Going for vintage tonearms is not an easy decision. There are two camps regarding the disput on the tube and cable wiring following the philosophy to keep everything in its original condition or not! C. from whom I got the only “SpJ Pick Up Arm” of Judith Spotheim which was made of Titanium – also the tonearm tube -, went with the first one since 15 years. I am doing so too with my old Ortofon arms, but not here today.
While we do not know where the Dutch Lady who created such fantastic turntable monuments as the SpJ La Luce is living today -maybe in Israel – with the “SpJ Pick Up Arm” Judith Spotheim developed a double pivot design which seems to have been be a little ahead of its time. On the other side it’s appearance may look quite complex but in fact it is not.
As the ravages of time left their tribute to “my SpJ” we had to refurbish it completely. Acoustical System disassembled the SpJ and put all parts 2 times into a heated ultrasonic bath. I additionally did some intensive polishings on the aluminium parts by a steel cleaner. AS once again lubricated the bearings and exchanged the old Cardas tube wiring. Should have been quite a job with all the terrible grease around the wire. A new 40 litz silver wiring AS uses with their Aquilar and Axiom tonearms was put into place.
I had to build up a new bases on one of the three tripod arms of my Caeles table. I wrote here already about the basic principles of isolation and dampening efforts being done with the black aluminium aerogel bases. On top of it I mounted an Alu AW 6082 block of four layers thus improving the anti-vibration efforts again and also enabling taking up the SpJ in a proper and stable way. The cartridge used is an AS Palladian, my absolute favourite at the moment. As this special SpJ is carrying after all a Titanium arm it should be very happy with screws on the headshell which are family 🙂
After careful adjustments of the SpJ Pick Up Arm on the lateral balance, the exact positioning to UNI Din curve by the UNI Din protractor, then setting the proper weight of 1,75 for the Palladian cartridge – I started a test run with the Opus 1 disc adjusting the Azimuth by the second pivot knob at the far right seen from behind the arm. You can do this while the record is playing. It allows a very precise adjusting. I know the concept of two pivots from my Continuum Cobra arm but here you are able to adjust more precisely. We all know the pros and cons of a dual pivoted design which aims to substitute the antiskating device in a better way. Despite of an additional friction area the SpJ’s Side-Thrust Bias controller does not present the arm and the pivot with an added lateral mass, nor does it tie or connect the arm wand to any external fixed point.
The Palladian/SpJ was connected to my Tango SUT (10 Ohm) and via the Kondo KSL phono stage the signal ran to my ARC 40 Anni preamp.
Oh Lord, may I tell you that this is a wonderful sound coming from the combo. The sound is such black, no background noise, Nils Lofgren is playing “Keith Don’t Go” from “Acoustic Live” as he would stay in the room. Unbelievable! Such a warm big sound with great resolution bringing me into movement…what a tonearm! I am pretty sure that the new wiring and the careful refurbishment as well as the installation/ adjustment plays a role too. I am really thrilled…
Maybe one day C. will hear a “new arm” whith some remembrance.
A very happy man went to bed after an exciting day.