Oh no, MF is not a fan of 12" arms!

mep

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 21, 2010
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#21
I have owned turntables since I was in my early teens and I'm now 57. The vast majority of all tonearms I have ever owned have been 9" arms. Say what you want about linear tracking arms, the ET-2 was and is a great sounding arm that sounded pure across the entire record. I have only owned one 10" arm and that was the VPI JMW arm I had on my VPI TNT. I thought the ET-2 was much the better sounding arm on the TNT. Fast forward to the present and I can tell you that I have heard no better arm than the SME 312s in my system. I'm a fan.
 

XV-1

Well-Known Member
May 24, 2010
1,901
297
83
Sydney
#23
Can a 12 inch arm be fitted to Fremer's Continuum turntable?

If it cannot, that would certainly be the main reason why he doe not like 12 inch arms.:D
 

Gregadd

WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
6,606
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48
Metro DC
#24
Right or wrong will we ever be able to take his word that he actually likes or dislikes something at face value?
 
May 30, 2010
15,505
714
113
Portugal
#27
I disagree. The 12 inch arms, given everything else being equal, are better.
I agree that setup might be a tad more difficult for most.
But a lot else is different in a 12 inch arm ... ;)
 

garylkoh

WBF Technical Expert (Speakers & Audio Equipment)
Sep 6, 2010
5,439
29
48
Seattle, WA
www.genesisloudspeakers.com
#28
I have owned turntables since I was in my early teens and I'm now 57. The vast majority of all tonearms I have ever owned have been 9" arms. Say what you want about linear tracking arms, the ET-2 was and is a great sounding arm that sounded pure across the entire record. I have only owned one 10" arm and that was the VPI JMW arm I had on my VPI TNT. I thought the ET-2 was much the better sounding arm on the TNT. Fast forward to the present and I can tell you that I have heard no better arm than the SME 312s in my system. I'm a fan.
Mark, did you go from SME 309 to SME 312 and became a fan, or did you go from some other tone arm to the SME 312 and became a fan?
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
7,774
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#29
But a lot else is different in a 12 inch arm ... ;)
just based on observation; arm boards, arm board/plinth interface, arm bases, arm-wands, and cartridge-arm wand interface even bearings...... all are more critical with a 12" arm relative to the same shorter arm. more stability and resonance control is asked of all those pieces. and likely some cartridges will be more sensitive than others to possible shortcomings of a 12" tonearm than 9''rs or 10.5"rs.

not to say that some of these 9" tonearm pieces are not fully up to the full task of the 12" tonearm of the same basic design, but you would have to investigate to know for sure.

finally; higher resolution of the 12" are will expose otherwise competent components as potential places for upgrades.
 
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audioarcher

Active Member
May 7, 2012
1,330
2
38
Seattle area
#30
One thing that is usually not discussed is that a 12" arm's VTA will not change as much on warps as a 9" arm will. Is this significant? Maybe maybe not.

IME 12" arms sound a little more mellow and the music seems to flow more. I have not been able to compare a 12" to a 9" of the same manufacture on my table. It would be an interesting experiment. I can't do it on my current TT because it limits me to 10.5" and 12" arms.
 

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
5,632
496
83
North Shore of Boston
#31
I believe that arm length and the resulting performance is dictated by cartridge selection. I'm in the middle of an massive arm project, so far Ikeda IT407, Triplaner and Kuzma 4point, next up; Graham and Moerch.
Peter, that sounds like an interesting project. If you start to add 12" arms to the mix, I don't think your comparisons will be complete unless you include the 12" SME V-12. I own it and compared it directly to the standard 9" SME and it is much better. I think much of the newfound interest in longer arms is a result of the success of the SME 312S and V-12 arms.

Which cartridges will you be using?
 

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
5,632
496
83
North Shore of Boston
#32
I have owned turntables since I was in my early teens and I'm now 57. The vast majority of all tonearms I have ever owned have been 9" arms. Say what you want about linear tracking arms, the ET-2 was and is a great sounding arm that sounded pure across the entire record. I have only owned one 10" arm and that was the VPI JMW arm I had on my VPI TNT. I thought the ET-2 was much the better sounding arm on the TNT. Fast forward to the present and I can tell you that I have heard no better arm than the SME 312s in my system. I'm a fan.
Mep, I haven't heard the 312S but I suggest you also try an SME V-12. Albert Porter directly compared the 312S to the V-12 and describes his impressions on his system page over on Audiogon. My buddy having heard my arm just ordered a V-12 from an English dealer and saved some money.
 

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
5,632
496
83
North Shore of Boston
#33
One thing that is usually not discussed is that a 12" arm's VTA will not change as much on warps as a 9" arm will. Is this significant? Maybe maybe not.

IME 12" arms sound a little more mellow and the music seems to flow more. I have not been able to compare a 12" to a 9" of the same manufacture on my table. It would be an interesting experiment. I can't do it on my current TT because it limits me to 10.5" and 12" arms.
That's a good point. Also the skate forces are less because the offset angle is decreased, so you can use less anti-skating. Also, differences in LP thicknesses are lessened with the longer arm, so SRA angles don't change as much with thick records. One may need to be extra precise with alignment as Fremer suggests, but this is easy with a custom MINT protractor.

