New Schroeder linear tonearm, any thoughts?

I noticed Frank Schroeder has a new linear arm without servo motors, pumps, etc. seems like a promising direction. Did anyone hear it at RMAF?
Yes I heard it on The Beat TT in the Xact Audio room. It was great. Went back a couple of times to hear it again. Very smart design. I want one.

Thanks. I think I get how it works. Would love a video. Seems interesting.
The arm falls into a tradition that goes back to the 1950s- pivoted arms that are capable of 0 degree tangential error.

If interested there is an extensive thread with lots of photos and diagrams on

The thread also discusses some of the issues with this approach.

The Schroeder arm shows up about a year ago on that thread.
I don't see any pictures depicting a tangential tracking arm. I only see pictures of their hanging on a thread/magnetic attraction version of a conventional pivoting arm.

What, if any, mechanism provides for tangential tracking?
The mechanism is hidden in the base. The pics will not make it clear how it works. A video would be better. There are two horizontal pivots in the base that articulate. There is also a guide rail hidden in the base that guides the arm in a straight line across the record. From what I understand there is a magnet that helps with that process. The bearings are also very low friction and because of that there is no excessive horizontal mass unlike most linear tracking arms. They also claim no skating force is generated.

No string involved in this design.

and we can read on similar designs as vintage as 1934 on these patents numbers:

""" Garrard design looks similar to US Patent 2983517 by Klein in 1961 and 2516565 by Guy(GE) in 1950.
These arms seems to have 0 overhang generally.
see also US Patent 1963673 by Patino in 1934 which is using pulley as predecessor to US Patent 4497053 by Wolff in 1985 etc """"


Regards and enjoy the music,
10-23-12: Larryi
I don't see any pictures depicting a tangential tracking arm. I only see pictures of their hanging on a thread/magnetic attraction version of a conventional pivoting arm.

What, if any, mechanism provides for tangential tracking?

Larryi, The new Schroeder arm is not a standart tangential tracking arm. It is a pivoted arm track like a linear-tracker. "The Schroeder arm has an ingenious mechanism whereby the pivot point of the arm mounted on a cam is pulled out in an arc by the stylus to achieve tangency." You can find good pictures here:
And thankfully, a beautiful looking arm at last.
Makes the Kuzma 4 point appear as gross and ungainly as Quazimodo's goitre.
Pity Frank didn't include a detachable universal headshell?
I would have seriously considered this.....although if it has the same waiting time as Frank's other arms............?
Dear Dgad: I don't know which is that price but I would think that the price could goes with the tonearm advantages in this new design over other tonearms.

The tonearm quality performance level is the factor that justify a price other than marketing.

Anyway, till we don't experienced we can't have a grading on this " novel " tonearm design but knowing the very good job of this designer ( Frank. ) I assume this one will have very high quality performance and will has success.

Btw, the japanese tonearm in the link I posted is interesting too, it is a straight one from headshell to tonearm bearing that the designer say " there is no contact at all " and comes with universal removable headshell design as Halcro asked.

Good that the analog is growing up on something so important as tonearms with " fresh " ideas.

Regards and enjoy the music,

Very tempting, but when do I leave well enough alone? I have seen so
many great designs and Wally measured Tonearms a few years ago to
rotational inertia (the force needed by the groove to move the stylus)
across the LP. This basically would be demonstrated by the Tonearms
pulling back against the cartridge and produce excessive force on the
cantilever. Something that most of us take for granted. It was truly
educational. He mentioned some of the best arms he has tested we're the
SME, TW 10.5, and Breuer. He also showed some unconventional designs
to "stick" along portions of an LP. The reason I bring this up is
that my Schroder SQ obviously would excel in such a test beyond all arms
and might be why I am so enamored with its sound. I wonder if this new
design from Frank would have similar problems. I doubt any bearing that
traverses over a pivoting area would have as low friction - inertia. This can
honestly be tested. Franks claims to the contrary might be true and then we
have something special. I believe linear tracking arms of the true linear
variety all suffer from needing high forces against the cantilever to move
the stylus.
Looking at the photos, I assume that at the distal end of the arm wand there is a bearing of some kind (I have read elsewhere that it is not a string-type bearing) that must have lowest possible friction. How then does the mechanism in the base "know" that the tonearm is pivoting across the surface of the LP? Is there any sort of linkage between the two mechanisms, or does the moving pivot just move independently of the arm wand pivot? If the latter, then it would seem one must re-set the pivoting base each time. And what happens if one wishes to start listening at some cut in the middle of the LP? (Thus I think I have got it wrong; there has to be a link of some kind between the two pivots or maybe the rear of the arm wand is fixed such that the stylus movement must control the whole operation.)
Lewm, I think that is driven by skating forces that arise as soon as the arm is out of tangent. If you'll notice the cartridge is mounted square in the headshell- no offset angle- which would increase said forces.
Dear friends: Only to share a different new tonearm on the market. Musical Arts's description is really even with no promises of any kind and this is a good thing. Looks interesting:

