Pivoting Linear-Tracking Tonearms

Ron Resnick

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Pivoting linear-tracking tonearms are a fascinating category of tonearms.

Do they combine the best characteristics of pivoting tonearms and linear-tracking, or the worst characteristics of both designs?

In the linear-tracking category are these pivoting tonearms sonically superior to air-bearing tube designs?


We have the Schroder LT:

34C2B14A-8E2A-4D39-9A8D-9FA4F43E43CC.jpeg

https://positive-feedback.com/audio-discourse/schroder-lt-tonearm-story/


We have the Reed 5T (which I heard at audioquattr):


93F27041-9C5B-4628-B74D-C025BCD6EA39.jpeg


And we have the new, simpler pivoting linear-tracker from Reed, the 5A:
C67759B5-86B6-4895-BB43-08E3CD719525.jpeg




(There also is the KL Audio tonearm. I saw it and heard it in person, but it is scary complicated looking. Completely ignorantly, I just had the feeling that there are too many metal parts moving around when that tonearm is in operation.)

Has anybody heard the Reed 5A?

How does it differ mechanically from the Schroder LT?

Why was the Reed 5A developed when the Reed 5T already existed?
 

XV-1

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May 24, 2010
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Thales:

Pros: Purity, no tracking error so no bullshit with different flawed alignments, sota sound.
Cons: still have to deal with antiskating



 

ddk

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May 19, 2013
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Thales:

Pros: Purity, no tracking error so no bullshit with different flawed alignments, sota sound.
Cons: still have to deal with antiskating



It's kind of boring sounding! For me it sounds somewhat dead and not at all natural. Dynamics matter for a sense of reality!

david
 

ddk

Industry Expert
May 19, 2013
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Pivoting linear-tracking tonearms are a fascinating category of tonearms.

Do they combine the best characteristics of pivoting tonearms and linear-tracking, or the worst characteristics of both designs?

In the linear-tracking category are these pivoting tonearms sonically superior to air-bearing tube designs?

The focus should be on sound quality and not this tech which goes back to the 70's, check out the Garrard z2000b tonearm. This tech is hyped up like many things high-end today, IME there are more important things when it comes to sound quality to consider than jewelry.

david
 
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XV-1

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It's kind of boring sounding! For me it sounds somewhat dead and not at all natural. Dynamics matter for a sense of reality!

david

Really, plenty dynamic and natural in my system. I guess following the cutting head as close to possible is not desired?

Agree, the different levels of tracking error distortion can make for a slightly more exciting presentation at different points across the record :)

David, you would probably luv the new Yamaha straight tonearm with no offset - plenty of exciting distortions there, all across the record :cool:

 
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ddk

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Really, plenty dynamic and natural in my system. I guess following the cutting head as close to possible is not desired?
I'm happy for you but we have very different standards and reference for dynamic and natural :)!

How exactly does this tonearm follow the cutting head? What's the correlation between a cutting head engraving grooves in shellac with a cartridge, a completely different tool and mechanism reading information from a record's grooves?

Agree, the different levels of tracking error distortion can make for a slightly more exciting presentation at different points across the record :)
Maybe for you, I find distortion very bothersome.

David, you would probably luv the new Yamaha straight tonearm with no offset - plenty of exciting distortions there, all across the record :cool:

Now you're projecting.

david
 

pweg

Well-Known Member
Jun 8, 2014
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Australia
Pivoting linear-tracking tonearms are a fascinating category of tonearms.

Do they combine the best characteristics of pivoting tonearms and linear-tracking, or the worst characteristics of both designs?

In the linear-tracking category are these pivoting tonearms sonically superior to air-bearing tube designs?


We have the Schroder LT:

View attachment 72178

https://positive-feedback.com/audio-discourse/schroder-lt-tonearm-story/


We have the Reed 5T (which I heard at audioquattr):


View attachment 72182


And we have the new, simpler pivoting linear-tracker from Reed, the 5A:
View attachment 72180




(There also is the KL Audio tonearm. I saw it and heard it in person, but it is scary complicated looking. Completely ignorantly, I just had the feeling that there are too many metal parts moving around when that tonearm is in operation.)

