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Thread: VIV Laboratory Rigid Float Tonearm, first experience.

  1. #1
    Senior Member shakti's Avatar
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    VIV Laboratory Rigid Float Tonearm, first experience.

    Japanese Tonearms do attract me, so I love to listen to music with my Ikeda, Fidelity Research, Micro Seiki and SAEC Tonearms.

    All of them were very innovative in the year of launch, so even after 25 to 35 years of age , they prove their quality against the current competition from Kuzma, SME, Clearaudio, Brinkmann and many others.

    Only some very expensive tonearm constructions (mainly European) from the last years might beat them.

    So I started to investigate, if there are any new and innovative tonearm concepts available.
    The first one I found, which also has some popularity , is the Thales arm (which I might try in the near future), but again not from Japan.
    ...and, which for me is a must as well, I do love interchangeable headshells (SME standard) , as I love to change carts....

    As I became aware about the VIV Laboratory Rigid Float Tonearm, I was very happy, as this Tonearm is so radical in thinking.
    Here I can see the innovation, which may become a classic in 25 to 35 years....

    One standard character on Japanese tonearms is, they mostly do not follow the classical Baerwald or similar geometry. Very often the arms only have one 0 point on the inner side , the geometrical outer 0 point is outside if the record itself.

    Having spoken to some old japanese, very familiar with SAEC and Fidelity Research, they even recommended to move the Cart 1mm in both directions around the inner 0 point to improve the sound. They said, that the best position in the headshell (resonance wise) might have a bigger effect on sound, that the position as such.

    My personal experience confirms that!

    From there the next step was obvious , the Rigid Float is a straight Arm, no angle at all. So no! Antiskating, but tangential tracking error above to 17 degree, on top ist has a SME headshell connector. Consequently the VIV Lab headshell "Nelson Hold" is 100% resonance optimized with a third screw to manage the cartridge chassis resonances.

    The next innovational step is, that VIV Lab says, that the tonearm manufacturer individual tonearm base has an effect on sound as well, so they developed the Rigid Float as Turntable armbase independent with a 2kg metal base as part of the construction. So you can allocate the Rigid Float just on your turntable (needs a 45mm radius place) on aside your turntable)

    The VIV Lab tonearm is available in 7, 9 and 13' length .

    The market price for the Rigid Float starts around 3500,- eur

    A Aluminium and a Carbon Arm are available, Carbon Version start at around 6000,-eur

    So I ordered the 9' aluminium Version of the VIV Lab Rigid Float to be combined with my Micro Seiki turntable.


    My first impressions will follow soon.





    http://ds-exports.biz/rigid-float-tone-arm/

    http://ds-exports.biz/nelson-hold-headshell/

    http://www.theaudiobeat.com/blog/viv_labs.htm

    https://theaudiophileman.com/rigid-f...earm-viv-labs/
    Speaker: hORNS Universum Pre: Koda K10 G2 Amps: CAT JL3 Statement KT150 Dac: Lampizator GG GenII CD-Drive: Oracle CD2000 PhonoPre: Thöress Phono, Audiospecials Phono: Micro Seiki SX1500 FVG, Micro Seiki RX5000 Tonearm: FR64s, FR64fx, Ikeda 407, SAEC 308L, Rigid Float 9' Cartridge: vdh Stradivarius, vdh colibri, FR7, Seto-Hori, Koetsu Cables: NBS BL III, XLO Limited, Unlimited, Signature, ETI, HMS Power: Vibex Granada & Alhambra Bases: HRS M3X, Accurion i4 Grounding: Telos GNR, Entreq, Taiko

  2. #2
    Member Sponsor Addicted to Best!
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    Juergen, I heard the Viv about 18 months ago.
    Unfortunately a totally alien system and room, so can’t draw any hard and fast conclusions.
    But what the analog front end did, it did very well, and the Viv must have contributed a lot.
    I’ll put in my two cents when you do LOL.

  3. #3
    VIP/Donor [VIP/Donor] microstrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shakti View Post
    (...) So I ordered the 9' aluminium Version of the VIV Lab Rigid Float to be combined with my Micro Seiki turntable.

    My first impressions will follow soon. (...)
    We can expect an enormous tracking error with such short tonearm. At what part of the LP does it have zero angle error? Very curious to have your opinion on how it sounds!
    DCS Vivaldi 2.0 stack, Magico Mini II's while waiting for the XLF successor, Forsell Air Force One, ARC Phono 3, Lamm ML1.2 Ref, Lamm L2ref, TA OPUS MM2 IC's and sp, TA XL digital, TA XL gen V power cables, CenterStage footers and Nordost Qkore8's!

  4. #4
    Senior Member shakti's Avatar
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    Every tonearm is a compromise, depending on the developer, the focus is different. For VIV LAB , the tracking error is less important, that the ongoing Antiskating force.

    So he created this different Design as his statement for a radical compromise....