Regards and enjoy the music,

To understand the Schröder LT arm, you can research three things:

A: The Thales circle.

B: The patent by Richard W. Birch in 1969.

C: The thread Atmasphere suggested.

I still don't understand how the rear of the arm knows how far to move to keep things aligned. I mean the only think attached to the record, and guiding the whole mechanism, is a small fragile stylus that is actually moving in all directions within the groove.

I would love to see a video of this in action.
There's a little guy in there that moves it for you :)

It is the tracking force in tandem with the skating forces that arise if the arm gets out of tangent that realigns it. If you are thinking this relies on really good bearings you are correct!

The pivoting cantilevered plate that holds the arm has a guiding mechanism underneath it that extends to the back of the arm in parallel with the arm that points to one of the 3 points in the Thales circle. I know Frank's arm does not exactly use the Thales geometry but it is the reference to check for absolute tangency. Think of the Thales tonearm by Michel Huber in reverse. Instead of pivot the headshell with a guiding rod, the Schröder arm pivots at the arm-base. Frank is clever enough to conceal all the extra stuff underneath that plate that holds the armlift. And it's aesthetically pleasing. I wish there's a close up picture that shows all the mechanics but so far it's a trade secret. All I know it's done magnetically to have the least friction. If you're familiar with the Garrard Zero 100 tonearm, there's a guiding rod along with the main armwand and the Schröder uses the same concept except it done at the arm base area. Again, if you have the time, check out my thread in diyaudio forum.

Here are couple pictures:

The segment from point B to point D is where the guiding mechanism is.

Right Crubio....there are 2 bottom lines here. How does it sound, and how dependable is it over time. (damage if any to cartridge)
Why would there be any damage to the cartridge? Frank's moving pivot necessarily offers LESS resistance to longitudinal forces seen by the stylus than any fixed pivot.

Any arm with a fixed pivot (including traditional linear trackers) offers 100% resistance to longitudinal forces. On Frank's arm, these longitudinal forces are reduced by the extent they're used to move the pivot, leaving less force to be seen by the stylus.

The tonearms we all own impose greater longitudinal forces on the stylus than Frank's new design. If anything, this should result in longer cartridge life, not shorter.

As to how it sounds, I have no idea!
You nailed it. As to how it sounds, it should satisfy the most discerning audiophile. That would surely include Doug Deacon. ;)
If there's any trickle-down technology I'd like to see happen fast, it's THIS! If Shroder were willing to license the design, it could be mass-produced, making the arm affordable to a wide range of customers. I'd love to see this become the new RB300!

This is such an elegantly simple design that could be fitted to a wide range of turntables. I wonder how long the arm has to be for this dual-pivot to maintain tangential tracking?

I'd love to see this show up on Pro-Ject, Music Hall, Rega, VPI ...
+1 to Johnnyb53's post.

@Frank - are you ready to retire on regular monthly royalty payments? I know some good IP attorneys. ;-)

Mosin, thanks for the props but you mis-spelled "discerning". Having just bought a new house, I'm now among the most "dis-earning" audiophiles.
Leicachamp, Ideally, neither the Schroeder nor the Thales have any tracking error, so the answer is "no". However, life is seldom ideal, so the real answer is "who knows?"

