation might be. But no matter.

However, I do agree with the desirability of easily adjustable VTA. In fact that was a criteria in my purchase of two arms to mount with my SP-10.
Hi Pryso
40 years ha, :-)

Some say:
experience is not knowing more & more about the same thing,
but knowing more & more about different things.

In fairness VTA F is not what was around before much more then ~ 15 years, maybe less?
It must coincide with the 'VTA-tower' (micrometer spindle) NEXT to (not under) the 'arm pivot, which in fact makes the whole thing (VTA change on the Fly) possible to work in the first place.
Lo and behold, there is OVERHANG 'on the Fly' also, as can be done with SME 300, IV and V series. (Even with the SME IV.vi which is a US special, Sumiko exclusive only, or 3500 etc. made for German tt maker Transrotor)

So your asking about it, is graciously forgiven...

Axel
Axelwahl, the Triplanar is anything but fiddly! Ask anyone who owns one- set and forget. The beauty of the arm is that it **is** really adjustable, so you don't have to fiddle with it (I find that arms that lack adjustability require more fiddling). The VTA tower allows for good repeatability as well and its easy to use.
Atmasphere,
>>> The VTA tower allows for good repeatability as well and its easy to use. <<<
Oh yes, I think that seems THE strong point of the design, now all the other bits and pieces look like --- just a bit much, compared to other designs.
Amazing, the way it's reported to sound - I actually have not heard it.
Forgive me, as a Mechanical Engineer I have my thoughts about busy designs... yet I can see, once in use, that that just might become secondary, of sorts.

You obviously are very fond of its sound, and its adjustability and that is good.
For me the design goes somehow against my grain, even since the quality of implementation was said to be much improved to earlier models.
(It reminds me a bit of a HUMMER 3, I wonder why :-)

Greetings,
Axel
Axelwahl, if you are a mechanical engineer, then you would really appreciate how this arm is built were you to actually see one in person. It is the result of close to 30 years of refinement.

You can adjust azimuth very easily- most arms have marginal provision for this at best. It has the *hardest* bearings made in the world in its gymbal array. You can set the tracking pressure quite easily to within 1/50th of a gram. The arm tube is damped to prevent mid- and HF resonance. The overall trackability is so high that it usually has lower tracking angle distortions than most straight-tracking arms do.

You are right- I do like it. It plays LPs that I have recorded better than any other arm I've tried (it helps when you are involved in the production process of the recording since you know how it is supposed to sound). It is easier to compare it to tape playback than it is to almost any other arm. I would not let your personal bias stand in the way of at least trying this arm- if not the state of the art it is on a very short list of the very best.
Rather than repeating what Atmasphere said above, I'll just add Ditto!

The Tri-Planar is a wonderful sounding arm and a piece of cake to set up and adjust.
Hi Atmasphere,
thanks for the powerful 'witnessing'.
I must say this does sounds so convinced (and Rfogel8's
to boot), I have copied what you wrote.

Truly food for thought.
Which MRK?? are you actually referring to, since there is now a MK VII, is that right?

Thanks,
Axel
Axel if you are saying that air bearings, or more specifically the ET have weak bass and treble you obviously haven't heard a well set up example.
Axel doesn't live here anymore.....😢
Adjusting VTA on the fly changes the pivot to stylus distance. As far as I am aware the only arm in the world that has VTA on the fly that adjusts the pivot to stylus distance as you raise and lower the VTA is the ET2 with its patented arc mounting block.
Dover, If you are saying that each time VTA is adjusted that pivot-to-stylus distance needs to be adjusted, that implies most tonearms are poorly designed. Call me skeptical to the notion that ET got this right and everybody else got it wrong. Am I missing something here? Cheers,

Spencer
Spencer - yes I am. It is simple geometry. Pick up a 12" stick at one end and lift it straight up. The other end which was 12" away ends up at the bottom of where you are lifting and is now 0"away ( on the horizontal plane). This is what happens when you adjust VTA. Note that the new pivot to stylus distance can be further or closer depending on whether your arm is below or above level when you start and whether you are going further up or further down.
The ET2 has the vertical bearings mounted in an arc shaped toothed block. The bearing can be raised and lowered. If you move the back of the arm up and down the pivot to stylus distance does not change on the ET2.
Dover's geometry is *almost* correct. The longest p-to-s distance occurs when the armtube is level. Any change (+ or -) away from that shortens the p-to-s distance.