    The first cartridge I fitted, was my beloved Koetsu Black Goldline. And as I am interested in the sonic signature of the Rigid Float, I stayed with the Original old and long Koetsu Headshell. (The comparison with the VIV LAB Nelson Hold headshell will be done later)

    The Koetsu headshell fits nicely, the arm comes with a simple installation tool and the arm base was moved a little bit and the arm was perfect in position.

    The tracking force adjustment is a little bit time consuming, as the oil will take a little time to settle. But as I adjust the tracking force fine-tuning by ear, it doesn't matter too much for me.

    For comparison purposes I used a 6N Ortofon Phono wire.
    (I have the same cable also in TAC5 and RCA)

    The Koetsu Black was before fitted in my FR 64 arms

    The first impression was "whow", speed, dynamic, information was on a great level, not yet heard before from the Koetsu black.

    The difference is similar like changing from FR64fx to FR64s tonearm.

    So you can imagine, that I am very impressed. I start now to understand, why some people said to me, the Rigid Float sound like a good Horn speaker system.
    Fast, dynamic, powerful, natural.

    I do not know, what the reason is, the Rigid Float stays on a separate steel base aside from the Micro Seiki, the FR arms are fitted to original Micro Seiki gunmetal bases.

    May be staying aside enhances the effect of the air bearing of the Micro Seiki turntable?

    What ever, the first minutes with the Rigid Float were very impressive. I heard some Jazz with a powerful Sax , and the power was "just there" .

    Instead of optimizing the beast, it turns out, that I was just listening to some more records. This is mostly a good start for new component in my gear to stay longer :-)

    Looking forward to spend some more hours with the Rigid Float, trying different Carts as well, trying the Nelson Hold headshell ....

    So some nice hours to come, before Munich is waiting !

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    Speaker: hORNS Universum Pre: Koda K10 G2 Amps: CAT JL3 Statement KT150 Dac: Lampizator GG GenII CD-Drive: Oracle CD2000 PhonoPre: Thöress Phono, Audiospecials Phono: Micro Seiki SX1500 FVG, Micro Seiki RX5000 Tonearm: FR64s, FR64fx, Ikeda 407, SAEC 308L, Rigid Float 9' Cartridge: vdh Stradivarius, vdh colibri, FR7, Seto-Hori, Koetsu Cables: NBS BL III, XLO Limited, Unlimited, Signature, ETI, HMS Power: Vibex Granada & Alhambra Bases: HRS M3X, Accurion i4 Grounding: Telos GNR, Entreq, Taiko

  5. #5
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    Juergen, I heard the Viv (not sure which length) sporting a Kondo cart, on a Kuzma XL 4DC, playing into Kondo/Spectral/Apogee Divas.

    Despite me finding the character of the presentation not to my taste, this was not the fault of the analog front end (obviously including the Viv).

    Lps had an amazing verve and dynamics, music really moved along at quite a clip. Imaging/soundstaging were exemplary.

    I played a pretty challenging album, King Crimson “Discipline” that suffers quite a bit from typical 80s production flaws like heavy compression, and the presentation via the Viv was pretty amazing, a truly kinetic quality with the ability to literally pinpoint the musicians/instruments in the soundstage. I’m a massive Bill Bruford fan, and his drum kit was fully laid out for me.

  6. #6
    VIP/Donor [VIP/Donor] Tango's Avatar
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    Hello Juergen,

    Did they provide you with the shiny steel base that elevated the arm to the level of your MS plinth or you find your own? I once thought of using this arm in a longer version as a rear arm for my 927.

    Kind regards,
    Tang

  7. #7
    Senior Member shakti's Avatar
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    @Tang
    In the times I were a older school boy I choose an internship in a metal craftsman shop. Even in that time, I was interested in improving my turntable, so I created a big and heavy platter weight. Unfortunately it was much too heavy for any turntable, so I stored it for memory ...
    On the day the Rigid Float arrived, much earlier than expected, I searched my house for anything I could use for a base, so I tried the J Sikora Platter weight, which was not high enough. Than I remembered, that my schoolboy platter weight might fit. And I found it and it fits in all dimensions. I just had to turn it by 180.
    If you know, that it was originally planned to be a platter weight, you will see it.... My room is full of old industrial looking stuff, so the light rusty former platter weight fits nicely
    It seems, that the young school boy has known, that a 90mm Rigid Float tonearm base is needed some decades later!



    As I use the Micro and the Rigid Float on an active Accurion Base, the three rubber feets of the Rigid Float were not my first choice.
    The supplied metal spikes are much better. If possible, I try to exchange metal screws on tonearm bases or headshells agains Titan screws, so I changed the supplied metal spikes for M3 Titan screws (standard M3 out of my bicycle customization box) you can see them on one of the pictures , they shine in blue.

    I have not done the comparison, but it gives me a better feeling


    Combining the dynamic and powerful tonearm with an EMT 927 sounds like a fascinating idea, the longer version in 13' likes to be placed far away, it has 370mm mounting distance.

