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In the Forum: Analog Playback
In the Thread: Schroder Tonearms
Post Subject: Art by DesignPosted by Paul S on: 12/20/2009

It is intresting to me that despite the insane pricing of the Schroder arms, this is yet another case where it seems necessary spend as much as possible to get the best realization of the "key features" that might actually make the arm do what it is "designed to do".  Regarding the final price, who could imagine why Frank does not want to deal directly with High-End Audiophiles, and Lord knows what the middleman's mark-up is.  I doubt Frank is getting rich off this, but if he's doing OK, then good for him.

Romy, you are correct in citing the string as the "ground path", and in the case of the more expensive versions it is a single string/single path.  As for the "rigidity" of this connection, there are knife-bearing arms that are ridgid enough.  In Schroder's case, as one ups the ante the adjustable magnets get more and more powerful, and the  most expensive version gets contoured magnets that keep flux reasonably constant in the gap even when the arm is tracking a less-than-perfectly-flat record.  These magnets line up below the string to provide a +/- damped "connection" that "continues the string through the arm wand", providing the horizontal pivot.  The string actually, physically, terminates well below the arm wand at +/- the plane of the stylus tip to keep the pivot-to-stylus distance constant during tracking, as opposed to variable, as in cases where the vertical pivot is at the plane of the center of the arm wand. Frank claims that magnetic "eddy-currents" generated by the (adjustable, remember) magnets also provide overall arm damping.

Back to the ground path, twisting this same string provides increasing-toward-the-spindle torsion as anti-skating force, similar to how it is done in correctly-installed WT arms (very loaded, as factory-mounted arms on WT ensembles I've seen are incorrect...).  And something that gets no discussion that I've seen or heard is that silicone damping for the string is available (for still more money...).

Perhaps this arm is not good for the 901 or other very stiff cartridges.  I don't know. But I would not be at all surprised if the best version of this arm could be set up to work quite well with the "right" cartridge, if set up by a high-demands, rigorous tweak.

One big problem with evaluating stuff like this is that most of the super-expensive "cult' gear gets bought by well-heeled Morons, which  dims hopes of relevant feedback.  In this case, however, arms are pretty much like cartridges, where you have to just bite the bullet and buy them and then eff with them for weeks or even months to figure out what they can do.  And who has 6k to throw at this thing on a flyer?  Probably not the people most likely to get the most out of the arm.

I would not be surprised if a certain percentage of these arms were purchased as modern art.

Paul S

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