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?
I had the good fortune to be able to listen to the LT at a good friend of mine's. My friend has an excellent system to listen to music. The LT had an Atlas cartridge mounted to it. The first piece of music I listened to with this combination was a big orchestral piece. I have never heard orchestral music produced like this combination produced. The music was natural, and every instrument had air and space around it like you would expect at a live performance. During dynamic passages the sound was exact and undistorted. Percussive instruments started and stopped with precision. The strings were beautiful. They had very natural tone with no edge to them.
Next I listened to a vocal piece. The result was the same. His voice was natural and nuanced with no unnatural warmth. When the singer hit the high notes the combination tracked the transition with ease. I have never heard an arm produce these kinds of transitions before. In the past I have preferred the way that digital reproduces these transitions.
If there is a better tonearm out there, I haven't heard it.


I see that some people have the Schroder LT with the Lyra Atlas. Has anyone tested the Schroder LT with the Air Tight PC1 Supreme? Is it a good match?
All I can say is I love my LT arm...will be one of those things I'll never sell. 1) it sounds fantastic, and 2) it's just so unique and ingenious

I don't think that's possible because the Schroeder SQ is a version of unipivot arm and it cannot "move" the extra pivot. The only way to retain the string concept is to have a servo linear slide. Frank is a genius so he might be able to come up with something that combine the two methods but I don't see it to be practical. However he did make an experimental string arm in the form of a Thales concept with a pivoting headshell before. Even though it still achieves tangential tracking but it behaves dynamically different from the LT model.



Is it possible to create a new schroder arm that combines the technology of the LT arm with the "hanging on a string" technology of the Sq reference into a super SUPER schroder arm? Wouldn't that be a wild arm !!!

Halcro. You are right, it's not necessarily a deal breaker. That said there is really no doubt in my mind that fewer connections are better, but often there are reasons it is not practical. It's usually not a night and day difference in most cases, and it can be swamped by other factors.

For the sake of argument, if integrated amps were built to the same standard as separates, and used outboard, separate power supplies for each section, then they could be better. There are a few reasons (at least) no one builds integrated's that way. First, they would have to charge an enormous amount of money for them. Second it is rare that any one manufacture is skilled enough to get the most out of every different section (phono stage, dac, line stage, amplifier). Therefore something in the design will be less than optimal. And third, allot of audiophiles like to have the flexibility to try different things without replacing the entire system.
Halcro, If your Phantom pivots on a red herring, that may be the problem. Especially after a few years, I am sure the sound stinks.
The Copperhead is also a Unipivot....although like the Phantom's Magnaglide has a balancing 'swashplate' to maintain azimuth.
I had a Hadcock GH-228 for 25 years which was a true unipivot and it sounded wonderful with MMs. It also had uninterrupted wiring from cartridge to phonostage. I've also had a Grace 940G unipivot which worked well with the pivoting system of the arm I a red herring?

I'm not sure Sarcher...what you're really saying....
IMO, you can not make any solid conclusions about wiring, without testing it out on the same tonearm. Otherwise the differences you hear, or don't hear, could be caused by the arms themselves. Not the wiring.
If I had uninterrupted wiring on all my arms.....they would beat the ones already with that feature by a margin even greater than they do now?.....or if I added 'connections' to the uninterruptedly wired arms....they would be beaten by a greater margin than they are already? :-)
The fact that for 5 years the Phantom tonearm (with its two extra connections).....has consistently rated amongst the best tonearms in almost every serious audio review...proves the point pretty well I think?

There seems to be a slight hypocrisy to this 'theoretical' argument of 'lesser connections'?
Most high-end audiophiles own separate high-end phonostages which 'plug' into separate preamps which 'plug' into separate amplifiers?
To realise the benefits of this 'uninterrupted' wiring principle.....a fully integrated amplifier with inbuilt phonostage should sound better than the high-end scenario most employ?
To reinforce the argument further.....many listeners (including myself)....are realising the benefits of 'adding' a separate SUT before the phono-stage for LOMCs?
A case where an 'added' connection (at the smallest signal level) can demonstrably sound better than a 'purer' cable?

