View Full Version : PL71 arm on the 401 at last...

19-10-2011, 15:01
Got my new armboard through from Russ this morning so have finally managed to mount the PL71's arm on the Garrard...



I need to rig up some kind of arm rest for it though - you can still buy new SL1210 arm rests which will work fine though, so will get one ordered up. Should fit ok on the new armboard which Russ made a coupe of inches longer than the SME-fit ones.

Sound-wise, the jury's out at the moment - it's actually not the whitewash of the 3009 I thought it would be. One pleasant susprise though - one thing I'd been slightly worried about - is that there's no increase in rumble/background noise vs the de-coupled SME arm mounting arrangement.

19-10-2011, 18:18
Old SME's aren't THAT bad if properly used within their capabilities IMO. Surely they wouldn't have sold so many thousands of them over the years...... :)

19-10-2011, 20:51
One thing the Pioneer arm does show over the SME is the lessening of cone-flap from the speakers. Slightly odd, as the 71's arm is considerably more massy than the SME, and the SAS 75ED's not exactly in SPU territory for compliance so one would expect the 3009 to be a better mechanical match for it.

I don't normally mess around with test lp's but the arm/cartridge gets jiggy around 7-8Hz with the Shure fitted into the SME. Not tried it with the Pioneer though. Perhaps the Pioneer arm is damping out these resonances etc? The science is somewhat beyond me though I admit, and I'm most definitely in the 'if it sounds good and works ok, then sod the specs' camp. :scratch:

Also, I'm wondering if Pioneer changed the geometry in the 71's arm at some point - setting this one to the specified 209.5mm from spindle to pivot I can't get the cartridge lined up properly without skewing it in the headshell. On my old 71 it would line up fine, but on a friend's 71 (who picked one up recently) it showed the same issue as my present one when I helped set it up for him. Sterrrrange. :scratch: (pt 2).

19-10-2011, 21:16
Maybe the Pioneer arm has reduced the arm-cart resonance below 7hz and with a solid deck it may not be an issue?...

21-10-2011, 20:22
Maybe the Pioneer arm has reduced the arm-cart resonance below 7hz and with a solid deck it may not be an issue?...

Must've done something, as I can now crank the wick up with no flappy cones to pay for it. :eyebrows:

Had a play with the bolts' tension as well this afternoon - the 4 hex bolts holding the armboard to the plinth were done up fairly tight (ie tight with an Allen key) but I un-did them and, using a 4mm hex socket - without the wrench - did them up just finger-tight so they're just snug against the armboard. Then, I did the same with the big nut holding the arm to the board (it's the same as a Rega one, but smaller) but instead of tightening it gently, I put a bit of torque into it and did it fairly tight. I had planned to do things the other way ie tight board bolts/loose arm bolt but for the moment I'll leave as-is. Still....


It really does sound loads better now. Less background noise, but more impact to the sound and the old girl grooves like a b*stard on...well...groovy music. :)

Still want to try a unipivot on it though. :)

22-10-2011, 09:57
I know they're not the same, but I suspect that you'll need to check for reasonable tightness on a regular basis, just to be sure, as I do with the distantly related R200 arm...

Unipivots with 401's get a definite thumbs up from me. The Hadcock and Mercury contact Keith Monks arms were good in their day and although the Mayware arms are perhaps too low in mass these days, the related? Roksan Nima should be perfect I reckon (sod the ARO, Naim are having another laugh on the punter! :lol:)

23-10-2011, 08:12
I fancy trying an uni-pivot on my 401 at some time in the future. I feel my Decca Gold/401/uni-pivot could be a seriously good combo with the uni arm calming the Decca and the 401 adding a bit more bass that uni-pivots tend to lack. Very happy with my PU7 at minute but then hi-fi 'itis is hard habit to kick !

23-10-2011, 10:11
Naim ceased manufacturing the Aro last year - ran out of parts.

The Nottingham Analogue unipivot arms work well with the 401/301 etc and of course the London/Deccas.

23-10-2011, 10:23
Do NAS make base plates available for non NAS turntables? They must I suppose, but I've only ever seen one for an old Omega Point arm and that was decades ago :( (remember the chap who had my Quads, with a Bastin'ed 301, OP arm and VDH Decca Export?)

16-11-2011, 15:57
This wee beastie (the arm that is) arrived in the post on monday...



Yes, a brand new PL71 arm still in its original Pioneer 'spare parts' box, never been mounted on a turntable. Got it wired into the PL71 at the moment (obviously!) as I don't want to start messing around with a re-wire just yet, then it'll be onto the 401 for a while once I've got J7 to do the job and fit the modded Cardas plug/socket.

17-11-2011, 20:17
Beautiful rig! Arms can be soooo expensive (SAEC, FR, etc.) any thoughts on arms that are particularly good value/performance examples?


17-11-2011, 22:12
How much better would you say the garrard is over the pioneer?

18-11-2011, 09:07
How much better would you say the garrard is over the pioneer?

Stu - hard to put a figure, or even a 'value' on how much better the Garrard is, but it's easy to describe it in sonic terms. The Garrard has more gravitas to its sound, more body, and joins up the musical dots more convincingly - the Pioneer is a very musical, flowing turntable (more so than any I'd had before) but vs the Garrard it tends to lump music into a collection of vertical moments.

Within a musical phrase there's a build up of tension, then release, and so the pattern repeats (varying in length/intensity etc). The 401 portrays this well - more so than the Pioneer (which is very good in itself) and turns the vertical moments into a horizontal line - this is something a musician aims to do when playing, take the ear on a journey if you like.

Putting the PL71's arm onto the Garrard produced a small amount of improvement over the old 3009 but it was marginal. The 401/SME combo sounds better than the PL71 package. What may not be helping the Pioneer's case though is that it's having to sit on a heavy oak shelving unit - it doesn't really like this whereas the Garrard is more than happy with the mass. I do have an Audiotech table which, from past experience, the Pioneer sings its heart out on. Sadly, at the moment, the desire to maintain domestic harmony prevents me from using it. Using said table, the results may be very different.

18-11-2011, 20:28
Thanks for reply richard.

21-11-2011, 16:37
Thanks for reply richard.

No problem Stu - hope it explained things a bit for you. :)

Just had the opportunity to plonk the Pioneer on top of the Audiotech table this afternoon and the difference it brings is demonstrable, to put it midly. It gets rid of a large amount of 'mush' surrounding instrumental sounds - doesn't strip them bare or mean that they occupy their own space, devoid of any harmonic interaction but makes them sound far more natural. Soundstage (as opposed to stereo imaging which is very low on my list) is larger and fills the space between the speakers, and therefore the room, much better.

I'd almost to so far as saying that the 401 vs PL71 has been reversed in favour of the Pioneer. :)

Shame I can't really use the table at the moment but I'll just have to work on that. ;)