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clarets2
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How much influence will different tonearms have?

Your responses to my last post have inspired something of an analogue renaissance for me!
They have also allowed me to work out a few things.....

I have extended my budget (bonus just come in!) so that I can afford a well set up local dealer sourced (used) LP12 and I will put in the work needed to maintain the table.

My dilemma is choice of tonearm....

Has anyone heard the Naim Aro vs other tonearms (particularly Linn offerings)? From all I've read I think I'd really like the Aro though I don't think I'm going to get the opportunity to do a side by side. I like the idea that it will be a little less forward (bright) than Linn arms....any views out there?

What new cartridge choices would you look at to go with either arm? Moving Coil to match a Linn Linto phono stage.
Budget around $500.

Thank you for your patience with my turnaround but the analogue bug bit hard once I started listening and though I preferred the Rega P3 to most CDP' I now know what is available through higher level tables and am prepared to put both $$$'s and time into making it happen.

The rest of my system is all Linn...5103 preamp, active 5140 speakers and a Melodik sub (huge and very musical!)

Thanks for your time, Peter.

Yiangos
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Re: How much influence will different tonearms have?

You are right refarding the ARO arm.It is a very warm/musical one without becoming lush.Judging from your listening tastes,i'd say a Sumiko blue point special cartridge would be the best bet and it costs less than $500.

Scooter123
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Re: How much influence will different tonearms have?

One major factor to consider is the compliance of the cartridge versus the effective mass of the tonearm. In a perfect world this wouldn't be much of an issue, however we don't live in a perfect world. All records have some degree of warpage and this can effect how sell a cartidge tracks the non musical vertical displacement of the warpage. Cartridges with a high compliance are "weakly" sprung and can "bottom out" when used with a high mass tonearm. Cartridges with a low compliance are "stiffly" sprung and can be "launched" out of the groove when used with a low mass tonearm. Fortunately, cartridges and tonearms are somewhat normalized in values but there is enough variation that some tonearm/cartridge combination won't work well together. So your question is quite valid. I would suggest talking to your dealer and see what he recomends. They have first hand experience with these issues and should be able to keep you away from an incompatable combination. I would suggest that you make a final pick for a tonearm and then choose a cartridge best suited to the effective mass of that arm. Hopefully the literature packaged with your tonearm will guide you in whether to use a low, medium, or high, compliance cartridge.

As for the specific type, MM, MC, or MI, that's a matter of "flavor" and you'll probably want to audition some cartridges to see what suits you best. In plain english, buy whatever cartridge you think sounds best to you.

clarets2
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Re: How much influence will different tonearms have?

Apologies for starting a new post but my reply button refused to work over the Holiday period and Stephen just got back to me!(Hoping it works now!)

Scooter, Great advice and in the "old" days when it was possible to actually "side by side" review cartridges in a store I might have a chance of deciding really which I prefer. Today I will have to rely on the forum and my dealers advice and take pot luck!
At the moment the dealer goes with Dynavector (this is the high end brand they carry) and my choice is the high output 10X or the low output 20X.
All views welcomed!
If I go with another brand he will get it and set it up for me but I will not have the luxury of hearing it.

My tonearm is set at the Naim Aro on an updated Lingo LP12.
My objective is smoth and warm musicality to balance the all Linn forwardness.

The only other area to look at is I have not yet committed to the Linto as phono stage ....though the reviews have been spectacular an I have a bias to keep the system with a cohesive feel through the Linn sound.

Any thoughts out there on Yiangos great suggestion of a Sumiko Blue point special?
Anyone tried it with an Aro tonearm?

Thanks for your time, Peter.

Jeff Wong
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Re: How much influence will different tonearms have?

Art Dudley uses an Naim Aro on his Linn LP12. Because of a grounding design, he had some caveats about using the Aro on a Lingo'd Linn:

http://www.stereophile.com/artdudleylistening/205listening/index1.html

clarets2
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Re: How much influence will different tonearms have?

Wow! Well spotted. Anyone else out there with a Lingo'd Aro?
Trouble is this is what my dealer has right now...used...and for a great price.....and I have the feeling that I will like the smooth warmth that the Aro offers....why is it always so complex?!?
Thankyou for the input...though right now I'd love to hear from those with this system!!!!
Thanks, Peter.

Yiangos
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Re: How much influence will different tonearms have?

Peter,help us out a bit here.The Aro is an old arm.No one remember its specs.Is it loe,medium or high mass arm?

clarets2
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Re: How much influence will different tonearms have?

The Naim aro is a low mass uni-pivot arm

Specifications
Effective length 230mm
Overhang 18mm
Cartridge weight 5.5 to 12gm
Pivot centre to platter centre 212.5mm

Indications of the pros and cons of a low mass arm would be really helpful.

Many thanks, Peter.

Yiangos
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Re: How much influence will different tonearms have?

Peter.Scooter 123 answered that but if you are asking me, to be honest,i do not remember.It has been ages since i had to bother with such things.Easiest way to remember though, is you mate a high compliance cartridge with a low mass arm and a low compliance one with a high mass arm.I hope i remember this correctly lol

Yiangos
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Re: How much influence will different tonearms have?

Peter,forgot to ask,did you purchase the Aro or you are just planning to ?

Yiangos
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Re: How much influence will different tonearms have?

Also,i did some research and the Aro's mass is 11 gr which actually makes it a medium mass arm.In a few words,you can use just about any modern cartridge you wish.

clarets2
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Re: How much influence will different tonearms have?

Planning to make the purchase from a local dealer who will setup and provide education.
Good news re freedom of cartridge choice...many thanks for your research.

