Is the Acoustical Systems Axiom Tonearm the Modern Fidelity Research or Ikeda?

Ron Resnick

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#1
Is the Acoustical Systems Axiom Tonearm the Modern Fidelity Research FR-66 or Ikeda IT-407?

In an interview with hi-fi in 2014 Dietrich Brakemeierth, founder of Acoustical Systems, said:

In terms of tone arm design there’s only one person whom I really admire because his work was not influenced by any audio perspective but by pure mechanical engineering and its consequence. And that is Isamu Ikeda a Japanese engineer and founder of Fidelity Research and later Ikeda Sound Labs who in my perspective invented 40 years ago a tone arm design that has stood the test of time. It has proved, in my opinion, that until late last year it has been on par with any design that followed it. [meaning his Axiom is the only tonearm which has improved upon Isamu's work]

http://www.avhub.com.au/features/hi...trich-brakemeier-of-acoustical-systems-395228

Does anyone have any direct experience with the Axiom tonearm, which has a high effective mass of from 29 gr to 48 gr in its SME-bayonet version?

Has anyone heard a Koetsu mounted on an Axiom?

Axiom manual: https://www.manualslib.com/manual/1020196/Acoustical-Systems-Axiom.html#manual

Axiom tonearm introduction by Dietrich: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=gnageO26YJs

This Axiom seems like a very well-designed, interesting, high effective mass (but damped armwand) option for Koetsus.

I know that Rutherford Audio is the North American distributor for Acoustical Systems, but does anyone know which dealers in the USA sell Acoustical Systems?
 

Tango

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#2
Does anyone have any direct experience with the Axiom tonearm, which has a high effective mass of from 29 gr to 48 gr in its SME-bayonet version?

Has anyone heard a Koetsu mounted on an Axiom?
If Techdas didnt send me the wrong second armboard, I could have answer you that question Ron :D.

IMG_2968.JPG


Kedar told me to avoid a dampened tonearm, which the Axiom is, for Coralstone though.

Kind regards,
Tang
 

PeterA

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#3
Kedar told me to avoid a dampened tonearm, which the Axiom is, for Coralstone though.

Kind regards,
Tang
Why is that? Does he think a resonating tonearm improves the sound of what he considers to be a colored cartridge?
 

bonzo75

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#4

PeterA

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#5

bonzo75

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#6
Thanks. I read that report and could not find the mention of the Axiom or really a reference to a dampened arm to see how the conclusion about the Coralstone on a resonating arm was reached. Perhaps you could simply give a brief explanation here about your reasoning. Most interesting.
The Ikeda is dampened, and more here http://www.whatsbestforum.com/showt...-on-Koetsu-arm&p=471444&viewfull=1#post471444

At the end of the day it's advice from Shakti and seems to work, as those other arms did not. Who knows if it's damping alone or a combination of lack of damping plus weight?
 

PeterA

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#7
The Ikeda is dampened, and more here http://www.whatsbestforum.com/showt...-on-Koetsu-arm&p=471444&viewfull=1#post471444

At the end of the day it's advice from Shakti and seems to work, as those other arms did not. Who knows if it's damping alone or a combination of lack of damping plus weight?
Yes, I had read that before. I guess I'm just missing the reasoning about the colored Coralstone and resonating/heavy arm combination and how that relates to the Axiom. There are lots of variables in your various listening sessions and travels which make for good and distinctive data points, but I have trouble seeing how the conclusions are reached. I think Ron will benefit from direct experience and listening to these himself in familiar systems if he can.
 

bonzo75

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#8
Yes, I had read that before. I guess I'm just missing the reasoning about the colored Coralstone and resonating/heavy arm combination and how that relates to the Axiom. There are lots of variables in your various listening sessions and travels which make for good and distinctive data points, but I have trouble seeing how the conclusions are reached. I think Ron will benefit from direct experience and listening to these himself in familiar systems if he can.
Well then, more simply, Ron should get the FR and Axiom in the same room, no denying that.
 

DaveyF

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Aug 1, 2010
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#9
Yes, I had read that before. I guess I'm just missing the reasoning about the colored Coralstone and resonating/heavy arm combination and how that relates to the Axiom. There are lots of variables in your various listening sessions and travels which make for good and distinctive data points, but I have trouble seeing how the conclusions are reached. I think Ron will benefit from direct experience and listening to these himself in familiar systems if he can.
+1

While it is not popular on most forums and certainly not as easy to do as simply relying on someone else's opinion, IMHO, listening to a particular piece of gear under consideration and preferably in one's own system; is by far the best solution to the question.:D
 

Ron Resnick

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Jan 25, 2015
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#10
I am as guilty of this as anybody but I agree that we have to be careful not to extrapolate too much from one or two data points.

I totally respect shakti's and bonzo75's report on the FR-66S, but the theory about the undamped FR-66 stainless steel armwand ringing and thus resonating and energising the Koetsu seems not optimal to me in theory -- even if it sounds great in practice. And the suggestion that the Ikeda IT-407 is inferior to the FR-66S sonically because the Ikeda has a damped armwand and thus does not ring and therefore does not energize the Koetsu to make it come alive is worthy of further investigation.

That is why I have been searching for a modern tonearm which satisfies the high effective mass parameter many people seek for Koetsus. And when the Acoustical Systems founder said explicitly that he based the design of the Axiom tonearm on the philosophy of the Fidelity Research and Ikeda designer I found it very interesting!
 