As I said previously....'theory' is great....but IMO is not a 'deal-breaker' when faced with audible proof of its limitations? :-)
The Phantom is not a true unipivot. It has the Magnaglide stabilizer. I don't have much experience with a MM on a unipivot arm. So I can not confirm, nor deny whether that is a factor. Could be though.
Ahh! The Phantom is a unipivot; the others in Halcro's stable are not. Perhaps that's the important factor. I could imagine that a low compliance cartridge might be better suited to a unipivot, compared to a high compliance one.
Why would the Phantom fall short with MM cartridges? At first glance, its effective mass would not be wildly different from that of the other three tonearms Halcro mentions. In fact, its effective mass is certainly lower than that of the FR66S, if not also the DaVinci. So the observation cannot be due solely to a mismatch of compliance vs effective mass. What a strange and maddening "hobby" this is. It makes you want to go to work for relaxation.
Halcro, it is interesting that the Phantom did not do well with MM cart's. I have read that before.

IMO, you can not make any solid conclusions about wiring, without testing it out on the same tonearm. Otherwise the differences you hear, or don't hear, could be caused by the arms themselves. Not the wiring.
Thanks for the reply, starting to get your point. Analog is all about choosing the right compromise, and that is what makes it fun, rather than just pressing play. I guess this makes your new arm even more attractive not having to deal with this anti skate nonsense. One less comprise to deal with.
Hello Royaloak,
The reason for the suggested undercompensation is the usually higher than acceptable sidethrust on the cantilever, caused by an antiskating mechanism. While the force excerted by the stylus/diamond on both groove walls may be equalized, it causes a permanent cantilever displacement( since the antiskating acts on the arm, not the diamond itself), resulting in a non linear behaviour.
Imagine a speaker being exposed to a certain amount of a DC voltage. The null position of the speaker(where it rests when no signal is present) will have moved forward or backward, depending upon the polarity of said DC voltage. The maximum cone displacement is reached sooner in one direction, it takes a different amount of force to move it forward vs. moving it backward.
Same for a cantilever that has a conventional suspension, dynamic gradation is foreshortened and the resolution of microdetail(what happens around the Null point) diminished.
If one is to reduce the skating compensation to zero, the non linearities caused by non-equal pressure of the diamond on the groove walls will have a larger influence, so zero antiskating isn't the answer either(imho).
And I have not even touched the issue of the coil position against the magnetic circuit when a preload is present. Not as severe an issue and highly generator design dependent, but...

As said in the manual of my arms, my suggestion is a starting point, not an absolute(ly perfect) setting. If your method yields better results, - or results you like better, then, by all means, go by that!

All the best,

Sarcher and Lew,

I have had identical cartridges (both MM amd LOMC) mounted in the Copperhead, the DaVinci 12" Ref, the Phantom II and the FR-66S all on the Raven AC-2 turntable going into the same Halcro DM-10 Phono Preamp.
The Copperhead has unbroken balanced XLR cables from cartridge to Phono. The DaVinci had unbroken RCAs from cartridge to Phono whilst the Phantom II and FR-66s both have two additional connections (headshell or armwand plus din plug-in cable).
According to the 'theory'.....all cartridges should sound better in the Copperhead and DaVinci.
This was certainly not the case with many LOMCs sounding better in the FR-66S whilst the Copperhead won with most MM cartridges.
The DaVinci did not win 'outright' on any whilst the Phantom II fell apart with almost all MMs?

Michael Fremer has tested identical LOMCs on his Caliburn table using both the Cobra and Phantom II tonearms side by side and was not able to hear any advantages to the 'unbroken' wiring of the Cobra?

If I had heard any hint of this 'theoretical' advantage in my setup.......I would not have ended up with 5 out of my 6 arms having interchangeable headshells? :-)
As always.....YMMV.
another way of putting it.

