Multiple tonearms

amirm

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Apr 3, 2010
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OK guys. Educate me :). I see some people have as many as four tonearms, cartridges on their turntables. What is the reasoning for this? Is it that with some content some sound better than others?
 

jazdoc

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Aug 7, 2010
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I use one tonearm for a stereo XV1-S cartridge and one for a Miyajima Premium BE mono cartridge. I have a large collection of mono jazz and classical which definitely sounds better with a dedicated cartridge.
 

flez007

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Aug 31, 2010
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I have never been into that Amir, but Raul down here has three decks with three or four arms each. I remember him saying that the combination of certain arms and cartridges was one of the reasons to follow that route.
 

naturephoto1

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May 24, 2010
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Amir,

The reasoning besides making comparisons of different combinations of tonearms and cartridges is that some favor a combination of tonearm and cartridge for different kinds of music. When Chris Brady prepared my Teres Certus 450 turntable, having a mount for a 2nd tonearm was an option but I decided not to opt for it. In my case though, I can change out the stili of my Soundsmith Strain Gauge Cartridge easily for different sounds as well as for 78 RPM vinyl.

Rich
 

amirm

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I see. Both reasoning make sense. What is the incremental cost to add more tonearms? In other words, where is most of the cost? The turntable, the tone arm or all of the above? :)
 

naturephoto1

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May 24, 2010
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Amir,

The turntable is generally the most expensive of the 4 major components for vinyl playback. The 4 being the turntable, the tonearm, cartridge, and phono preamp (thought this can be in your Preamp or integrated amp. The next most expensive component is generally either the tonearm or the cartridge though either can be more expensive. The same can be true of the Phono Preamp.

I am including a link from Mark Baker of Origin Live below. He has expanded his thinking dramatically from the past and this not only gives you an idea of his feeling as to how much benefit is obtained from the different components as well as the cost of those components particularly in the Origin Live line of products.

http://www.originlive.com/system_brochure.pdf

Rich
 

amirm

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Thanks. That was a good read.

So what are the attributes of tone arm which need optimizing? From my olden years of repairing turntables, the two functions were to balance the weight of the cartridge and have a suspension mechanism which did not impede the movement of the same. Are there are other aspects? And how do those work together with the cartridge in a way that doesn't work with some other?
 

cjfrbw

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Apr 20, 2010
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Wretched excess. Blissful bling.
 

microstrip

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May 30, 2010
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Is it that with some content some sound better than others?

Very dangerous question for an audiophile :confused: .

I think having more than one tonearm is part of the hobby. Although I have several tonearms, currently I only use one. But there was a time when I took some pleasure exploring the characteristics of the tonearm and cartridge. I recently listened to several excellent analog systems and I would not say that there was one that was much better than the others.

Surprisingly, later I found that the differences between the phono units can be greater than the influence of the tonearms!

Anyway, I will not part with my old Sumiko MDC800 -The Arm, as it is now part of my memories...
 

Mike Lavigne

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Wretched excess. Blissful bling.

that's as good a reason as any.:D



actually; my rational for three tt's, 5 arms, and 3 phono stages is more a matter of discovery.....as well as like Jazdoc, a Mono arm. i enjoy comparing the linear tracker and the pivoted arms. the different phono stages have different strengths for different pressings and types of music.

messing with tt's is fun.

and when i have vistors i can use all three tt's and have continuous music which sounds much better than 'gaps' (digital).

and you always have a reference to measure against which moves the performance ever forward.

Amir, you're local....come on over and hear for yourself why everyone needs lots of arms and tt's. you are always welcome.
 
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amirm

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Apr 3, 2010
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Thanks for the offer Mike. I am not sure I am worthy of walking into a place with so much "audio porn." :D

Seriously, I love to take you up on the offer. Will ping you when things settle down work wise. My experience with LPs stopped after I got done repairing Gerrard turntables in 1970s! So I definitely could use some education.
 

JackD201

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Apr 21, 2010
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Hi Amir,

Cartridges are like speakers in that aside from being the "other" transducers, each has their own, to borrow from Ron, "flavor" so to speak. For me, it isn't so much about what cart plays what type of music better but rather it is more dependent on my mood. I use two of the same arm for convenience but there are a couple of arms I covet for some of my carts. Arm and cart matching is really all engineering rather than anything aesthetic. Carts differ in vertical and horizontal compliance and so the effective mass of an arm has a pretty big effect on how well that stylus traces the grooves.

In any case table set up is sort of a hobby within a hobby. It is like the "tune your own engine" portion of vintage car collection. Personally I find it quite enjoyable as many others do.

Jack
 

amirm

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I see :). So when you buy a new cartridge, do you go through putting it in every tonearm and see which one works best with it?
 

JackD201

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Apr 21, 2010
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Ummmmmmm. Yes! Even the ones that aren't "supposed" to match. ;) ;) ;)
 

ack

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Amir,

I will soon be getting a second JMW 10.5i *armwand* with an XV-1S, so that I can play the lesser recordings with the XX-2 and the extraordinary ones with the XV-1S. As my arm is a unipivot, the switcheroo is as simple as lifting one arm, detaching the cable and situating the other.
 
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Joao@altheamusica

Well-Known Member
Sep 20, 2010
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Amir

good question and good anwers here. So what to say more, in my few the best reason is to have a second option for using a second arm/cartridge combo for playing Mono-LPs.
Other sight od view is with a question, why do peaple collect oldtimers or watches? So this can be a reason that some audiophiles like to collect tonearms, cartridges and phono stages. And of course they like to listen to them from time to time. So what's best as using another tonearm for this and avoid mounting / dismounting of their jewels - and the best is a turntable which allows you to do use different tonearm bases.
 

amirm

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Apr 3, 2010
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Seattle, WA
Joao's point reminds me of another question. Is part of the reason the fact that it is harder to sell a used tonearm/cartridge?
 

jtinn

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Apr 21, 2010
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OK guys. Educate me :). I see some people have as many as four tonearms, cartridges on their turntables. What is the reasoning for this? Is it that with some content some sound better than others?

I totally agree with MZ, one for stereo one for mono. Anything more than that means you really have not found a turntable and or arm that you really like. :)
 

JackD201

WBF Founding Member
Apr 21, 2010
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Manila, Philippines
I totally agree with MZ, one for stereo one for mono. Anything more than that means you really have not found a turntable and or arm that you really like. :)

That or you have indeed found many that you do. It's like Ice cream, for some chocolate just isn't enough. ;)
 

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