RB300 Arm and Koetsu Cart-good match? - diyAudio
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Old 26th June 2005, 06:56 PM   #1
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Default RB300 Arm and Koetsu Cart-good match?

Hi all,

I run a Luxman PD350 fitted with standard RB300 arm and Koetsu Rosewood "standard" cart.

I am seeking opinions as to whether the cart and arm are a good match, and if not- should I buy a better suited arm to match the Koetsu, or... sell the Koetsu and find a more suitable cart for this arm?

I am more inclined to keep the Koetsu, I do enjoy the sound from my table, but maybe I am missing out on something???????

And if opinion finds that the arm is the weak link- any suggestions without spending an arm and a leg?
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Old 27th June 2005, 09:39 PM   #2
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The real test of whether a cartridge is a good match for a tonearm is the resonant frequency of the cartridge when in use with that tonearm.You have to calculate this by using a formula that includes the effective mass of the tonearm and cartridge( and it's compliance).A cartridge resonance of around 11-12Hz is considered a good match on an arm.The table itself is probably the weak link in this combination.I would say something like a good Thorens in the second-hand market should be considered and might work out cheaper.There are upgrades you can do to the RB 300 as well such as rewiring and better counterweights.I suggest you check out the Vinyl Asylum where you find a ton of info in the archives.Here is a link http://www.audioasylum.com/audio/vinyl/bbs.html Also The Analog Dept. for Thorens.http://www.theanalogdept.com/
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Old 29th June 2005, 02:44 PM   #3
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Aquarium,

Thanks for your comments, I am well aware of those 2 sites you listed and frequent them often. But I do not think that the PD350 Luxman could be the weak link here.Although Luxman did make some lesser tables, the PD350 is generally very well regarded.
I have decided that when funds allow I will upgrade the arm.

I am currently upgrading an AR table ( 1984 "the turntable" ) with custom armboard, new spring and stud kit, and lead mat and acrylic inner and outer platter.These parts are from Anthony Scillia whose link can be found on www.vinylnirvana.com.

I have an audioorigami fully modded RB300 arm that will be installed, and I am going to try a Garrott P77 cartridge with it.

So I will get back to the Luxman table after this is up and running.
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Old 29th June 2005, 03:51 PM   #4
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Quote:
The real test of whether a cartridge is a good match for a tonearm is the resonant frequency
Not IME. Some obvious mismatches sound not bad at all altough the resonant frequency is not ideal. The real test is to actually mount the cartridge and listen.
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Old 29th June 2005, 10:15 PM   #5
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Hey! I thought I was talking to vinyl newbies here so I tried to simplify.Anyway I used to have a Luxman PD-284 and thought it o.k but got rid of it in the end as I no longer favour direct-drive.Have you checked out the Lenco thread on Audiogon for a great table to put an arm on?You are right analog_sa that the final arbiter is your ears.Opinions vary from saying going as low as 8Hz or as high as 16-18Hz is correct cartridge resonance.It is useful as a guide.
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Old 30th June 2005, 11:27 AM   #6
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Hi, Isn't it fair to say that inertia moment and compliance are at least as important as the resonant frequency of an arm?
The Koestsu's are rather low-compliance affairs and, I think, tend to like quite high effective arm mass to keep them under control. In very limited experience of listening to them, one sounded really awful in a Naim Aro, even after expert setup, but good in an SME V which had had the top part of its Yoke removed.

Though I've much more experience of the rb250 than the 300, the Regas turn from rather poor to nice arms once you have sorted their weaknesses:
The bearing quality, the bearing position, the bearing type, the wiring, the armtube mass and horrible resonances, the counterweight mount, the counterweight, the antiskate mechanism, the mounting method......
The armtube casting is quite useful (though it's quality is very variable) and the lift (best part) is worth keeping.

regards, Jeff
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Old 30th June 2005, 08:34 PM   #7
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IME, the Rega RB300/250 series are very good sounding arms, although not quite as good as my SME V with the cartridges I've used. I prefer the way they sound with the Michell Technoweight and the Incognito rewire though. I can't say that I agree with your other criticisms Jeff- I've still got some technical reviews of tonearms from the mid-eighties, and the Regas structural resonance performance is only mildly inferior to that of the SME V. Bearing quality has always been praised by critics and seems very smooth and play-free to me. Effective mass is about 10 grams- perfectly reasonable given the rigidity of the tube and widely compatable with a lot of modern cartridges. Bias is reasonably accurate as far as I can judge- it's never been a problem. The mounting method is mildly annoying but not unusable. Perfectly good arm, and IMHO one of the greatest audio componants of all time, when price is factored in.
As to the Lux- well OK, I haven't heard one, but assuming that a Thorens or a Lenco (or a modified AR) are necessarily better is just an assumption. The big Lux decks were very well engineered. I have heard the PD300 at some length and thought it was very good, albeit in an unfamiliar system. As it happens, that was used with an RB300... Incidently, wasn't the PD350 belt drive like the PD300?
If you have a modified Rega for the AR, Soundfan, why not try it on the Lux as well?
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Old 30th June 2005, 08:53 PM   #8
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Hi Toaster,
Thanks for posting your thoughts.I just want to make it clear that I didn't buy the AR to replace the Luxman, I have 2 systems running and wanted a table for the second system.The idea of a well regarded AR table with upgraded parts appealed to me as I have never previously modded a TT, and I thought -why not!

I do enjoy my Luxman/RB300/Koetsu combo, to me it sounds very nice indeed, and thats just a standard arm. But having people say that maybe trying another arm with that cartridge has me thinking of possibly looking at other arm options in future.

I will try swapping in the modded RB300 to the Luxman and give my impressions.
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Old 1st July 2005, 06:52 AM   #9
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I look forward to it Soundfan! I'm not suggesting that the Rega is the last word with the Koetsu, as I'm sure you realise, but unless you happen on a reasonably priced arm that complements the Lux and the Koetsu particularly well, you'll be looking at an expensive arm to improve on what you have. One option that would at least be different is the Linn Ittok, if you can find a second hand one in good condition. If the PD350 sounds anything like the PD300, it's a bit laid back, so if you wanted a more energetic sound, the Ittok might be just the thing. Also, with the Rega, or any other arm, I've found that the armboard material can significantly change the sound of a record player system. It's quite a while ago since I saw him last, but my friend with the PD300 found he preferred a wooden armboard- made of marine ply I think- to the standard Lux metal one, with his Rega.
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Old 1st July 2005, 03:32 PM   #10
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Hi, perhaps i was being a bit grumpy there, sorry, but I have been gradually throwing away almost every last bit of a series of RB250's:

http://www.william-reed.net/audio/rega2.html#3

But it looks like I might have been wasting my time because for the last week I have been running a prototype of a recently patented device from Len "Cartridge Man" Gregory which kinda turns the perceived wisdom about tonearms upside down.
He calls it the "isolator" and it is very simply a damping pad between two thin metal plates. It goes between cartridge and headshell.

Now, I was deeply sceptical, not least because it's 2.7g added to the headshell and it looks really clunky, but the results are amazing. An astonishing drop in noise floor and a very marked improvement in detail, instrument separation, texture, just everything. And this with a brand new MusicMaker III which I thought was sounding superb on its own. There was an eye-opening demo of the isolator on an RB300 compared to a *very* expensive (2000ukp+) current top reviewer rave arm and the Rega comes within a whisker of the exotic.

I think there are magazine reviews pending, but it would really be worth hearing this if you are in reach of Surrey/South London

Jeff
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