Thursday, 17 May 2012

Tonearm NOT TONED ARM !!

     Tonearm Lust

My second version of the motor PCB is out awaiting return from the fab house (been notified they are on their way, yay), so I thought it could be an opportunity to add a post that is outside the controller project.

Browsing the web for turntable information on motors and bearings etc., I could not help coming across the images and information for various tonearms.  I am now lusting over some nice shiny Linn tonearms like the Ittok or the out-of-reach Ekos series.  The best tonearm I have is an SME 3009 arm.  A well engineered, super nice to look at, tonearm.  It is serving me well at the moment on my modified Thorens TD160.  The SME however is one of the 'J' type designed arms and I would like to have a straight arm design, probably to eventually mount on my Ariston RD11.  Now the RB300 type arms are nice and well respected but the Linn looks great, and enjoys hefty praise.   These Linn arms are fetching some serious prices on the used market (Ebay or other) and is keeping me at bay for the moment.

The arms are easily going from $800 to well over four digits for ones in good shape.  Recently I went into a music instrument store, to look for a guitar pick made from 'lignum vitae' (boy, did I get a confused look from that question!) to be cut for a thrust plate for a turntable bearing.  I looked around at the instruments while I was there and could see that you can buy a beautiful, new, shiny, saxophone for less than $1000.  Now considering all the work and parts that go into making that sax, I started wondering how some tonearms get the prices they do. ( I recently read a very interesting comment on the web by someone similarly comparing the cost of some very high priced speakers to a lower costing, new, baby grand piano).  I know that high end tonearms are carefully manufactured using top notch materials but seriously, have you looked at how many parts and how much work must go into making a saxophone?

The thought of making a tonearm has crossed my mind but you need a bit of a machine shop to make one and in any case the effort versus the results obtained may not be worth considering.  So I will continue to dream and peruse the used market for a nice arm like the Ittok or better.  Hmmm maybe I can buy the sax, or some other complex instrument, and strip it for parts.  Should be enough bits and pieces there to hobble together a tonearm or two!

Anyone out there who owns a Linn arm?  What do you think, let me know your opinions on them.


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