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

TBone

New Member
Nov 15, 2012
1,237
0
0
#41
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.

Mike, I for one thought it was a very good exercise.

Within my system, I could easily hear the potential of your analog front end, in fact it remains one of the very best LP-CDRs I've heard (although not without fault) ... and I've heard plenty.

The problem with that scene was the "challenge" in which people HAD to consider that if you made one mistake that would "absolutely" indicate a win. To me, it was never about winning or losing.

I can safely state that my 16/44 cuts are not as good as my live 'table, and I certainly won't be fooled into thinking yours is either. That said, its certainly "good-enough" to show that a fine needle-drop is capable of copying even the highest quality analog system without "too-much" degradation.

That aspect of the challenge to me ... was the real "winner".

What made the exercise even more sillier was when certain people started to claim that JE drops of the same music was "superior" ... which certainly was not the case within my system (not even close). In fact, not only did JE drops not approach yours, but to this day I don't consider his nearly as good as he thinks, or worse ... should be.

(he recently sent me his 1200 drops, which I shared with others, and when I informed him that they were just "good" but certainly not "great" ... he started crying wolf)

I very much consider the sharing of needle-drops a very educational exercise.

tb1
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
7,775
929
113
#42
Mike, I for one thought it was a very good exercise.

Within my system, I could easily hear the potential of your analog front end, in fact it remains one of the very best LP-CDRs I've heard (although not without fault) ... and I've heard plenty.

The problem with that scene was the "challenge" in which people HAD to consider that if you made one mistake that would "absolutely" indicate a win. To me, it was never about winning or losing.

I can safely state that my 16/44 cuts are not as good as my live 'table, and I certainly won't be fooled into thinking yours is either. That said, its certainly "good-enough" to show that a fine needle-drop is capable of copying even the highest quality analog system without "too-much" degradation.

That aspect of the challenge to me ... was the real "winner".

What made the exercise even more sillier was when certain people started to claim that JE drops of the same music was "superior" ... which certainly was not the case within my system (not even close). In fact, not only did JE drops not approach yours, but to this day I don't consider his nearly as good as he thinks, or worse ... should be.

(he recently sent me his 1200 drops, which I shared with others, and when I informed him that they were just "good" but certainly not "great" ... he started crying wolf)

I very much consider the sharing of needle-drops a very educational exercise.

tb1
it was a fun exercise and great excuse to have an audio event.

looking back; getting 4 out of 5, missing one, was only due to me over-thinking it and maybe admit to bit of 'anxiety' of having 15 witnesses to the test in the room. it was so obvious. but it was what it was.

the whole process was a blast. there was just enough tension and anticipation to make the day more fun.

the only downer for me was the after taste. everyone agreed that there were clear obvious differences that day, including JE. then later he changed his tune. that was unfortunate.
 

MylesBAstor

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
11,223
5
38
New York City
#43
Has anyone here ever compared a 9, 10 and 12 inch arm on the same table with the same cartridge?
 

TBone

New Member
Nov 15, 2012
1,237
0
0
#44
the only downer for me was the after taste. everyone agreed that there were clear obvious differences that day, including JE. then later he changed his tune. that was unfortunate.
He changed his tune because it was the popular blow-in-the-wind thing to do within an environment (AA) in which most people WANTED the expensive system to fail in comparison. Funny, when I asked JE for a copy, he refused me ... I got the copy third party. Later, he decided to send me his "modified" 1200 copy without issue, but he was very reluctant to believe my appraisal. Why send it to me if you're not going to accept critique?

I can totally understand why you'd get one wrong, it didn't mean anything to the overall exercise as far as I was concerned. Personally, I was shocked how your analog system, by proxy, sounded in my system. It was a real learning experience because I was one "of those" who truly believed that 16/44 duplicates couldn't come close. I was very much wrong, and now I use LP-CDR, not only to share with others, but also to archive my own system and different setups as reference tools.

tb1
 

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
5,633
498
83
North Shore of Boston
#46
Has anyone here ever compared a 9, 10 and 12 inch arm on the same table with the same cartridge?
Yes, I did a direct comparison between the 9" SME V and a 12" SME V-12. There is no 10" version of this arm. I have described elsewhere the differences between these two designs. Basically, the geometry is obviously different. There are advantages in less skating force because of the smaller offset angle, tracking error is less and SRA changes less due to warps and LP thicknesses. The effective mass is slightly greater and there is more load on the bearing due to the heavier arm and counterweight.

