About The Woody Tonearm for Ortofon SPU Cartridges:
Pete Riggle says:
For years renowned reviewer Art Dudley has been telling us about the gorgeous tonal character of the Ortofon SPU cartridges. I finally got a chance to hear stereo and mono versions of the SPU cartridges in the system of another renowned reviewer, Jeff Day. After hearing the SPU cartridges, I agree with Art's assessment of their virtues. They are very musical. I first heard SPU stereo and mono cartridges in Jeff's listening room with Thomas Schick tonearms in a Classic Turntables version of the Garrard 301. The 301 was fit into an astonishingly gorgeous plinth from Artisan Fidelity. What I heard convinced me that I needed to figure out how to outfit a 12 inch Woody tonearm with a universal headshell to accept the SPU cartridges. I asked Jeff if he would be amenable to giving such a creation a try. He agreed to do so.
One big challenge was fitting a universal headshell connector into the end of a wood tonearm wand. Another big challenge was setting the arm up to get the angled offset needed with the SPU cartridge/headshell units. Despite my initial concerns, I managed to achieve both objectives in a nice package. The Woody SPU Tonearm allows the user to optimally play Ortofon SPU cartridges with the Type G and Type A headshells, and to interchange the headshells. The Woody SPU Tonearm also allows the user to play low to mid compliance standard mount cartridges with a user supplied removable headshell.
Along with the many other virtues of the Woody tonearm, the Woody SPU allows the user to adjust overhang (by changing mounting distance) and align the cartridge. Surprisingly, with the SPU cartridges, these adjustments are not provided by arms like those by Ortofon, Thomas Schick, Jelco, and many others. The SME tonearms allow overhang adjustment, but not accurate stylus alignment. The Woody SPU tonearm includes important features of the Woody Universal tonearm, including adjustment of VTA, azimuth, and anti-skate on the fly.
Jeff and I, and a number of other experienced listeners have now listened to the SPU stereo and mono cartridges with the Woody SPU tonearm. Everyone who has heard the Woody SPU with the Ortofon SPU cartridges is more than pleased with the very musical listening results. It might be better to say gobsmacked, or astounded. But I have a horse in the race, so it would be better for you to see what Jeff has to say. You can check out Jeff's take on the Woody SPU at the following URL: http://jeffsplace.me/wordpress/?p=7628 .
I am now in a position to accept orders for the 12.5 inch (318 mm effective length) Woody SPU. Because of the extra labor and parts required for the Woody SPU I have to sell it for a little more than I ask for the Standard Woody. The price of the Woody SPU is $2000, which includes the Sliding Mounting Plate (which allows overhang adjustment). This is in the standard Lacquered Brass finish. Add $100 USD for the optional Smokey Silver finish (clear protective lacquer over nickel plate over engine turned solid brass). These tonearms are bespoke, with a waiting period of 4 months. A deposit of $200 USD will place you on the waiting list. The price of the Woody SPU includes the sliding mounting plate, which allows overhang adjustment and interchange of SPU Type G and Type A cartridges. The price also includes the VTAF Teflon Upgrade, which improves the sonics of the tonarm and allows smoother and easier adjustment of VTA.
Reviewer Jeff Day's December 10, 2015 comment about the Woody SPU:
"The Woody SPU Tonearm by Pete Riggle Audio Engineering absolutely blows away my excellent Thomas Schick tonearm, much to my dismay!"
"The Woody SPU sounds more tonally natural than the Schick."
"The Woody SPU is at another level compared to the Schick, and I’ve come to the conclusion that my musical satisfaction is not complete unless I have a Woody SPU on my turntable."
"The Woody SPU sounds rich, colorful, with natural timbral textures, and makes sibilants sound like life instead of somewhat etched, as the Schick does (by comparison)."
"The Woody SPU also gives vocals more intelligibility than does the Schick, and I can understand lyrics on the Woody SPU that don’t come through quite intact with the Schick."
"The Woody SPU gets beat & rhythms right, making music feel like a force of nature, and connects me to the emotional content of the music in unparalleled fashion."
"Just let me tell you this, you haven’t heard what your Ortofon SPU is capable of until you’ve heard it on the Woody SPU."
"The Woody SPU is a bespoke item (a custom handmade tonearm for each buyer), and approximate pricing is $2000 USD."
Jeff Day http://jeffsplace.me/wordpress/?p=7628
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