Linear Tracking

speakerman1

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#1
[h=3]Linear tracking[/h]

Technics SL-Q6 linear tracking turntable.


If the arm is not pivoted, but instead carries the stylus along a radius of the disc, there is no skating force and little to no cartridge angle error. Such arms are known as linear tracking or tangential arms. These are driven along a track by various means, from strings and pulleys, to worm gears or electromagnets. The cartridge's position is usually regulated by an electronic servomechanism or mechanical interface, moving the stylus properly over the groove as the record plays, or for song selection.
Early developments in linear turntables were from Rek-O-Kut (portable lathe/phonograph) and Ortho-Sonic in the 1950s, and Acoustical in the early '60s. These were eclipsed by more successful implementations of the concept from the late 1960s through the early '80s.[SUP][43][/SUP] Of note are Rabco's SL-8, followed by Bang & Olufsen with its Beogram 4000 model in 1972. These models positioned the track outside the platter's edge, as did turntables by Harman Kardon, Mitsubishi, Pioneer, Yamaha, Sony, etc. A '70s design from Revox harkened back to the '50s attempts (and, record lathes), positioning the track directly over the record. An enclosed bridge-like assembly is swung into place from the platter's right edge to its middle. Once in place, a short tonearm under this "bridge" plays the record, driven across laterally by a motor. The Sony PS-F5/F9 (1983) uses a similar, miniaturized design, and can operate in a vertical or horizontal orientation. The Technics SL-10, introduced in 1981, was the first direct drive linear tracking turntable, and placed the track and arm on the underside of the rear-hinged dust cover, to fold down over the record, similar to the SL-Q6 pictured.
The earliest Edison phonographs used horizontal, spring-powered drives to carry the stylus across the recording at a pre-determined rate. But, historically as a whole, the linear tracking systems never gained wide acceptance, due largely to their complexity and associated production/development costs. The resources it takes to produce one incredible linear turntable could produce several excellent ones. Some of the most sophisticated and expensive tonearms and turntable units ever made are linear trackers, from companies such as Rockport and Clearaudio. In theory, it seems nearly ideal; a stylus replicating the motion of the recording lathe used to cut the "master" record could result in minimal wear and maximum sound reproduction. In practice, in vinyl's heyday it was generally too much too late.
Since the early 1980s, an elegant solution has been the near-frictionless air bearing linear arm which requires no tracking drive mechanism other than the record groove itself. This provides a similar benefit as the electronic linear tonearm without the complexity and necessity of servo-motor correction for tracking error. In this case the trade-off is the introduction of pneumatics in the form of audible pumps and tubing. A more elegant solution is the mechanically-driven low-friction design also driven by the groove. Examples include Souther Engineering (U.S.A.), Clearaudio (Germany), and Aura (Czech Republic). This design places an exceeding demand upon precision engineering due to the lack of pneumatics.

So there is a mechanical means of tracking IE gears, string? That makes it more prone to errors as parts wear?
 

stuwee

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#3
Lar, linear tracking TT's are notorious for errors in tracking and sound quality. My experience with them is so-so, they should be great if you read the 'white paper' but, no one has been able to build a master reference arm unless you have about $50,000 for a Rockport :evil3:

IIRC, you have a nice table, many of us do...God help me if I never have a table to spin...my Thorens has been with me since 1977 and will play at my funeral :tongue1:
 

Northwinds

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Never been a fan of LT'ers. The cheap P-mount carts, no resonance damping/non-isolated tonearms, no sub chassis, resonating lightweight platters etc.... actually introduce more noise. A properly setup S arm performs just as well with better damping and less resonance thanks to much heavier platters and better quality cartridges. As for groove wear, the angle on most S arms, even cheap ones, is usually 6 degrees or less off and when you setup your cartridge properly, you eliminate that anyway

They look cool but the preceived benefits are just smoke and mirrors
 

Elite-ist

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#7
Mitsubishi LT-30

I have a different opinion on linear-tracking turntables. I have a Mitsubishi LT-30 fitted with a Shure M95ED cartridge. I like the way it operates and it sounds just as good as my conventional S-arm equipped turntables. Pioneer and Phase Linear TOTL linear trackers are good ones, as well. It's not a flyweight, weighing in at about 33 pounds. Do we have any other owners of LT turntables out there?





Nando.
 

Northwinds

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Damn, this is a rough crowd....

Different strokes for different folks I guess, there's lots of different opinions on these. Most LT TT's were cheaply made and not a lot of people could afford TOTL ones. Nando, yours is an exception, Mitsubishi made some incredible TT's period, I would not hesitate to try one like yours. How much does the platter weigh Nando? That makes a HUGE difference EDIT: I see that it weighs 3.3lbs, much more then most LT platters. The Misubishi incorporated a lot of features most LT's did not have. It is an exception example of the technology. I had a Pioneer one years ago, forgot the model but it SUCKED. Never saw/tried a PL one

I had a Beogram one and it SUCKED, it was a 4000 series
 
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Northwinds

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What's not to like?

That's pretty nifty looking, almost reminds me of the Pioneer I had but looks to be a higher model. Pioneer made these for Phase Linear right? I'm pretty sure they had something to do with PL speakers also
 

frhodes

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That's pretty nifty looking, almost reminds me of the Pioneer I had but looks to be a higher model. Pioneer made these for Phase Linear right? I'm pretty sure they had something to do with PL speakers also
Exactly the same (except for color) as the Pioneer PL L1000.
 

nobody

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#14
Years ago I had a B&O 3000 linear tracking turntable and loved it. Worked flawlessly for years and years. Great auto features and really good sound. I only finally got rid of it when the replacement needles became close to impossible to find at a decent price. I love my tables now, but I do sometimes still miss that one. Frankly, I don't have room for multiple systems in my small house, but if I ever end up living somewhere with more room to breath, I'd love to have a second coordinated B&O system.
 

speakerman1

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Never saw one heard one so I have no opinion other than from a mech. view point. Usually you give up something for convenience.
 
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laatsch55

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#18
Ed and I had a LOOOng talk about the PL 8000/PL-L1000 tables the other day. Dean is THE MAN when it comes to them and he does still work on em. I have a PL-L1000 coming in March and ED had 1 carbon fiber PIONEER factory tonearm left. He doesn't now. So depending on what the table has on it that I'm getting there may be one of those available. They (Dean and ED) have some belts and other parts available also. In fact Ed had just ordered some belts from Pioneer and they still make em. Pioneer never marketed the PL-L1000 here, they were all PL 8000's.
 

frhodes

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Ed and I had a LOOOng talk about the PL 8000/PL-L1000 tables the other day. Dean is THE MAN when it comes to them and he does still work on em. I have a PL-L1000 coming in March and ED had 1 carbon fiber PIONEER factory tonearm left. He doesn't now. So depending on what the table has on it that I'm getting there may be one of those available. They (Dean and ED) have some belts and other parts available also. In fact Ed had just ordered some belts from Pioneer and they still make em. Pioneer never marketed the PL-L1000 here, they were all PL 8000's.
Some of the things I'd like to work out is a new cover (coating) for the tonearm motor. (Most have shrunk and require shimming)
How to lube the carriage roller. Procedure to tweak the lead in. Tonearm tweaking.

I am also looking for an original carriage level and overhang guage.
 
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