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Thread: Whats The Best Sounding Tonearm Vintage/Recent Regardless of Price?

  1. #11
    Join Date: Feb 2010

    Location: Berkshire, UK

    Posts: 3,172
    I'm Tom.

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    I would take either of my Ikeda arms (IT-407 or IT-345) or a FR64S over an SME V any day.

    I wouldn't argue any of them are the best arm in the world regardless of price but all make wonderful music and work beautifully on a TD124.

    Main: Speakers 'RFC' Tannoy Canterburys / custom crossovers; Amp - Radford STA100; Pre EAR 912; Vinyl: Thorens TD124 MkII + Ikeda IT345-CR1 / Ikeda IT-407 tonearms; Cartridges Stereo - Miyajima Madake, Ortofon SPU Royal N, Ikeda 9C III, SAEC/Excel C3; Mono - Miyajimas - Zero 0.7, Premium 1.0, Sonovox MC-4 1.0, Edison '78' 4.0 conical, and Shure M44 strapped for mono with several Expert Stylus conicals for different eras of 78s; Phono stage and SUT from EAR 912; Esoteric Sound Re-Equalizer for equalisation of early mono and 78, switchable in from tape loop; Digital: Audio Note CDT2/II transport, heavily modded AN Kit DAC + Mutec MC3+USB.

    Study: Speakers - Tannoy DC6; Amp: Pass Aleph 'Mini'; preamp - Firebottle custom; Vinyl: Garrard 401 with AT1503 tonearm and vintage Ortofon SL-15e with matching Ortofon 2-15k SUT; Phono Stage: Firebottle Plus; Digital - Trichord Genesis III CDP + Arcam rBlink; Schiit Multibit DAC.

  2. #12
    Join Date: Jun 2010

    Location: Liverpool

    Posts: 771
    I'm Geoff.

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    You cannot judge an arm on its own really; it has to be considered alongside the cartridge of choice. Having owned many high end arms, I settled on the SME IV as it sounds excellent with my deck and a range of cartridges; it is a doddle to align and it stays set up for good. I want an arm to be neutral.
    Main system: Sony TTS8000; SME IV; Audio Technica Art1; The Lentek integrated amplifier; SBT; Technics sh-x1000 DAC; Yamaha NS1000M.
    System 2 - SBT; Kinshaw Perception DAC; Denon PMA850 integrated; Kef Reference 103.
    System 3 - Taken over by my son! Chromecast; Beresford Caiman II; Klark Teknik Jade 1 active studio monitors.

  3. #13
    Join Date: Feb 2010

    Location: Berkshire, UK

    Posts: 3,172
    I'm Tom.

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    Quote Originally Posted by oldius View Post
    You cannot judge an arm on its own really; it has to be considered alongside the cartridge of choice. Having owned many high end arms, I settled on the SME IV as it sounds excellent with my deck and a range of cartridges; it is a doddle to align and it stays set up for good. I want an arm to be neutral.
    Not the best arm for a TD124 from an aesthetic perspective. But agree on cartridge matching - and with a vintage idler I would suggest you really want a heavy arm and low compliance - SPU sort of approach.
    Main: Speakers 'RFC' Tannoy Canterburys / custom crossovers; Amp - Radford STA100; Pre EAR 912; Vinyl: Thorens TD124 MkII + Ikeda IT345-CR1 / Ikeda IT-407 tonearms; Cartridges Stereo - Miyajima Madake, Ortofon SPU Royal N, Ikeda 9C III, SAEC/Excel C3; Mono - Miyajimas - Zero 0.7, Premium 1.0, Sonovox MC-4 1.0, Edison '78' 4.0 conical, and Shure M44 strapped for mono with several Expert Stylus conicals for different eras of 78s; Phono stage and SUT from EAR 912; Esoteric Sound Re-Equalizer for equalisation of early mono and 78, switchable in from tape loop; Digital: Audio Note CDT2/II transport, heavily modded AN Kit DAC + Mutec MC3+USB.

    Study: Speakers - Tannoy DC6; Amp: Pass Aleph 'Mini'; preamp - Firebottle custom; Vinyl: Garrard 401 with AT1503 tonearm and vintage Ortofon SL-15e with matching Ortofon 2-15k SUT; Phono Stage: Firebottle Plus; Digital - Trichord Genesis III CDP + Arcam rBlink; Schiit Multibit DAC.

  4. #14
    Join Date: Jun 2010

    Location: Liverpool

    Posts: 771
    I'm Geoff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by montesquieu View Post
    Not the best arm for a TD124 from an aesthetic perspective. But agree on cartridge matching - and with a vintage idler I would suggest you really want a heavy arm and low compliance - SPU sort of approach.
    Having had a range of idlers, I had a preference for unipivots. Stylistically, you're definitely correct about the 124 and the Ikeda gets closer than most to a beautiful match.
    Main system: Sony TTS8000; SME IV; Audio Technica Art1; The Lentek integrated amplifier; SBT; Technics sh-x1000 DAC; Yamaha NS1000M.
    System 2 - SBT; Kinshaw Perception DAC; Denon PMA850 integrated; Kef Reference 103.
    System 3 - Taken over by my son! Chromecast; Beresford Caiman II; Klark Teknik Jade 1 active studio monitors.

  5. #15
    Join Date: Nov 2008

    Location: Suffolk

    Posts: 78
    I'm Gerard.

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    Audiocraft AC-3300/4400.

    I have quite a few others, including FR64s which is a great arm for the low compliance cartridges, but the AC just has something about it and is so versatile (different arm wands).
    Never really liked the later SMEs which is a pity given their heritage.
    Regards
    Gerry

  6. #16
    Join Date: Jan 2013

    Location: Bristol

    Posts: 4,048
    I'm Justin.

