Tonearm Resonance Control Kit
|Item Number: TONEARM-KIT|
In our listening tests, the Resonance Control Kit improves the $5000 Schroeder tonearm just as much as it upgrades the $325 Rega: you'll hear a lovely new airiness in the highs and firmer, deeper, more tuneful bass with newfound articulation. The physics are simple: bonding our 28g brass "mini Heavyhat" to the top of the headshell kills the resonances in the cartridge/headshell structure-leading to enhanced clarity in the treble and the midrange. The bottom octaves improve so much because our 28g headshell weight and 100g add-on for the arm's counterweight more than quadruple the inertia of typical tonearms. That makes a much stabler platform to resist the large stylus/cantilever excursions caused by strong bass passages.
The Tone Arm Resonance Control Kit is designed to:
• make any tone arm a more stable platform for holding the cartridge steady during large stylus excursions (as in loud bass passages)
• reduce higher frequency resonances in the headshell and counterweight. This yields significantly better dynamics as well as deeper, cleaner bass and better midrange/treble resolution
A good-sounding tone arm has to strike a balance between high inertia to resist music-induced stylus forces and low inertia for negligible resistance to the relatively slow cartridge motions needed to track record warps and record eccentricity. Conventional engineering wisdom holds that the “ideal” balance is struck by arms of 7 to 12 grams equivalent mass for high compliance, soft suspension cartridges (i.e. those designed for 1.0 to 1.2 grams downforce) and 15 to 25 grams for high compliance, stiff suspension cartridges (1.8 to 2.5 grams). This “ideal” inertia is based on the widely believed engineering rule-of-thumb that tone arms need to be tuned to a resonant frequency between 7 and 11 hertz, a hypothesis that falls apart when tested by ear.
In audio, as in the rest of science, a good test always trumps theory —no matter how elegant or plausible. To test whether today’s standard arm inertias are “ideal” or not, we added weights to the headshells of current, widely used arms (and added sufficient counter-balancing weights at the rear of the counterweights). Our test subjects ranged from Stanton and Rega arms at the low end to the world reference 12” ebony Schroeder arm at the high end. Low compliance cartridges tested were Denon, Dynavector, Grado and Koetsu; high compliance cartridges were Soundsmith, Shure and a retipped Denon modified for high compliance. Tests were conducted with both slightly warped and seriously warped LPs.
The results were unequivocal: for every arm and cartridge tested, sound quality improved significantly with the increased headshell and counterweight mass. As expected, bass extension and articulation was clearly better. Unexpectedly, the midrange/treble transparency and detail improved even more markedly. Achieving these excellent results was crucially dependent on the use of brass and the use of point contact mountings for the weights.
Included are a brass headshell weight and counterweight add-on, both with machined-in triplepoints-and the CA adhesive needed for bonding them to the tonearm.
|This review is like the Phonofile System upgrade-each had similar and tremendous impact and I think they offer unparalleled improvement and should be used together if possible. If you are considering this upgrade I would assume you have followed the other Mapleshade protocols for maple platforms/brass footers for turntables and audio gear, including equipment rack and power conditioning. I have done this with my entire audio system. At each upgrade point, the improvements defied explanation; incredible transparency, realism, and essence of presence in performance. I did not think this could be improved upon. I was wrong. The level of realism was immediately clear using the Phonofile Record Coupling System/Resonance Control -noise floor seemed non-existent, the depth of the sound improved and articulation of instruments seemed more precise and impactful. You will hear/feel the difference!|
|- Patrick Leap, NY|
|As a tech I am always and I mean always skeptical of upgrades even though that is what I enjoy doing more than anything. Just as it says this upgrade makes a difference. All of my system has been upgraded and I mean all of it and I would rate it above average in performance. These upgrades take all the rest of the noise out of the tables signal path leaving nothing but a VERY quiet back ground and beautiful music coming through. The bass is tighten and the rest is cleaned up. The bottom line is it worth the cost? YES!|
|- Randy/Ezekiel, TN|
||Bass definition remarkable!
|I was curious about the potential effect of the kit and could not be more impressed. Although bass definition was already excellent with my Ortofon 2m Black, the use of the kit resulted in astoundingly better bass clarity. I could actually hum easily with the deep bass of my jazz records. The backing vocals of my Grateful Dead records also came vibrantly to life. I never review items--but had to on this one. Great, great tweak!|
|- Will Keresztes, NY|