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Thread: 9in vs 10.5in vs 12in arms. Which would you choose?

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    [Industry Expert] Addicted to Best! Believe High Fidelity's Avatar
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    9in vs 10.5in vs 12in arms. Which would you choose?

    Fremers position is that 9in is best and certain manufacturers only make one length so you don't have a choice. However, if you did have a choice would you choose:

    9in

    10.5in

    12in

    Lets assume that there is no difference at all in the tonearm and they will all be built with the same material, specs. Only difference would just be the length.

    Any supporting reasons to why you chose your particular length would be much appreciated...

    -Joshua
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    Addicted to Best! cjfrbw's Avatar
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    I think it depends on tastes and goals. If you like a filmy, evanescent and ethereal presentation, than 9 inch with a high compliance, low output cartridge and a belt or DD tt.

    If you like a fuller, meatier, dynamic and more tape like presentation, a 12 inch arm with low compliance cartridge and a high quality idler arm tt. Those would tend to be the playback "poles". For inbetween, use inbetween variants. Turntable "mass effects" also matter.
    SME 30/2 Turntable, Da Vinci Grandezza Tonearm, Benz MC-3 Cartridge, Allnic HT 3000 head amp, Allnic H-3000 Phono, Allnic L 5000 preamp, Accuphase F 25, Analysis Audio Epsilon Speaker/foil tweeters in four way active crossover Amplification: Sony TAN 8550 VFET amp (26 DHT preamp driver)350-7000hz, Yamaha B-2 VFET amplifier (26 DHT preamp driver)80-350hz , 45 SET tube amp 7000Hz to infinity Hz, Yamaha RX Z9 plus Yamaha Aventage CX-A5000 preamp processor 9.4 surround sound.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cjfrbw View Post
    I think it depends on tastes and goals. If you like a filmy, evanescent and ethereal presentation, than 9 inch with a high compliance, low output cartridge and a belt or DD tt.

    If you like a fuller, meatier, dynamic and more tape like presentation, a 12 inch arm with low compliance cartridge and a high quality idler arm tt. Those would tend to be the playback "poles". For inbetween, use inbetween variants. Turntable "mass effects" also matter.

    Really????????
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    [Industry Expert] ddk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Believe High Fidelity View Post
    Fremers position is that 9in is best and certain manufacturers only make one length so you don't have a choice. However, if you did have a choice would you choose:

    9in

    10.5in

    12in

    Lets assume that there is no difference at all in the tonearm and they will all be built with the same material, specs. Only difference would just be the length.

    Any supporting reasons to why you chose your particular length would be much appreciated...

    -Joshua
    Hi Josh, before jumping on Fremer can you link where he said that so we know the context, because it sounds like the type of hype I read in respect to SAT and the designer's claims?

    david
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    [WBF Founding Member] Addicted to Best! JackD201's Avatar
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    When I had a VPI HRX I needed a 10.5" wand for the Phantom to clear the periphery ring. I got more wands after that. I've been 10.5 inch ever since. Nothing to do with sonics, just necessity that turned to habit.
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  6. #6

    we can be going in circles

    Quote Originally Posted by ddk View Post
    Hi Josh, before jumping on Fremer can you link where he said that so we know the context, because it sounds like the type of hype I read in respect to SAT and the designer's claims?

    david
    I had a good chat with Max Townshend. whom I think is one of the great TT Engineers out there. In short he advocates the use of 9 inch arms for tortional stiffness. He said this outweighs the tracking error problems of a 9 inch arm versus a 12 inch arm.

    Do bear in mind that the Townshend benefits from a trough - this in many ways locks a cartridge in the groove - not only this but the trough prevents a cartridge from sudden mistracks. To this end the tracking errors are minimised by the shorter arm. I say this all because conventional 12 vs 9 inch arms don't get the benefit of the trough - therefore Max's view may be 'less' correct in the conventional arm debate.

    As an aside I think the Schroeder parallel tracker is the way forward - ask yourself this question guys - would you want the Schroeder with a 12 or 9 inch arm?

    Remember that in essence it is application. Increasing length is not a cure all. There are a load (if you don't mind the pun) of other factors to consider. Affect to suspension, compliance are all important factors.