About a year ago I bought an SME 30/12 turntable to replace my SME Model 10. As you may know, the 30/12 is set up with a reversible armboard. So the first thing I did was install the V arm with my AirTight PC-1 cartridge on the new table using the same phono cable. In this way a got a good sense of how the 30/12 compares to my old Model 10. I listened for two weeks. Then I reversed the armboard and mounted the PC-1 in the new 12" V-12 arm. I listened for another two weeks. Now I understood how the two arms differ sonically. Finally, I switched cartridges to the AirTight Supreme and listened for another two weeks to compare the two cartridges.

The V-12 is much better than the standard 9" V. The sound is bigger, smoother and more detailed with less distortion. It also seems more extended in both the high and low frequencies. It is a bit like comparing a two-way mini monitor to a three-way floor standing speaker. It is a bigger, more complete sound, and one is less aware of anything mechanical between himself and the music. However, unlike with the speaker analogy, there is no loss of coherence. The V-12 arm is extremely good and much better than the 9" version.
 

paskinn

New Member
Jan 29, 2013
68
0
0
#47
Has anyone here ever compared a 9, 10 and 12 inch arm on the same table with the same cartridge?
Yes, to some extent, using an SME 30-12 and the V5 9inch and V12 arm. Usual differences, with the same Urushi; the 9inch is more dynamic and alive, the 12inch smoother and less 'hi fi'. For me, 12inch every time, but I can see why some like the midget arms (sorry!).
Ive heard the cheaper SME M10 arm too, same deck and cartridge, but they do not make a 10inch series five.For me, the longer the better.At one point I had a 14inch Spotheim arm too. Probably prefer the SME V 12 overall.I see from the entry above, that a fellow user of the 30-12 came to the same conclusion. Controversially,I prefer the V12SME to stuff like the Thales and that group of wooden arms fashionable at the moment. Ultimately I prefer linear trackers such as Air Tangent but they do take a lot of fussing about .
 
Last edited:

thazeldean

New Member
Mar 1, 2013
6
0
0
#48
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.
Hi Peter, I have a Clearaudio Master Reference with Graham Phantom Supreme and Benz LP-S. One of the advantages of the ceramic magnetic bearing is that the platter height is somewhat weight dependant being the result of opposing magnets in the vertical plane. I use an outer weight to attempt to maintain SRA with 180 gm and 200 gm records. In other words the platter height changes slightly with the addition of the outer weight. For thin records I don' use it but for the thicked records I do thus attempting to maintain closer SRA. I haven't actually measured it but I kinda like the idea.
Tony.
 

analogplanet

Industry Expert
Mar 4, 2014
43
17
8
#50
On his web page Analog Planet, I read that MF is NOT a fan of 12" arms....posting as follows: "The cons include a higher moment of inertia and thus a slower response warps, as well as the magnification of tracking error should you not do a spot-on set up. Also rigidity may be compromised depending on the construction of the longer tube.

My opinion is that all things being equal, 9" arms hit the 'sweet spot' and if you set one up correctly the amount of tracking error distortion will be lower than that of the rest of your system and thus become essentially irrelevant. That's just an opinion!"

OTOH, it would certainly seem that most high end arm manufacturers are going the 12" route and most analog devotees are buying into the 12" arm. Since I'm contemplating a new analog front end and a 12" arm was high on my must listen to priorities, i thought I would ask what's your opinion....is MF onto something or is he just plain wrong?:confused:
You note I wrote "just my opinion", which a contributor here twisted into "9 inch arms are inherently superior". That's what happens on forums. I'll tell you this: if you talk to the manufacturers off the record they will tell you 9" arms are the best way to go but they make longer arms to satisfy the marketplace. It's what people seem to want. I'm not sure it's true that "most analog devotees are buying 12" arms". From where do you get that data?
 

analogplanet

Industry Expert
Mar 4, 2014
43
17
8
#51
It's the opinion of the designer of the SAT arm. He's got degrees in mechanical engineering and materials science. One is a graduate degree. He's analyzed this very carefully and based on his calculations of the arm's dynamic performance in the groove, he opted to first build a 9" arm that costs $30,000 and is the finest performing and sounding arm I've ever heard and/or used. i bought one. Now he makes a 12" model to satisfy market demand.
 

