Necessary to remove tonearm when installing cartridge?

Discussion in 'Turntables' started by Emosewa, Aug 12, 2018 at 6:14 PM.

  1. Emosewa

    Emosewa New Member

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    Many thanks in advance for any suggestions and advice on the below.

    I own an older model Linn Sondek LP12 with an Ekos arm, with an older Linn cartridge. I will be (1) installing a new Lyra Delos cartridge, and (2) comparing the Linn with the new cartridge to an SME 15 with Series V arm with the same Lyra Delos cartridge. Both will then have the same newer cartridge, so it will be a valid comparison, side by side, of the turntables and tonearms. In the event the SME combination is superior, I will buy that table and arm and then transfer the new Lyra Delos to that when it arrives. If the SME combination is not audibly superior, then I will keep the Linn LP12 and have a new cartridge.

    My question concerns the installation of the cartridge — on both my older Linn Ekos, and by a dealer on a new SME V. As you probably know, Linn insists that the Ekos arm must be removed from the table to install and tighten a cartridge. Failure to do so, Linn warns, will damage the bearings of the tonearm if the cartridge is tightened on the arm with the arm mounted on the table. I own a Linn setup jig, and am willing to follow those instructions — if they are really necessary — for the installation of the cartridge. (I’m doing this myself because the only Linn dealer is a considerable distance from my home and the SME/Lyra dealer is closer. In addition, Linn dealers normally sell only Linn cartridges, and I have no reason to believe that the equivalent Linn cartridge is clearly superior in order to justify two long trips to both drop off the table and then retrieve it from the Linn dealer.)

    Two questions:

    (1) Is it really necessary to remove the Linn arm from the Linn table in order to install a cartridge, which is a bit of a time consuming procedure?

    (2) My local SME dealer has never heard of such a thing, and says that he never removes an SME arm from the SME turntable when installing a cartridge, and has never done it on any other tonearm or turntable, for that matter. But logic would suggest that if it is necessary for the bearings on a Linn Ekos arm, wouldn’t the same procedure be necessary for any other tonearm? Any expensive tonearm should have delicate bearings, and would not be any different from a Linn arm in that respect.

    So shouldn’t the same procedure be followed with any expensive tonearm? If it is really necessary and prudent to remove the Linn arm from the table when installing a cartridge, isn’t it also prudent to insist that any expensive tonearm be removed from a table by a dealer, when installing a cartridge?

    On the other hand, if removing the tonearm is not necessary in the case of the SME or other expensive tonearm/turntable combinations, why is the Linn different in that respect?

    Any comments and advice would be greatly appreciated!
     

     

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  2. Balifly

    Balifly Listening Subscriber

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    Welcome to the AK turn table forum.

    You read the warning.

    Should you decide to ignore it, proceed with extreme caution !!! :eek:
     
  3. Emosewa

    Emosewa New Member

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    OK. But does that apply to the SME tonearm -- and all other tonearms?

    All expensive and high end tonearms have delicate bearings.

    Why only Linn?

    Or does this guideline -- that the tonearm must be removed from the table when installing a cartridge -- apply to all well made and expensive tonearms?

    That was my question.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2018 at 7:59 PM
  4. DavidTT

    DavidTT AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I know Linn tables exist in the stratosphere, but I would never, ever buy a turntable or tonearm requiring removal for cartridge mount. It's one thing to be precise, it's entirely another to be fragile to that extent.
     
  5. Balifly

    Balifly Listening Subscriber

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    No it does not apply to SME tone arm or all other tone arms.

    There are no such warnings .

    It only applies to Linn because there is such a warning from Linn.

    There is no warning that the tone arm must be remove from the table when installing a cartridge, there are no such warnings from other makers. :no:
     
  6. Emosewa

    Emosewa New Member

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    Many thanks for your response!

    In terms of price, many turntables, and tonearms, cost the same as Linn. Including SME. In fact, many turntables and tonearms cost *more* than Linn. So I wouldn't say that Linn is in its own stratosphere.

    To sharpen my question, is Linn the only manufacturer with this requirement that a tonearm be removed to install a cartridge? I haven't heard of such a requirement with regards to any other tonearm, nor has my local dealer who sells a variety of brands of expensive turntables.

    If Linn is the only manufacturer with this requirement, then I strongly agree with you -- it is one reason to buy SME or any other brand name. Otherwise, whenever you want to change cartridges, you either must go through the cumbersome procedure of removing the tonearm -- which must be done by removing the bottom and going up inside the turntable -- or depend on a Linn dealer to do it for you. Who, of course, almost certainly only sells Linn cartridges.
     
