Technics - Straight Tonearms
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  1. #1
    DJTT Scribe Mod smiTTTen's Avatar
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    Default Technics - Straight Tonearms

    I have seen a bunch of custom 1200s with straight tonearms and even a few with those ghastly LED multicolour tonearms (seriously, buy a lava lamp). I know the theory is that straight tonearms are better for scratching but I have also heard that straight tonearms on Technics can be the kiss of death.

    What is the deal with these?

    As the French say, "Hit me with your knowledge peeps."
    Beats By Dre is like audio flu for your balls.

  2. #2
    Tech Guru djproben's Avatar
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    It's the same as the mod that people used to do to M447 needles; the S-curve tonearm sets the needle in the groove in such a way so that it is centered in the groove and stays straight (examine the curve of a record and the movement of the needle closely to see what I mean). This minimizes record wear and maximizes sound quality and symmetry. The straight tonearm is favored by some scratch DJ as the needle tends to stay in the groove more consistently -- tracking is better and the needle doesn't jump out of the groove when you start jerking the record around. Some DJs came up with the idea of changing the offset angle of the M447 carts to mimic this behavior -- they tilt the cart so that it is offset from the groove rather than centered in it (if you look at the tiny-print instructions that come with these needles you will see this modification recommended). This helps with tracking but again the downside is it will burn through records faster and assymetrically. The needle fights the groove rather than going with it. This is, as you can imagine, an audiophile's nightmare. The straight tonearm may make it slightly easier to scratch but in my opinion it's not worth it -- you should focus instead on developing a less aggressive technique so that you don't need to rely on the extra tracking advantage.
    "Art is what you can get away with." - Marshall McLuhan

  3. #3
    Tech Guru djproben's Avatar
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    here's some more detailed info - http://www.kabusa.com/str8_doc.htm
    "Art is what you can get away with." - Marshall McLuhan

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    Tech Guru Cybertrash's Avatar
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    If I'm not mistaken, straight tonearm == increased record wear, better tracking.
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    Tech Mentor Nicadraus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cybertrash View Post
    If I'm not mistaken, straight tonearm == increased record wear, better tracking.
    ^^^This!
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  6. #6
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    Expected better from the man behind Works1200, Nicadraus.

    *grins*

    Let's get this right.




    A straight tonearm CAN, but does not implicitly MEAN, increased recordwear. Find me a hi-fi turntable without a straight tonearm. Seriously. Guys who spend upward of AUD/USD$25K on a wooden-plinthed, belt-driven deck are NOT going to risk their records for better tracking.




    djproben has it right, though the term wasn't stated. The s-arms help to create the tangential angle, approximating the point at which the stylus is perpendicular to the concentric circles (well, spiral) that is the groove cut in to a record. In doing so, the stylus isn't fighting the edges of the groove but roughly maintains it's position on the apex.

    SO.

    No kiss of death. Depends on the length of the straight tonearm.




    Mr. Scruff tours with custom Vestax PDX-2000 with Grado tonearms. If we can ever find a pic to post on this thread, you'll note that rather the tonearm's head is angled to spindle, rather than being 90° off the tonearm. Again with the tangential angle.

    (You'll also see, looking at the Ortofon SH-4 headshell that was released with the S-120 OM the two white lines? Used to assist in creating that angle we're referring to)




    YES. The tangential angle can be approximated on straight-armed DJ turntables, too. You're just doing it from deeper within the deck.

    (Though replacing the Technics arm with a hi-fi arm from Grado, Rega or SME would be better. This thing is the sex: http://www.sme.ltd.uk/uploads/images/seriesvbig.jpg)




    And let me pose a question. If they're better for scratching, why hasn't the DMC switched in all these years?

  7. #7
    Tech Guru djproben's Avatar
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    Find me a hi-fi turntable without a straight tonearm
    For what it's worth, the SME 3009 tonearm on my Thorens TD 125 turntable is curved, not straight. There are plenty of curved tonearms on audiophile gear; Grado also has curved tonearms for example. But otherwise yeah your explanation is correct.
    "Art is what you can get away with." - Marshall McLuhan

  8. #8
    Tech Guru djproben's Avatar
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    If they're better for scratching, why hasn't the DMC switched in all these years?
    I'm pretty sure I've seen straight tonearms at DMC videos, though I don't feel like searching right now. There is no rule against them that I'm aware of; they provide industry standard equipment but a lot of people bring their own gear (sometimes with interesting mods); I could be wrong but I'm pretty sure a straight tonearm would not be disqualified.
    "Art is what you can get away with." - Marshall McLuhan

  9. #9
    Tech Guru Patch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by djproben
    The straight tonearm may make it slightly easier to scratch but in my opinion it's not worth it -- you should focus instead on developing a less aggressive technique so that you don't need to rely on the extra tracking advantage.
    This is what it all boils down to. You have to realise that the only force you need to manipulate the record should be the light friction between your finger tips and the record. Virtually NO downwards pressure is required.

    Scratching is like making love to a fine woman...



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  10. #10
    DJTT Scribe Mod smiTTTen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by patch View Post

    scratching is like making love to a fine woman...



    don't forget to lick your fingers occassionally.
    this made my day!
    Beats By Dre is like audio flu for your balls.

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