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The most interesting thing I saw at RMAF...

75.90.145.110

Posted on October 20, 2012 at 19:09:21
John Elison
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Frank Schröder has designed a linear tracking pivotal tonearm. He claims it has zero tracking error, zero skating force, and zero friction bearings. It appeared to work as advertised and it sounded great. The pivot-to-spindle distance decreases as the arm moves across the record in order to maintain zero tracking error. The headshell has no offset so it presumably should have no skating force. I thought it was quite intriguing and very innovative, so I'm hoping we will be able to learn more about how it works in the future.

Best regards,
John Elison

.....

 

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RE: The most interesting thing I saw at RMAF..., posted on October 20, 2012 at 19:28:02
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Very interesting. I'm looking forward to more details.

 

More info , posted on October 20, 2012 at 21:06:54
vinyl survivor
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See the link below to the Analog Planet website. In due time Michael Fremer will review it. In the meantime, he provides a phone number to the distributor for those who want more info.

 

RE: The most interesting thing I saw at RMAF..., posted on October 20, 2012 at 21:15:38
kenster
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They had a prototype last year at RMAF and it looked very intruiging then. Sounded awesome as they had a demo setup and could quickly switch between it and another tonearm of which I don't remember what that one was.

~

 

$6000 is "very competitive" ?? [nt], posted on October 21, 2012 at 03:26:08
Amphissa
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.

"Life without music is a mistake" (Nietzsche)

 

Yes., posted on October 21, 2012 at 06:02:56
mosin
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Actually, the introductory price for RMAF was $8,900, not 6,000. Yes, it is a competitive price when considering the competition found in the particular market segment of such groundbreaking developments. Sales exceed expectations from what I hear.

If you order a couple of thousand, I suppose they would be willing to attempt a redesign of the product, so that it could compete in price with the Rega and Jelco tonearms of this world. Meanwhile, the makers are most likely content with remaining in the rarefied "cutting edge" neighborhood where they have been so wonderfully received.

Very seldom does a mass marketeer break new ground, so don't hold your breath waiting for a cheap tonearm that does something to redefine the way other tonearms have worked for the last century. The likelihood of that happening is pretty remote.

The Schröder LT is a game changer. It is the sort of product that fosters a legacy, and those don't come along every day.

 

How would one knows when...., posted on October 21, 2012 at 06:13:54
jeromelang
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....there are tracking error, sonic artifacts from too much/not enough skating force, and from friction at the bearings?

Can anyone truly say he can hear and identify such problems?

 

I designed something like that a while back..., posted on October 21, 2012 at 06:29:49
Bry
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...but my idea used electronics and swiveled a plate with the arm suspension on it based on arm position. I'm amazed Schröder found a practical way to do it magnetically.

 

RE: The most interesting thing I saw at RMAF..., posted on October 21, 2012 at 08:24:25
gotoma8
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So...how does it maintain it's "Tangential aspect"? does the pivot move as the arm moves from outer to inner grooves?

 

RE: How would one knows when...., posted on October 21, 2012 at 09:00:12
John Elison
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We have things called measuring tools and protractors. If the tonearm maintains zero tracking error across the record, this can be proven with a protractor like the DB Systems protractor that has an alignment grid that covers the entire playing surface.

It can easily be determined as to whether skating force is zero by playing a record with a blank grooveless surface. If the arm actually has zero skating force it will stay in place anywhere on the spinning blank vinyl surface.

Bearing friction can be checked by balancing the tonearm and observing its movement. I asked Frank if the balanced arm would deflect downward if a 5-mg piece of paper were dropped onto the headshell. He told me it would deflect downward if a single human hair were dropped onto the headshell. Therefore, friction can be easily checked.

As far as audibility is concerned, that is for each individual to determine for themselves. Frank Schröder claimed that the total lack of bearing friction made an audible difference to him. From my perspective, I believe that the greatest audible attribute for Frank's tonearm might come from the total elimination of skating force.

Best regards,
John Elison

 

It might be a game changer for a tiny minority (of a tiny minority) who have $6000-9000 to spend on an arm., posted on October 21, 2012 at 09:24:38
Rick W
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Grinch alert.........

Maybe eventually - after my cremation - the technology/concept employed in this design will "trickle down". Maybe worldwide "redistribution of wealth" will occur during my lifetime and the hifi market will tilt towards enthusiasts who don't have such large sums available to put towards their vinyl systems, and Shroeder will be able to lower the price and dramatically increase sales volume sales (doubtful).

Win, I can and do admire products like your tt design and this arm from afar, but for the foreseeable future it really has no, ahh, bearing on listening to music at my house. Tough for me to get excited about products like this one which are so far from my reality and certainly not a requisite for being immersed in recorded music.

