“S” shape to straight

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Lenny99, Aug 30, 2020.

  1. Lenny99

    Lenny99 Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Clarksburg WV

    This is prob an easy question to many, but it’s always intrigued me. I presently have a turntable with an “S” shape tonearm. I have several cartridges mounted on headshells which I use pending type of music etc. Of course mounted as such saves time when I want to go to a different cartridge.

    If I were to purchase a turntable with a straight tonearm, I suppose I will have to remove the cartridges from the present headshells and replace them with those designed for straight arms.

    I believe this is due to the different angle in which the stylus rides in the groves.

    Am I correct? If so, is it possible to arrive at that angle by adjusting the cartridge in the present headshell.

    thanks in advance.
  2. Davey

    Davey like smoke from a lithium dream

    SF Bay Area, USA
    The cartridge angle and offset is the same, regardless of whether the arm tube is straight or curved, it is based solely on the pivot to spindle distance and which alignment geometry you elect to use. The cartridge on an s-shaped tonearm will only be aligned straight in the headshell if you stay with the manufacturer's chosen alignment. Other alignments will cause it to be angled slightly.

    Most straight tonearms don't have removable headshells, the best (in my view) use a fixed headshell firmly attached to the arm tube and provide azimuth adjustment back at the pivot. That way, the typical joint flex in the headshell to arm tube connection can be avoided. But there are some old and new straight tonearms that do have removable headshells, or even removable arm tubes, so that is an option too. Sometimes they are proprietary, though.
    eltigreferoz likes this.
  3. eltigreferoz

    eltigreferoz Forum Resident

    The S arms you mention do often have removable headshells, so you can swap them in and out. Most straight tonearms (e.g. Rega RB300) do not have removable headshells: you fix the cartridge directly to the tonearm. Thus, you’ll have to remove the cartridge from your existing head shell and re-install it. Straight arms also require different alignment; you can buy a special alignment tool or print one from the internet, and there are tons of tutorials on this forum or YouTube for how to use them. Good luck!
  4. Slick Willie

    Slick Willie Decisively Indecisive

    sweet VA.
    Some vintage straight arms had removable head shells.
    All I have seen have the angle built into the shell instead of the arm.
    They will not work on a curved arm.
    My old Yamaha table even uses a proprietary mounting design.
  5. Ripblade

    Ripblade Forum Resident

    The Six
    Correct, but finding multiple headshells for any straight arm is going to be a challenge since they were never standardized like the straight shells for curved arms.
  6. aphexacid

    aphexacid It’s not Hip Hop, it’s Electro.

    I have an old Sony direct drive straight arm with a removable headshell. They’re very difficult to find, and I’ve even seen them selling for more than the entire turntable itself :crazy:
  7. Lenny99

    Lenny99 Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Clarksburg WV
    So, each cartridge must be individually attached to the headshell portion of the strait tonearm.

    thanks to all who responded.
  8. Slick Willie

    Slick Willie Decisively Indecisive

    sweet VA.
    There are two types of straight arms.
    Fixed and with a removable head shell.

    With a fixed arm, yes.

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