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Transrotor TRA 9

18.11.2020 // Dirk Sommer

But let's get back to our topic: With the tonearm tube, a resonance-free characteristic is of decisive importance. For this reason, the designing triumvirate decided on a two-part solution with a tapered tube that is connected to the bearing block. Their initial plan envisaged inserting into this conical tube a second, bought-in tube, which should have the headshell attached to its other end. With a large overlap, they were supposed to dampen each other. However, no standard tube with the extremely tight tolerances required for this application was available on the market. Therefore, the front tube is as well machined from solid material and then drilled. But it’s not only the different dimensions of the two tubes that lead to a resonance minimization. The experience gained in the construction of turntables allowed for a combination of different aluminum alloys in such a way that they provide optimum damping. But a tonearm isn’t just about controlling vibration, but also about their fastest possible dissipation. As a result, the idea of gluing the two tubes together was rejected. Thanks to the very small tolerances, both tubes touch each other over a large area and merely need to be fixed with three screws.

The anti-scating force is generated magnetically and adjusted by this screw. When aligning it with the red ring, it should correlate with a tracking force of 1.75 grams
The anti-scating force is generated magnetically and adjusted by this screw. When aligning it with the red ring, it should correlate with a tracking force of 1.75 grams

The bearing block is quite solidly built and completely flat on top. To check the horizontal alignment of the arm, a spirit level, which should be part of the accessories package soon, can be placed on it during the adjustment process. The arm that arrived in Gröbenzell is a serial model, but the manual, the packaging and the accessories do not fully correspond to the future scope of delivery. When considering a particularly clever detail this is a real pity. Although a simple template for adjusting the overhang is included with the arm, I rather prefer to use my proven Dennesen adjustment protractor. It has a tip that has to be exactly aligned with the tonearm pivot point, which greatly simplifies the correct installation of tonearms that show a small recess here. However, a small hole within the top-surface of the bearing block did not seem elegant enough to Jochen Räke, so a plastic 3D-printed detachable bridge will soon mark this point. That’s a great idea.

The headshell can be rotated for azimuth adjustment. However, this requires an extraordinary amount of dexterity
The headshell can be rotated for azimuth adjustment. However, this requires an extraordinary amount of dexterity

More important than such details, which are primarily important for those analogue aficionados who change cartridges frequently, is, obviously, what type of bearing the block encloses. The studies began with metal ball bearings from SKF, as Jochen Räke discloses. They certainly are of good quality, but like those of the competitors, they are mainly designed for high speed and load. Since these bearings are supposed to considerably heat up at high speeds, they must have a correspondingly large amount of play - and this isn't exactly what is paramount for a tonearm. Here, extremely low break-away forces and very little play are of crucial importance. So Japanese steel bearings are now used for horizontal bearing, while the arm is guided by ceramic bearings vertically. To get the bearings free of play, they are clamped against each other. However, the standard nuts intended for this application would not position themselves at an exact 90-degree angle on the axle, which subsequently would subject the bearings to uneven forces, Jochen Räke annotates. Therefore, special nuts are machined for this application that really form a 90-degree angle with the axle. Locking this with a second nut, however, would change the previously meticulously set tension. Thus, it was decided to secure the special nuts after having been tightened to the required compression with sealing wax instead of using another nut. It seems to me that almost no detail of Transrotor's first tonearm went unnoticed.

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