May be able to persuade dealer to get in a 2nd cartridge of my choice so that I can compare to his recommendation of the Dyna DV20xL though it feels like a long shot!

What are my alternatives to a Linn linto phono stage? Think I might be giving up an opportunity to hear an all Linn system nearly as designed though an alternative might accentuate that warmth and musicality I'm looking for.

So many choices and yet so few opportunities to HEAR the alternatives...VERY frustrating!
Thanks, Peter.

Yiangos
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Re: How much influence will different tonearms have?

Peter,i too am from the "musicality" camp.I hate sterile , over-analytical systems.Linn is a "warm" sounding table and so is the aro.Just don't overdo it or you'll end up with a "too much of a good thing" player.Pick a "fast" sounding cartridge (not neccesarily "cold") otherwise the "warmth" will turn into lushness and everything you play will become mushy and slow.

Scooter123
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Re: How much influence will different tonearms have?

Peter, in an ideal world all records would be perfectly flat. If that were the case we would all want to have a very high mass tonearm. The reason is that the inertia of the tonearm would prevent the tonearm from trying to "wiggle" in time to the movement of the needle following the groove. Keep in mind that any response of the tonearm to the needle's movement will act to absorb some of the energy that should really be tranmitted to the "motor" in the cartridge. Which means that a high mass tonearm would, in theory, be more efficient and musical.

Unfortunately, it's not a perfect world and records aren't perfectly flat. Used with a highly compliant cartridge a high mass tonearm will cause the cartridge to "bottom out" at every warp (think of a softly sprung car going over a railroad crossing). So a high mass tonearm will require a low compliance cartridge. The problem is that if the cartridge is stiffly sprung (low compliance) the needle may be forced to "dig into" the record at every warp. Which means that a high mass tonearm may cause a bit more wear to the record as it is played. In addition a low compliance cartridge would be more effective at transferring the grooves energy into the tonearm. Fortunately, even those tonearms rated as high mass are light enough that record wear probably isn't really a big issue. However, I suspect that a high mass tonearm is more likely to cause wear than a low mass tonearm.

So now we have the low mass tonearms. I think that they are the best choice for most of us who live in the real world. The only problem is that, if mated to a low compliance cartridge, they are more likely to skip out of the goove on some musical passages and warps. In addition they will loose some low frequency response due to the transfer of energy to the tonearm instead of the motor assembly in the cartridge. So your choice of the ARO arm is probably a good choice.

One last thing that I should mention is that the mass of the cartridge can have a large effect on the total effective mass of the tonearm. Keep that in mind as your shopping because a heavy cartridge can probably turn a low mass tonearm into a high mass tonearm just by mounting it.

What I would suggest that you do is look at the literature for your arm and then talk to your dealer. If you make it clear that you'll return any incompatible cartridge I would expect that he'll be careful to recomend a cartridge that will work well with your tonearm.

Buddha
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Re: How much influence will different tonearms have?

Scooter makes good points.

Even beyond cartridge compliance, there is a cartridge characteristic I think I've noticed, but don't have an official Hi Fi word for...

...so please pardon me if I lapse into Hi Fi gibberish.

Like Scooter describes, the tonearm must do two things simultaneously. It must act as a steady platform for the cartridge (really, the tonearm is just an upside down cartridge platform) without imparting any extra non-musical signal nor subtracting any musical information. So, it has to act as a solid/neutral base of operations from which the cartridge can get its work done.

At the same time, since it is upside down, it has to "ride" the cartridge as the cartridge leads it across the record. So, in a bit of a paradox, the tomearm has to be both inert, yet reactive to what the cartridge is saying it would like to do.

There's other stuff the tonearm must do, but these two thing intrigue me.

Hence, we end up with all the tonearm and cartridge matching problems that Scooter described so well.

OK, so that's the preamble.

Some cartridges, beyond their compliance rating, seem alot "busier" than other cartridges. I haven

clarets2
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Re: How much influence will different tonearms have?

Time for an update and let no-one say that I refused to listen to the excellent advise given on this forum!

Lots of scepticism (Yiangos and Cheapskate) re the choice of a Linn LP 12 route yet when I kept pressing more support was forthcoming.

Then Jeff noted the Art Dudley concerns re mix and match of Naim and Aro components in a turntable. The article struck a chord with me.

Yiangos continues with research to help, then Scooter and Buddha help educate me on the finer points of tonearms and cartridges. I have learnt a large amount in a short space of time.

The download of all this is that:

I stuck with my Linn roots and instinct and nabbed an inexpensive used Linto phono stage.

I found an amazing winner in the VPI Scout / JMW-9 (I am a convert to the uni-pivot design) and matched it with the Benz wood-bodied L2. Hopefully this will meet my objectives of warmth and musicality and allow me less tweaking time and more listening hours!

I also purchased a VPI HW 16.5 Record Cleaning Machine.

Do I need to use a different cartridge for the less than perfect (mildly abused) records in my collection and those garage sale items you can't resist? At what point is it detrimental to the cartridge to attempt to play? Would it be totally unlistenable or can you do damage to the cartridge with multiple surface scratches?

For initial set-up, which I will be completing myself, what are the essential tools I need to purchase if I am to do justice to the table and cartridge? I noticed an electric stylus force gauge on Agon...worthwhile or critical at $49.00?? Agonners reports it works well but if there's a perfectly good less expensive alternative I'm up for it.... "1/10 gramme digital Scales - Brand New stylus tracking force"

Any hints as to how to test the isolation of my table positioning.
It's going on a large granite slab that is part of a very solid and large built-in wall unit.

I'm excited I have made the plunge and feel good about the decisions so far helped by this forum so help in the final stages would be very welcome.

Happy listening, Peter.

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