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    [Industry Expert] ddk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loheswaran View Post
    I had a good chat with Max Townshend. whom I think is one of the great TT Engineers out there. In short he advocates the use of 9 inch arms for tortional stiffness. He said this outweighs the tracking error problems of a 9 inch arm versus a 12 inch arm.

    Do bear in mind that the Townshend benefits from a trough - this in many ways locks a cartridge in the groove - not only this but the trough prevents a cartridge from sudden mistracks. To this end the tracking errors are minimised by the shorter arm. I say this all because conventional 12 vs 9 inch arms don't get the benefit of the trough - therefore Max's view may be 'less' correct in the conventional arm debate.

    As an aside I think the Schroeder parallel tracker is the way forward - ask yourself this question guys - would you want the Schroeder with a 12 or 9 inch arm?

    Remember that in essence it is application. Increasing length is not a cure all. There are a load (if you don't mind the pun) of other factors to consider. Affect to suspension, compliance are all important factors.
    I have 9", 10", 12" models of several tonearms and can easily compare apples to apples which I've done. With these arms I can equivocally claim that the 12" sounds best, not only with better tracking ability but better, deeper and more natural bass, airier highs and quite a bit of solidity. Of course none of this will show up if your table and system isn't up to the challenge.

    david
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  8. #8
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    Trite, but whichever one sounds better. Not locked into any orthodoxy that would require choosing based on one parameter. I have one table where a 9" or shorter arm is the longest I can install. I have another table where a 12" is the shortest arm I can install.

    Also as far as I am concerned the table/arm/cartridge work as a team. Choosing pieces in isolation may not be the wisest move.

    Quote Originally Posted by Believe High Fidelity View Post
    Fremers position is that 9in is best and certain manufacturers only make one length so you don't have a choice. However, if you did have a choice would you choose:

    9in

    10.5in

    12in

    Lets assume that there is no difference at all in the tonearm and they will all be built with the same material, specs. Only difference would just be the length.

    Any supporting reasons to why you chose your particular length would be much appreciated...

    -Joshua

  9. #9
    VIP/Donor [VIP/Donor] microstrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Believe High Fidelity View Post
    (...) Lets assume that there is no difference at all in the tonearm and they will all be built with the same material, specs. Only difference would just be the length. (...)

    -Joshua
    IMHO you are assuming something impossible - some of the fundamental specs of different length tonearms, such as inertia mass and resonances must be different. You can not keep all of them. As the specs of different length tonearms will be different you can not separate the choice of length from the cartridge selection.
    At last settled around the DCS Vivaldi 2.0 stack and a pair of Wilson XLF's : Forsell Air Force One, ARC Phono 2SE, cj GAT 2, cj ART monoblocks , TA OPUS MM2 IC's and sp, TA XL digital, TA XL gen V power cables, CenterStage footers and Nordost Qkore8's!

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    Member Sponsor [WBF Founding Member] Mike Lavigne's Avatar
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    my experience with 4-5 years of listening to various testing sessions (with multiple lengths) of Durand tone arms in my system, as well as hearing Joel's perspective about many multiples more from his own testing, as well as my prior and subsequent experience results in my preference for 12" tone arms among tone arms I have heard.

    however; my intuition tells me that execution is more significant than just length at the top of the food chain. and context is almost as important. and that the last word on the truth of this subject has yet to be written.

    I would love to compare the 9" SAT to my 12" Durand Sapphire Telos in my system.
    Wave Kin. NVS tt, AS-2000 ord. (2) Durand Telos (1-Sapphire) arms, CA Gold Stat, Ort Anna carts, -2- Studer A-820 RTR (1/4" + 1/2").*MSB Select II dac w/33 Femto clock + mono powerbases, SGM serv + (2x) 30 tb NAS. *darT NHB-18NS w/2 phonos, King-Cello. *dart 458 mono blocks. EA MM7. *Equi=tech 10WQ, (10) Abso Fid PC & (2) Evo Acou PC. *Evo Acou 12' TRSC and 8m + 1.25m 'zeel' ic's, *Tripoint Troy Sig + Elite, Entreq Sil Tel + Pos, *Herzan TS-140 & TS-150, Wave Kin. A10 U8's + 2NS, Adona GTX.

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