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Souther Linear Tonearm on A TD-124
Souther Linear Tonearm on A TD-124
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Old 30th January 2016, 07:36 PM   #1
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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Souther Linear Tonearm on A TD-124
Default Souther Linear Tonearm on A TD-124

A friend of mine recently gave me his old and disused early Souther Tri-Quartz linear tracking tone arm.

I spent a few hours cleaning and detailing it. This one was built in Canton, Ma. and has a number of modifications recommended by Lou Souther. It does not have the plastic cover - I will need to get something to protect the bearings and quartz guide rods from dust.

I improvised a tone arm interconnect until I can get something better. The strainrelief interferes with the arm lift and caused an offset in the lifting rod from one end to the other which I will only fix when the new cable gets here.. It works so..

I have a bunch of mounting accessories but because of the arm board height I had to go with the bare bones installation.
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Old 30th January 2016, 07:44 PM   #2
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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Souther Linear Tonearm on A TD-124
I've installed a disused Benz Ebony H HOMC cartridge on the arm, and have to say it seems to be a very good match to this arm. This cartridge has never sounded terribly involving to me, but on this arm it seems to shine.

I stuck the arm on my TD-124 MKI which is largely restored and will be its permanent home going forward. The combination actually works quite well, finding the space to install this arm is not complicated but there is no room for all of the accessories either. I installed the arm so that it clears the 124 mounting hardware and castings. It's a rather unfussy process to mount the arm, setting it up is another matter, but I did it successfully on the first try.

I'd love to hear from others with Souther LTAs regardless of the TT they stuck it on.
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Old 1st February 2016, 12:01 AM   #3
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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Souther Linear Tonearm on A TD-124
Day 2 and it definitely gets to stay. Surprised to say this combination works really well and I suspect in direct comparision to the Schick/SPU A95 would give it a good run for the money. I am not sure of the outcome either. I've been listening for over 12hrs now, which is a record for this table and electronics combination. (Muscovite Mini III treated elsewhere on this part of the forum) My opinion of this set up has increased significantly. I'm a bit surprised.

Strange as it sounds this is actually a pretty good route to follow from my admittedly limited experience.
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Old 1st February 2016, 12:45 AM   #4
BlownRx7 is offline BlownRx7  United States
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Kevin,
Congrats on scoring this tonearm!
It baffles me that people have dismissed linear trackers. Granted, they have their own setup issues but, after arm installation, what is so hard about setting up a cartridge perfectly straight in line with the center of a record?
After experiencing tracking error and anti-skating issues on my Well-Tempered, I appreciate going back to my linear tracking Phase Linear/Pioneer PL-8000.

I'm curious to know what the mods are to the original Souther arm.
Can you offer a sound comparison to the Schick?
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Old 1st February 2016, 02:51 AM   #5
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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Souther Linear Tonearm on A TD-124
Given that I just bought a NOS Souther SLA-3 for my other TD-124 I'm obviously suddenly and violently biased.. LOL

The Schick and SPU A95 will go on my as yet unrestored 401 which I am not yet contemplating sticking a Souther on..

The setups are so different it would be hard to fair. I find at this point that I prefer the Souther/Benz Ebony H/Muscovite Mini III to the Schick/SPU A95/LL1941/Muscovite. It is a little more relaxed sounding, which is a characteristic of the Benz I think. The thing that is most striking is the increase in apparent depth which is entirely the arm/cartridge. Not much else is different enough to account for this.

I had a very negative opinion of the Benz on a Schroeder and an SME 3009 Series II (not a good match) so I had no expectations of being wowed by this combo. As I got things a bit more dialed in it became evident while not perfect it was performing a lot better than I expected. I believe ultimately it will prove that the Souther is a pretty neutral arm.

Sorry this is all so subjective, but we are talking phono cartridges and arms.. I have no effective means to measure what are both very good arms and cartridges.

I am going to move away from heavy long arms and SPUs and there may be other arms in the future.
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Old 1st February 2016, 02:22 PM   #6
AVWERK is offline AVWERK  United States
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If there is a way to keep the tonearm base from touching the platter spindle I would think you might notice an improvement

Regards
David
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Old 1st February 2016, 04:17 PM   #7
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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Souther Linear Tonearm on A TD-124
There actually is an option to do that, but unfortunately I don't have the space to install the optional support hardware on this arm board.

I bought an NOS SLA-3 arm for the other table and could get an extended arm board and install that support on the other table.

The 124 bearing is recently rebuilt and is very quiet, I've not noticed any noise issues I would ascribe to the arm configuration, but it's early days and I'm going to be learning quite a bit I suspect.
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Old 1st February 2016, 10:57 PM   #8
Freddymac is offline Freddymac  United States
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Hi kevinkr,
I'll be interested in how this all works out. I know that liner is better, but the amount of hardware to get there, must have some detrimental effect to the sound. I had a Koetsu in a Grace 707 and it was too light for the stiff suspension. I never heard what it could do. Keep us up with what you find. If anyone can do it you can!
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Old 2nd February 2016, 12:22 AM   #9
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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Souther Linear Tonearm on A TD-124
Thanks, Freddy!
The funny thing is the business end of the thing is very simple - it is everything else that is so complicated. I have noticed a few shortcomings but in general I am rather pleased by what I am hearing.

The gifted arm is not pretty and has some quirks. Interestingly enough an occasional wipe down of the bearings and rods with a water wetted swab does seem to help. It sat for more than a year and seems to be waking up with use.

I'm listening to it now in fact.

I should have the new one middle of next week and am hard at work trying to identify the right cartridge for it. I'm gravitating towards an Ortofon Cadenza, Blue, Bronze or Black, but there are others with compliances, tracking force and mass in a suitable range. Clear Audio and Lyra both make ones that would match nicely but all but the entry level models are too expensive to consider.

The Ebony L would seem a natural, but finding one looks near impossible.
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Old 2nd February 2016, 04:22 AM   #10
bgruhn is offline bgruhn  United States
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Hi Kevin,
Greetings from 20 miles SW of you and another confirmed linear tracker user. I have been following your posts for a number of years and have come to regard yourself as a Guru in this arena (pardon the mixed metaphor). Your recent description of becoming enamored of/by the Souther seems to parallel my experiences with several DIY linear trackers and I hope that you will continue using and writing about the genre. What should prove enlightening would be for you to build up a clone of the ultra simple 4 glass tube 2 ball tonearm I have been using for more than a year with great success and doing some listening comparisons with your Southers and the Schick, or anything else in your stable. Great to hear that you are joining the fraternity.
BillG

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Originally Posted by kevinkr View Post
Thanks, Freddy!
The funny thing is the business end of the thing is very simple - it is everything else that is so complicated. I have noticed a few shortcomings but in general I am rather pleased by what I am hearing.

The gifted arm is not pretty and has some quirks. Interestingly enough an occasional wipe down of the bearings and rods with a water wetted swab does seem to help. It sat for more than a year and seems to be waking up with use.

I'm listening to it now in fact.

I should have the new one middle of next week and am hard at work trying to identify the right cartridge for it. I'm gravitating towards an Ortofon Cadenza, Blue, Bronze or Black, but there are others with compliances, tracking force and mass in a suitable range. Clear Audio and Lyra both make ones that would match nicely but all but the entry level models are too expensive to consider.

The Ebony L would seem a natural, but finding one looks near impossible.

Last edited by bgruhn; 2nd February 2016 at 04:23 AM. Reason: typo
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