Trans-fi Terminator T3PRO opinions please...


I am starting to think of trying a T3PRO tonearm, and would appreciate comments from you who encountered it. I am really happy with my current analog setup, but have never tried a linear tonearm...some of my concerns are the noise the pump potentially makes - what type of pump do you use in USA (Vic can only supply 220V) and is the tonearm tricky to setup and maintain in 'perfect setup'? Is it very 'tweaky' (I do like tweaking to a certain extent)? Do you think the VTA digital display is worthwhile? Which cable option did you opt for (I am thinking the cart-RCA silver wiring)?

If you own it - which tonearms have you compared it to?

Any special setup/tweak advise with regards to this tonearm?

Many thanks in advance for sharing your thoughts on T3PRO and have a GREAT one!
go4vinyl
Congrats on your wise decision. I´ve been enjoying the
Trans-Fi linear arm since the early days. I was so convinced
of its audio quality that I never wanted any other arm. To
my surprise I found that the setup is easier than with
pivoted arms. But everything must be PERFECTLY leveled, no
exceptions. Just follow the instructions literally and you
´ll make it easily. Once setup´s completed, it maintains its
perfection. After all work´s done you just enjoy music.
The best tonearm ever designed and works like a dream.

The same with the Reso-Mat. Makes record float off platter
and thus allowing mechanical resonances vanish into air and
not reflect back to record to smear sound. Simple thing.
Basically no clamping is needed either but according to some
owners sound benefits from moderate clamping, Dave the
Messenger will enlighten you...

And I have this tonearm, and I want to tell you is excellent.
At first, when I bought it, I was not very satisfied with Tonearm and that was because I never adjusted VERY PRECISELY turntable horizontality and also the tonearm.
But now I did Tonearm perfect horizontality and works like a dream.
Something very important is that the air pump to be as far from the place where the phono cartridge, if not, you will have definitely hum.
I think it would be good if you have VTA digital display that would help a lot in tuning VTA and especially you to remember how to call a particular VTA because it is difficult to read accurately the scale arm. I do not have the digital display VTA and now I'm sorry.
I bought this tonearm nearly three years ago, mounted on Nottingham Analogue's second best table from a dozen years before: 20Kg platter, upgraded bearing, upgraded plinth. Terminator's improvement over the $1500 NA tonearm was significant.

The combination now sports a high end Koetsu, and friends with Schroeder arms find the combination pleasing. Speakers are modified new Quad ESL's and electronics are to match.

I agree that set-up is CRITICAL. It's not too hard, but you need to take your time and get it right. I have sited the pump in another room.

My first pump was an aquarium pump, Rena Air 400, but I am in the process of upgrading to a Hiblow with a precision pressure regulator. I have found that the exact air pressure affects the sound substantially, with more pressure changing the sound from soft and mellow to harder and more precise. Basically, air pressure can act as a tone control. The Rena gives a neutral sound.

One great thing about the T3 is that the air is problem-free and noiseless, because it is low pressure. Another great thing is the fact that it is easy to put brass weights onto the arm wand to change its mass. That too affects the sound dramatically, and so I can use a high compliance MM when I wish (no weights), and low compliance MC (with up to 14g) when I wish. Weights too can act as a tone control.

I suggest silver wire and ETI plugs, and an extra arm wand. Go for the latest, with weighted pivots. I also prefer an aluminum tower to the Delrin tower that Vic supplies, but your mileage etc.

I think that the T3 is a superb bargain. Not least, Vic seemed to be on a mission to improve my system, and HE LISTENED to what I wanted. Rave review from this quarter.
Go4vinyl, I've moved through several iterations of Terminator to what is essentially a modified T3Pro. My version includes a custom pivot with a built-in socket that accomodates standard removable headshells. Vic has on occasion offered this set-up.

The optional uninterrupted screened silver RCA wiring sounds great and eliminates multiple solder points and metal contacts. The outer screen is also effective in eliminating cartridge hum.

The Rena pump is fine when smoothed through a 1 gal. tank as described on Vic's web site. I built an insulated plywood enclosure to reduce pump noise, but ideally the pump belongs in a closet or adjacent room.

As noted by others, working with this arm becomes straight-forward after the somewhat painstaking journey toward precise zenith and level. I've been able to deal with any remaining tracking problem by weighting the headshell to manipulate vertical effective mass.