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  7. Emosewa

    Emosewa New Member

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    Thanks. I responded to the other post at the same time as you were responding. Many thanks again.
     
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  8. bimasta

    bimasta Super Member

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    I had an LP12 + Ittok (not much different from Ekos) and though I sold the Linn I kept another Ittok and still use — great arm. I changed more cartridges than I can count, with the arm mounted, and the bearings are fine, they pass all the tests. I suspect Linn wants you go and spend at a Linn dealer, for something you can do yourself. Linn's reputation in this area is not flawless. But if it spares you anxiety, do it their way.
     
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  9. Beobloke

    Beobloke Super Member

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    As long as you are not completely ham-fisted or thinking of using a hammer to align the Lyra then, no, you do not need to remove the Ekos from the turntable to fit a new cartridge!
     
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  10. savatage1973

    savatage1973 Addicted Member

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    I own a Linn LP12 (bought it new in 1985) with an Ittok arm. It has gone through numerous upgrades over the years--at this point (including the cart--Dynavector 23K RS) about $5K, and I have never had to remove the arm to swap carts. That is just BS to make you take it back to the Linn dealer IMO.
     
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  11. Emosewa

    Emosewa New Member

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    Many thanks for the extremely helpful responses. I will follow your advice and install the new cartridge with the arm in place. I agree that the primary purpose of this requirement is to force you to buy Linn cartridges from Linn dealers. I have, over the years, asked three different Linn dealers if I could watch the process of removing the arm and installing the cartridge, and they all flatly refused. After all, once they show customers how it is done, it means that Linn customers can buy cartridges from other manufacturers and do the installation themselves.

    QUESTION -- On my old Ekos and Linn cartridge, the pins and wires work in reverse. Most cartridges have four pins, and the tonearm wires come out of the tonearm and slide onto the pins. On my older Ekos that is reversed -- the connecting leads come out of the cartridge and plug into the tonearm. I haven't yet removed the Linn cartridge, and so I could be mistaken, but it appears that the pins are on the arm instead of on the cartridge. If that is still the practice of Linn, it is yet another way that Linn attempts to lock you into the Linn system for life.

    Is that the way your Ittok arms work? Is there enough room to use male to male cartridge/headshell leads or connectors to hook up non-Linn cartridges to the pins on the Linn Ekos tonearm?

    On my Ekos it looks like it will be very tight fit even with tiny male to male connecting leads.

    Many thanks again for the very helpful advice!
     

     

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  12. savatage1973

    savatage1973 Addicted Member

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    I don't know the Ekos arm that you have, but I use Cardas silver M to M connectors for my Dynavector on the Ittok. I also had the tonearm rewired with Cardas silver wire.
     
  13. 4-2-7

    4-2-7 Smart Ass Sponsor Subscriber

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    Well for starters I think most os what Linn says is BS. Had one to use long ago but don't remember the arm on it and it didn't stay long.

    Having the same cartridge on two good tables that are both setup correctly should produce very close sound quality. The next thing to put a change in the sound is the arm and platter/mat. The Linn is quite a bit different than the SME15 and series 5 arm. The SME is superior in their build of the platter/mat and clamping design.

    When we get to the arm again it will be no contest, for one thing the Series V is far easier to setup the cartridge accurately. Whenever you have slotted head shell screw holes you need to do two adjustments accurately at the same time. This leads one to give up and say it's good enough with the angel of the cart and overhang. Neither is repeatable without a lot of fussing every time you loosen the screws.

    The Series V has it's own protractor that's very simple to use for overhang. Built in designed painted on measuring points for VTA, and all adjustments for only one step in the setup. Once these adjustments are made your done and they don't change over time as everything stays locked.

    The actual handling in use of a SME 309, series 4 or 5 is just a pure pleasure to use. It's very solid and moving from rest, cuing and back to rest is very comfortable and no fumbling around like a lot of arms present. This is all very important with cartridges like the Lyra Delos cartridge. While they have more protection than a naked body Sumiko Blackbird with a unprotected cantilever. The less handling in setup and and a solid design to handle the arm daily will let your cart live a long life.

