Trans-Fi Audio

Home of the Terminator Tonearm

Tone Arm Evolution & Design

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Although the Evolution has now been superceded by the Terminator, I have kept these pages active for reference for enthusiasts wishing to make their own.

Ever since my first turntable, I was always aware of the distortion that seemed to get worse on the inner tracks using a pivoted tonearm. It wasn't until I came across this article that  I realised something could be done about an affordable cost! I set about to make my first tangential tracking air bearing arm. Evolution 1 one was my first attempt. Even in this primitive form, the results were stunning. Every track played the same, from the start of the groove right to the end! The time span for these sequence of evolutions is about 4 years off & on.

Evolution 1


Evolution 2 was an attempt to tidy the appearance of the arm up. I was still using 8mm carbon fiber and the same aluminium extrusions from a bolt lock. A Stanley blade was used as the vertical pivot. There were problems with the gauge of the wire used which had to be carefully dressed to avoid tracking issues. In this evolution, the wire was changed for thin flexible silver stuff. I also devised a way to fit a hydraulic armlift.

Half way through this evolution I decided to revise the suspension for the Gyro. The springs always took a while to settle when starting a record which was quite irritating! I incorporated the wonderful solution by Gert Pedersen! This took the Gyro to a new level of performance!

Evolution 2


Things really start cooking in Evolution 3. I had ideas for the arm I couldn't realise with the extrusions I had been using. I invested in some engineering equipment, namely a small lathe & milling machine. With these I was able to create something which not only performed well but was aesthetically pleasing, although I didnt have a clue about engineering!

In these evolution I got rid of the knife edge bearing & replaced them with small precision roller bearings. I also experimented with an aluminium wand. I noticed air noise intrusion with high compliance cartridges & devised a double isolating runner to counter this. I settled on 6mm carbon fiber as the wand material mainly because It was easiest to machine all the bits around this diameter......but its not cast in stone!

In this incarnation I saw fit to release the arm to the public to see what the reaction would be. Everyone that has tried this arm remains stunned by it performance!

Evolution 3


Evolution 4 represents the latest updates carrying on at the present. I have enlisted the co-operation of other keen enthusiasts to try out new ideas, as I feel on my own I have hit a plateau. Amongst these mods is a return to the concentric counter-balance & blade type vertical bearing. Watch this space for current developments!

5.9.07 The centre of gravity for the blade bearing has been brought in line with the wand shaft. It was difficult to balance before being top-heavy. New arrangement retro-fittable. Please contact me for the update.

Evolution 4


More information about what people are saying about this arm can be found HERE


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