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Thread: Straight or S-Shape?

  1. #1
    Join Date: Jul 2013

    Location: Kingsbury, NW London

    Posts: 1,195
    I'm Clive.

    Default Straight or S-Shape?

    Having just installed a Jelco TK-850S tonearm, my son asked me, what is the difference between a straight and a S shaped tonearm. I’m embarrassed to say that other than aesthetics I didn’t know. Have any of you guys got an answer?
    SOURCE:Auralic Aries G1, OPPO UDP-205 BluRay, SkyQ, Technics SL1210M5G/Achromat/MN Bearing/Isonoes with Boots/Jelco TK-850S Tonearm/AT-OC9XSH or Hana ML, PS Audio NuWave Phono Converter
    DAC: Chord Qutest with SBooster and Ultra upgrade, Chord Mojo/Poly
    AMPLIFIER: Bryston BP17-3 Pre & Bryston 4B3 Power
    SPEAKERS: Spendor D7.
    HEADPHONES: OPPO PM-1 with Atlas Zeno cable, B&W C5 v2
    CABLES: Analogue: Speaker - Chord Signature. Interconnect - Atlas Mavros XLR x2, Atlas Mavros Ultra, Chord Signature Tuned Aray XLR, MCRU Silver Tonearm cable
    Digital: Curious USB, Audioquest Carbon x 2, Audioquest Carbon Ethernet x 3, Chord 8Switch, Chord Optichord, Atlas Optical.
    Mains: Chord Power Chord x2, Black Rhodium Libra/MK/Shurter or Wattgate x5, IsoTek Orion 6 way, Sounds Fantastic 6way Mains Blocks.
    STORAGE: Synology DS216J NAS with 2 x 3Tb WD Red hard-drives.
    TV LG55B7 OLED

  2. #2
    Join Date: Jun 2015

    Location: London/Durham

    Posts: 4,155
    I'm Lawrence.

    Default

    Is it not the angle the arm takes relative to the groove, or alternatively like having the pivot point of the arm at a different location?

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  3. #3
    Join Date: Feb 2013

    Location: W Lothian

    Posts: 71,888
    I'm Grant.

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    not much as long as we discount those dj short arms. they will both have same issues even if both made well...
    Regards,
    Grant .... ؠ

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  4. #4
    Join Date: Apr 2012

    Location: London

    Posts: 671
    I'm James.

    Default

    An L or S shaped armwand allows a straight SME fit headshell to be used Much easier to play with. Other than that aesthetics, balance in some arms, and mass/rigidity will vary. Fidelity Research amongst others made the same models with straight and S shaped armwand, the latter being the higher mass variants for people preferring low compliance cartridges.

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  5. #5
    Join Date: Jan 2009

    Location: Norwich

    Posts: 2,784
    I'm Hugo.

    Default

    An S-shaped arm does allow the designer to match headshell offset angle with the vertical bearing angle, while still having something that is usable and fits on any turntable. Matching these angles is, in my opinion, a Good Thing although not the ultimate criterion determining whether an arm actually sounds good.

  6. #6
    Join Date: Jul 2013

    Location: Kingsbury, NW London

    Posts: 1,195
    I'm Clive.

    Thumbs up

    Thanks for that Hugo, makes perfect sense.
    SOURCE:Auralic Aries G1, OPPO UDP-205 BluRay, SkyQ, Technics SL1210M5G/Achromat/MN Bearing/Isonoes with Boots/Jelco TK-850S Tonearm/AT-OC9XSH or Hana ML, PS Audio NuWave Phono Converter
    DAC: Chord Qutest with SBooster and Ultra upgrade, Chord Mojo/Poly
    AMPLIFIER: Bryston BP17-3 Pre & Bryston 4B3 Power
    SPEAKERS: Spendor D7.
    HEADPHONES: OPPO PM-1 with Atlas Zeno cable, B&W C5 v2
    CABLES: Analogue: Speaker - Chord Signature. Interconnect - Atlas Mavros XLR x2, Atlas Mavros Ultra, Chord Signature Tuned Aray XLR, MCRU Silver Tonearm cable
    Digital: Curious USB, Audioquest Carbon x 2, Audioquest Carbon Ethernet x 3, Chord 8Switch, Chord Optichord, Atlas Optical.
    Mains: Chord Power Chord x2, Black Rhodium Libra/MK/Shurter or Wattgate x5, IsoTek Orion 6 way, Sounds Fantastic 6way Mains Blocks.
    STORAGE: Synology DS216J NAS with 2 x 3Tb WD Red hard-drives.
    TV LG55B7 OLED

  7. #7
    Join Date: Jan 2009

    Location: Essex

    Posts: 23,569
    I'm openingabottleofwine.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ammonite Acoustics View Post
    An S-shaped arm does allow the designer to match headshell offset angle with the vertical bearing angle, while still having something that is usable and fits on any turntable. Matching these angles is, in my opinion, a Good Thing although not the ultimate criterion determining whether an arm actually sounds good.
    You can do the same if you crank both the headshell and the vertical bearing with respect to the arm tube
    Barry

  8. #8
    Join Date: Jan 2009

    Location: Norwich

    Posts: 2,784
    I'm Hugo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry View Post
    You can do the same if you crank both the headshell and the vertical bearing with respect to the arm tube
    Of course you can, and it’s amazing how few arm designers do this, but to my eyes an S shaped arm is still a more visually appealing and elegant thing, particularly if we are talking about removable headshells with standard collet-stylus distance.

  9. #9
    Join Date: Jan 2009

    Location: Essex

    Posts: 23,569
    I'm openingabottleofwine.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ammonite Acoustics View Post
    Of course you can, and it’s amazing how few arm designers do this, but to my eyes an S shaped arm is still a more visually appealing and elegant thing, particularly if we are talking about removable headshells with standard collet-stylus distance.
    The arms that come to mind are those made by Garrard (the TP-12 and -14, as well as those fitted to the SP25 and later TTs).

    In principle one could use a J-shaped arm if the vertical bearing was arranged to be at right angles to a line running through headshell/collet axis. That way the arm would not 'roll' in a counter-clockwise direction as the cartridge rides a record warp. But I don't know of any arm designed like that.
    Barry

  10. #10
    Join Date: Apr 2012

    Location: Southall, West London

    Posts: 44,339
    I'm Geoff.

    Default

    Not very important, but it crossed my mind that 'S' shaped unipivot arms are pretty thin on the ground. In fact I can only think of the Transcriptors and Morch.
    Official consultant wigmaker to Ant & Dec

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