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Old 21st December 2010, 12:41 PM   #1
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Default High v's Low mass

This may seem like a basic question but what are the advantages and disadvantages of high effective mass tonearms? I am aware of the need to pair them with high compliance cartridges and that they do not handle warps as well as low mass arms. Are there any others that need consideration?
My beloved AT1005II arm was due to see service in a new build TT but I am wondering if a lower mass arm wouldn't be a better choice for what will be general mixed disk use. I am unlikely to go the moving coil route for the foreseeable future.
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Old 21st December 2010, 12:57 PM   #2
AndrewT is offline AndrewT  Scotland
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Hi,
high compliance cartridges generally suit low effective mass arms.
low compliance cartridges generally suit high effective mass arms.
at the mass/compliance resonance the output from the cartridge is very far from typical audio frequency response output levels.
If this is a peak in response at resonance then you want that peak and the slopes/flanks to be far away from the LF audio band.
But you also want the peak well away from record warp/eccentricity frequencies.
A happy medium between these two is ~ 8Hz to 10Hz for the mass/compliance resonance.
You select or adjust the arm effective mass to give that resonant frequency with your chosen cartridge LF compliance.
Beware, the LF compliance can be very different from the audio band compliance.

BTW,
it is relatively easy to add effective mass to a low mass or medium mass arm.
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Last edited by AndrewT; 21st December 2010 at 12:59 PM.
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Old 21st December 2010, 01:16 PM   #3
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Woops! my mistake. I did mean Low/High, High/Low combinations were ideal.
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Old 21st December 2010, 01:25 PM   #4
AndrewT is offline AndrewT  Scotland
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Let's not bother with the little error.
Did the response make any sense?
Does it answer some or any of your questions?
Do you know where to go next?
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Old 21st December 2010, 02:09 PM   #5
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Thanks for the reply and yes, it did help. As it stands, I have a high effective mass arm and thus will have to partner it with a suitable compliance cartridge. This is not really a problem and I am sure I can get a good match either by calculation or experimentation. Aside from the resonance issue, is there anything else to consider when employing a highish mass arm?
The reason I am keen to get as much information as possible now is because the turntable build will be very much tailored to the arm I settle on.
Don't get me wrong, I love the AT arm and am more than happy to employ it. However, if something such as a Rega RB250 etc would be a better choice for me then I would consider trading in the old arm.
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Old 21st December 2010, 03:14 PM   #6
sreten is offline sreten  United Kingdom
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Hi,

Two good matches for your arm :

Budget :
Audio Technica AT 95 E / AT95E Tonabnehmer - 20,90 EUR

Not so budget :
Thakker AT 95 HE / AT95HE Tonabnehmer - 59,90 EUR
(This a hyper elliptical tipped cartridge.)

rgds, sreten.
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Last edited by sreten; 21st December 2010 at 03:19 PM.
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Old 21st December 2010, 03:29 PM   #7
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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Denon DL-103 or DL103R might be worth considering as well. Suitable transformers like the Partridge 977 are not too expensive (eBay.co.uk) if the pre does not have LOMC capable inputs.

Not sure how these fit your budget requirements particularly if you need the SUTs which have increased in cost 50% since I bought mine this spring...

Transformers here: http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/PARTRIDGE-MOVI...item588bacf3af

FWIW: I'm currently using a Zu/Denon DL-103 on my SME 3009 Series II using Partridge 977 transformers for step up duties and really like the combination - hence my recommendation.
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Last edited by kevinkr; 21st December 2010 at 03:34 PM.
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Old 21st December 2010, 03:30 PM   #8
DF96 is offline DF96  England
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It is a long time since I thought about these matters, but I seem to remember:
- low mass arms can be more subject to arm resonances colouring the sound (not the subsonic arm-tip resonances but the arm itself ringing at audio freqs)
- high mass arms can distort the vinyl as it has more work to do
So the choice (assuming in each case a suitable cartridge compliance) seems to be between colouration and distortion.
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Old 21st December 2010, 04:14 PM   #9
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Out of interest, can a high mass arm give rise to higher record wear. It's not something that I have heard mentioned, but the fact that a low compliance cartridge will supposedly exert more force on the groove walls would lead one to believe that this will cause greater wear. Just a thought.
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Old 21st December 2010, 04:36 PM   #10
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davecooper View Post
Out of interest, can a high mass arm give rise to higher record wear. It's not something that I have heard mentioned, but the fact that a low compliance cartridge will supposedly exert more force on the groove walls would lead one to believe that this will cause greater wear. Just a thought.

Not seen any real evidence to support that conjecture provided that everything is in good working order, and records are kept clean. Certain models of the Ortofon SPU track at forces well in excess of 4gms, and no one seems to complain of undue record wear.

I run a DL-103 tracking at 2.5gms or so on fairly high mass arm. No signs of wear out so far. I play a lot of records quite repetitively... (I know my bad.. )

I have records I purchased nearly 40yrs ago that were played on turntables with ceramic cartridges tracking at 4gms and above, no audible problems either. Then they were played with an inherited M3D in a very high mass arm tracking at >5gms on an early Garrard stereo changer (probably an RC-121 or similar) , and again no evidence of issues. The M3D at least sounded better IMHO than the inexpensive garden variety Shures, Goldrings, and Ortofons I used subsequently.
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Last edited by kevinkr; 21st December 2010 at 04:42 PM.
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