Terminator easily surpassed Graham 1.5TC and SME IV in my system. Others I know had similar results vs. VPI 12.X arms. However most owners of hi-zoot pivot arms won't give it a chance for whatever reason.
PS. I wouldn't bother with the digital caliper. The VTA tower calibrations are sufficient to obtain precise repeatable adjustments. And with this arm your ear will tell you EVERYTHING.
Can't say enough good things about this tonearm. It is a little tricky adjusting it as mentioned but we'll worth it!
To add to my hurried response yesterday. Placing a record on the platter requires a bit of fineness as the arm structure remains over the platter. Not difficult, but you do need to exercise some caution. An air pump in another room is needed as I've never been able to sonically isolate one in the room. only a very small hole is needed to pass the airline tubing so that is easily accomplished. I have my pump plugged into a remotely powered power strip that also turns on two more strips that my gear is plugged int. One switch controls three strips, one of which is in another room. I sprung for the digital VTA readout but rarely use it. This is not a truly set it and forget it arm but the tweaks are simple and not a pain. Initial set-up is a little challenging but so are most arms. The sounds coming off the record speak for themselves. They just explode off in a way most pivoted arms seem to lack until you spend many times more. What have you got to lose? The used market will get you most of your money back I'm sure.
I concur with everything said previously. Much better than the fully modified RB 300 I used before. Also replaced Michelle gyro TT with Vic's Salvation TT. FWIW the best bargain in audio
I'm also on the verge of getting a Terminator.

Does Vic only ship them with the latest/greatest headshell (Tomahawk)? Or is there a "standard" headshell and an optional higher quality headshell?

Is it practical to use multiple headshells and easily swap them out? Would that, for all practical purposes, necessitate using the Molex termination? Aside from that one possible need, I would assume that the RCA termination would be preferable (due to being a more direct connection).
Hello Gary.

I use three arm wands for my three main cartridges: MM, MC mono, and MC stereo. It takes only a minute to change arm wands, but ...
1. with cartridges so expensive to replace, I take extreme care with stylus guards, etc.
2. each cartridge requires a different set of weights
3. it's only sane to check everything once it is installed
All in, 15-30 minutes, which is fine for an evening's listening, but not recommended after every record.

I use separate silver lines with ETI plugs for each arm wand because I really don't need an extra junction in the signal path. I expect that you will get the "latest and greatest" - but ask Vic. He is very helpful, and not rapacious in the least (hard to believe in our hobby, but there it is).
I agree with all said above. I have never read a negative report on the TRANS-FI.
You can tweek as much as your OCD urges need. I use 2 of Tomahawks with silver leads to phono amp, to make changes faster. Can be dialed in in 15 minutes. Take a look at Dgarretson's system page to see some of his mods.

Vic is a pleasure to work with. He sent me an adaptor free, 2 years after I installed the arm.
Just to add my 2 cents, have been running the T3Pro, w/recent Tomahawk wand upgrades, on Vic's Salvation direct rim drive tt.
Concur w/all that the main consideration is getting the arm PRECISELY level. Once that is achieved, day to day use of the arm is a doddle. I particularly like the azimuth adjustment on the arm, two spikes to independently zero in the correct setting. A little fiddly to use, but my cart installer really likes it.
My next step is to get the pump in another room, but tricky since I live in a studio apartment! Maybe at next move.
Have gone for the continuous cart-phono wiring to obviate need for an extra set of connectors.
So if, and only if, you can get the arm level, go for it. It (together w/the tt) brings a neutrality to proceedings, where you can analyse to your heart's content, but also allow the unique warmth of analog to wash over you.
THANKS TO ALL for taking the time to share this detailed info - it's truly all info needed. I have had my eye on it since its inception (I think it was close to 600 USD at the time - much improvement has been done since then obviously), but was concerned about the noise level from the pump (I have a tiny listening room and no way to stick it in another room) and the obvious obstruction of placing records on platter.

I now have a 13 inch Robert Fuchs tonearm (so inching closer to linear ;-) which really and truly is an incredible piece of audio gear - however, with this info (that you kindly provided) I am leaning ever more towards finally (overcoming my fears) and trying one out.

Terry9 - please let us know how it goes with the Hiblow pump when you get to it (I imagine the choice of pump affects the sound).