Has anybody heard the Reed 5A?

How does it differ mechanically from the Schroder LT?

Why was the Reed 5A developed when the Reed 5T already existed?
Hi Ron - i have the 5A with a Miyajima Destiny and Crystal Absolute Dream tonearm cable - i think you would like it as it ticks all my boxes and sounds great. Cant answer your other questions. IMG_2584.jpg
 
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kodomo

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Apr 26, 2017
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I thought Reed 5a was not out yet! I also have been wondering how the Destiny compares to my Madake? Care to comment on both the arm and the cartridge?
 

mtemur

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Mar 26, 2019
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Pros: Purity, no tracking error so no bullshit with different flawed alignments, sota sound.
Cons: still have to deal with antiskating
if zenith alignment is not set properly it causes much much more measurable distortion than a 9" pivoted tonearm's tracking error. and setting zenith angle optically is not good enough cause optical setup methods are usually static but Lp playback is a dynamic thing. skating force bends the cantilever towards the outer edge and anti-skating tries to compensate. that's why cantilever most probably won't be at the same angle which you set up earlier with a protractor. zenith angle has a huge impact on sound quality and I found it on par with anti-skating and vta.
 

pweg

Well-Known Member
Jun 8, 2014
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Australia
I thought Reed 5a was not out yet! I also have been wondering how the Destiny compares to my Madake? Care to comment on both the arm and the cartridge?
the Destiny is an excellent cart. I love the way it does vocals and also its deep textured bass.... Its not the last word if your seeking an extended top end or looking for copious amounts of air and spatial clues..... other carts do this better.

the arm - im still coming to terms with. I prefer it to my TriPlanar U12. Compared to the Reed 3P i also have its quite similar... if anything maybe a bit more neutral..... it really just gets out of the way and lets the other components' voicing come through. It is exceptionally well made and quite a pleasure to use.
 
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Ron Resnick

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The focus should be on sound quality and not this tech which goes back to the 70's, check out the Garrard z2000b tonearm. This tech is hyped up like many things high-end today, IME there are more important things when it comes to sound quality to consider than jewelry.

david

Dear David,

I definitely agree, of course, that the focus must be on the sound quality. But that is what I am focusing on here.

Audioquattr and I heard "magic" with the Epoch3 on the Reed 5T. There was a beguiling airiness and ethereal quality to vocals I think I may have never heard before. Michael Fremer reported the same airiness in his review of the Reed 5T.

I wonder if the Reed 5A or the Schroder LT (which has a fantastic reputation) might be able to accomplish what the 5T accomplishes without all of the mechanical complexity and the laser guidance system
of the 5T.
 

ddk

Industry Expert
May 19, 2013
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Dear David,

I definitely agree, of course, that the focus must be on the sound quality. But that is what I am focusing on here.

Audioquattr and I heard "magic" with the Epoch3 on the Reed 5T. There was a beguiling airiness and ethereal quality to vocals I think I may have never heard before. Michael Fremer reported the same airiness in his review of the Reed 5T.

I wonder if the Reed 5A or the Schroder LT (which has a fantastic reputation) might be able to accomplish what the 5T accomplishes without all of the mechanical complexity and the laser guidance system
of the 5T.
Dear Ron,
Your original post asked about "linear tracking" my point was that "tangential tracking" isn't new or unique nor does it automatically guarantees sonic superiority, there are many other elements that create the "sound" of a tonearm. The Reed 5T that you liked has many elements in it's construction that create "the sound", one needs to consider them when looking for comparable "sound". Choice of arm tubes and wiring has a significant effect on the type of "sound" you heard.

david
 

Derainer

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there are many other elements that create the "sound" of a tonearm.
Sorry David,

I am still of the firm opinion that the tone arm and other elements should not produce sound themselves.
Only the pickup and the cantilever should get the sound out of the groove.
The tone arm itself should be absolutely neutral.

