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Thread: Linear-tracking Turntables!

  1. #91
    Member Addicted to Best! NorthStar's Avatar
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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.
    All the Very Best, - Bob --------- "And it stoned me to my soul" - Van Morrison --------- AudiophileAudition

  2. #92
    Member Addicted to Best! NorthStar's Avatar
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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.
    All the Very Best, - Bob --------- "And it stoned me to my soul" - Van Morrison --------- AudiophileAudition

  3. #93
    Addicted to Best! cjfrbw's Avatar
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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.

  4. #94
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  5. #95
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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.

  6. #96
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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

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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

  8. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Lavigne View Post
    your above quote begs for a response.......


    ...... 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.
    HI Mike,
    Thanks for your experienced response. But I must take you to task. But first, some caveats. I have not heard the Rockport, only great things about it. I have not heard a number of the most expensive pivoted (unipivot) arms either. I also don't know how you did your testing which is the crux of the matter. But, I'll assume you do know what you are doing so I'll give you the benefit of the doubt.

    What you are saying about concerning perfect tangencity makes no sense. My position is entirely based upon the geometry and physics of stylus to groove alignment. A pivoted arm, due to its head offset angle, can never achieve a perfect fit in the groove except at the classical protractor null points. Because the head is angled, so too is the stylus. It will always fit into the groove at a rotated angle which prevents the stylus from perfectly conforming to the groove modulations. This is especially important at high frequencies with fine line contact styli. This means the finest detail in the groove is glossed over and not reproduced by the cartridge. Further, it also means there is distortion because the waveform cannot be reproduced with accuracy.

    All this is built into a pivoted arm due to the offset head and there is no way around it. A tangential tracking arm, if it is truly tangential, will permit the stylus to fit the groove perfectly, thus, retrieving the finest detail and reducing distortion. This is simply the geometry of the situation and has nothing to do with the beauty of the arm. It's the nature of the beast.

    This situation can be proven and is audible. I have spent many hours experimenting both by ear and with instrumentation. The result is always the same. The pivoted arm is inferior.

    Could a similar (not identical) situation be caused by other factors? Yes, I think so. Other factors could reduce distortion and improve resolution. But there is no escaping the geometrical facts which establishes the base level performance of the arm. So, at a theoretical level there can be no argument with my position. However, I'm willing to concede that a great pivoted design could better a poorly executed linear design. But, this has nothing to do with the pivot type. Other factors-yes. The pivot-no.

    Please note that I have not mentioned skating forces. But, I should because skating force summarizes the problems with a pivoted design. I have owned and operated professional audio repair shops for 13 years. During this time I examined thousands of styli under a purpose designed stylus microscope. I examined every stylus that came into my shop. Without exception I could identify if the stylus was used on a pivoted arm or on a linear arm. The stylus wear on those used on pivoted arms was always non-symmetrical due to poorly compensated skating force. And skating force is ALWAYS poorly compensated because there is no single value that works due to the fact that skating force is constantly changing because of friction due to groove modulation. OTH, the wear on styli that have spent their lives on linear arms, even cheap ones, is always symmetrical. This is obvious under the microscope. My customers were always amazed when I showed them these results. This is just another nail in the coffin of pivoted arms.

    So, what was the problem with your Rockport? It should have been better than you describe.

    BTW, my favorite pivot type is the unipivot. I just don't like pivots at all. They are all flawed and sound it.

    Sparky
    Last edited by karma; 03-26-2012 at 04:13 AM.

  9. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Lavigne View Post
    ... 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. all during this time i used (and continue to use) master tape as a consistent reference to judge tt and arm performance.
    Hi Mike,

    I am reading very carefully what you and Sparky are posting, and it has been your OWN experience from the quote above. That is totally fine. And I have the greatest respect for you.

    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.
    Again, your own personal opinion based on your great knowledge and experience;
    and without mentioning all the handicaps of a unipivot arm, like Sparky told us.

    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.
    Man, would I luv you to expand on that... Because as you said it that way,
    it is missing important parts IMO.

    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.
    Yes, more elaboration would be very welcome sir.

    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.
    I respectfully disagree with you sir.

    Best regards,
    Bob
    All the Very Best, - Bob --------- "And it stoned me to my soul" - Van Morrison --------- AudiophileAudition

  10. #100
    Member Sponsor [WBF Founding Member] Johnny Vinyl's Avatar
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    I cannot comment with any degree of accuracy about which is better, but Sparky's comment in his Post #101 seems to me to make a whole lot of sense. Having said that, I don't mean to infer by simple agreement to what was posted, that a tangential arm should be preferred. There are always other factors that come into play.....
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