Curious......

Shroeder's new design appeals to me more than currently available linear trackers - it seems simpler and easier to use. But in terms of *sound*, what differentiates this arm from "regular" linear tracking designs that have been around for many moons?

 

Well..., posted on October 21, 2012 at 10:47:30
mosin
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It sounds as good as the very best pivoting arms, except it shares a major benefit with other linear tracking tonearms. That benefit is that tracks the entire record perfectly, and the result is that it presents far less wear to the stylus. Arguably, perfect tracking also results in more perfect sound reproduction. It is at least one more step in the right direction.

It is better than other linear trackers because it doesn't need fancy motors and pumps to work, and that means it isn't dependent upon the proper function of outside mechanics that fail from time to time. Also, it isn't so limited as to the choices of cartridges that can be made. Often, other linear tracking tonearms are extremely limited when it comes to cartridges used, and they are more likely to require a level of care that pivoting tonearms are free from. This tonearm is the best of both worlds in a smaller package.

Consider the prices of associated frontend equipment in the High-End market, and the price of the tonearm fits. Back in the Seventies, even the entry level SME cost $800. Things are no different now than they were then, except that a lot of things have been improved...not all, but a lot of things.

Do I have the money for one? No, not right now. Do I really, really want one? Yes

 

Thanks for the info. I'd like mine on your tt. Maybe after my pending first place lotto win. nt, posted on October 21, 2012 at 11:51:38
Rick W
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nt

 

Since that's the case..., posted on October 21, 2012 at 12:12:45
mosin
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...I hope you hit that lottery. ;)

 

RE: The most interesting thing I saw at RMAF..., posted on October 21, 2012 at 14:06:00
Bry
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Yes, the arm base has a few articulating pieces and the pivot moves forward as it advances toward the end of the record. The trick is that it does this in a way that keeps the bearings in line with tracking friction and doesn't introduce skating forces.

 

Also...., posted on October 21, 2012 at 14:08:53
Bry
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This is the first arm of its kind. Less expensive versions of it could appear one day.

 

RE: The most interesting thing I saw at RMAF..., posted on October 21, 2012 at 14:43:07
gotoma8
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Now, that's pretty cool! Love to hear one! How long is the arm?
Wonder how it compares to say other linear tracking arms....
T

 

The arm does have skating force, posted on October 21, 2012 at 15:10:22
Mark Kelly
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Long discussion on this some time ago on DIY Audio.

By the analysis linked below, the arm will have a skate force component because the stylus reaction force vector does not pass through the main pivot point. Until Frank reveals the exact details of the magnetic track components the amount of skate force is difficult to calculate, but on first principles for a design like this it must exist and it must change with arm angle.

Caveat: Frank is a genius and his knowledge of magnetics far exceeds mine. It remains a possibility that he has developed something which is not covered by my analysis.

EDIT: I'm probably wrong. See JE argument below


Mark Kelly

 

Join the club, posted on October 21, 2012 at 15:13:07
Mark Kelly
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Brian Kearns and I have been punting ideas back and forth on this for years. At the moment the impediment is availability of suitable pivot bearings.


Mark Kelly

 

Our old disagreement., posted on October 21, 2012 at 16:45:55
Mark Kelly
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I disagree with you about the blank vinyl test. We've been through the reasons before but we were never able to prove it one way or the other.

I hope to shortly be able to provide proof: on my tangential pivoting arm the required skate compensation is directly measureable during operation, even when the stylus is in the groove. If I am right, the skate force quantum in this situation will differ from the blank groove case.



Mark Kelly

 

RE: The arm does have skating force, posted on October 21, 2012 at 17:16:51
Bry
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Mark,

When you say the vector does not pass through the main pivot point, are you referring to the first/lowest one in the mechanism? As far as I can figure, if the vector passes through any low-friction lateral bearing, it shouldn't be a factor on the arm. From there on, there's just a forward pull on the mechanism from that point, which he deals with using magnets. As I type, it occurred to me that there could be a skating force from the way the magnet system feeds out extra length, since it must be designed to restrain the arm based on angle. In other words, the last lateral pivot is not pure, it's got a magnetic assembly acting on it as well....

I'm basing all my analysis on the 15 minutes I spent looking at the arm last year, but I agree there could be a skating force.

-Bryan

 

RE: Our old disagreement., posted on October 21, 2012 at 17:34:14
John Elison
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I don't remember an old disagreement about using a blank vinyl surface to determining whether skating force exists or not. Perhaps you had a discussion with someone else. However, if you play a blank, grooveless, smooth vinyl surface using a tonearm that has no antiskating and it remains stationary, this shows there is no skating force present. This method is used to level turntables with air bearing linear tracking tonearms. Do you disagree with this procedure? If so, why? I don't remember any discussion with you or anyone else about this particular situation.

