Discontinued Tonearms R to 9

Discontinued Tonearms R to 9

Introduced in 1968 and one of the first linear tonearms on the market, not a great sales success originally but after the take-over by Harman Kardon slightly improved models such as ST-4, ST-6, ST-7 and SL-8E models sold quite well in the 70's in the USA, however notorious for being difficult to set-up, and maintaining an optimal set-up on one of them can test your patience. The SL-8E is battery driven (was there a straight 8 non "electric" version ?). A gentleman called David C. Shreve designed improvements to the SL-8E that involved an improved clutch mechanism and replacing the metal wires with a nylon sting, these were apparently, these were quite popular modifications at the time and the consensus is that they were worthwhile, at the least Shreve modified arm fetch higher prices on the second hand market.

High quality SME ltd. like Japanese tonearms, this page here has the specs for most of the arms that the company made and further info on the 407 arm can be had here. The WE-308L & WE308N are fairly common and usually not that expensive used but note that the SX version of that arm usually goes for 2x the price of the L & N versions on the Japanese second hand market. The WE-8000 was as their top of the line arm.

Simply Physics
American company that made a linear tracking air bering tonearm called Aviator.

SME ltd.
Bit difficult to talk about discontinued tonearms from this company since apart from the original Series 1 that was made in the late 50's and early/mid 60's you can still get any variant of SME custom built for you by the company, because of how uncommon it's on the market the S1 also commands a higher second hand price than the S2 but it's sonically inferior.... see the current lineup of SME Tonearms for info on later models. Japanese company Seisin Engineering makes replacements for plastic parts used in SME tonearms, made out of dampened metal alloy.

While the current German made arms are clearly superior to the American made models they are also quite a bit more expensive and the last Souther model made in the US the tangential SLA-3 pops regularly up on eaby and the usual places at keen prices, it also appears that you can purchase an upgrade kit (or a factory upgrade, this is not clear from the price list) from Clearaudio to convert a SLA3 model to a TQ-I Mk2000 specification.

The Unofficial Stax Homepage has information on most of their vintage tonearms, note that although the main page is in Japanese the more interesting units also have an English description, and the company itself has a nice history page that has technical info on some of their older products inc. arms.

Made a small range of tonearms in the 80's and early 90's using the Premier trademark including the budget MMT, the FT-3 and the FT-4 oil damped arms, and the top of the line MDC-800.

I have seen a few arms mentioned from this British company, the PU-2, the PU-2 Gold, PU-3, PU-3B and Le Profile. Much beloved by the xenofobic British.

Australian company that made a 12" broadcast arm called S-220 in the early 70's, fairly standard S shaped arm with a replaceable headshell and suitable for high compliance carts only.

The Profile II arm that came with the cheaper versions of the Systemdecks as (in both Mk I & 2 versions) was a fairly standard Jelco OEM job and can be made to fit most tables, although we have seen references to a later version of the Profile 2 MkII being a completely different Japanese OEM arm.

Made one classic tonearm the EPA-100 an ultra lightweight arm from the late 70's made out of titanium nitride hardened by nitrogen gas, with viscous damping, the MkII version that was introduced in 1982 is considered to be even better than the original. Although another model the early 80's EPA-501H is of interest as well, unusually for a Technics arm it's a straight replaceable armtube with a fixed headshell (titanium nitride again) and an on the fly VTA and is usually considerably cheaper second hand. 2 other late 70's/early 80's models are the EPA-250 and EPA-500 .

You do not often see the name Thorens mentioned when people discuss the great tonearms of the past but even though the tonearms supplied by the company were mostly meant to be stock units that were sold at a discount with their tables or bundle with them. Earlyier models such as the BDT-12S and TP-14were sold separately from the turntables but were also bundled, newer models like the budget TP-16 were mostly only sold with tables such as TD-115, but were despite the bad rap that the stock Thorens arms tend to get, some of the best low budget models ever made (keep in mind that a Thorens 105 with one of these arms retailed for less than a budget tonarm by itself).

Transcriptors Limited
Made a variety of tonearms but the only one that really was distributed independently apart from their turntables in any numbers was the Vestigal, a mass divided arm that featured a pivoted headshell, originally shipped with the Skeleton turntable but later VS-330 type sold separately and much more common. Did not sound all that great and was really only useable with a small range of pickups but an interesting design nevertheless, it also sold fairly well in the US and can thus often been seen on ebay for not all that high prices. The RS-Labs tonearm has a similar pivoted head done right (but is unipivot rather than mass divided).

The arm that is currently sold as the Triplanar Tonearms was made under this name in earlier incarnations, production started in the early 80's with the MkI.

The 5000 is a legendary Japanese unipivot from the 70's, had replaceable armtubes (unusual on a uni), with subsitute armtubes being of differing lengths as well as of different materials as is more common today.

Vintage Tonearms

Listed here are tone arms from the 50's and 60's that is perfectly possible to attach to a modern turntable setup but little reason to do so ... actually there are vintage tonearms listed as well in the section above but these are models that are often seen in use today.

Made a range of arms from the 50's well into the late 60's, models like the B10 look very nice but are really only usable with old Astatic pickups.

Burne-Jones (BJ)
Made an innovative pivoted arms in the late 50's called Stereo Tan/II and Stereo Super '90' Mk. II, unlike most other such arms the pivoting action was on the tonearm base rather than on the headshell, the idea later resurfaced on the Garrard Zero tonearms (and according to some the Garrard arm was actually based on the BJ arm), but those arms are really only suitable for 50's carts.

Odball tonearm/cartridge combination made in the USA in the early 60's, the model we have seen for sale is the TK-15 LS and the manufacturer referred to it as a "Miniconic Phono System", it came with a power supply that according to the manufacturer sent voltages to the arm to "minimise record wear" ??!?.

Game Industries
A combination crystal cart and arm called STE-35 shows up from time to time on ebay as NOS, apart from that no info.

Made an tonearm and a dynamic cartridge that was sold as a pair, usually with a transformer as well. Bit unusual as the since the company did not manufacture turntables but bought those from an OEM. anyway the cartridge mount is the old square type and thus mostly of interest for the collector.

Western Electric
Made lots of arms intended for use with transcription and broadcast turntables in the 50's such as the 9A, they will however only work with cartridge/headshell combis from the company iteself so that limits their usefulness somewhat.

Electric Reproducers

Listed here are early tonearms that have no place in a turntable setup but may have interest for the collector (i.e.. they are so old and outdated the not even the vintage buffs are interested). These date from the 20's right into the late 50's, most of them are a combination of an arm and pickup even though pickups were often sold separately even as early as in late 20's, they usually only fitted a specific tonearm. Most of the arms were sold to those that already had acoustic Grammophones or to those that built their own turntables and since they were usually connected to a radio they came with a volume control.

Very nice looking arm made out of brown Bakelite, came with a volume control.

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The site was last compiled on Sun Nov 10 2013 at 9:15:00am