Johnny, It seems that the trick of the Schroeder is to look simple enough so that anyone can build it, but if it works as I think it does, its internal workings are as intricate as a Patek Philipe watch and cannot be cheaply mimicked. (Of course, I chose a bad metaphor, because any $25 Swatch can perform as well as any PP watch, when it comes to keeping time. But the babes will treat you better if you are wearing a Patek Philipe.) Anyway, my real point is that it is likely not possible to make a cheap version of the Schroeder, because of the need for highest quality bearings and metallurgy.
Lewm: I wouldn't expect an automated manufacturing version of this arm to come in at $300, but Panasonic/Technics made *millions* of SL12x0 tonearms while maintaining a mere 7.5mg bearing friction. This was based on a 30+ year-old design and implementation. The Shroeder bearings demand half that level of resistance, and I think it could be as easily accomplished today as 7.5mg was in 1981. Japanese industry has a long track record of high precision mass production. I think it could bring the price from $9K down to $1000-1500.

A $30K automobile, if made individually, would cost at least a million dollars. The quantities for a specialty tonearm wouldn't be nearly as high, but if the pivot were manufactured under tight control and licensed to many tonearm implementers, I think they could reach significant economy of scale, especially if it became the new pivot standard for Pro-Ject, Rega, and VPI. Maybe it would be enticing enough to get Denon or similar back into the quality TT business.

If this works as expected, it should be a game-changer--a tangential tracker that for the most part behaves like a standard pivoting tonearm in all the good ways.
@Frank - are you ready to retire on regular monthly royalty payments? I know some good IP attorneys. ;-)

Alas even if patented a manufacturer with deeper pockets than the inventor can simply buy one reverse engineer it and come out with their own.

...but is it worth it. Would the less than bat eared audiophile be able to hear the difference between the very slight error of today's arms compared to this arm. Can you reading these posts distinguish between a 9 and 10 inch version of the same arm?
Lewm, Herr Schroder spent his earlier days as a trained Watchmaker,(me too) I'm sure he would appreciate your analogy, as do I!!

Reverse engineering of protected intellectual property for commercial purposes is often actionable, though the legal complexities can be daunting. If the action is successful, the court may order injunctive relief (i.e., a "cease and desist" order against the unlicensed user) and/or civil damages.

Samsung was recently found to have violated Apple's IP rights by reverse engineering elements of the i-Phone and implementing them for commercial gain in its own Galaxy phones. Appeals are pending, but at trial Samsung was ordered to pay Apple several billion dollars in damages and enjoined from selling certain models and features.

Of course if the reverse engineering company has much deeper pockets they can exhaust the poor inventor, as you said. Blah, blah, blah...

For the purposes of this discussion, I wasn't thinking primarily about enforcing (or stealing) IP rights. The immediate value of an IP attorney for Frank would be to help negotiate licensing agreements with honest manufacturers.

This assumes Frank would actually be interested. That would be a departure of course. He's an audiophile, artist and craftsman first, a (very good) businessman second.



Speaking of watchmakers, I just bought a house from a man who repairs, rebuilds and sells antique clocks. You'd have loved his basement machine shop... cool stuff.

Hicks Antique Clocks
Dear Iso, It is interesting to learn of your and Schroeder's former occupations. I can add another tonearm inventor to the watchmaker list: Herb Papier, creator of the Triplanar. I was a friend of Herb's in his later years, right up to and beyond the point where he sold the Triplanar business. He built every Triplanar in his basement, on a workbench that resembled what you would see in the shop of a watchmaker. As Herb got older and somewhat disabled, he farmed out some of the mass production (ha-ha) of tonearm parts to various trusted shops, but there were certain things Herb would not entrust to anyone else, including the setting of the bearings.

07-31-13: Stringreen
...but is it worth it. Would the less than bat eared audiophile be able to hear the difference between the very slight error of today's arms compared to this arm. Can you reading these posts distinguish between a 9 and 10 inch version of the same arm?