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
5,633
498
83
North Shore of Boston
#52
It's the opinion of the designer of the SAT arm. He's got degrees in mechanical engineering and materials science. One is a graduate degree. He's analyzed this very carefully and based on his calculations of the arm's dynamic performance in the groove, he opted to first build a 9" arm that costs $30,000 and is the finest performing and sounding arm I've ever heard and/or used. i bought one. Now he makes a 12" model to satisfy market demand.
Michael, Do you have plans to directly compare the new 12" SAT arm to your 9" SAT arm once it becomes available?
 

analogplanet

Industry Expert
Mar 4, 2014
43
17
8
#53
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
Well that's a wise-ass comment of course. I have an 11" Kuzma 4 Point on the Caliburn. What I most like is the 9" SAT arm. It betters the sonic performance of any arm I've ever heard and by a wide margin.
 

analogplanet

Industry Expert
Mar 4, 2014
43
17
8
#55
Right or wrong will we ever be able to take his word that he actually likes or dislikes something at face value?
Can you explain what you mean by that? People have been taking my word "at face value" for 30 years. Whether or not they agree with my opinions and conclusions.
 

analogplanet

Industry Expert
Mar 4, 2014
43
17
8
#56
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.
your assertion that 12" arms have "higher resolution" is not confirmed by any facts I've ever seen.
 

ack

VIP/Donor & WBF Founding Member
May 6, 2010
5,639
241
63
Boston, MA
#57
the 9" SAT arm. It betters the sonic performance of any arm I've ever heard and by a wide margin.
I visited Myles Astor last weekend and the word he used was “light year”. Presumably he heard it at your place???
 

analogplanet

Industry Expert
Mar 4, 2014
43
17
8
#58
"high year"

I visited Myles Astor last weekend and the word he used was “light year”. Presumably he heard it at your place???
Actually Marc Gomez was kind enough to bring an SAT to Myles so he could hear it on his own turntable. i have received emails from around the world from people who bought an SAT after reading my review. Not a single one was a complaint. I did write that I've not heard the Vertere or the Axiom but one gentleman who owns all three said the SAT was the best he's heard.

I realize people do act upon what I write so I'm very careful about what gets put in print. It's not like posting "stuff" on forums. For instance I never wrote that "9" arms are inherently superior", though that's what the original poster claimed.

Words matter.
 
May 30, 2010
15,508
716
113
Portugal
#59
Yes, I did a direct comparison between the 9" SME V and a 12" SME V-12. (...)
Peter,
If you read the SME web pages on the two arms you will notice that this sentenced is suppressed in the SME V-12 features

"Internal constrained layer damps minute residual vibration leaving the tone-arm acoustically inert. Fine machined cartridge platform, enamel free to avoid interface resonance. "




IMHO this can suggest that there are considerable differences between the two arms other than length and consequently tracking angle. Theoretically we could even consider that the SME V-12 is a "less perfect" tonearm considering SME objectives enumerated in the SME original features. Surely perhaps your preferences are not the same as those of SME V designers ...
 

ack

VIP/Donor & WBF Founding Member
May 6, 2010
5,639
241
63
Boston, MA
#60
Actually Marc Gomez was kind enough to bring an SAT to Myles so he could hear it on his own turntable.
Ok that explains why he’s so gaga over it.
 

About us

  • What’s Best Forum is THE forum for high end audio, product reviews, advice and sharing experiences on the best of everything else. A place where audiophiles and audio companies discuss existing and new audio products, music servers, music streamers and computer audio, digital to audio convertors (DACS), turntables, phono stages, cartridges, reel to reel, speakers, headphones, tube amplifiers and solid state amplification. Founded in 2010 What's Best Forum invites intelligent and courteous people of all interests and backgrounds to describe and discuss the best of everything. From beginners to life-long hobbyists to industry professionals we enjoy learning about new things and meeting new people and participating in spirited debates.

Quick Navigation

User Menu

Steve Williams
Site Founder | Site Owner | Administrator
Ron Resnick
Site Co-Owner | Administrator
Julian (The Fixer)
Website Build | Marketing Managersing