You know these discussions, right? What makes a good tonearm sound the way it does? Is it rigidity? Is it damping? Is it the materials used? The bearings? The geometry?
Look at all the arms we know to be good. There are rigid ones, like Regas and magnesium SMEs and Fidelity Research and Kuzmas and many others. There are quite flexible but well-dampened ones, like tube-type SMEs, SAECs, countless carbon fiber and wood ones. There are those without arm-wand at all, like RS Laboratory RS-1.
The weird and wonderful RS-A1 (diagram from the manual)
The latter, in particular, goes against everything we know about tonearms — and still sounds good!
So we have decided to build a tonearm. More precisely, we have decided to build at least a dozen of different ones.
We are going to make a controlled experiment. Let's build a few tonearms that would only be different in one aspect. For example, only armtubes will be different, and all else absolutely same. Then we will test them, both objectively through measurements and subjectively by listening.
At this time we haven't fixed the test program yet. We will definitely run different arm tube configurations. Radically different bearings are also on the "to-do list". If time and budget allows, we'd like to test 9", 12" and linear tracker geometries.
What else shall we test? Write your suggestion in the comments or drop us an e-mail.
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