Why is the tone arm and TT drive so important

Mar 12, 2020
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I can understand the value of stylus, cartridge and phono pre amp, but I don’t understand what makes a tone arm improve the sound. Also, the drive or the turntable in general. Surely they all spin about the same 33rpm, . Vibration dampening I understand but does that make a huge difference.
I look forward to lively response and some coaching.
 

abacus

Well-known member
Sep 24, 2008
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18,970
First thing to remember is that vinyl playback is a mechanical process, (The electrical side is just a very small part at the end) therefore mechanical integrity plays a big part in how the sound gets out. (The movements of the stylus are minute; therefore any resonance (Vibration) from other mechanical items (Arm, Turntable etc.) will prevent the stylus from reacting accurately to the grooves, thus giving an inaccurate sound)

The better made the mechanical components mean you get a better sound, however getting a mechanical item to play ball is a lot harder (And expensive) than an electrical item. (The arm is called a tonearm because it has its own resonances which interfere with the stylus vibrations thus impacting on the tone that comes out the cartridge)

Bill
 

Al ears

Moderator
First thing to remember is that vinyl playback is a mechanical process, (The electrical side is just a very small part at the end) therefore mechanical integrity plays a big part in how the sound gets out. (The movements of the stylus are minute; therefore any resonance (Vibration) from other mechanical items (Arm, Turntable etc.) will prevent the stylus from reacting accurately to the grooves, thus giving an inaccurate sound)

The better made the mechanical components mean you get a better sound, however getting a mechanical item to play ball is a lot harder (And expensive) than an electrical item. (The arm is called a tonearm because it has its own resonances which interfere with the stylus vibrations thus impacting on the tone that comes out the cartridge)

Bill
Well put. A decent turntable has always been the sum of it's parts.
Put a decent cartridge on a poorly designed tonearm and you are not going to do that cartridge justice.
The driving force for rotational purposes can be from a number of different methods, and yes they all rotate a platter at 33.3 rpm or whatever, but it's the resonances and other mechanisms that those drive methods bring to the design as a whole that matter
 

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