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Thread: Tonearm ranking

  1. #1
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    Tonearm ranking

    Hi all,

    Feel free to rate the tonearms in the following buckets based on your experiments. Will give something to muse over

    1. Sonics for playing classical LPs while playing with neutral, dynamic carts, like Ortofon A90
    2. Ease of mounting
    3. Ease of adjustment (VTA, SRA, swapping carts, etc).

    The tonearms are: Durand Talea II, Da Vinci Grandezza, Thales, Schroeder LT, FR66s, Ikeda 407, Air Tangent 10b, Kuzma Airline, Kuzma 4P, SME 3012.

    Additional comments welcome. While ranking you can also add in parentheses next to the arm the carts you have experienced them on

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    Member Sponsor Addicted to Best! rockitman's Avatar
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    Graham phantom has a lock on 2 and 3...
    I have an A90 mounted to a 10" Phantom Supreme on my Clearaudio Master Innovation. Excellent combo. No personal experience with any of the arms you mention in my system.
    Last edited by rockitman; 04-06-2016 at 03:16 PM.
    Christian

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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by bonzo75 View Post
    Hi all,

    Feel free to rate the tonearms in the following buckets based on your experiments. Will give something to muse over

    1. Sonics for playing classical LPs while playing with neutral, dynamic carts, like Ortofon A90
    2. Ease of mounting
    3. Ease of adjustment (VTA, SRA, swapping carts, etc).

    The tonearms are: Durand Talea II, Da Vinci Grandezza, Thales, Schroeder LT, FR66s, Ikeda 407, Air Tangent 10b, Kuzma Airline, Kuzma 4P, SME 3012.

    Additional comments welcome. While ranking you can also add in parentheses next to the arm the carts you have experienced them on

    Morning B,

    Ok in for a penny in for a Pound

    Most memorable Sonics for playing Classical?

    --easy my Decca arm/Deram combo in 1957--the first Cart I bought to play the 1812 Klemperer 10" version--well it was my first foray into Audio --one always remembers the first time -no?

    so for the present:

    Carts I've owned and recommend for Classical---

    Decca London--bit of heaven and hell-- when she's good she's great--when she's bad she's horrid!

    Jan Allaerts Finish--- great on all counts superb Cart--I'd own again

    Koetsu Onyx long Body only--- as above 5 stars

    Ortofon A90- excellent sonics detail to die for-- replicant tip needs careful usage--short working life compared to others

    EMT TSD-15--the Big balls of the lot--kicks serious crescendo butt--nothing phases it-- tremendous drive--can be used stripped down from H/shell

    Miyajama Madake-- a truly oustanding transducer--what it can retrieve from the LP is staggering--for its price sonic marvel

    Shindo SPU ae-- if you want no hassle true to source Scale and Weight --and just want to hear the dulcet tones/plus full scale of playback without worrying about the equipment--this jewel is the pinnacle


    Arms I've owned and recommend as above:

    My personal Fav amongst Pivoted--the Breuers

    I experienced the 7/8c models long and short versions--never eclipsed sonically by any other Arm up to now I've run with but sadly no longer current

    so that leaves:

    Kuzma 4point--a sonic wonder-does most things an Arm need to do 100%--can't find fault sonically great Arm

    Fidelity Research Fr66S--the jewel in the long arm stakes--dependant on TT for mounting superbly made and sonics absolutely first rate-- snavel one pronto--if you can find them!

    SME 12R Knife edge version-- up there with the 66s -I'd own both in a heartbeat

    RF-773 Meursaurt 12" Dynamic balance Arm --paired with its SPU ae can deliver what most others promise--sadly not in current production

    Like most on the site I've had other dalliance with arm /carts --some Ok some -right doozies


    Of the Arms you mention--Ive' heard the Ikeda, Durand, Schroéder, Thales,

    all are excellent choices and highly recommended

    Also bear in mind the Airtangent !0B is in a class of itself amongst Linear trackers

    Re the Carts:

    Of the ones I've heard in other systems and recommend

    Lyra Atlas,Kisecki Purple heart,Koetsu Blue lace,Ortofon Xpression


    In spite of all this platitude waving/etc you and only you must be the ultimate judge of your decision

    so Audition carefully my friend and welcome to the minefield intricacies of the wonderful world of Vinyl

    Good Luck

    BruceD
    Last edited by BruceD; 04-06-2016 at 10:44 PM.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by bonzo75 View Post
    Hi all,

    Feel free to rate the tonearms in the following buckets based on your experiments. Will give something to muse over

    1. Sonics for playing classical LPs while playing with neutral, dynamic carts, like Ortofon A90
    2. Ease of mounting
    3. Ease of adjustment (VTA, SRA, swapping carts, etc).

    The tonearms are: Durand Talea II, Da Vinci Grandezza, Thales, Schroeder LT, FR66s, Ikeda 407, Air Tangent 10b, Kuzma Airline, Kuzma 4P, SME 3012.

