Pivoting Linear-Tracking Tonearms

ddk

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May 19, 2013
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Hi David

I greatly respect and value much of what you post - but Graham Tricker is neither a 'babe in the wood' nor somebody that is informing you of a falsehood.

I used to buy hifi from stores such as Walrus Sytems in central London (sadly no longer around) and i know categorically that he could obtain the SME variation from GT Audio who imported the Verdier.
Hi Lohan,
There are many aftermarket mods for the 30xx-R tonearms arms and are there still several companies offering some modified version of them with some type of wiring and/or parts manufactured in different materials like bronze or brass as a way to upcharge without specificity, Nothing new or uncommon but an official version manufactured by SME with a completely different bearing design and replacing theirs in some markets is novel. I'm simply curious about this different bearing design that replaced SME's original long established knife edge bearing that's the cornerstone of 3012-R sound quality. I found no trace of this arm and Graham can't supply any details of what he did, do you have any actual specs on this factory 3012-GTA tonearm specially about this unique bearing that replaced the knife edge design?

:D
On the contrary I worked with SME over 25 years ago and got them to produce a special version of the SME 3012-R which I sold here and also in the USA as the 3012-GTA. It was an improved version of the 3012-R with all the work done by SME exclusively for me. It used a different bearing and also some special internal wiring which I supplied to SME. It was also my work here in Europe with Jean Verdier and Avantgarde Acoustic exhibiting at shows in the UK and in Germany with a Verdier and SME 3012-GTA and SPUs, and the press this received that generated the interest in the SME 3012-R (circa 1997 onwards), because the US Importer of SME at that time wasn't interested in the older designed SME tonearm models. So those interested in the SME 3012 contacted and brought these through me in the UK. At the time, it was mostly to owners of Verdier, Teres, Galibier and Redpoint turntables, but more followed and many went on Garrard 301s/401s. I have lost count at the number of 3012s I have set up and sold both here and in the US and as good as they are, and they are good tonearms, sonically they are never going to compete with a good modern tonearm like a Schröder or Thales in terms of detail retrieval and layering of the soundstage, assuming the appropriate cartridge is used.

Can it be that you just simply like this arm for what it does in your designs and set-ups more than anything else?

As to linear tracker tonearms - i personally love the automatic Garrard - randomly scratched reecords and sounded rubbish - looked cool though.

Lohan
I've been using and promoting the 3012-R almost exclusively with many high end turntables since the late 80's, AS-2000 simply provided the 3012-R with a higher level of resolution and neutrality for it to show off it's abilities next to some of the most expensive tonearms made.

david
 
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Loheswaran

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Dec 20, 2014
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I didn't go into the minutiae of detail to be fair as I wasn't interested in the Platine following an audition and I would only have bought the arm had I got the turntable, but when asking les wong about suitable arms (having choked at the price of the mounted Schroeder) he said there was a modified non-standard 3012R from the importer of the Platine (GT Audio).
That said SME (Sussex Model Engineering) are traditionally known for the bespoke manufacture of items - why are you so skeptical that GT Audio - based in a home county on the opposite side of london wouldn't get a bespoke product from SME? For instance they even manufacture their own screws. That said I am not in the trade and don't want to get too involved in this stand-off when on a thread about linear tracking tonearms.
Out of interest has anyone tried the linear tracking headshell?
 
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ddk

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I didn't go into the minutiae of detail to be fair as I wasn't interested in the Platine following an audition and I would only have bought the arm had I got the turntable, but when asking les wong about suitable arms (having choked at the price of the mounted Schroeder) he said there was a modified non-standard 3012R from the importer of the Platine (GT Audio).
That said SME (Sussex Model Engineering) are traditionally known for the bespoke manufacture of items - why are you so skeptical that GT Audio - based in a home county on the opposite side of london wouldn't get a bespoke product from SME? For instance they even manufacture their own screws. That said I am not in the trade and don't want to get too involved in this stand-off when on a thread about linear tracking tonearms.
Out of interest has anyone tried the linear tracking headshell?
A rewired 3012 isn't a big deal and I can see SME doing it but considering the popularity and lifetime sales of the 3012 a bespoke version with a redesigned bearing and still keeping the model designation is very interesting and would love to find one if it ever happened.

david
 
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hplovecraft52

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Oct 20, 2021
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Let us not forget the Sony Biotracer arm from years past! I have one on the Sony DD TT. Someday I will take it out of storage and set it up! The Biotracer arm is quite an advanced device! Probably the best tonearm for use with the very problematic Decca London cartridge (high compliance in one plane, low compliance in the other plane). The Biotracer can actively compensate and allow the Decca to track more accurately than a typical arm.
 
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Rensselaer

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Mar 23, 2021
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It would be absolutely amazing to read a sonic comparison between the 5A and the 5T on an apples-to-apples basis! That would be original, groundbreaking research!
Agree, but if you could add the Schroder LT as a third variable :p
 
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Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
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Resurrecting this thread . . . does anyone have any recent experience with the Reed 5T?
 
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Anil Kalagatla

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Mar 3, 2011
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I would also be very interested in learning about the Reed 5A as well - I'm currently considering it for my Dohmann Helix One and was curious about how difficult it was to install and set up and of course how it sounds. I was originally considering the 3P, but this sounded intriguing. The Dohmann currently has a Schroder CB9 (this is the stock arm) and I'm looking to add a second arm (it will become the primary arm).