THANKS again and have a GREAT one!
I bought a Starrett 98-8 precision machinist's level for use with the Salvation and T3Pro. It seemed like ridiculous overkill at first, but once I used it, I found it worth every penny (~$130 on Amazon) in setting up the unsuspended Salvation for level. It makes various other levels typically used on tt's seem like toys. Highly recommended.
Tms, and others, how have you achieved perfect level for the T3Pro? I use Vic's Salvation, and like many tt's the Salvation has 3 adjustable feet. I've always struggled w/getting ALL three feet on the tt to be equally level - whenever I get two feet correct, the third goes out of level.
I've settled on getting the zone that the arm tracks down the platter (ie the limited line the cart tracks down the platter) being precisely level, even if this means some other zones on the platter/feet may be a little out.
Hello Spirit.

The thing is to get the arm absolutely parallel to the surface of the platter. Of course, it helps if your turntable platter does not wobble on its bearing!

To this end, I had an aluminum plinth and tonearm tower made up at a precision machine shop. The plinth has two perfectly parallel machined surfaces, one for the turntable bearing, the other for the tonearm tower. The aluminum tower itself has perfectly square ends. This makes it easy.

First, I level the top of the platter using three adjustable feet. I really take my time on that. I think that I'll follow TMS's advice and use a Starrett in the future - I should have thought of that myself.

Then I power up the air and place the wand carrier, without wand or cartridge, in the centre of the arm, so that it can drift either to the left or right. I adjust the levelling screws until the wand carrier does not move. Then, because the platter bearing and tonearm tower mate to precisely parallel surfaces, the platter and tonearm are parallel by elementary plane geometry.

Et viola. Music.
Spirit, now that I read my response I realize that the last sentence is misleading. True, but still misleading.

The point is that the platter is perpendicular to gravity, and so is the tonearm, by measurement, not theorem. Everything being precision machined and so forth just makes it easier to go from the theoretical optimum to the measured optimum.
That's ok Terry. I think that my maintaining perfect levelness of the arm over the zone that the cart tracks (easy with a linear arm, it's in effect a horizontal sweep across the platter) should be sufficient.
Good thing too, since for the life of me I struggle to get every part of the tt/arm/platter equally level (function of always 1 of the 3 feet going out of adjustment just when 2 get into true).
Will look at that specialist spirit level mentioned earlier in the thread.
But I want to reiterate that beyond the levelness issue, and the need to have an unimpeded air supply to the arm, and deal w.pump noise, this arm is in many ways a lot easier re adjustments/everyday use wrt pivoted arms, and I still contend I'd take it over examples at 3-5x the price.
A little late to the party here but nevertheless ready to chime in. First of all, hello tms. Hope you got the speakers pumping.
Now, I'm a good reference because I had never set up a turntable and picked this on tms' suggestion. As above, yes Vic is an absolutely reliable resource. If I had a problem he promptly engaged me with possible solutions.
The nice thing about the setup is that everything makes sense, and that becomes readily apparent. You will spend some time getting it level. Plenty of oil in the bearing casing. I use the lowest pressure possible until the arm mistracks, then add pressure until it moves along. I also placed the pump in another room, doesn't matter how long the run of tubing is.
I did quite a bit of research on the pros and cons of linear vs pivot. Most of the drawbacks concerning linear, high pressure, unstable with air vs fixed pivot and other possible complications Vic has answered with his design. I'm a linear guy though, even had a Rabco many moons ago. It just makes too much sense. The way Vic's air bearing is designed is in my mind a bit of simple genius.
All the above owners were helpful. Now it's done.
Update on a regulated air supply.

More to report than I expected. I thought the results would be a matter of nuance, not a matter of dramatic improvement, but I was wrong.

I had been using a Rena 400 aquarium pump with two surge tanks, of 4 and 20 litres, with 1/8 tubing. The sound was very good indeed.

Then I moved to a HiBlow 40, a much more powerful pump. The first surge tank is a LEAKY 4 litre plastic bottle filled with cotton swabs, plumbed with 1/2" tubing and connected to a Fairchild precision regulator. From there 1/4" tubing connects to the two previous surge tanks.

The Terminator (lord, how I hate that name) runs sweetly at 9 mm of mercury (or 9/760 = 0.012 atmospheres), and has an interesting set of tracking characteristics. My Koetsu tracks the highly challenging bass tremolo on Bells of St Anne de Beaupre (Real Time Records "Power and Glory"), but not many of the soprano arias. At 20 mm of Hg, it tracks the sopranos flawlessly but not Bells.

