No one has ever accused Franc Kuzma of designing glamorous audio jewelry. His turntables and tonearms are industrial-strength examples of engineering know-how and machining excellence. But to those who appreciate such things, his products are truly beautiful, even if they're not adorned with chrome, wood, and sleekly polished surfaces. And if looking at the 4Point tonearm ($6500) in pebbly Darth Vader black doesn't get your analog juices flowing, perhaps its innovative design will. But first, this message:
Whatever the design of a tonearm, there will be practical problems. The problem with gimbaled (fixed) bearings is obvious: the perfect gimbaled bearing would have zero chatter. However, even the best gimbaled bearing has some chatter, and chatter has an enormous impact on a tonearm's sound quality. On a visit some years ago to the tonearm-building facility of Rega Research, I watched assemblers randomly select bearings from a bin and test their tolerances. Though all bearings were from the same manufacturing batch, their quality varied widely. The best went into Rega's top tonearms; the rest were sorted by tolerance for use in lower-priced arms. Change nothing but the bearing and you significantly change the sound.
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