Best regards,
John Elison

 

RE: How would one knows when...., posted on October 21, 2012 at 17:43:54
Bry
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Would a stylus tip exhibit the same drag as the two contact surfaces in the groove? It would seem to me the answer would vary with the stylus profile.

 

RE: The most interesting thing I saw at RMAF..., posted on October 21, 2012 at 17:53:46
John Elison
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The arm has an effective length of 250-mm. If it works as advertised, it should perform better than air-bearing linear trackers because it will have essentially the same effective mass in the lateral and vertical planes just like ordinary pivotal tonearms. That is a big plus in my opinion.

Best regards,
John Elison

 

RE: How would one knows when...., posted on October 21, 2012 at 18:02:42
John Elison
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You're right. The friction of a stylus on a flat surface may or may not be the same as the friction of the stylus in a groove, depending on its profile.

 

It's in the maths., posted on October 21, 2012 at 18:10:40
Mark Kelly
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It's all laid out in the analysis I linked.


Mark Kelly

 

Vectors., posted on October 21, 2012 at 18:17:50
Mark Kelly
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Skate force equals stylus friction reaction force times the quotient of linear offset and arm length.

Stylus friction reaction force equals the force normal to plane of the contact dimple times the friction coefficient.

On a blank disc, the force normal to plane equals the downforce. On a grooved disc, the force normal to each plane (groove wall) equals 1/sqrt2 times downforce so the sum for the two grooves equals sqrt2 times downforce.

The blank disc method therefore underestimates the skate force by about 30%.

The argument doesn't apply to balancing a linear tracker because the force which creates a side motion in an unbalanced arm is produced by gravity, not stylus reaction force.


Mark Kelly

 

Effective masses., posted on October 21, 2012 at 18:20:37
Mark Kelly
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The effective mass in the horizontal plane is somewhat higher than the vertical due to moving the various bits of the linkage. IMO this is a benefit, it's the same principle as the Dynavector DV50X series of arms.


Mark Kelly

 

RE: Effective masses., posted on October 21, 2012 at 18:36:42
John Elison
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You seem to want to argue with me today. There is very little difference in the vertical and lateral effective mass for ordinary pivotal tonearms. Frank's arm is similar to ordinary pivotal tonearms in this regard. The Dynavector arm is not and it is my opinion that large lateral moving mass is not beneficial, especially when tracking records with elliptical grooves and off-center spindle holes, which comprise most records. I guess we will have to disagree. I don't like the Dynavector tonearm at all.

Best regards,
John Elison

 

RE: Vectors., posted on October 21, 2012 at 18:41:39
John Elison
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Your argument also does not apply to Frank's arm if it passes the test, but thanks anyway.

Best regards,
John Elison

 

Details, posted on October 21, 2012 at 18:43:42
Mark Kelly
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You are glossing over the details. Frank's arm is anything but "similar to an ordinary pivoted arm". For the arm to work, when it pivots horizontally it must move the various parts of the linkage. This must add to the horizontal effective mass.

As I said, I see this as a benefit.


Mark Kelly

 

Not true., posted on October 21, 2012 at 18:45:14
Mark Kelly
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The argument is a matter of basic physics, it applies to all arms which place a stylus in the groove.


Mark Kelly

 

RE: Details, posted on October 21, 2012 at 18:45:17
John Elison
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Well, I think you're wrong.

 

RE: Not true., posted on October 21, 2012 at 18:46:27
John Elison
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Thanks, Mark.

I think you're wrong.

 

As previously, posted on October 21, 2012 at 19:00:05
Mark Kelly
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See what I meant to about us not being able to settle the matter?

Lots of people support the blank disc method, many people (including me) think it defies basic physics. There's never been a clear cut demonstration one way or the other.

Fortunately that will change soon; as I said I will be able to measure the force directly on both a blank and a grooved disc.


Mark Kelly

 

Light bulb., posted on October 21, 2012 at 19:14:35
Mark Kelly
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Ahh, I think I now see what you mean.

My argument only affects the amount of skate force. Frank's arm has no antiskate compensation, so if it passes your test it's because it is inherently balanced and needs none.

I think you are right.



Mark Kelly

 

Thank you! /nt\, posted on October 21, 2012 at 22:00:26
John Elison
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RE: Well..., posted on October 22, 2012 at 08:28:11
E-Stat
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Back in the Seventies, even the entry level SME cost $800.

$800? Perhaps I was just a lucky lad when I purchased a 3009 Type II Improved new in 1974 for about $150. The Technics SL110a on which it was mounted was about $300 and the Ortofon SL15E with SUT was about $120.