The quality of sound improves dramatically from Rena to HiBlow. It is smoother, less artificial, more focussed, and more elegant. Improvement in focus continues, albeit to a lesser extent, with more pressure up to 20 mm.

All reports preliminary, you understand. I just set this up, and so may have to revise everything I just said. If you want to try it, let me know what you think - it's small change for a real improvement, IMO. What's more, the physics predict it, so I suspect that the improvement is real.
Update on a regulated air supply.

More to report than I expected. I thought the results would be a matter of nuance, not a matter of dramatic improvement, but I was wrong.

I had been using a Rena 400 aquarium pump with two surge tanks, of 4 and 20 litres, with 1/8 tubing. The sound was very good indeed.

Then I moved to a HiBlow 40, a much more powerful pump. The first surge tank is a LEAKY 4 litre plastic bottle filled with cotton swabs, plumbed with 1/2" tubing and connected to a Fairchild precision regulator. From there 1/4" tubing connects to the two previous surge tanks.

The Terminator (lord, how I hate that name) runs sweetly at 9 mm of mercury (or 9/760 = 0.012 atmospheres), and has an interesting set of tracking characteristics. My Koetsu tracks the highly challenging bass tremolo on Bells of St Anne de Beaupre (Real Time Records "Power and Glory"), but not many of the soprano arias. At 20 mm of Hg, it tracks the sopranos flawlessly but not Bells.

The quality of sound improves dramatically from Rena to HiBlow. It is smoother, less artificial, more focussed, and more elegant. Improvement in focus continues, albeit to a lesser extent, with more pressure up to 20 mm.

All reports preliminary, you understand. I just set this up, and so may have to revise everything I just said. If you want to try it, let me know what you think - it's small change for a real improvement, IMO. What's more, the physics predict it, so I suspect that the improvement is real.
Terry, Is your HiBlow a Japanese pump like this on eBay:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Hiblow-HP-40-Air-Pump-
/251645407644?
pt=UK_HomeGarden_Garden_PondsWaterFeatures_UK&hash=item3a973
c319c
You have 2 surge tanks in a row, are they equal to each
other ?
Hello Harold.

Unfortunately, that listing will not load for me, but they do sound similar. Mine is Japanese, with all the best that this connotes.

I have three surge tanks. The air path is: pump, 4 litre filled with cotton, regulator, 4 litre empty, 20 litre empty, tonearm.
Thank Terry

Try this one:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/251645407644?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

Your tanks in that row is a complete solution I think. Congrats.
That's the one.
That's the one.
Terry, I´ll buy one and add a 20 litre tank on my own path. Many thanks for guidance.
A bit confused by talk of more powerful pumps, gentlemen. Vic the designer spent years designing the Terminator to operate on a low pressure pump, esp to minimise noise. I can't see how going against this ethos can possibly help. Unless you know more than the designer?
Agreed. My Terminator is playing right now with 0.09 psi showing on the electronic pressure gauge installed inline. Working perfectly. I don't know about the need for a higher pressure or flow pump than the Rena 400 I am using. I do have each of the 2 outlets plumbed into the surge tank with one airline of different length as the other to help smooth out the pulsations. Can't hear a difference but it can't hurt.
Spirit, with respect, that sounds a lot like an ad hominum sneer. We are all, I would have hoped, governed by what is observable. That is science. That is my way. The other way is superstition.

I stand by what I wrote.
I’m confused by some of the above comments about measured pressure.

Rated pressure for these pumps is inverse to air flow. Max flow occurs at min pressure(ie. with free-flowing air unburdened by tubes, tanks, or air manifold). For example, the paralleled dual outlets of Rena 400 are claimed by the manufacturer to produce 4 psi max. Under full load-- with a pressure gauge placed at the end of my 20' silicone hose whose output is stopped up at the outlet to block air flow to zero-- my Rena 400 produces 3 psi max. After connecting the hose to the Terminator air manifold, max measured pressure drops to around .3 psi. Then with the Rena’s output adjusted downward to the point of obtaining the minimum pressure required to prevent skipping(which is Vic’s recommended set-up to minimize turbulence) measured pressure falls to around .1 psi.