Mr Schroeder's method gives slightly less anti skate for the minimum situation

test record gives the exact amount for the max situation

my method gives exact amount for slightly more than the min situation

????? still don't get your suggestion Mr Schroeder, why have less anti skate required for the minimum situation. have the arm move very slowly to the outside of the record when in between lead out grooves gives slightly more anti skate than what's required for the absolute min situation. does this not seem more logical.
Henry, I have had one experience with the same tonearm: it came with a fixed headshell but female RCA outputs. I listened to it for several months, and then I bypassed the RCAs with hard wire so to create a straight path to the phono stage. With a Koetsu Urushi I could hear a benefit related to getting rid of the RCA connection. I do agree that with a typical MM or MI, I hear no real benefit running them in my Triplanar or Reed (both straight shots from cartridge to phono stage) vs in my Dynavector (interchangeable headshell/DIN plug in signal path). Anyway, whether there is a REAL difference or not, audiophilia nervosa infects us all and motivates these decisions.
Thanks for the reply Mr Schroeder. I definitely agree that test records set the anti skate too high, but still feel your method seems a bit too low, as you suggest less anti skate than what would be required to keep the stylus stationary in a non modulated groove. What I was suggesting would be somewhere mid way between your suggestion and a torture record test????

Sorry to change the topic. But your new LT arm is just so cool, it got me thinking about it not requiring anti skate, then.....
Halcro, are you saying you can't hear the difference between your tonearms using the same cartridge on them? Or are you saying that you do not think the differences you hear are related to tonearm wiring?

I think the only way to answer the question of whether tonearm wiring should have as few connections as possible, is to test it both ways on the same tonearm with the same type of wire. I have not done this personally, but I'm sure someone has. Is there anyone on this forum that has tested this themselves?
With a removable headshell, you cannot have an uninterrupted connection between the cartridge and the phono stage. My experience suggests that the audible difference is far greater with LOMC cartridges than with higher output MM and MI cartridges.
You can't argue with 'theory'...that's for sure.
I've had many tonearms with uninterrupted connection between cartridge and phonostage....and still have one with the Copperhead running uninterupted balanced XLRs.
With MMs, MIs and listeners to my system have ever been able to tell if they were hearing the Copperhead, the DaVinci, the Phantom II (with many connections)......or all my other 5 tonearms with interchangeable headshells?
Theory only gets you so far......look at valves and SS, sealed and ported speakers, belt-drive and DD turntables...?
I trust my ears...
Hello Royaloak,
Skating force varies between 4 and 18% of the VTF, depending upon all sorts of factors. Any compensation will result in a compromise. My suggestion is such a compromise, reducing the sidethrust/lateral preload on the cantilever and, at the same time, retaining an amount of skating compensation that will be sufficient to keep uneven stylus/groove wear at a VERY low level.
The often described method of using the tracking ability("torture") track on a test record will lead to overcompensation due to the fact that there is no 70µ, 80µ or higher constant modulation to be found on any record. Peaks: yes! Permanent signal: not supposed to exceed 50µ, typically around 20µ.
Since modulation causes drag, it will also "modulate" skating, so why compensate for a maximum that rarely, if ever, occurs.
Overcompensation will often cause cartridge dampers to assume an asymmetrical position after a while(cantilever no longer parallel with the cartridge body/generator axis). Once you notice that, you ought to send it back to the manufacturer to have it re-aligned. The stylus(when kept clean) usually outlasts the damper/its proper orientation.

Try a dynamic Mono(i.e. Sonny Rollins - Saxophone Colossus) record and play the right channel only, then the left channel only. With the antiskating set as high as you mentioned (moving slowly towards the outer edge of the record), you are likely to notice one channel to sound more dynamic than the other. Reduce skating and listen again...