 

RE: Well..., posted on October 22, 2012 at 09:48:30
Dave Pogue
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The 1975 Annual Equipment Directory published by Audio magazine listed two versions of the SME Type II arm (removable and non-removable headshell) at $174 and $182.

 

Thanks for the corroboration, posted on October 22, 2012 at 10:06:25
E-Stat
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I did, however, spend $850 in '84 for a Souther TQ-1 plus $70 for a Tiffany cable. :)

 

RE: The most interesting thing I saw at RMAF..., posted on October 22, 2012 at 11:29:00
bobsdevices
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I also saw and heard this arm and was really impressed. It looked to me like it was keeping the head tangential to the grooves throughout the side and what is even more important, is that the record sounded great. Now I realize that many other things contributed to that. So, I agree with John that it is an amazing piece of engineering that does what it claims and certainly a noteworthy piece of gear.

 

RE: Also...., posted on October 22, 2012 at 15:12:26
Pcosta
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Not to take anything away from what Frank has done, and it looks very interesting. I had a chance to listen to the prototype they had in Denver last year and it was good.

But the concept or idea is not new. Frank's execution is different and more visually pleasing to me but credit should be at least shared with others such as Thales Tonearm

 

RE: Also...., posted on October 22, 2012 at 17:17:49
John Elison
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The Thales tonearm is an entirely different concept. Furthermore, it doesn't work very well because the linkage has way too much friction and it also rattles. Wally Malewicz and I tested it at RMAF 2010.

Best regards,
John Elison

 

RE: Also...., posted on October 22, 2012 at 17:55:08
Pcosta
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Yes it is an entirely different concept in practice but it does the same thing in a linear manner, and it came to market first, thiat is all I wanted to say.

The particular arm you speak of at the 2011 RMAF was setup after it came back from a reviewer damaged that is what you saw there unfortunately. The newer Thales Simplicity looks like something I would rather have over their bigger Thales AV style arm.

 

RE: Also...., posted on October 22, 2012 at 20:02:09
John Elison
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> Yes it is an entirely different concept in practice but it does the same thing
> in a linear manner, and it came to market first, thiat is all I wanted to say.

In that case, let us not forget the Garrard Zero 100 turntable with a tonearm that is much more similar to the Thales tonearm than Frank Schröder's tonearm. I would say the Garrard Zero 100, which went to market in 1970, came long before the Thales tonearm.

The Thales tonearm I tested was at RMAF 2010, not RMAF 2011. It did not appear to be damaged, but I suppose that's a possibility. Regardless, all the extra linkage and extra bearings create excessive friction and the potential for unwanted and unnecessary vibration. The Garrard Zero 100 had the same problem.

Best regards,
John Elison



 

RE: Also...., posted on October 23, 2012 at 02:48:15
Pcosta
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Yes John

There are plenty of good working examples of linear type arms, even before Thales. Thorens has one as well from way back.

You are right about the Thales at 2010 not 2011. At the 2010 RMAF it was damaged and you only saw it on Friday, and HWS took it off after Wally's testing. RMAF 2011 HWS used both models of the Thales arms on the Thales tables without a problem.

I do like the simple uncluttered look of Frank arm though. Hopefully it performs very well.

 

Back to the 50s, posted on October 23, 2012 at 18:34:52
Brian Walsh
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The arm falls into a tradition that goes back to the 1950s: pivoted arms that are capable of 0 degrees tangential error.

There is an extensive thread with lots of photos and diagrams on DIYaudio.

The thread also discusses some of the issues with this approach.

The Schroeder arm showed up about a year ago in that thread.

Brian

So much music, so little time!

 

RE: Back to the 50s, posted on October 23, 2012 at 19:27:25
John Elison
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All previous arms look like Rube Goldberg Machines compared to Frank Schröder's tonearm.

If Frank's tonearm works as advertised, it is truly revolutionary in terms of a tangential pivotal tonearm. I would love to test it.

Best regards,
John Elison

 

Looks more interesting than a unipivot. Nt, posted on October 23, 2012 at 19:38:04
Plinko
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Nt

 

No comparison whatsoever! /nt\, posted on October 23, 2012 at 19:45:38
John Elison
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RE: Back to the 50s, posted on October 23, 2012 at 21:18:50
Brian Walsh
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> All previous arms look like Rube Goldberg Machines compared to Frank Schröder's tonearm.

You sound like a salesman ;-)

> If Frank's tonearm works as advertised, it is truly revolutionary in terms of a tangential pivotal tonearm. I would love to test it.

Buy one, then you can test it.

Brian

So much music, so little time!

 

...even a $15k unipivot? Nt, posted on October 24, 2012 at 07:42:39
Plinko
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;-)

 

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