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Thread: Linear-tracking Turntables!

  1. #91
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    HI Myles,
    Actually, I think the ET2.5 arm is a brilliant design. Being an engineer myself, I can understand the way he manipulated the design and the materials to give a very cost effective and highly functional design. Living with the arm for so many years gives one an appreciation of how well he did this. It's relatively easy to build cost is no object designs. We are surrounded by them in hi fi. The real trick is to design a great product that many can and will afford and that functions at the state of the art.

    This is what Bruce did. In my view the main difference between the very expensive air bearing arms and the ET is the air pressure that is used, very expensive materials, and extensive machine work. The ET arm is made from plastic mouldings done to a very high level of precision. This kept the price down to an affordable level. The air pressure issue can be dealt with. The expensive materials and machine work are not needed. Yet, the performance is excellent. This is the mark of a great design. You should appreciate this and encourage this approach for the health of the industry. The problem is most engineers are not as good as Bruce.

    I suspect the design is maxed out. It can't get any better without a completely new model for which there is no market. Doesn't sound like a good business proposition to me. It probably won't happen unless the vinyl resurgence is much bigger than I think it is.

    Bruce stopped developing the ET arm when it was no longer cost effective to put development money into them. CD's are the cause. And actually he kept refining the design past this point but the fact is there were few customers. However, the arm is still available but the price is significantly higher than you remember. I think I paid $3000 for my new ET2.5 about two years ago.

    Air bearing arms have always been exotic. They have always appealed to the more technically inclined person who understood the advantages and were willing to walk the extra mile to extract the best from them. I'm one of those. Anybody who settles for a pivoted arm is, in my view, willing to settle for less than the best. I think of them as lazy which is not a good attitude for creating the best system possible.

    Damn, there I go again-being honest!! But so be it. I know I have just insulted nearly every member here (everyone with a pivoted arm, that is). I don't care. I'm not here to play politics.

    Oh, and Myles, you never did answer my question about which compressor you were using. I would still appreciate an answer.

    Sparky

  2. #92
    WBF Founding Member and Super Moderator JackD201's Avatar
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    I don't think us lazy guys really care either Sparky

  3. #93
    WBF Founding Member/Member Sponsor MylesBAstor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by karma View Post
    HI Myles,
    Actually, I think the ET2.5 arm is a brilliant design. Being an engineer myself, I can understand the way he manipulated the design and the materials to give a very cost effective and highly functional design. Living with the arm for so many years gives one an appreciation of how well he did this. It's relatively easy to build cost is no object designs. We are surrounded by them in hi fi. The real trick is to design a great product that many can and will afford and that functions at the state of the art.

    This is what Bruce did. In my view the main difference between the very expensive air bearing arms and the ET is the air pressure that is used, very expensive materials, and extensive machine work. The ET arm is made from plastic mouldings done to a very high level of precision. This kept the price down to an affordable level. The air pressure issue can be dealt with. The expensive materials and machine work are not needed. Yet, the performance is excellent. This is the mark of a great design. You should appreciate this and encourage this approach for the health of the industry. The problem is most engineers are not as good as Bruce.

    I suspect the design is maxed out. It can't get any better without a completely new model for which there is no market. Doesn't sound like a good business proposition to me. It probably won't happen unless the vinyl resurgence is much bigger than I think it is.

    Bruce stopped developing the ET arm when it was no longer cost effective to put development money into them. CD's are the cause. And actually he kept refining the design past this point but the fact is there were few customers. However, the arm is still available but the price is significantly higher than you remember. I think I paid $3000 for my new ET2.5 about two years ago.

    Air bearing arms have always been exotic. They have always appealed to the more technically inclined person who understood the advantages and were willing to walk the extra mile to extract the best from them. I'm one of those. Anybody who settles for a pivoted arm is, in my view, willing to settle for less than the best. I think of them as lazy which is not a good attitude for creating the best system possible.

    Damn, there I go again-being honest!! But so be it. I know I have just insulted nearly every member here (everyone with a pivoted arm, that is). I don't care. I'm not here to play politics.

    Oh, and Myles, you never did answer my question about which compressor you were using. I would still appreciate an answer.

    Sparky
    Sparky: I'm not hiding anything. I don't remember the name. It was a long time ago. I'm sure I wrote about it though somewhere.
    Myles B. Astor, PhD
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    Executive Editor, www.AVShowrooms.com

    Skepticism is the sadism of embittered souls.

    There is something to be said in doing things wrong the exact same way every time. Itís not a good thing, but still.

  4. #94
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    Sparky, I never had the courage to say what you just said in your above post.
    Bravo, I fully agree with you!

    Those uni-pivot arms looks cool, and they come in all shape and material, and prices too.
    A good quality turntable isn't known to the general public; it is a niche market that is very restricted for only the hardcore vinyl people in search for the closest to perfection possible. And not only that, but also the best quality pressings which cost more than what the normal people can afford.

