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On a Tangent….


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@GdnrBobWas kind enough to ask about tangential trackers…

First, that is after all the WAY the record is cur…but it’s MUCH easier to lead than follow…a groove…

My direct experience w LT tone arms began in the early 80’s. We carried the Souther arm which when setup correctly, did sound pretty amazing. The essence of that arm is relative simplicity.. its 100% mechanical. The tonearm runs on two precision jeweled finish  rails and the spiral groove pulls a relatively low mass / low drag trolly / bearing  / tonearm assembly along…. I think you can imagine a few issues…. even small bits of dust on the rails..could a did skip the LP. Antiskate non existant….etc……..

Next came some limited exposure to LT out of Japan… solid, well engineered and produced, most lacked a suspension and generally this was before the era of SOTA or other effective means of affordable isolation - hint: HRS, etc.

So for high end customer / dealers it was somewhat difficult to separate table sonics from the Tangential arm… Most of the early TT used a micro switch and servo motor arrangement where the arm would get out of tangent, trigger the switch, motor kicks in, arm moves back into tangent  …. sonic bliss restored… I think you can imagine…some of the issues…especially w off center records of any degree. ( as an aside check out the Nakamichi TT that addressed that issue, but it’s a tangential topic…. and NOT… a tangential tracker… Difficult to isolate the small servo motor vibration from the arm also. The B&O TX uses a variation on microswitch servo with a tonearm on a sled and a worm drive. What is i believe unique is automated operation and spring isolation of the arm, drive and sled.

Next i cam on contact w air bearing arms. Essentially high pressure air supplied by a pump floats the arm on a track. The most successful ( but out of production ) is the Eminent Technology ET series of arms. They have a  cult following w associated tweaks and rituals to wring good performance out… Again downsides ( no free lunch ) are noise from the pump, expensive pumps / tubing /, clean environment, and the antiskate issue….

Just my $1.50

Best to all

Jim

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Thanks Jim, I am not a vinyl user after discovering streaming, but always wondered why linear tracking TT's never caught on.

From my many turntables in my younger days, I always noticed the distortion increase as the arm got closer to the center of the record. Albeit, I never owned a 'great turntable' in those days.

bob

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Bob….a whole additional ball of wax. The number and variety of alignments boggles the mind, including those favored by classical music audiophiles that has less error close to the lead out groove… some say to better track the crescendo of symphonic bliss….

Another tangent…

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@GsalYes ! that was sort of the affordable high end tangential tracker…. every now and then you see them for sale used. I think no vintage collection ould be complete without an example…my recollection is tge ask on the last one i saw for sale was $400 ish….

Best to you !

Jim

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18 hours ago, GdnrBob said:

Thanks Jim, I am not a vinyl user after discovering streaming, but always wondered why linear tracking TT's never caught on.

From my many turntables in my younger days, I always noticed the distortion increase as the arm got closer to the center of the record. Albeit, I never owned a 'great turntable' in those days.

bob

anyone remember HK linear arm on their turntable ( I think it was a cheap Rabco)

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I heard the DS 003. I think it stands for third gen, but not sure.  It was on a mid level Clearaudio table and it was awesome.  I loved the sweetness and hyper detail.  I wasn't listening vs any of the conventional cartridges, so I can't comment on how it sounds vs a Lyra (name the model) etc..., but it was a great sounding rig even though the speakers were the newest B&W's, lol.

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