All the best,

Of course in the case of the Schröder LT there will be no overhang or underhang, unless the setup is off.
Interchangeable head shells only save you a couple of minutes unless you don't care about perfect setup of each cartridge. You still have to readjust everything, including overhang. As soon as you change the SRA and VTF for the new cart/headshell combo you will have to revisit overhang.
Henry, It's a perfectionist trade-off. With a removable headshell, you cannot have an uninterrupted connection between the cartridge and the phono stage. My experience suggests that the audible difference is far greater with LOMC cartridges than with higher output MM and MI cartridges. Makes sense. Mr. Schroeder made a fair assumption that 99% of those who purchase his tonearm will be using an LOMC cartridge. There's no accounting for nut cases like us, who use MMs and MIs just as much, if not more. On the other hand, I tend to fall in love with one cartridge (regardless of type) and use it for long periods of time, so the slight disadvantage of not having interchangeable headshells is no big deal to me.
Mr. Schroder’s clear, concise, detailed and professional responses, sure gives me the confidence to try one of his products.
Me too.......
If only it had interchangeable headshells? :-(
A question for Mr Schroeder,

On your site you print anti-skate settings for your other arms.

You suggest that in between the lead out grooves the arm should move slowly towards the centre of the record.

This confuses me, as in-between the lead out grooves, there is less friction than in a modulated groove. Therefore the amount of anti skate required in between the lead out grooves should be less. Then does it not make sense to had a little extra anti skate so the arm moves very slowly towards the outside of the record. Then when the stylus is tracking a higher friction modulated groove the anti skate should be close to correct. Your suggested would have the arm up set with not enough?????

Thanks for you potential reply in advance...:-)
Mr. Schroder’s clear, concise, detailed and professional responses, sure gives me the confidence to try one of his products.
Thanks for taking the time to respond. We rarely benefit from such expert input. With regard to how LPs trigger lateral excitation, I can only think of off-centered ones. Nearly all are imperfect in that regard, to one degree or another.

Hi Lewn,
"What do you think?"

I prefer to refrain from criticizing particular design decisions of other tonearm designers or manufacturers, but I will try to comment( which will, inevitably, contain judgement, I know...).

In tangential tracking airbearing arms the disparity between eff. mass lateral vs. vertical is unavoidable, but could be reduced (Rockport, Versa Dynamics...). In order to achive that, the neccesary reduction in eff. length will cause warp wow and pronounced changes in VTA when switching from 120 to 200gr. pressings(to a lesser degree VTF too). Keep the arm longer and you'll have to add a provision for damping: eddy current brake(Dennison, Eminent) or add an anti-resonator(Eminent), all solving one problem for the introduction of one or several others.
If the arm cartridge resonance frequency is "split", a key argument by Dynavector, you will now have to avoid exitation of either(more difficult to achieve than you'd think), therefore Dynavector arms feature a massive eddy current brake. The "split plane " design is by no means an invention of Dynavector. Some famous arms(i.e. Gray 106, Shure M16 Dynetic...) preceeded them by decades. Those were used on non-suspended decks(broadcast console-mounted), so the risk of lateral exitation was reduced mainly to what record eccentricity could trigger. And they did it mainly to allow for the use of cartridges that "tracked lighter".
Bearing design for such an arm offers options not available to those sticking to "conventional" arrangements(like gimballed arms), so there are potential and in some cases realized advantages.

Once you use an arm with a high eff. lateral mass on a suspended deck or, to be found often, on top of a tall rack with tons of gear that is supposed to be rigid(hahaha....think Eiffel Tower with King Kong on the Observation platform swinging happily, huiii!), you'll invite all sorts of problems that may not manifest themselves directly, but through effects such as transformer saturation, increased power requirement or intermodulation distorsion.
Besides that, the shift of mass will shift the center of gravity of the deck, forcing it out of a level position. Not exactly desirable for zero friction arms...
An Oracle Delphi with ET2 tonearm was a rather popular combination at some time. While it could yield impressive sonic results, I never understood why it was promoted to that degree other than for marketing purposes.
The Dynavector's excellent bass rendition predominatly stems from the (eddy current)damping in the lateral plane. It's mass distribution is another reason.
Bass below 100Hz is cut in mono, purely lateral...


Sorry for the (kind of) double posting. The first one didn't appear for a long time and I thought I had accidentally erased it...