    You will find in this link some dimensions:

    http://www.blackforestaudio.de/cms/f....php?idcat=311
    Speaker: hORNS Universum Pre: Koda K10 G2 Amps: CAT JL3 Statement KT150 Dac: Lampizator GG GenII CD-Drive: Oracle CD2000 PhonoPre: Thöress Phono, Audiospecials Phono: Micro Seiki SX1500 FVG, Micro Seiki RX5000 Tonearm: FR64s, FR64fx, Ikeda 407, SAEC 308L, Rigid Float 9' Cartridge: vdh Stradivarius, vdh colibri, FR7, Seto-Hori, Koetsu Cables: NBS BL III, XLO Limited, Unlimited, Signature, ETI, HMS Power: Vibex Granada & Alhambra Bases: HRS M3X, Accurion i4 Grounding: Telos GNR, Entreq, Taiko

  8. #8
    VIP/Donor [VIP/Donor] Tango's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shakti View Post
    @Tang
    In the times I were a older school boy I choose an internship in a metal craftsman shop. Even in that time, I was interested in improving my turntable, so I created a big and heavy platter weight. Unfortunately it was much too heavy for any turntable, so I stored it for memory ...
    On the day the Rigid Float arrived, much earlier than expected, I searched my house for anything I could use for a base, so I tried the J Sikora Platter weight, which was not high enough. Than I remembered, that my schoolboy platter weight might fit. And I found it and it fits in all dimensions. I just had to turn it by 180.
    If you know, that it was originally planned to be a platter weight, you will see it.... My room is full of old industrial looking stuff, so the light rusty former platter weight fits nicely
    It seems, that the young school boy has known, that a 90mm Rigid Float tonearm base is needed some decades later!



    As I use the Micro and the Rigid Float on an active Accurion Base, the three rubber feets of the Rigid Float were not my first choice.
    The supplied metal spikes are much better. If possible, I try to exchange metal screws on tonearm bases or headshells agains Titan screws, so I changed the supplied metal spikes for M3 Titan screws (standard M3 out of my bicycle customization box) you can see them on one of the pictures , they shine in blue.

    I have not done the comparison, but it gives me a better feeling


    Combining the dynamic and powerful tonearm with an EMT 927 sounds like a fascinating idea, the longer version in 13' likes to be placed far away, it has 370mm mounting distance.

    You will find in this link some dimensions:

    http://www.blackforestaudio.de/cms/f....php?idcat=311
    Dear Juergen,

    How do you find things you keep for the past decades . Last week I was looking for a box of my Etna for a few hours and finally found I am using it to support my heavy power cable in the back of my phono power supply.

    I now have the 14” Axiom attaching to the back frame of my EMT working terrifically so I passed up the opportunity to try the VIV. But nothing play perfectly right out of the box on my vinyl front. The transformer of EMT places too near the back arm creating a small hum. I need to get this sort out.

    Pls keep writing about your journey on vinyl front. I am one of the person who like to follow your threads. Info from you are great data points for me.

    Kindest regards,
    Tang

  9. #9
    Senior Member miniguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shakti View Post
    Every tonearm is a compromise, depending on the developer, the focus is different. For VIV LAB , the tracking error is less important, that the ongoing Antiskating force.

    So he created this different Design as his statement for a radical compromise....

    The first cartridge I fitted, was my beloved Koetsu Black Goldline. And as I am interested in the sonic signature of the Rigid Float, I stayed with the Original old and long Koetsu Headshell. (The comparison with the VIV LAB Nelson Hold headshell will be done later)

    The Koetsu headshell fits nicely, the arm comes with a simple installation tool and the arm base was moved a little bit and the arm was perfect in position.

    The tracking force adjustment is a little bit time consuming, as the oil will take a little time to settle. But as I adjust the tracking force fine-tuning by ear, it doesn't matter too much for me.

    For comparison purposes I used a 6N Ortofon Phono wire.
    (I have the same cable also in TAC5 and RCA)

    The Koetsu Black was before fitted in my FR 64 arms

    The first impression was "whow", speed, dynamic, information was on a great level, not yet heard before from the Koetsu black.

    The difference is similar like changing from FR64fx to FR64s tonearm.

    So you can imagine, that I am very impressed. I start now to understand, why some people said to me, the Rigid Float sound like a good Horn speaker system.
    Fast, dynamic, powerful, natural.

    I do not know, what the reason is, the Rigid Float stays on a separate steel base aside from the Micro Seiki, the FR arms are fitted to original Micro Seiki gunmetal bases.

    May be staying aside enhances the effect of the air bearing of the Micro Seiki turntable?

    What ever, the first minutes with the Rigid Float were very impressive. I heard some Jazz with a powerful Sax , and the power was "just there" .

    Instead of optimizing the beast, it turns out, that I was just listening to some more records. This is mostly a good start for new component in my gear to stay longer :-)

    Looking forward to spend some more hours with the Rigid Float, trying different Carts as well, trying the Nelson Hold headshell ....

    So some nice hours to come, before Munich is waiting !

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    This experience (and there are others of a similar nature) would seem to counter those on this forum who believe that minimum tracking error is essential for good sound, and appears to lend credence to those like Michael Fremer who contends that tracing accuracy is not as important as traditionally thought.

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