The Tonearm Is Stained

Recorded on March 23rd, 2016

photo of DIY tonearm

Five coats of PolyShade later, the tonearm is back in business. I think I’ll need to twist the cartridge relative to the arm by a few degrees, but that will be for tomorrow. The AT120Eb is mounted with 1/4” underhang and parallel to the straight arm, which means it’s going to be the most out of tangent at the beginning of a record. When I play one, I can hear the image lock in by about the middle of the second track. That must be where the tracking error starts to decrease below some soundstage threshold. The rest of the album side is rock solid. At times it sounds positively holographic.

I had to switch to a lighter top weight/washer plate on top of the headshell, because the first test tonight sounded too dark. It was good, but it was a little too much like the cartridge was swimming in molasses. Once I put the thinner plate on, the sound got its airiness back. I must have added quite a bit of mass with all the varnish, so something had to give for it to balance out.

I also changed the unipivot bearing to be the glass scriber tool. It acts more like a gimballed bearing, but without the chatter, I think. It sounds focused and deep, in any case.

Cosmetically, it needs a proper finger lift. The nylon wire ties look pretty awful.

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