Like Dover, I'm also unaware of any tonearm besides the ET2 that self-corrects for this. That's right, every other tonearm that adjusts height gets this wrong. To get it right, the bearing end must move up/down on an arc of constant radius that's centered at the stylus point.

As to whether p-to-s distance "needs" to be adjusted for each change in arm height, that's another matter. Shortening the p-to-s distance effectively moves the null points of your alignment, which alters the mistracking distortion curve. Whether and how much this is audible depends on a host of variables, including characteristics of the particular LP being played.

I don't worry about it, largely because, as a non-ET2 owner, there's nothing practical that I can do about it!

Sbank....yes Every time you change any adjustment on an arm you must change all the other parameters that are affected. Time consuming.yes, but you only have to do it again and again, until it is set.
Doug - a minor point, my post is accurate. If you read what I wrote it was with the assumption that one might be starting not only from level, but also from above or below level in which case the pivot to spindle could increase or decrease, depending on where you are going from and to.
Stringreen,
Generally, I agree with you, but you are missing the point here...we are talking about a variable that isn't adjustable on any tonearm that I know of. Funny, I haven't seen this particular issue discussed in the last 12 years on audiogon!

My conclusion is that it's not a big deal or many would be designing ways to adjust that parameter. Doug's conclusion sums it up for me.
Cheers,

Spencer
"you are missing the point here...we are talking about a variable that isn't adjustable on any tonearm that I know of. Funny, I haven't seen this particular issue discussed in the last 12 years on audiogon!"

Sbank, I don't know what you're saying here. Stringreen is correct that if you change VTA or SRA, you've also changed the overhang, which can be adjusted accordingly.

This is nothing new; it's simple geometry.
Dover, sorry for misreading your post. Fully agree.
Doug - no worries, I always enjoy your posts and generous sharing of knowledge.
It might be easier to envision this as a right triangle - looking at it from the side. The record surface is one side of the triangle. The arm pillar is another, and an imaginary line from stylus to pivot is the hypotenuse. Vary the length of any side and the others are affected.

I don't know about the rest of you, but to me improper VTA/SRA is much more objectionable than a bit more alignment error. If alignment is set for that height where most records sound right, a small deviation from that height will result in negligible increase in distortion from alignment and could dramatically reduce SRA distortion.

Regards,
Cleeds, totally agree "that if you change VTA or SRA, you've also changed the overhang, which can be adjusted accordingly.
This is nothing new;".

However, Dover's point about the ET2 continuously adjusting to keep constant p-to-s distance as the record plays seems unique and rarely discussed. That' s all I'm saying. Cheers,

Spencer
I certainly hope that overhang changes from minute VTA/SRA adjustment is primarily and academic issue and not a practical one. Viewing this purely from an academic/theoretical perspective, an arm, like the ET2 that changes overhang to account for a change in arm height would NOT necessarily be a good thing. If I were trying to maintain a particular VTA/SRA, I would set the overhang to be correct for that particular setting. I would then only change the height of the arm to account for different thickness of the records, while hopefully maintaining the same VTA/SRA. That would mean I would want the arm to go straight up and down and I would NOT want it to alter the overhang to account for a different height of the arm.

Personally, I never bother to change arm height for different thicknesses of records (I own a conventional, 9" arm). But, the resulting change in VTA/SRA from a change in thickness is considerably greater with the much shorter linear tracking arms so it might make sense to adjust the height with such arms for different record thicknesses. In that case, I think it would make more sense to just move the arm straight up and down and NOT attempt to compensate for a change in height. I don't think the ET2 arrangement makes sense from either a theoretical or practical perspective.
Larryi -y
You misunderstand how the ET2 works. The Eminent Technology is a linear tracking arm. On the ET2 if you adjust VTA the overhang does not change. It remains correct at all settings. It is the only arm that accomplishes this. This is about as perfect an arm as you will find if you worry about alignment - it has 0 tracking angle, no anti skate requirement, azimuth adjustment is built in as is overhang adjustment. Furthermore the patented decoupled counterweight system is tuneable to optimise the performance for cartridges of varying compliances.
"Dover's point about the ET2 continuously adjusting to keep constant p-to-s distance as the record plays seems unique and rarely discussed. That' s all I'm saying.

Sorry, Sbank, I'd misunderstood your point. Thanks for clarifying!
Larryi,
Good point. If you're only compensating for a thicker record the goal is to maintain the same SRA/alignment, and the change in overhang is incorrect.