    Running out of time, can continue
     
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  14. bimasta

    bimasta Super Member

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    @Emosewa — As for your headshell dilemma, I don't think I can help. My Ittok has standard male pins, which connect to female clips, and all my carts are the same (even my Linn Asak). They all use female-to-female leads. Is the Ekos different, does it have female "sockets"? I couldn't find a photo online with enough detail. I know some Linn carts had their own leads hardwired to the generator — not a bad idea but it limits flexibility, and tends to lock you into the Linn system.

    If you're able to take a clear close-up of your h'shell and cart, it might help.
    It's even worse than I thought. Linn is a cult. I'm not saying all Linn owners are cultists (I'm a Linn owner) or all Linn products are lousy — but the advertising (propaganda) and instruction materials proselytize the "All-Linn and Only-Linn" concept and Linn dealers enforce it. Apple is similar in that everything must fit into the "Apple Eco-system".

    I'm currently using an old Linn Asak cartridge (Supex) and loving it. I bought it 30 years ago, a barely-used dealer demo, and never used it until last week, so it's almost "new". I love the Ittok — it sounds better on a Thorens TD-125 BTW — but I've had better arms. I didn't like the LP12 and sold it after a year of trying very hard to like it. I had two different Linn speakers and both were "meh". So to my mind Linn quality is variable and that's fine, all companies are like that (in my experience) so I've always gone mix-and-match.

    But their mind-control offends me. Last year I made mildly critical comments in a LP12 thread here on AK, and a Linn owner PM'd me asking me to go into more detail. It was an honest inquiry, he was a smart and nice guy, and we corresponded a few times. But it soon became clear that his intelligence ended at Linn's door. He went to many Linn workshops and seminars and had little knowledge of other brands. He was brainwashed. I didn't know how to deal with it without hurting his feelings and I dropped the conversation.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018 at 10:00 AM
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  15. savatage1973

    savatage1973 Addicted Member

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    As a Linn owner, I would have to agree--the pressure is definitely ON to stick with Linn and "the Linn way". But I feel the same way about McIntosh dealers too--and the only way I would have a piece of McIntosh gear would be to pick it up off the curb (as a public service), clean it up and sell it. Besides, their Kool-Aid tastes funny (to me). I don't care for their "house sound" or outdated aesthetics, but to each their own.
     
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  16. bimasta

    bimasta Super Member

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    I applaud your public spirit! There used to be something called "the social contract" which transcended statutes and even the Constitution. It arose during the Enlightenment when most societies were still monarchical. That implicit contract seems to be gone, and I'm glad you still honor its spirit!
     
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  17. rothwellaudio

    rothwellaudio Forums Sponsor Sponsor

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    I think they refer to it as "marketing". :naughty:
    Apart from it being a pain in the backside to remove an arm to fit a new cartridge, how would it be possible to align it correctly when the arm is off the turntable?
     
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  18. bimasta

    bimasta Super Member

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    Easy. Linn Magic. Or is that "Majik"?
     
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  19. 4-2-7

    4-2-7 Smart Ass Sponsor Subscriber

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    Sorry for your luck, but Linn sold people snake oil hype to push a $75 table at a $3000 price. Whenever matched up and tested to tables that cost the same Linn got spanked and sent home in disgrace. So I can see them needing a dealer to sell their tables exclusively, so there is no side by side listening in a dealers show room. Linn basically needed to pay for good reviews, greasing the palms of audio mags they advertised in to build a reputation. They ended up with another reputation in that process as well, most can see the curvature of the earth.


    But McIntosh is sold side by side with other equipment in dealers showrooms. A licensed mac dealer is not limited by them not to sell anything else. McIintosh built a reputation on a basic principle of building quality that last and giving the consumer their moneys worth for a given unit.

    The fact is Mac went out of their way to show and test their products against others. They held clinics all over the US and had the average joe bring anything in they wanted to, to be tested and see what it can do. They educated the masses of audio enthusiast to fact all the while debunking the Kool Aid drinking reviews.

    They don't advertise in magazines and have them give glorified reviews in order to get their dollars. McIntosh earned their reputation over many many years in the professional environment as well as the home.


    Don't expect us to hold our breath for this to ever happen.

    Well this is all subjective as is the one that loves MP3 downloads playing though their iPhone and some ear buds.

    Now I'll get back to my OP and finish why the table the OP is looking at is far superior to any Linn product. Maybe you can actually post something in this thread that is useful to the OP and on topic as to the products in question.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018 at 9:24 PM
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  20. 4-2-7

    4-2-7 Smart Ass Sponsor Subscriber

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    Yeah it's actually kind of crazy...

    Looks like I did the same...

    Quoted for truth...
     

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