Only my personal opinion.
Best regards Rainer
 

ddk

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May 19, 2013
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Sorry David,

I am still of the firm opinion that the tone arm and other elements should not produce sound themselves.
Only the pickup and the cantilever should get the sound out of the groove.
The tone arm itself should be absolutely neutral.

Only my personal opinion.
Best regards Rainer
Dear Rainer,

"Should not" is fine and ideally tonearms and other components have as little footprint as possible but reality is that everything has a direct effect on the "sound".

david
 

Tango

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Sorry David,

I am still of the firm opinion that the tone arm and other elements should not produce sound themselves.
Only the pickup and the cantilever should get the sound out of the groove.
The tone arm itself should be absolutely neutral.

Only my personal opinion.
Best regards Rainer
Everyone is looking for that no sound arm. What tells you your arm is no sound. I am interested in designer's perspective of no sound. How do you determine no sound? For me I am for arm that add less comparing to others. Yet not lacking. I cannot really say the arm I am using has no sound.
 

Ron Resnick

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I think the concept of "no sound from a tonearm" does not advance our intellectual or analytical understanding of the matter.

Let's say I am at audioquattr's house and we are comparing the SME 3012R to the Reed 5T. Both tonearms are mounted on a single Air Force 3 Premium. On each tonearm is mounted a vdH Master Signature cartridge.

From the 3012R combination we hear deeper and more dynamic low frequency information. Kickdrums are more dynamic, more powerful and higher in resolution.

From the 5T combination we hear a more feathery airiness on vocals, and high frequencies somehow seem more delicate. The 5T does not reproduce low frequency power or weight the way the 3012R does.

How does the concept of "no sound" apply to these subject comparative listening impressions? Subjectively, the cartridge/tonearm combinations sound a little bit different.

Is the 3012R creating more bass impact, thus violating the "no sound" criteria?

Is the ethereal airiness of the 5T the result of the 5T adding something to the sound or subtracting something from the sound? How does "no sound" apply to this impression?

These rhetorical questions suggest to me that the concept of "no sound" doesn't help us understand tonearms. In much the same way that words are useful mainly or only to the extent they help us to distinguish certain things from other things, how can we describe the different sonic impressions we have from different tonearms If we start with the axiom that tonearms should have "no sound"?
 
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dan31

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There is no such thing as no sound from a tonearm. If that’s the goal, that’s fine. Every mechanical device will have a relationship to pieces to which it is connected. All parts to make a whole for the playback of vinyl lp.
 

Vienna

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The ‘no character’ and ‘no sound ‘ are expressions that have been abused since long time ago

I wonder how, a ‘no character Tonearm ‘ remains with ‘no character’, if for example the tt motor is producing resonances and noise which is audible from over 2 meters away, or how a Tonearm with built-in stepper motors, industrial wires‘ management system , etc has ‘no sound‘ and ‘no character‘

This discussion in my opinion underlines the importance of measurements in manufacturing. Measurements are fundamental for the final product which is the listening.

I am not saying that bad measurements necessarily mean bad sound, but certainly they are translated into a colored sound, which can be pleasant for many. Elevated mechanical noise or resonances can negatively affect some frequencies and color pleasantly some others.

In any case the sound experience is subjective but at least with objective measurements in place , the listener will know how much colored is the sound he is getting; and will not live in an illusion of ‘no character’ or ‘no sound’
 
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Folsom

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Everyone is looking for that no sound arm. What tells you your arm is no sound. I am interested in designer's perspective of no sound. How do you determine no sound? For me I am for arm that add less comparing to others. Yet not lacking. I cannot really say the arm I am using has no sound.


Probably impossible with vinyl to get to a "no sound" but homogenized sound is found with some arms for sure. The question is, is it homogenized all by itself or by matching with other equipment?

If you find things that sound good shut up and enjoy ;)
 
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