In this case there is no change of distance vertically between the record surface and pivot. Both should be changed equally. The ET2 compensation is only correct for changing SRA of records of the same thickness. We live in an imperfect world.

Regards,
Larry's point is valid....but instead of talking theory, let's talk real numbers.
On even the shortest 9" tonearm, if one raises the VTA by 2mm it changes the overhang by 0.008mm.
If one raises the VTA by 5mm it changes the overhang by 0.05mm.
Does anyone here seriously claim that they can adjust overhang to this degree of accuracy? 👀
Halcro,

You are correct that this is more a theoretical issue than anything else. That would be the case, too, with regard to the putative advantage of the ET2 moving the arm in an arc to maintain the same effective arm length (although, with the ET2 arm, at less than 9" in length, the amount of variance would be higher than the amount you calculated for a 9" arm).

I certainly hope that vinyl reproduction is more "robust" than what perfectionist insist on for alignment accuracy and optimization for all other parameters. It would be nice to own something like the SMARTractor and an oscilloscope for setting azimuth, etc., but, it would be a real tragedy if these things were necessities.
Fleib wrote:
I don't know about the rest of you, but to me improper VTA/SRA is much more objectionable than a bit more alignment error.
That's also how my ears work.
I don't really know how audible is incorrect alignment because I have never systematically changed alignment to determine what is audible.

Given how much easier it is to change VTA/SRA, however, I have done that experiment. I too have noticed that small VTA/SRA changes seem to have a pretty significant impact, particularly on high frequency sibilance and edginess. Even a change in height of less than 1mm can change the sound quite a bit even though that translates to a fraction of one degree of change in angle.
I certainly hope that vinyl reproduction is more "robust" than what perfectionist insist on for alignment accuracy and optimization for all other parameters. It would be nice to own something like the SMARTractor and an oscilloscope for setting azimuth, etc., but, it would be a real tragedy if these things were necessities.
LOL Larry....😄
When I think that for over twenty years I set up my cartridges with a generic arc cut from Hi-Fi Answers and pasted onto a wobbly thick bit of cardboard....⁉️
I recall being just as thrilled with the sound then as I am now however...👍
06-17-09: Dertonarm
Dear Axel, Thuchan can give you some comments about the Kuzma 4P mounted on his Garrad 501.
So far the one and only tonearm ever on the market who did it "right" (i.e. - VTA adjustment) is the venerable ET2.
Its VTA adjustment is a circle-segment - thus the effective length is the same at all various points/heights. All other tonearms - all pivot tonearms - do alter their effective length and the alignment when the VTA is altered.
Hard - isn't it.
A true trade-off and showing once again how much room there is for improvement in tonearm design.

Cheers,
D.

hmmm....

"A true trade-off and showing once again how much room there is for improvement in tonearm design."

Well this thread is now over six years old. And D since this time has come out with his own tonearm. Did he address this VTA issue with his tonearm ? Curious... Anyone ?

06-17-09: Dertonarm
Dear Axel, yes, a FR-64s w/B-60 VTA-on-the-fly base.
Still about the most comfortable VTA ever made.
Not really a surprise this proposal coming from me sooner or later........

The new VTA-base by TW is another option and more universal.
The Technics EPA-500 system tonearm is another.
Then there is the old working horse MA-505.

The ET2(2.5) performance in the lower register do very much depend on air flow and pressure. With the usually used Hi-blow and Wisa pumps its indeed quite poor. But there are other more sophisticated options regarding air supply and these do greatly enhance the bass performance - but still not to top-notch-level, while comparable with most that is there today for much higher retail.
The ET2.5 is vastly underated and needs only a bit of brain and investment in the periphery to become a top contender.

Cheers,
D.

The ET 2 and 2.5 when used with Hi-Blow and Wisa pumps are just fine and very natural sounding .....with a correct setup .....per the manual, and herein lies the root of "some" reported problems.