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    Quote Originally Posted by oldius View Post
    You cannot judge an arm on its own really; it has to be considered alongside the cartridge of choice. Having owned many high end arms, I settled on the SME IV as it sounds excellent with my deck and a range of cartridges; it is a doddle to align and it stays set up for good. I want an arm to be neutral.
    I think you have to consider the arm, cartridge AND the deck, AND what the deck is placed on.

    Any TT setup is a highly sensitive resonant system, and it is the sum of the parts and how they all interact with each other.

    Unfortunately, it is the sensitivity of the cartridge that has to fight with these complex resonant interactions and it "hears" what is going on and plays it back to you.

    It simply isn't accurate. But that's not to say it can't sound great.

    The point is whilst an arm might sound great on one TT, it may not on another.
    "I've got my giant hits discotheque album. I empty a bottle - I feel a bit free."

  7. #17
    Join Date: Jan 2008

    Location: Norwich

    Posts: 742
    I'm Mike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry View Post
    The SME V has come in for some criticism by some, but it's one of the few arms that will allow a Koetsu 'Urushi' or 'Red' to perform at their best.
    A Five will not allow Ks to perform at their best, Barry. Adequately, maybe. Likewise Miyajima and other very low compliance cart's; they need a more massy arm than the SME. Something in the region of 20g eff. mass (or more for Miyajimas and others) would elicit the Ks' full potential; especially the stone-bodied ones.

    Difficult to make a decent comparison, as the deck and arms changed, but my Urushi Vermillion simply took off when mounted in 12" PU7 and Ace Anna, both with an approx. eff. mass of 14/15 g (only 3/4 g more than the Five), though the arm length probably benefitted as well.

  8. #18
    Join Date: May 2018

    Location: Ontario

    Posts: 6
    I'm Jim.

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    Thanks for everyone's suggestions.
    Whats your opinion on a vintage Ortofon Rmg212 tonearm? Are they only good with Ortofon Spu and Square Ort cartridges?

    What arm would you suggest for those other 3tables?

  9. #19
    Join Date: Feb 2010

    Location: Berkshire, UK

    Posts: 3,172
    I'm Tom.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Luvaudio View Post
    Thanks for everyone's suggestions.
    Whats your opinion on a vintage Ortofon Rmg212 tonearm? Are they only good with Ortofon Spu and Square Ort cartridges?

    What arm would you suggest for those other 3tables?
    I had the Japanese 1990s RMG 309i reissue - this is a superb arm. However I would have my doubts about the vintage ones from the 60s (likely would need restoration) and the 9in RMG 212 I'd avoid altogether as it has no anti-skate - with the 12in arm you can get away with this but not on a 9in arm unless you are using ancient mono cartridges at 5g+ tracking. Curiosity value only.

    Lenco projects are many and varied. There are a few useful arms that drop in with no or minimal modification to the Lenco 75 - tons of info on Lenco Heaven forum- but for optimum performance you need to junk the top plate and go to a PTP design - again tons of info on Lenco Heaven, if you want to talk Lenco that's the place to do it, serious Lenco experts over there who have seen and done everything you could imagine with these decks, but do have a good read around first as pretty much any question you could ask has already been answered and many many builds documented. It's a wonderful resource on this topic.

    With an SP15 the 'classic' combo is the Technics EPA-100, but personally I'd go for a Japanese broadcast arm like an ATP12T / AT1503 (I have an AT1503 Mk1, co-developed by AT and NTT for broadcast use, on my Garrard 401), there are many others around from Denon, JVC, SAEC, Audiocraft ... easy to spend up to whatever budget you set. FR64 remains an option as well, perhaps the later FR64fx would be a good option for the SP15.
    Main: Speakers 'RFC' Tannoy Canterburys / custom crossovers; Amp - Radford STA100; Pre EAR 912; Vinyl: Thorens TD124 MkII + Ikeda IT345-CR1 / Ikeda IT-407 tonearms; Cartridges Stereo - Miyajima Madake, Ortofon SPU Royal N, Ikeda 9C III, SAEC/Excel C3; Mono - Miyajimas - Zero 0.7, Premium 1.0, Sonovox MC-4 1.0, Edison '78' 4.0 conical, and Shure M44 strapped for mono with several Expert Stylus conicals for different eras of 78s; Phono stage and SUT from EAR 912; Esoteric Sound Re-Equalizer for equalisation of early mono and 78, switchable in from tape loop; Digital: Audio Note CDT2/II transport, heavily modded AN Kit DAC + Mutec MC3+USB.

    Study: Speakers - Tannoy DC6; Amp: Pass Aleph 'Mini'; preamp - Firebottle custom; Vinyl: Garrard 401 with AT1503 tonearm and vintage Ortofon SL-15e with matching Ortofon 2-15k SUT; Phono Stage: Firebottle Plus; Digital - Trichord Genesis III CDP + Arcam rBlink; Schiit Multibit DAC.

  10. #20
    Join Date: Jan 2009

    Location: Essex

    Posts: 18,193
    I'm openingabottleofwine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Reed View Post
    A Five will not allow Ks to perform at their best, Barry. Adequately, maybe. Likewise Miyajima and other very low compliance cart's; they need a more massy arm than the SME. Something in the region of 20g eff. mass (or more for Miyajimas and others) would elicit the Ks' full potential; especially the stone-bodied ones.

    Difficult to make a decent comparison, as the deck and arms changed, but my Urushi Vermillion simply took off when mounted in 12" PU7 and Ace Anna, both with an approx. eff. mass of 14/15 g (only 3/4 g more than the Five), though the arm length probably benefitted as well.
    There are some reviewers who would disagree with you there. You can always add mass to a low effective mass arm. But each to their own.
    Have you listened to this month's choice in the Album Club?

    Barry

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