However this is not the way that I measure or regulate pressure. I position a high-quality brass needle valve close to the Terminator air manifold, downstream of a co-located 5 psi Wima dial gauge. This way the dial reads the back-pressure behind the needle valve instead of pressure between the needle valve and the air manifold. With the Rena’s outputs turned wide open, the dial now reads across the full sweep of 0-3 psi. As the needle valve is opened up to introduce flow to the tonearm, the pressure drop below the base line of 3 psi measures the pressure lost through the manifold to float the tonearm slider. The minimum pressure drop required to prevent skipping is 1 psi. This is indicated on the dial as a drop from 3 psi to 2 psi. Simply put, it takes 1 psi of pump pressure to operate the tonearm.

Why is this significant? First, it demonstrates that a pump with a 1 psi output is necessary and sufficient for Terminator. Second, it demonstrates that the Rena loafs at one-third of its capacity in this application. A higher pressure or higher flow pump need not apply. The only remaining meaningful variable is the smoothness of the air flow.

It’s conceivable that the Hi-Flow pump pulses less or that a leaky flow tank with cotton balls inside further smooths pulsing. Other differences may include the quality and positioning of the pressure regulator. I can hear the difference in turbulence between a smooth brass needle valve and a cheap plastic aquarium valve. I like positioning the brass needle valve as the most downstream link in the chain. This might help filter pulsing of the spring mechanism of the upstream dial gauge.

I may try the Hi-Flow pump, but am first inclined to add more and larger smoothing tanks-- only a gallon plastic can so far. There seems to be a wide range of opinion in the fish community about whether the Rena is loud or quiet. YMMV. There is a youtube video of a guy quieting pump vibration down considerably by hot-gluing the pump motors to their chassis mounting points. I may try this.
Terry, no sneer intended. It's just that I relayed users' ideas on more powerful pumps, and he's perplexed because it's a deliberate low-pressure design.
Can you describe in a great deal more detail what the schematic on such an arrangement is? I would be curious to investigate.
A thoughtful post, Dgarretson.

Even so, I do not agree that you have demonstrated that a pump with a 1 psi output is necessary and sufficient for Terminator. First a technical quibble: as you note, P and V are inversely related, so that it makes good sense to speak of pressure at a specific load, to wit, the pressure at the volumetric load of the Terminator. I am not sure that your measurement technique accomplishes this, but have not thought about it much - is this a standard engineering technique?

Second, it seems to me that you have demonstrated that Terminator works at 1 psi (your technique), but not that 1 psi is optimal. I have measured the pressure in the line, after regulation, and this is clearly different - the saddle floats at a much lower pressure, and so my measurements are approximately 10% of yours.

My conclusions are the same as yours: just as pure DC improves amplification, pure air (pressure) improves flotation. The question arising is, what is the cost/benefit curve? Or, how heroical should we get? Since I didn't know the answer, I bought a more powerful pump so that I could waste energy in smoothing, and the results are, to me, well worth it.
Hello Spirit.

Maybe I'm getting too old and grouchy ...

I agree that with all who say that the Terminator is a low pressure system, and intentionally low. The question nevertheless remains: "How low? On which turntable, with what cartridge, with what auxiliary weights?"

I thought to investigate this question. First, I bought a higher pressure, higher volume pump so that I could waste energy in smoothing. This has been VERY worthwhile, in my system.

Next, I tried to float a massy wand, comprised of a massy, low compliance cartridge, which is improved with extra weights adorning the wand. Naturally, this needs a larger counterweight. This floats, barely, at 9 mm of mercury. The sound is dramatically improved. I attribute this to smoothing.

As expected, the sound changes with pressure. Higher pressure sharpens the focus, lower pressure dulls focus. Now, the question of system integration arises, and that depends very much on the turntable.

I had deliberately softened the sound of my turntable by interposing cork discs on the shelf supports, but this appears to be no longer necessary, as I can now modulate this factor with air pressure. I will remove these as soon as I can get a mover in to lift the components, so that I can get at the supports.

Specifically, the schematic is:

PUMP --> 4 l surge tank with cotton --> regulator --> pressure gauge
--> 4 l surge tank --> 20 l surge tank
--> Terminator

YMMD
Terry9 wrote "I have measured the pressure in the line, after regulation, and this is clearly different - the saddle floats at a much lower pressure, and so my measurements are approximately 10% of yours."

As I noted in my post, I too measured around .1 psi after regulation-- so on this point we agree. The 1 psi drop upstream of the regulator merely indicates how much pressure is needed from the pump to produce .1 psi at the arm. At 3 psi max capacity the Rena can make .3 psi at the tonearm. So unless you want more than .3 psi at the tonearm you don't need a stronger pump.