Ron Resnick

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#11
If Techdas didnt send me the wrong second armboard, I could have answer you that question Ron :D.

View attachment 35620


Kedar told me to avoid a dampened tonearm, which the Axiom is, for Coralstone though.

Kind regards,
Tang
Tang, you are our intrepid explore on this question!
 

Ron Resnick

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#12

Ron Resnick

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#13
Tang, I read that the Acoustical Systems headshell has a lot of adjustability. I think the company even sells the headshell separately.

What was your thinking -- what are your reasons – – as to why you were curious to try the Axiom tonearm?
 

Ron Resnick

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#14
Tang, I see the Axiom comes either with a fixed mount or with an SME-style bayonet mount. I assume the fixed mount is more robust and solid?

Which mount type did you order?

I also see the Axiom can be ordered with a fixed headshell or with the highly adjustable, removable headshell. Which headshell did you order?
 

rockitman

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#15
+1

While it is not popular on most forums and certainly not as easy to do as simply relying on someone else's opinion, IMHO, listening to a particular piece of gear under consideration and preferably in one's own system; is by far the best solution to the question.:D
Indeed ! I can control damping at the bearing with Graham. I would never describe my experience with Coralstone or Tiger Eye as non-lively. Quite the opposite. They are the most tonally balanced carts I have heard in my system and my ongoing favorites. Looking forward to the diamond cantilever experience on one of my Coralstone's currently being rebuilt by Koetsu. That should be back in time for the American Sound and will reside on one of the 3012R's.
 

Ron Resnick

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#16
Christian, Are you planning to also mount the Graham on the new turntable (3 tonearms in operation)?
 

rockitman

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#17
Christian, Are you planning to also mount the Graham on the new turntable (3 tonearms in operation)?
Not sure. That would mean buying another one. I have a 10" Supreme on the CA Master Innovation, 12" Supreme & 10" Elite on the AF1. Those will likely remain in those slots for now. Two SME's on the AS until I build the courage or get a demo of the SAT. A Kuzma 4Point isn't out of the question.
 

Tango

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#18
Tang, I see the Axiom comes either with a fixed mount or with an SME-style bayonet mount. I assume the fixed mount is more robust and solid?

Which mount type did you order?

I also see the Axiom can be ordered with a fixed headshell or with the highly adjustable, removable headshell. Which headshell did you order?
Dear Ron,

First, I maybe better state how I want to play with my system and my phylosophy in building a system. What I did first was to get my system to sound "fundamentally" right, satisying, and closer to real to my ears. I am at that point already..but still always leave room and open to improve :D.

Now I am just "playing" with different sources to get "different flavors." I like physical medium records and tapes. They slow me down from whats going on in the world.

I was looking for a second arm for my AF1. The first arm was always SAT at the begining because I have experienced it with the Kronos. The cart I want to use on Techdas is Koetsu. An opportunity striked..Bonzo sold his Coral. I was actually having the same "desire" as you Ron and was thinking whether Coral or Blue Lace. I read how you are thinking now and I just smile.

Admittedly, I was interested in the Axiom because I see one of the memeber here uses the Arche headshells for all his many top Koetsus. More importantly, I see that Airbearing whom I admire and follow his journey in tts regularly uses the Axiom in custom version. This led me to buy the Axiom. On top tier gears, you cant always find an in-your-room demo. Often you have to identify who is the real deal and get a shotcut from them. To me Airbearing and ddk are the realdeal in tt. They were generous enough to show me a way to install a second arm on the 927 too.

Here is what Mr. Dietrich B. said
" We had only the best experiences and feedback from customers with Air Tight, Lyra Etna, Titan, Olympus and Atlas, Koetsu Coralstone, Jade and Onyx, various Ikeda, Miyajima, Shelter, ZYX - as well as Dynavector and London/DECCA cartridges.
The users always were amazed that the AXIOM brought out the very best with very different cartridge designs - thus proofing to be extremely universal.
I personally favour our PALLADIAN, Olympus SL, Miyabi Takesa MCA.
You will not find a cartridge that will not show it's very best in the Axiom."

My Axiom has a fixed head. I also have a seperate Arche headshell but that is to be used with my EMT 997 arm as a back arm of my 927 project. My Axiom arrived since the HK show but I have had difficulty getting an armboard. About two weeks ago the armboard came, but it wasnt configured right so I couldnt put the Axiom on the Techdas. And it is why I put the Coral on the SAT as I am listening and enjoying now. For the record, I did not put the Coral on SAT because I follow Bonzo's well intended advise.

I hope I answer all your questions.

Kind regards,
Tang
 

Ron Resnick

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#19
Dear Tang,

Thank you very much for that detailed reply. I appreciated!

I like the idea of the fixed headshell, so I am encouraged that you ordered the fixed headshell.
 

Tango

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#20
Dear Ron,

I installed the Axiom with Palladian at the back of Techdas yesterday. The armboard I fabricated myself and still waiting for Techdas to send me their version. The combo catched me excellent first impression. The sound is very optimistic. They exhibited a bottom up type of sound. Very lively and strong. High dynamic, clear sound. Vocal sounded effortlessly natural. I am using 50ohm resister. Will find 100 ohm one and use as recommended by manufacturer. More optimizing to be done. Dietrich B, the tonearm guy, will come to finetune the setup toward the end of this month. Once more famliar and arm/cart broken in I will write up some findings for you. And a whlie later, I can put Coralstone to see if it is a better match than SAT.

20171101_173401_resized.jpg
20171101_170408_resized.jpg

Tang
 
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