So, since you may be listening, Frank, I have often heard knowledgeable people argue about the value or lack of value of having high mass in the horizontal plane. For those who do not like the classical linear tracking tonearms, their very high mass in the horizontal plane is given as one of the problems with such a design. For those who do like them, the same rationale is posited. Further, for the Dynavector tonearms, which also have a higher effective mass in the horizontal plane vs the vertical one, this property is given by Dynavector as an intentional design goal, said to contribute to superior bass performance. What do you think?
Nope... - "nudging" the arm towards the center of the record isn't required(that implies poor quality bearings are used...). The triangular base can be adjusted so that there is no tendency to move either inwards nor outwards. One can even compensate for the (very minute) influence of the wiring.
Two of the three screws that make contact with the turntable base(apart from the M6 locking screw) can be adjusted, so that the arm base allows for a little more than +/-1° change in horizontal orientation to i.e. compensate for an armboard that's not parallel with the platter.



" Apparently this helps nudge."...

Nope... it's just there to "equalize" all forces acting on the stylus. If it was some form of skating-compensation or -generation arrangement(to "nudge" it inwards), an increase of VTF would change the tendency to move either inwards or outwards. But it doesn't...
Kind of the same as if you were to raise VTF on an air bearing arm that isn't level. It wouldn't move/accelerate any faster if you were to increase VTF. Solely a question of gravity acting on the entire assembly.


lewm: yes the arm, table, platter etc. However the tone arm collar (connecting arm to board) has a triangular structure is this has a ever so slight corkscrew arrangement first point of triangle is point slightly lower and once again. Apparently this helps nudge.

again talking very fine adjustments here and the stylus/arm has compensated for this arrangement...

Not sure how I can explain it better....if you got to my system pics...the 6th pic on the can see about 1/2 of this triangled thingy and one of the 3 fine set screws...
The eff. mass was stated as ranging from 14-21gr. since one can exchange the Certal cartridge mounting plates for lighter or heavier types(phenolic, brass,etc...), just as on my "old" arms.
The eff. mass is only about 20% higher in the lateral plane vs. the vertical plane.
Why? Most of the additional mass(pivoting bar) is near the pivot AND the linkage isn't rigid, but the fluxlines will "bend" if accelerated swiftly(like when the lateral resonance is exited, which, for other reasons is nearly impossible in this design). At the same time, the magnet/guide bar acts a an eddy current brake.
"Conventional" linear tracking arms(not the Simplicity and some other pivoted tangentially tracking arms) typically have a 8-20 times(800-2000%) higher eff. mass in the lateral plane.....

Hope this helps :-)
Have a great weekend,

Hi, and this arm when properly set up (just once during installation) has a ever so slight tendency to want to move to the inner groove...a slight breath sends it on its way...if you have the stylus on a blank not much mass or nearly any force needed for it to trace the grooves...
The error in my thinking: Yes, the effective mass is high in the horizontal plane, because of all the paraphernalia necessary for the LT function, but it is only affected by the masses of the arm tube, headshell, (cartridge), and counter-wt, in the vertical plane. Many tonearms are similar in that characteristic.
I am wondering how the effective mass can be so low as "14 to 21 gm", which was stated somewhere above. If you think of it, the stylus/cantilever is swinging the whole enchilada all the way back to the stationary pivot that bears the rotating pivot apparatus. Thus the effective mass would be the additive of the masses of the swing arm, the base and pivot assembly at the tonearm proper, the counter-wt, and the arm tube/headshell. But perhaps that is not the proper way to think of it, or perhaps the LT components are made of extremely light weight materials.

Awesome! Thank you so much for the picture, Jfrech!! Happy to know that you're enjoying this brilliantly engineered tonearm designed by a genius!

Hiho, try this...3rd pic down...

I am still looking for a picture that shows the bottom of the plate that covers the magnetic guiding mechanism. Understandably it would require, if possible, an awkward low camera angle or having the tonearm upside down. The patent drawings spell out the obvious, but I still would like to see an actual image.

Jfrech, thanks for the pictures of an actual production unit. BTW, nice system...WOW!
Hi i have 3 or 4 good pics posted of the production LT arm & base under my system...just click the system link next to my id...