Why the difference in tonearm plugs? - diyAudio
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Old 25th November 2013, 10:49 AM   #1
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Default Why the difference in tonearm plugs?

Surely a regular 5 pin din (240 or 180) is perfectly adequate. Many tonearms seem to have their own plug type (similar to a DIN) but, if vinyl and turntables were invented today, everyone would standardise to the regular 5 Pin DIN surely? There's too little stem room for XLR etc really (and two phono's) so a 5 pin DIN would make the most sense? Exactly as in MIDI cabling etc. This would be readily available and cost effective (ha, maybe that's why).

Last edited by nathanjh13; 25th November 2013 at 10:53 AM.
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Old 25th November 2013, 12:14 PM   #2
DF96 is offline DF96  England
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Are you talking about the business end of the arm where a plug-in headshell goes? If so, the most important thing after reliable electrical connections is absolutely rigid mechanical coupling yet fairly low mass. None of the common audio connectors can do this, which is why they are not used.
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Old 25th November 2013, 12:24 PM   #3
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Not the headshell end the dumb end, the connection at the bottom of the stem lets say. It's usually a small screw holding it in place. The DIN chassis connection I mentioned often has two small screws (though one may suffice if the other housing material/slot were thick enough. A 4 or 5 Pin Mini DIN is the business end (more or less?) well Technics use a 4 pin insert (the mechanial connection comes fromthe outer thread of course). But yes, the question relates to the other end. Cheers
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Old 25th November 2013, 02:53 PM   #4
DF96 is offline DF96  England
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OK. I can't comment on the other end.
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Old 26th November 2013, 05:14 AM   #5
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Why would you expect the Japanese to follow a German standard? They have their own standards organisation JIS and they come up with many excellent standards.

The one they developed for tonearm plugs was very good so it was nearly universally adopted. Then the market collapsed so they weren't worth making any more.

The DIN standard plugs are generally inferior but they're really cheap to make and they got adopted for lots of non-audio uses so they are still around.

If I were starting from scratch I'd use Fischer NIM-CAMAC connectors. I think Mark Levinson adoted these at one point, I'm familiar with them for their use in laboratory instrumentation (eg Obisphere dissolved oxygen meters). They're excellent connectors, virtually bulletproof, very compact. Not cheap but you get what you pay for.

Last edited by Mark Kelly; 26th November 2013 at 05:22 AM.
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Old 27th November 2013, 01:53 PM   #6
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To be honest I wouldn't expect them to follow a different standard, I didn't know why there was a difference (this was the essence of the post). Now that I know it's a difference between standards that's fair enough, the regular 5 pin DIN seems totally acceptable for this application then, cardas and others (over)charge for them and they're popular so they should do the trick, I can't assume they're be inferior as in realistically (audibly) inferior but Im happy to be proved wrong. M DIN R (Rega DIN) Many thanks for pointing out the difference though, I'll soldier on no prob, 5 pin din ftw haha. Small isolated metal pins will carry the signal pretty well hopefully, but Ill look at the other connectors you mention also. Best
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Old 27th November 2013, 01:56 PM   #7
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PS There's an article here I've just found, typically after the horse has bolted. Vinyl Asylum: Or, "None Of The Above" (Oofda!) by dvb
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Old 27th November 2013, 05:52 PM   #8
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Certainly Jonathan is right about the "DIN/JIS" tonearm plug.

Nevertheless, many tonearms come with this type of connection, e.g. Linn, SME and most Japanese.
Two examples:

TAC 5 | Zubehör | Phono | Home Hifi | Oehlbach

5.pol Tonarmstecker Jelco TS 503 // vergoldet grade

Of course there are more expensive ones from v.d.Hul, Cardas and others.
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Old 2nd December 2013, 11:41 PM   #9
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Yeah, the SYNTEC S220 tonearm aka PIEZO PU-402 aka SEDCO SPARTA ST-220 has the five pin non-DIN connector too. Working on putting an SP 15 with said arm together and I could only find that connector from a fellow in Israel. He shipped pretty quick though.
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