I absolutely heard the difference between a conventional pivoting arm and a tangential tracker. At my local high end dealer's annual open house, Mike Fremer showed up with a CD he'd made, re-recording the same LP track multiple times with different turntable/tonearm combinations. One of them had a tangential tracker (probably a Walker). All tracks were level-matched for listening tests.

I identified the track made with the tangential arm easily. It doesn't take "bat ears" any more than Sherlock Holmes needed "eagle eyes." You just have to know what to listen (or look) for, especially to be sensitive to certain musical values. The problem with much critical listening is that people are listening for sound (higher highs, lower lows, louder louds and softer softs) when they need to be listening for musical values--tonal accuracy, timing, rhythm and pace, soundstage, transients, ambience, and just flat-out musical enjoyment. The recordings from the pivoting tonearms sounded pinched or constipated compared to the tangential tracker.

The tangential tracker was more relaxed and open, and sounded more live and less like reproduced music. But the good tangential trackers are expensive and a big PITA for the support mechanism, especially the air pump. It was frustrating to realize I could easily hear it but not afford it.

The Shroeder takes care of the hassle part, but is about as expensive as a perpendicular arm. Compared to the air bearing tonearms, the Shroeder pivot should be relatively easy to reproduce and even mass produce, bringing this higher level of sonic refinement to a larger audience.
Hi Doug,

even with an IP contract in place, you are still at a situation where a corporation with deep pockets can do what they want to litigate the life out of the small guy.

sadly it happens and many corporations operate by simply comparing the numbers and if it is determined that stealing a patent or ignoring an IP contract will make more $$$ in the long run, that is what is done.

i guess what i am saying is that contracts and patents are only needed to protect you from bad people. if the bad people have 10X+ the resources of you they can simply void the contract by litigating the small guy into the poor house.


Where are the current owners of the Schroeder linear arm, they must be too busy listening to amazing distortion-free music to comment on this thread.
I hope some might speak up, specially if they can compare an air bearing type of linear arm to the Schroeder. I have lived with a Model 2 fw arm for several years, it continues to amaze me, not only because it routinely teaches what music feels like but also because my digital front-end can't come close to its charms.
John.... Maybe you DO have bat ears, Sherlock is fiction, too many variables in the Fremer test, maybe the (probably) Walker had a more open sound due to less resonance et al that pleased you..... I stand by my question.

08-03-13: Stringreen
John.... Maybe you DO have bat ears, Sherlock is fiction, too many variables in the Fremer test, maybe the (probably) Walker had a more open sound due to less resonance et al that pleased you..... I stand by my question.

Sherlock is fiction, but his character is based on a professor whom Conan Doyle had in med school, a guy who practiced an acute level of observation. There are mentalists (such as depicted in the CBS TV series) who have sharpened their powers of observation to see things others don't. It's based on technique, not on vision acuity.

While it's true that the Fremer test has a casual relationship to the scientific method, his #1 turntable is the $100K Continuum Cliburn Reference Turntable with the pivoting Cobra tonearm. If anything, the supporting mechanism and vibration control should have favored at least one of the pivoting tonearms. Yet even with all that in its favor, I noticed a more linear and natural quality of the playback coming off the tangential arm. And I don't think Fremer was pushing the virtues of tangential tracking. After all, his reference table has a pivoting arm, and when I pointed out my preference for the tangential arm he pointed out what a hassle they are to own, operate, and set up.

I've done a lot of noise and vibration tweaking over the last several years and have grown familiar with the effects of lowering the noise floor. What I heard with the tangential tracker was an entirely different quality, and one that doesn't lend itself to easy description with standard audiophile jargon. But I heard the difference.

So I stand by my response. I may have slightly better than average hearing (but only just); the thing I've concentrated on is how the brain responds to what it hears. I know for a fact from a hearing test that I have a -6dB dip in hearing response, centering at 6 Khz, in my right ear. I have trouble interpreting speech when I can only listen with my right ear. Talking on a phone held up to my right ear is out of the question.
Hi John... here's another test for yourself... can you tell which is the VPI Traveler, and which is the Caliburn. Go to Analogue Planet, and download the flac files that Fremer supplies comparing 10 turntables/cartridges. You might find it interesting. (I think its on the 3rd page.)
Stringreen, An experienced listener does not need "bat ears" or even "normal" hearing to detect subtle differences among audio components. Will said experienced listener always know why one thing sounds better than another? Will he or she always be able to pick out the most expensive and exotic over the cheap and mundane? Was Bismarck a herring? No, to all 3.