    Additional comments welcome. While ranking you can also add in parentheses next to the arm the carts you have experienced them on
    I've heard all those tonearms, but only lived with the Talea II. and while I likely prefer the Talea II to those others; all of them are quite competent. if I was in the market for a tone arm in this general price category I would choose the composite arm wand Durand Kairos, not the Talea II. it is closer to the simple elegance of my Telos or Telos Sapphire.

    if you are sticking with used tone arms due to price then I would easily choose the Talea II.

    in many ways the Talea II was developed using the A90 mainly. I know back when Joel Durand was testing the Talea and Talea II in my room that was the go-to choice primarily.

    as Joel is a musician and classical composer all his tone arms excel at the nuance of classical music; particularly separating musical threads in the soundstage and ease on massed strings and other energetic music. violin and piano come thru with full harmonic complexity. I love string quartets and full orchestras on the Talea II. OTOH Led Zep rocks too.

    as far as ease of mounting, the Durand tone arms come with an aluminum template and Mint Lp protractor for your exact tt/arm combo; and they surface mount so only need threaded screw holes not a cut-out. for ease of cartridge mounting and adjustment I'd say that is more a matter of personal experience than tone arm design. if you do it enough with any of those tone arms the actual ease with any of those will become similar. some might be easier for the novice to understand. but once you've worked with any it's the same process. don't allow that factor to be important.

  5. #5
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    Wow Bruce, 1957? You started before some of the Decca and EMI recordings were released lol. Thanks for the recommendations. I have heard a da vinci with a Jan allaerts top of the line and liked it, as well as a Kuzma 4p with Ortofon A90 into Apogees. Heard the Kuzma also with Lyra Atlas and a Colibri.

    Christian yes, heard the Graham with a Kronos. Good thing with Graham Triplanar is they are easier to dem as some London locals have it.

    Mike yes, looking at used prices.

    The shortlist is getting bigger not shorter. Maybe I should head back to the CDs vs Vinyl thread to see what I have missed that makes CDs sound better.
    Last edited by bonzo75; 04-07-2016 at 06:29 AM.

  6. #6
    I have an Ikeda 407 tone arm. It has a removable head shell so mounting a cartridge and changing cartridges are easy. In my case, I bought extra head shells to make cartridge rolling even easier. I also have an Ortofon A90 cartridge and I can tell you first hand they match very well.

    I experienced the Breur tone arm about 25 years ago. It is crafted by Dr. Breur of Switzerland. It does not have a removable head shell. The sonics from my memory were energetic and truly alive. This is one of the best tone arms for me. I will keep mine forever.

  7. #7
    except durand i know all of them. Used many of them, and mount heart many of them in my friends setup's. My best is Graham Phantom Elite, in all the way. Others are very strong contenders, but with your check list, i can double check every box for graham elite.
    Speaker : Raidho D-3.1 Electronics: Ypsilon VPS-100 Phono, PST-100 Pre , Aelius Mkii Power Source : Techdas Air Force 2 Cables : Ansuz Ceramic Line; Stage 3 concepts

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    Kuzma 12 or 4Point 14 , 14inch or vertere reference arm if funds allow

    use my A90 in a bargain basement ( price not sound quality ) Funk Firm - FX3

    http://www.tonepublications.com/anal...-has-a-winner/
    Vertere MG-1 Magic Groove / Vertere SG-1HB Tonearm / Ortofon A95
    Lamm LP2.1 Deluxe - Active Sanders Sound 10c

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    Read that on Breuer you can't adjust the azimuth, isn't that a drawback?

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    Member Sponsor Addicted to Best! marslo's Avatar
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    I have not so much experience with different arms and carts , but if one can rely on Marshall Nack's opinion ( PF issue 50 ) the SME/Transrotor 5009 tonearm with Shelter Harmony is a very good combo . I had also Phase Tech P 3 G and Shelter Harmony lifted the sound to the new level , in accordance with Marshall findings. My arm is an improved version of JR 3500 and the headshell is standard 5009 SME version. BTW Mr Nack is of the opinion that SME 5009 betters the praised 312 tonearm in this specific setup.
    Since last year I have also a new Groove SRX mk2 with new Lithos capacitors from Tom Evans and I really like classcial with my analog front end, I would say on par with regular DSD from Lampi B7. I still put the best native DSD recordings above my analog rig but the deck is rather mid level and it may be a reason. I do not intend to invest more in analog , just enjoy my vinyl collection and do not buy more than a few vinyls a year.

    http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue50/transrotor.htm
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    Last edited by marslo; 04-08-2016 at 12:54 PM.
    Aurender W20->Audio Aero La Fontaine/ Lampizator Big 7 -> Ayon Crossfire III -> Avantgarde Acoustic Duo Mezzo XD
    Analog : Transrotor Fat Bob S with SME 5 , Shelter Harmony , Groove +SRX mk2

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