"Perfect sound recreation has been pursued for the past 130 years - ever since the gramophone was invented by Emile Berliner (an American born in Germany in 1887). While the first gramophones focused primarily on recording and playing back sound, today’s editions are an essential “must have” for a proper audiophile. Despite the development of sound technology: digital music archives; CDs; and MP3 players, the most passionate music lovers still prefer to play vinyl on a gramophone (or as we know it more commonly - a record player) in order to achieve sound perfection.
People who are inclined to pay more for their hi-fi equipment than their cars, welcome the sound of the LP’s eccentric clicks and pops. These same people perhaps own speakers bigger than a microwave oven, consider vacuum tube amplifiers to be beautiful and stare at their stereo even when music isn't playing. It is these traits that are commonly associated with 'audiophiles'. As CNET’s contributor Steve Guttenberg puts it:“Non-audiophiles don't have a problem playing music over good-enough gear; audiophiles obsess about how the music sounds, almost as much as the musicians who recorded it“.
To sit back and enjoy the perfect recreation of music is addictive and noting both perfection and imperfection priceless. Since every single part of constructing the perfect hi-fi system is crucial the tone-arm is no exception. It is not uncommon that audiophiles build their own parts. While building a tone-arm might look easy in a manual, it takes a lot more than just reading the instructions. Not even the “how-to” manual promises an easy ride:
“… A high-end tone-arm? Maybe not, but if you have knowledge of the sonic properties of materials (preferably through experience) and you have the proper ears to scan the effects that you achieve by using and combining the materials and in the way you construct the arm you can perform great feats. You may even reach a very high degree of performance as regards to both mechanical aspects and sound quality since these are linked. And do not forget that there can be a lot of fun in constructing too.”Rudolf A. Bruil, Editor at Soundfountain.
What is more, even “real” DJ's usually prefer turntables to CD players. This is despite the fact that the quality of modern CD players is very good and whilst the precision is very close to that of a turntable, it is the later that is considered authentic. It just looks so great when the DJ bends down in order to gently lift the tone-arm, move it and readjust it with the precision of a sniper! That’s truly entertainment in itself; passion for precision illustrated!
The arm’s power of manually making a round piece of plastic turn into a source of genuine sound is amazing.
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