However, to dismiss the pursuit of audio Nirvana as if it were the province only of the aurally exceptional is a bit anti-intellectual and tends to kill the argument.
Hey Johnnyb, did you do target shooting with a 22 ca. rifle when you were a kid -- without ear plus?? I did, and when I had a earing test some 30 years ago, the doc said I had a dip at around 4K or 5K Hz.

Lew, others:

There is no hidden level of complexity: Frank's genius created a design of exquisitely elegant simplicity.

There's an explanation of the geometry in a post on another forum, not sure if the mods will allow the reference but here goes: previous post on diyaudio check post #222 for the geometry.
08-04-13: Stringreen
Hi John... here's another test for yourself... can you tell which is the VPI Traveler, and which is the Caliburn. Go to Analogue Planet, and download the flac files that Fremer supplies comparing 10 turntables/cartridges.
I think this is turning into an obsession for you.

Bifwynne: Nope, I never did target shooting growing up. There was one instance when I was 18 and fired a 12 ga. shotgun just once. It's the only time I ever fired a gun. I can't remember if I wore ear protectors or not. My ear didn't ring or feel funny after I shot it.

But if there was an instance that compromised my right ear, it was probably when I was 7, at a noisy children's convention and the kid next to me cupped his hands around my ear and talked directly into it in a loud voice. I could feel my eardrum shudder at the excess SPL.

It could also be the narrow diameter of my ear canals. I can't wear any sort of in-canal earbuds, not even the expensive ones that come with varying diameter pads. And it's obvious when I try them that the right canal is narrower.
Dave (Intactaudio),

Totally concur with your last post. Patents are like locks: they help generally honest people remain honest by imposing barriers to temptation. They will not deter a determined burglar (or a deep-pocketed competitor).


I'm with Johnnyb53 on the question of learned listening techniques vs. aural acuity (i.e. bat's ears). My hearing is less acute today at nearly 60 (yikes!) than it was at 20 or 30. Yet my ability to hear and understand music and sonics is greater and it continues to improve.

Example: fifteen years ago I couldn't adjust SRA by ear, even in my own system. Today I can adjust SRA by ear in a resolving but unfamiliar system, even with an LP I've never heard before... in 2 minutes or less. My aging ears aren't growing more bat-like, my brain has learned what to listen for.

The Sherlock Holmes metaphor was quite apt, IMO. In, 'The Sign of Four' (the first Holmes story), Holmes explains to Watson that he was quite consciously training his mind to improve specific skills needed for his chosen profession. In particular, he was honing his powers of observation and deduction by acquiring two things:
1. awareness of phenonomena he was likely to encounter at a crime scene;
2. knowledge of the sources of such phenomena.

While Sherlock Holmes raw intellect was presumably well above average, it required specific training to make him a great detective. Contemporaries of equal or even greater intellect (e.g., his brother Mycroft) were inferior detectives because they had not developed and practiced the necessary skills.

Another example would be the reputed 100 names for snow used by Inuits vs. the few names used by people who don't need such depth of knowledge about the stuff. The Inuits' senses are presumably no more or less acute than yours or mine, but they've trained their brains to a profound level of skill in an area of particular interest and concern. Likewise, the dedicated audiophile.

Mark is right about the design's "exquisitely elegant simplicity." And this picture gives you all the clues on the design of its tangential guiding mechanism.

I finally found some real world comparison from a fellow member Atif, with permission:
"I have both the Schroeder SQ for my mono setup and the Schroeder LT for my stereo. Both arms are excellent. Very dynamic and naturalsounding. Tonally perfect and airy and 3-dimentional. The LT has more weight and authority in the base. It also does everything at least a little better than the Sq especially in the inner grooves of a record. I've been a happy longtime customer of Mr. Schroeder."