I believe the basic math is that at margin of air pressure necessary to float the slider, the volume of air flowing through the manifold is identical with either pump. The pressure/flow relationship is a function of the pressure drop through the system-- not of pump output. The slider doesn't care about the air flow-- only that sufficient vertical force/pressure is applied to conquer gravity. However, the pressure/volume relationship changes when you introduce a leaky tank or air line. A larger pump may be needed to make up for that loss.

I can't conceive how a leaky tank could help, unless this somehow smooths pulsing.
DG, I don't think that air volume is constant over a pressure change of an order of magnitude. But I have no measurements to back that up.

I agree that pump output pressure is largely irrelevant, unless you have a leaky system. Which I do - leaky tank and pressure regulator. That extra volume has to come from somewhere.

As to the leaky tank, I am pretty sure that a leaky tank smooths out pulsing. So do cotton balls. Think automobile muffler, especially like those on my first cars.
Terry,
On smoothing we must focus to get out the best of our systems. A stoopid question: does a large tank alone before the arm manifold complete this job, do we really need a leaky tank in the chain ?
Terry, you sound like a restless investigator, whereas I'm prob happy to stick as is. I fully acknowledge you may be maxxing out further SQ impvts in your Terminator set up. Would be curious if you ever put this to Vic to hear his opinions.
Hello Harold.

I have not tried a large tank alone. I recalled the days of my mis-spent youth, and cars with leaky mufflers, which absolutely smoothed the exhaust emitted at the tailpipe. So I decided to add to this with another piece of muffler technology, the so-called glass-pack, in which a perforated tube runs inside another container packed with glass fibres. I simply substituted cotton fibre, and added a filter.

I don't think that yours is a stupid question at all. Why don't you try it, and let us know how it works? I have foolishly decided that the experiment is over for the moment, and closed up the cabinet. Until you find something better for us to try, that is.
Hello Spirit.

Yes, he suggested that I post photos and suggestions. I will probably do that at some point, but I am working on an air bearing turntable at the moment, so ...
Terry & Spirit, Funny coincidence as I´m working on the final stage on levitating my TT and I have no time to tweak the airflow of TA but I will try a large (20 litre perhaps) tank later with my Sera 275 R. Actually I´m testing an uber rare vintage MM cart at the very moment as well so I need to complete 2 studies first.
2 years ago after the latest tweaks the Tom2 wand I really thought that I don´t need to improve anything in my system because the overall sound was so good. Boy how wrong I was.
With an indispensable help from Vic himself I have managed to vastly improve my TT, first the direct rim drive, then removing suspension... And now there seems to be a way to improve TA´s airflow and get even better sound quality. Fantastic is this hobby of ours, isn´t it.
Re levitating/air bearing tts, Vic has just released a second major mod of his Salvation rim drive tt on which I run his Terminator. The first was a magnetic bearing, and now magnetic feet to isolate the tt further - aiming to fit the latter soon, but if the effects of the mag bearing are anything to go by, I'm expecting a lot.
I would still love you guys to run your pump mods by Vic and get his response to your ideas.
Terry9, schematics/photos would be great, I'm all fingers and thumbs w/such things.
Changed the mounting options on my turntable. On the turntable itself I changed the sorbothane pads to aluminum spikes resting on aluminum pucks. The shelf which supports the turntable is now supported by hardwood pillars all the way down to concrete.

Took a tip from TMS and used a Starrett level, another improvement.

Results are good. Soundstage focus is improved and so is accuracy, without deleterious harshness. An old angel recording of Satie has the introductory percussives which are not too far off the piano upstairs (which some more modern piano records cannot match, which is interesting).
Dgarretson, I noticed that you posted on the stability of the Terminator saddle, and that the stability decreased with increasing air pressure. I noticed the same thing, even with a highly filtered and regulated air supply. In my case, it seems to be a vertical movement rather than horizontal. What were your observations?

Again in my case, it seems that the trade-off is saddle stability vs lateral friction, as the latter clearly decreases with air pressure. And this is where we find an interesting benefit of the Terminator design, that the cartridge is almost immune to vertical saddle movement, because of the point bearings which support the wand, leaving wand inertia to filter out the saddle movement.

Lateral friction, of course, will affect trackability, and so higher pressure will tend to reduce that distortion component. The sweetest spot for me seems to be about .3 to .4 psi, measured according to the pressure in the line, just past the regulator.

Have you had any more thoughts? And thanks for posting about the saddle instability.