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binspaul 23rd May 2009 07:45 AM

Well tampered labs tonearm

Few questions on the well tampered labs tonearm design:

1. What is the significance of the golf ball ?
2. Why do we need a sand filled tonearm (Any real benefits over the conventional methods) ?

The reference site is :

Best regards,

hafp 23rd May 2009 04:34 PM

Think the "golf ball" used in their new tonearm is for stabilization and adjustment of the antiskate and azumith, and is the bearing of the tonearm...maybe a poor discription here.
The sand filling in the tonearm tube is to damp vibrations.
WTL has done that since their first model arms were released, so I guess they stuck with what they think is a good method of vibration damping.
BTW - that new design TT looks interesting eh.


Westerp 23rd May 2009 04:49 PM

Cheap solutions selling for quite some money indeed ;)

AVWERK 23rd May 2009 10:11 PM

The golf ball provides more surface area and thus more overall control of motion. (my guess)

While sand would cancel all tube resonances, chaulk might work better, being smaller particles and maybe less noise when a resonance starts up.
Sure seems like a lot of weight though...


binspaul 25th May 2009 04:22 AM


1. Can we use a mouse ball for the same purpose in a DIY tonearm ? I think the mouse ball is also precise for the purpose and is also having enough weight to hold the arm downwards from the inverted 'Y' string.

2. In the original arm, the golf ball is immersed in the viscous silicone fluid. I think, the DOT-5 oil used for brakes is a good alternative.

Please comment...

Best regards,


TerryO 30th May 2009 11:03 PM

I was in touch with a couple of the people involved in the development of the TT. The golf ball is an integral part of the design, having the density, mass and diameter necessary for the correct damping of the tonearm as well as supplying the right amount of anti-skating. While it looks simple, there was a fair amount of engineering that went into it. This is not just a casual attempt to come up with a gimmick and charge an a enormous amount of money for it.

Bill Firebaugh, the designer of Well Tempered, demo'ed the prototype at the Pacific Northwest Audio Society and it was outstanding. I believe he holds a couple of dozen patents, several relating to turntables (the platter bearing is one of them, IIRC).

At the time, he said that he felt that this was his best sounding design yet, and his older designs were rated very high by reviewers of the major Audio Magazines.

Best Regards,

JesseG 1st June 2009 11:55 PM

Terry, you has your facts straight, as usual. ;) Bill Firebaugh is the inventor of some very innovative designs and deserves to profit from his work IMO.

The point behind the golf ball is that the dimples act as 'drag multipliers', dramatically increasing the surface area of the ball, without increasing the size. It is the interaction of the dimples with the silicone fluid that provide useful levels of damping and control. A smooth ball would not work very well at all.

Sand is an excellent damping material, supressing vibration as well as altering the resonance frequency of the arm tube. It also has the virtue of being available almost anywhere :D

TIP: the ends of the wand are sealed with wax.


binspaul 2nd June 2009 03:58 AM

Hi Jess,

Thanks for your suggestions. I was thinking of the weight of the ball alone. :)

What is the virtue of sealing the ends with wax ?

Best regards,

fergs1 2nd June 2009 07:10 AM

to stop the sand falling out:)

Nanook 2nd June 2009 07:38 PM

a simple, effective and designed for manufacturing...
using existing, off the shelf components is one way all manufacturers can decrease costs and increase profits. Mr. Firebaugh may have got to a golf ball like object on his own and ended up realizing that a golf ball has the properties required.

If no one else thought of it, who cares? He should profit from his innovative thinking (as others in the audio industry have). The key here is innovation, not creation. Short of the Well Tempered arm, the Schroeder arm comes to mind as being similar in concept, using magnets and string instead of the physical interaction between the golf ball and the fluid.

maybe I'm wrong :)

anyone know when Van Isle DIY 'fest is on?

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