What is your ultimate Arm and Cart combination?

Thermionics

Post Whore In Training
Wow. I don't have enough experience to even begin to discuss 'Ultimate' - there are way too many folks on HFH who have more exposure to really good analog front-ends (looks very pointedly at @JP). :)

In my very limited experience, for mono records, it's pretty hard to top the Lyra Helikon Mono, and that cart plays pretty darn well to my ears with a Fidelity Research FR24 Mk2, but I'm not sure if I could call it ultimate.
 

airdronian

Radar Member
I think @Thermionics has a good point here. I too don't have a lot of experience with a variety of arms & carts. As much as I enjoy reading about the UHE products Michael Fremer reviews, they are so far out of reach as to be irrelevant. I don't mind, it's always been this way. :)

The real world arms that I might aspire to are from Sorane in Japan. I really want to be able to obsess over removable headshells. ;)

Sorane1.2.png SoraneTA1.jpeg SoraneZA12.jpg

Based on my results with the Sonata3 Low, I'd like to go for a Reference3 Low. The Statement3, Aeon3, and Epoch3 are just too spendy.

Ref3Low.png
 

MrEd

Senior Nobody
I was talking to the engineer behind that Derenville linear tracking tonearm on another forum, Have to say I'm pretty impressed. To bad it's so pricey and is being built in very limited numbers.
JP, have you played with any of the Victor UA-7082 or UA-7045 tonrarms? I have both and a ATP-12T. Using both stock and modded Denon 103 carts.

BillWojo
I have the UA-7082, it is a really nice arm and pairs well with high compliance carts.
I use an Acutex and love it.
 

JP

Junior Member
A very interesting tangential tracking pivoted arm. The video is worth watching since it includes some explanation of how the arm operates. I am skeptical though about the sonic quality though. As the designer notes in the video, he isn't making claims about the sonics, only that it has perfect tangential tracking.

My concern is with the floating headshell. One of the tonearm principles that has always made sense to me is that you need solid, direct coupling from the cartridge to the tonearm and from the arm to the turntable or plinth. A floating headshell is about as different from that principle as I can imagine.

I guess it comes down to priorities---is the perfect tracking geometry more important than the loosey-goosey coupling? Not having heard it, I have no opinion on that, but my experience with other linear tracking arms leads me to suspect that solid coupling is more important than perfect geometry.

Many common 'principles' applied to cartridges and arms are from static models and thinking which often don't apply. I'd love to get ahold of one and measure it.
 

BillWojo

Junior Member
JP, here is something I wrote on another forum regauding the Victor arm. The OP asked if his original Technics tonearm could be surpassed by the Victor tonearm when I mentioned it. He had an older SL-1200.
Of course this is my opinion but it seems like others feel the same as I do.

"I think the Victor arm would out perform the Technics arm in both sonics and ease of use.
Starting with the headshell, it's forged aluminum and the SME type coupler on the arm uses a collet clamp that actually clamps tight on the headshell stub with the last bit of turning of the collar. It will except any of the hundreds of SME type headshells as well. Micro Seiki uses this design as well. Top notch!
The armtube uses a special high dampening alloy (Aluminum/Magnesium) and has a felt strip to dampen either further.
The bearing system on the trunion uses small ball bearing assembly's (inside race, cage with balls and an outer race) for both axis of movement. Typically the vertical bearings in most tonearms use a pointed screw in a cup of balls.
The rear counter weight stub is decoupled from the tonearm with a rubber bushing, this needs to be checked, it stub is drooping it will need a new bushing fabricated.
VTA or tonearm height has both a rough adjustment using a collet nut and a fine adjustment of + or - 3mm with a calibrated collar using a nice helicoid thread. Feels like turning the focusing ring on a quality camera lens. This can be done on the fly.
Anti skating is done by a large knob on top of the tonearm, can be adjusted on the fly.
Has a nice smooth tonearm lifter and the tonearm rest actually has a lock knob. Really classy, not an after thought like most others.
Yea, this arm is in a class by itself. If made today, it would cost several thousand dollars. "

BillWojo
 

MrEd

Senior Nobody
I agree with @BillWojo , the arm is really well thought out and implemented, super easy to set up and quickly dial in the cartridge being used. It has been flying under the radar for years.
 
My best arm/cart is not necessarily my favorite. I have an FR-64S by Fidelity Research, with their FR-7 "bugeye" cart. The bass response with this arm, using other mc carts, was the best bass definition I have heard in my systems. Using the "matched" FR-64S/FR-7 combo, the sound is lucid but too neutral for my tastes. It is extremely difficult to make the FR-7 sound sweet. I enjoy this combo with a Music Ref. RM-4 tube headamp, but I wish it sounded as nice as my vintage Ortofon SPU-GT or GAS Sleeping Beauty. My old, self-retipped(recantilevered) Nakamichi 1000 cart is no slouch either. My FR-64S has the super heavy mounting bolt/adjustable VTA elevator, mounted on my Micro Seiki BL-91's 1/2 inch thick, plated but brass, wide arm mount. IIRC, this table weighs over 40 pounds with its' 2 inch thick plywood, covered by Micro's dark rosewood genuine veneer...Definitely genuine veneer, not the typical genuine imitation stuff...

I also thought my Micro Seiki DD-40 table's special MA-505 Mk. I arm, with adjustable VTA, Tracking force and Anti-skate while playing a record would become an ultimate, but not yet....The features are great, but that FR arm is magical. I own the FR since around1980...
 

