Listening #185: Audio-Technica & Arché Contacts

Sidebar: Contacts

Audio-Technica U.S., Inc., 1221 Commerce Drive, Stow, OH 44224. Tel: (330) 686-2600. Web: www.audio-technica.com.

Acoustical Systems, Alpenstrasse 26, 86935 Rott, Germany. Web: www.arche-headshell.de. US distributor: Rutherford Audio, 12649 E. Caley Avenue #116, Centennial, CO 80111. Tel: (303) 872-6285. Web: www.rutherfordaudio.com.

ARTICLE CONTENTS

COMMENTS
TC's picture

Mr. Dudley, thank you for your outstanding review. Based on the Stereophile Recommended Conponents list and the fine work by you and your colleagues at Stereophile, I purchased an ART1000 cartridge and a VPI Classic 4 turntable recently, and am delighted with the result. I have found the information in these pages to be invaluable from a technical standpoint, but also entertaining.
I’m curious which SUT you chose for use with this cartridge, and if you found any substantial differences between the Audio-Creative and EMT tonearms.

eskisi's picture

You will protest but I am at a loss why one would ever want to use idler wheels. The beauty of a turntable is that a heavy platter keeps speed more or less constant, with just a small, gradual loss due to friction, air resistance, etc. A belt makes up for that loss beautifully, without interfering with anything else. An idler wheel, by contrast, provides a near rigid connection to the motor, certainly adding some noise. Furthermore unless the idler rubber is made to surgical accuracy, there will always be some wow introduced. Even then, a few days of non-use and the rubber will develop a flat spot, just like a rarely driven car’s wheels do. (Direct drive has similar issues but at least not the flat spot problems.)

I know this first hand as I restore old reel-to-reels and many 1950s US models have idler wheel driven capstans. Getting them to sound “just OK” is a major chore. In some the flat spot has turned into a half moon from years of pressing against the motor shaft.

Few weeks ago, at an audio meet, the maker of an — unnamed but major — turntable brand said to me, idler wheels provide “better dynamics,” especially for classical music but that belt drive maybe better for jazz and rock. I barely suppressed a chuckle — how does the turning method affect whatever dynamics the record has or the cartridge can generate? But unlike Galileo I know when to remain silent.

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