For the Audiogon Record. :^)

Years ago when I was ready to plunk down a chunk of change on a new Deck (you know how it is when you have extra rope for the Audio Hobby Hangman ?)
I reached out to a few people about La Platine; one person of which was D as it was his ref deck. . He was very helpful and steered me away from the current MDF plinthed Platines and towards the vintage version. Between emails I asked him about his ET 2.0 and 2.5 setups. He indicated to me that he set them up with the most counterweight lead possible on the I Beam, and closest to the spindle. Well this is in fact an incorrect setup as documented in the ET2 manual, and, in my days of experimentation (you guys know how that can be too - right ?) led to significant bass resonance in the 100-150 hz (thereabouts) area in my rooms. This bass resonance leads to ill defined bass especially with full range speakers. (Speakers that go to 20 hz and do not lose any DB getting there).

btw - there happens to be Audiogon thread that discusses proper ET2 setup techniques. One could also read the ET2 manual. But our thread is much more fun ( I think) and most of the ET2 manual is now probably on the thread anyway ! lol

Back to the story.
Well, I didn't have the heart to discuss this with D at the time. In hindsight now his ET2 setup was probably influenced by his self professed bias toward the FR tonearms; I found my FR64s to be a very high quality, very slick tonearm, but it did have a LF resonance in my setup. Hmmm.....

If D happens to see this ... hope u r well and I never did receive the thread for La Platine you were to send me to try out.

Anyway. Just saying and from personal experience.

The theory guys can now get back to ......... their theory. :^)

Cheers and have fun listening while you still are able to.
06-17-09: Dertonarm
Dear Axel, Thuchan can give you some comments about the Kuzma 4P mounted on his Garrad 501.
So far the one and only tonearm ever on the market who did it "right" (i.e. - VTA adjustment) is the venerable ET2.
Its VTA adjustment is a circle-segment - thus the effective length is the same at all various points/heights. All other tonearms - all pivot tonearms - do alter their effective length and the alignment when the VTA is altered.
Hard - isn't it.
A true trade-off and showing once again how much room there is for improvement in tonearm design.

Cheers,
D.

hmmm....

"A true trade-off and showing once again how much room there is for improvement in tonearm design."

Well this thread is now over six years old. And D since this time has come out with his own tonearm. Did he address this VTA issue with his tonearm ? Curious... Anyone ?

06-17-09: Dertonarm
Dear Axel, yes, a FR-64s w/B-60 VTA-on-the-fly base.
Still about the most comfortable VTA ever made.
Not really a surprise this proposal coming from me sooner or later........

The new VTA-base by TW is another option and more universal.
The Technics EPA-500 system tonearm is another.
Then there is the old working horse MA-505.

The ET2(2.5) performance in the lower register do very much depend on air flow and pressure. With the usually used Hi-blow and Wisa pumps its indeed quite poor. But there are other more sophisticated options regarding air supply and these do greatly enhance the bass performance - but still not to top-notch-level, while comparable with most that is there today for much higher retail.
The ET2.5 is vastly underated and needs only a bit of brain and investment in the periphery to become a top contender.

Cheers,
D.

The ET 2 and 2.5 when used with Hi-Blow and Wisa pumps is just fine and very natural sounding .....with a correct setup .....per the manual, and herein lies the root of "some" reported problems.

For the Audiogon Record. :^)

Years ago when I was ready to plunk down a chunk of change on a new Deck (you know how it is when you have extra rope for the Audio Hobby Hangman ?)
I reached out to a few people about La Platine; one person of which was D as it was his ref deck. . He was very helpful and steered me away from the current MDF plinthed Platines and towards the vintage version. Between emails I asked him about his ET 2.0 and 2.5 setups. He indicated to me that he set them up with the most counterweight lead possible on the I Beam, and closest to the spindle. Well this is in fact an incorrect setup as documented in the ET2 manual, and, in my days of experimentation (you guys know how that can be too - right ?) led to significant bass resonance in the 100-150 hz (thereabouts) area in my rooms. This bass resonance leads to ill defined bass especially with full range speakers. (Speakers that go to 20 hz and do not lose any DB getting there).
btw - there happens to be Audiogon thread that discusses proper ET2 setup techniques. One could also read the ET2 manual. But our thread is much more fun ( I think) and most of the ET2 manual is now probably on the thread anyway ! lol

Back to the story.
Well, I didn't have the heart to discuss this with D at the time. In hindsight now his ET2 setup was probably influenced by his self professed bias toward the FR tonearms; I found my FR64s to be a very high quality, very slick tonearm, but it did have a LF resonance in my setup. Hmmm.....

If D happens to see this ... hope u r well and I never did receive the thread for La Platine you were to send me to try out.

Anyway. Just saying and from personal experience.

The theory guys can now get back to ......... their theory. :^)

Cheers and have fun listening while we are still are able to.