S0und Dragon

Moderator and Circus Hand.
Staff member
My best arm/cart is not necessarily my favorite. I have an FR-64S by Fidelity Research, with their FR-7 "bugeye" cart. The bass response with this arm, using other mc carts, was the best bass definition I have heard in my systems. Using the "matched" FR-64S/FR-7 combo, the sound is lucid but too neutral for my tastes. It is extremely difficult to make the FR-7 sound sweet. I enjoy this combo with a Music Ref. RM-4 tube headamp, but I wish it sounded as nice as my vintage Ortofon SPU-GT or GAS Sleeping Beauty. My old, self-retipped(recantilevered) Nakamichi 1000 cart is no slouch either. My FR-64S has the super heavy mounting bolt/adjustable VTA elevator, mounted on my Micro Seiki BL-91's 1/2 inch thick, plated but brass, wide arm mount. IIRC, this table weighs over 40 pounds with its' 2 inch thick plywood, covered by Micro's dark rosewood genuine veneer...Definitely genuine veneer, not the typical genuine imitation stuff...

I also thought my Micro Seiki DD-40 table's special MA-505 Mk. I arm, with adjustable VTA, Tracking force and Anti-skate while playing a record would become an ultimate, but not yet....The features are great, but that FR arm is magical. I own the FR since around1980...
I just love the sound of my BL-99 with an SAEC 407 on it. That arm is just so effortless and easy to set up. It really is a good pairing with my Dynavector Te Kaitora Rua.
 

ICTWoody

No longer a junior member
I would like a well tempered turntable with a hana sl.
I hope some day.

I have a Well Tempered Simplex I go back and forth on selling. It’s great, I just have a lot of decks and not as many systems. I also have a Hana SL that could come along. PM if you wanna chat. The TT has the optional regulated power supply too, the DPS.

- Woody
 
I have a Well Tempered Simplex I go back and forth on selling. It’s great, I just have a lot of decks and not as many systems. I also have a Hana SL that could come along. PM if you wanna chat. The TT has the optional regulated power supply too, the DPS.

- Woody
Hello,
By now I can't, but thank you.
 

BillWojo

Junior Member
@JP, That looks nice, very little sag on the counterweight stub as well. It's a UA-7045 from the looks of it. Did you get that from Japan Buyee? There was a clean looking one listed maybe a week ago for a very good price.
What table are you mounting it on?
Oh, be aware that the hole winds up being about 1.564 because there is a small step on the rubber washer underneath of the mounting flange. I just bored out a new subplate for my tonearm board today for the UA-7082 I picked up.

BillWojo
 

BillWojo

Junior Member
I was turned onto this arm by member chakster over on Audiogon. He is a big fan of vintage Japanese high end tonearms after owning some big dollar after market arms. He has a short list of the best Japanese arms and both the 10" UA-7045 and 12" UA-7082 Victor arms are on his list. They are also the cheapest by far as they are very under the radar.
As mred stated it's really easy to set up with most adjustments being on the fly.
I don't have as much experience with different tonearms as a lot of you folks on here but I really like the build quality and the easy adjustments on this arm. And it's obvious how much engineering and thought went into it's design. It will be interesting to hear JP's take on it.
I'd love to try a Fidelity Research FR-64S but the prices are really up there.

BillWojo
 
I was turned onto this arm by member chakster over on Audiogon. He is a big fan of vintage Japanese high end tonearms after owning some big dollar after market arms. He has a short list of the best Japanese arms and both the 10" UA-7045 and 12" UA-7082 Victor arms are on his list. They are also the cheapest by far as they are very under the radar.
As mred stated it's really easy to set up with most adjustments being on the fly.
I don't have as much experience with different tonearms as a lot of you folks on here but I really like the build quality and the easy adjustments on this arm. And it's obvious how much engineering and thought went into it's design. It will be interesting to hear JP's take on it.
I'd love to try a Fidelity Research FR-64S but the prices are really up there.

BillWojo
Interesting! It’s too bad I am trying to downsize because I would otherwise be on hunt for one of the Japanese arms.

To be honest I remember reading glossy flyers for massive Japanese arms and saying to myself—Who in the world would buy a heavy arm like this when you can buy a low mass arm like a Grace 707 or JH Formula 4? Chalk it up to ignorance of youth.
 

JP

Junior Member
Ya, I know Misha. The ergonomics appear quite nice, and it is well made. Not sure I'd put it up again and EPA-100/MK2 or 500, but it appears to be in the ballpark.

I want to tear it down and see what it's made of, but it'll have to wait a bit. Just finished an EPA-100 rewire for a customer, and have an EPA-100MK2 and EPA-B500 refurb in queue, as well as thee SP-10MKII and a couple SP-10MK3 on their way in for some work.
 

BillWojo

Junior Member
@JP, sounds like your a busy tonearm repair guy. Ever work on a Fidelity Research FR-54? I have one where the counter weight is jammed. I moved it to one end and it just locked up. I dismantled it as far as I'm comfortable to go.
Anyway, when you dismantle the UA-7045, can you document it here with some pictures? When I was a little kid I took EVERYthing apart if no one was watching me. LOL. Now, I am a bit more cautious. But I'd still like to see good pictures of the bearing arrangements in the trunion block.
Thanks

BillWojo
 
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