    Still, it's fun to see those big records spin on a nice turntable with just the right light above.
    ...Accents of crystal, acrylic, gold, silver, chrome, aluminum, exotic woods, etc...

    100 years from now, they will write 'bout what was right, and what was true.
    Right now, spinning LPs is still a force with the manufacturers and the buyers and the converted from yesteryear...

    I just shared my opinion, your turn now.
    Last edited by NorthStar; 03-25-2012 at 07:49 PM. Reason: one typo, I think.

  5. #95
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    Oh, almost forgot; how much is a good quality cartridge, and how long will it last?

    Plus you need a record washer, a good one that works! That too cost money.

    And I can keep up, with all the rituals and time it takes to set up everything quasi perfectly,
    and $25,000* later with bills from the doctor because not enough sleep and a sore back!

    * Price includes few LPs. Not too many though. Good pressings, not those depressing ones!
    Last edited by NorthStar; 03-25-2012 at 07:59 PM. Reason: another typo.

  6. #96
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    Yeah, I'm vinyl slob, not snob, and I like it that way. We used to spin these in the day and get massive enjoyment on primitive, macerating, plastic and aluminum spinning clam shells, and now, nothing is correct unless it entails hours of OC disorder fiddling.

    On the other hand, for the OC disordered, vinyl entails endless hours of fussing and rearranging fun, hair splitting rituals, and even occassionaly playing a record.

  7. #97
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  8. #98
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    Anybody who settles for a pivoted arm is, in my view, willing to settle for less than the best. I think of them as lazy which is not a good attitude for creating the best system possible.
    your above quote begs for a response.......

    i owned the Rockport Sirius III with linear tracking arm for 8 years. i can't say whether it's the best linear tracker; but it's likely among them. it was certainly built to a very high standard, and the air pressure system and arm shaft design were very nicely done......and designed and built without regard to expense. for the last 4 years i owned it, i also owned 4 other different tt's with a number of pivoted arms. the final couple of pivoted arms i owned did clearly out-perform the Rockport Linear tracker to the degree i can isolate the Rockport arm from the Rockport tt; particularly the final pivoted arm i owned. this is no criticism of the Rockport or the arm, both were designed 17 years ago. i'd say that is a long time to be at the cutting edge.

    all during this time i used (and continue to use) master tape as a consistent reference to judge tt and arm performance.

    looking back, i started out thinking exactly as you do in your above quote. based on all my previous experience the Rockport linear tracker took on and easily defeated all comers in performance. and my overall perspective is that up to a certain point Linear trackers do overall have advantages. but a pivoted arm is simply 'free'er' to wiggle and a solid bearing ultimately can be more dynamic and explosive than an air bearing. no doubt the Rockport arm is very dynamic and explosive, but the very very best pivoted arms are more so.

    among pivoted arms a unipivot has the highest potential. up to a point the execution is more important than the design heritage. but past that point a unipivot has a higher potential. the problem of stability in a unipivot becomes it's biggest advantage as you apply higher and higher levels of execution.

    in the final analysis the very best pivoted arms surpassed the best linear tracker i heard at image solidity, note decay and space rendering......which previously had separated a great linear tracker from any pivoted arm. and in detail retrieval it was not very close with the nod again to the pivoted arm. it turns out that perfect tangency is not as critical as agility to track the groove.

    maybe someday someone will throw a big budget at pushing linear tracker technology beyond where it is now. in the end you may be right......but i very much doubt it. and at this point you are not right.
    Last edited by Mike Lavigne; 03-25-2012 at 09:35 PM.

  9. #99
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    Just a thought that popped into my mind: would linear trackers be more susceptible to less than perfect record centering? If the groove wasn't perfectly aligned, so that that the spiraling inward did not maintain at a constant rate, but essentially wobbled back and forth on each revolution then the whole arm assembly to some degree has to dance to this tune. Which wouldn't help SQ: may be subtle, but still audible.

    Just curious ...

    Frank

  10. #100
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    HI Frank,
    You do have a point. This has been written about before and can be a concern. However, I have not had problems with this but I don't have many off center hole records. The ET 2.5 once was offered with an optional fluid damper trough that was supposed to dampen horizontal arm movement and prevent resonance. I had one installed on my first ET2.5. I finally concluded that it was was more trouble than it was worth and removed it. It's not missed.

    Do remember that off center holes also can be a problem with pivoted arms as well. Quite a few high end arms had horizontal damping mechanisms. The SME V comes to mind. I don't know anyone who uses it though. Horizontal dampers seem to be a thing of the past because the problem is not common enough to be worth the trouble. But, theoretically, you are right. Practically speaking, it is not a problem worth fixing.

    Sparky

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