Anil
 
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Shuggie

Member
Sep 9, 2020
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I would also be very interested in learning about the Reed 5A as well - I'm currently considering it for my Dohmann Helix One and was curious about how difficult it was to install and set up and of course how it sounds. I was originally considering the 3P, but this sounded intriguing. The Dohmann currently has a Schroder CB9 (this is the stock arm) and I'm looking to add a second arm (it will become the primary arm).

Anil
The main fitting consideration for the Reed 5A is that the arm sits quite close to the platter edge, when at rest, as you can see below.



This is why Reed quote a maximum platter diameter of 330mm for these arms. That aside, they are easy to fit, requiring a 25mm hole placed at 250mm from the platter spindle for the mounting collar with three peripheral securing bolt holes that have to be very precisely placed, otherwise the arm will be incorrectly aligned at all positions across the LP. Fortunately Reed supply a really neat and easy to use acrylic template for correctly setting out the hole positions.
 

marty

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Apr 20, 2010
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I'm also interested in the 5T/5A for my Dohmann Helix I Mk2. I currently have a Reed 3P on mine as the only arm. I may have been the first person to mount a 3P on a Dohmann and it was not as straightforward initially as I would have liked. To make a long story somewhat brief, Mark worked closely with Reed to fabricate a mounting plate that allowed the table to accept the 3P for proper alignment and performance (which not surprising, is exceptional). Mark Dohmann's hands-on input was critical and his engineering collaboration with Reed was ultimately highly productive and successful. Mark provided the shop drawings at every step and I couldn't be happier with the outcome. I should add that Mark provided exceptional above and beyond service in dealing with some other glitches I inherited when I purchased the table used from a previous owner. The 3P sounds superb as you might expect (w/ZYX Uni Premium), but what I love about it the most is the precision and reproducibility of ultra-fine adjustments that make dialing in a cartridge's performance easy to accomplish for all critical parameters.
 
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Anil Kalagatla

Well-Known Member
Mar 3, 2011
44
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323
Shoreline, WA
The main fitting consideration for the Reed 5A is that the arm sits quite close to the platter edge, when at rest, as you can see below.


This is why Reed quote a maximum platter diameter of 330mm for these arms. That aside, they are easy to fit, requiring a 25mm hole placed at 250mm from the platter spindle for the mounting collar with three peripheral securing bolt holes that have to be very precisely placed, otherwise the arm will be incorrectly aligned at all positions across the LP. Fortunately Reed supply a really neat and easy to use acrylic template for correctly setting out the hole positions.
Thanks Shuggie, in my case the tonearm will be set up by the TT designer, so the fitting should be precise. How difficult is to set up a cartridge on this arm? Is it any different from regular tonearms like the 3P? I assume 5T is a completely different matter, but my understanding is that once it's fitted to the TT, the subsequent setup on a 5A is similar to a regular pivoting tonearm.

Anil
 

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
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Even though I have been researching this and calling around for a while as of today I have been unable to find a Reed 5T in the field in America.
 

Dohmann

New Member
I'm also interested in the 5T/5A for my Dohmann Helix I Mk2. I currently have a Reed 3P on mine as the only arm. I may have been the first person to mount a 3P on a Dohmann and it was not as straightforward initially as I would have liked. To make a long story somewhat brief, Mark worked closely with Reed to fabricate a mounting plate that allowed the table to accept the 3P for proper alignment and performance (which not surprising, is exceptional). Mark Dohmann's hands-on input was critical and his engineering collaboration with Reed was ultimately highly productive and successful. Mark provided the shop drawings at every step and I couldn't be happier with the outcome. I should add that Mark provided exceptional above and beyond service in dealing with some other glitches I inherited when I purchased the table used from a previous owner. The 3P sounds superb as you might expect (w/ZYX Uni Premium), but what I love about it the most is the precision and reproducibility of ultra-fine adjustments that make dialing in a cartridge's performance easy to accomplish for all critical parameters.
Hi Marty,
Thanks for the support, always a pleasure to work with you. The Reed 5T is an impressive sounding arm. The soundstage and "effortlessness" of the arm using a MySonic Platinum MC is stunning. We are now OEM partners with Reed able to supply the Reed arms with any Helix. The armboard needs a through hole design which we have now fabricated. The Cocobolo wand is a good match. We have now sold a few of the 5T and 5A and both should be on anyone's "desert island" system list of choices. I have the 2G, 3P, 5A and 5T and run through each on the Helix One with same cartridge with a listening panel. We love the 5T as being more "free" and "uncompressed" than other arms. It also never jammed or got stuck in the groove like a bunch of other linear arms I've owned and used.

Happy to discuss on email!!!
Mark
 

Shuggie

Member
Sep 9, 2020
48
47
23
UK
Thanks Shuggie, in my case the tonearm will be set up by the TT designer, so the fitting should be precise. How difficult is to set up a cartridge on this arm? Is it any different from regular tonearms like the 3P? I assume 5T is a completely different matter, but my understanding is that once it's fitted to the TT, the subsequent setup on a 5A is similar to a regular pivoting tonearm.

Anil
Setting up the cartridge is actually not much different compared to a conventional pivoted arm. In effect, you set the cartridge tip fore/aft position in the headshell using Reed's supplied arc protractor, then adjust zenith alignment to the protractor's grid. So, pretty much the same as with a conventional pivoted arm and an arc protractor, but of course here the Reed 5A's articulating links 'correct' that arc into a straight line across the LP (or so close to a straight line that the minute deviations don't not matter).

Reed's protractor is OK, but I'm used to the SMARTractor with other arms and it would be far better if the 5A's protractor was similarly mirrored and with a much larger grid to aid accurate sighting of the cartridge body and cantilever against the grid lines.
 

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