I did a thorough comparison between with my old 9" SME V and the 12" SME V-12. The sound was smoother. It was also bigger, with less distortion. Details were cleaner/clearer which I attribute to less tracking error. The overall sound was just more natural to my ears. The counterweight is bigger and heavier and thus the load on the SME knife bearing is greater which I think helps with vibration control. My 12.0 (or 12.5) gram cartridge is the ideal weight for the V-12 because it allows the counterweight to slide all the way in close to the pivot, thus reducing the moment of inertia.

The V-12 is a great arm, in my limited experience, and it's nice to see the manufacturers attempting to meet the challenges of a longer geometry. I have no experience with other 12" arms.
 

audioarcher

Active Member
May 7, 2012
1,330
2
38
Seattle area
#34
That's a good point. Also the skate forces are less because the offset angle is decreased, so you can use less anti-skating. Also, differences in LP thicknesses are lessened with the longer arm, so SRA angles don't change as much with thick records. One may need to be extra precise with alignment as Fremer suggests, but this is easy with a custom MINT protractor.

I did a thorough comparison between with my old 9" SME V and the 12" SME V-12. The sound was smoother. It was also bigger, with less distortion. Details were cleaner/clearer which I attribute to less tracking error. The overall sound was just more natural to my ears. The counterweight is bigger and heavier and thus the load on the SME knife bearing is greater which I think helps with vibration control. My 12.0 (or 12.5) gram cartridge is the ideal weight for the V-12 because it allows the counterweight to slide all the way in close to the pivot, thus reducing the moment of inertia.

The V-12 is a great arm, in my limited experience, and it's nice to see the manufacturers attempting to meet the challenges of a longer geometry. I have no experience with other 12" arms.
Yes. Those are the other things not usually discussed. I certainly like my 12" Reed arm.
 

mep

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 21, 2010
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#35
Mark, did you go from SME 309 to SME 312 and became a fan, or did you go from some other tone arm to the SME 312 and became a fan?

Gary-another tonearm. The SME312s is the first SME I have ever owned. I have heard the SME V lots of times, but this is my first SME.
 

mep

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 21, 2010
9,483
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#36
Mep, I haven't heard the 312S but I suggest you also try an SME V-12. Albert Porter directly compared the 312S to the V-12 and describes his impressions on his system page over on Audiogon. My buddy having heard my arm just ordered a V-12 from an English dealer and saved some money.

If the V-12 doesn't have adjustable azimuth like the SME V doesn't, I wouldn't be interested. I take it that Albert likes the V-12 better? Albert is the guy who turned me on to the SME 312s and set me up with a great source.
 

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
5,632
496
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North Shore of Boston
#37
If the V-12 doesn't have adjustable azimuth like the SME V doesn't, I wouldn't be interested. I take it that Albert likes the V-12 better? Albert is the guy who turned me on to the SME 312s and set me up with a great source.
Yes, Albert likes the V-12 much better. I suggested to him that the dynamic VTF and more rigid headshell could be more important than the removable headshell of the 312S (which allows for azimuth adj.). He tried it and was quite surprised at the difference. The two arms also have slightly different geometry. He is a big fan of the DD SP10s. I hope to hear his system some day.
 
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TBone

New Member
Nov 15, 2012
1,237
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0
#38
just based on observation; arm boards, arm board/plinth interface, arm bases, arm-wands, and cartridge-arm wand interface even bearings...... all are more critical with a 12" arm relative to the same shorter arm. more stability and resonance control is asked of all those pieces. and likely some cartridges will be more sensitive than others to possible shortcomings of a 12" tonearm than 9''rs or 10.5"rs.
Exactly ... since turntables components are synergistic devices ... you simply cannot put any 12 inch arm on any fine table and "think" it will outperform by default 9 inch arm based turntables ... that would be far too dismissive ...

Mike, I've heard your Rockport turntable/system thru proxy, (JE challenge) ... can I assume that was with the linear arm?

tb1
 

mep

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 21, 2010
9,483
5
0
#39
Yes, Albert likes the V-12 much better. I suggested to him that the dynamic VTF and more rigid headshell could be more important than the removable headshell of the 312S (which allows for azimuth adj.). He tried it and was quite surprised at the difference. The two arms also have slightly different geometry. He is a big fan of the DD SP10s. I hope to hear his system some day.
Albert knew I had the SP-10 MKII and highly recommended that I buy the SME 312s which I did.
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
7,774
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#40
Exactly ... since turntables components are synergistic devices ... you simply cannot put any 12 inch arm on any fine table and "think" it will outperform by default 9 inch arm based turntables ... that would be far too dismissive ...

Mike, I've heard your Rockport turntable/system thru proxy, (JE challenge) ... can I assume that was with the linear arm?

tb1
tb1,

ahhh....the JE challenge...many moons ago (in 2007). a good time was had by all. and yes, the Rockport recording was from the linear tracker. there is no practical way to install a pivoted arm on the Rockport. you could remove the linear tracker and rig some sort of base for a pivoted arm i suppose.....but i never tried that.
 

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