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  • Tonearms

    The record player’s tonearm holds the pickup cartridge over the groove, with the stylus tracking the groove with the desired force to give the optimal compromise between good tracking and minimizing wear of the stylus and record groove. At its simplest, a tone arm is a pivoted lever, free to move in two axes (vertical and horizontal) with a counterbalance to maintain tracking pressure.

    Basic arm design has changed relatively little. S-type tonearms can be found on even the early 1925 Victor Orthophonic Victrola. Though early electrical pickup tonearms were light, their full weight rested on the record. Through to the crystal pickup, this was required to create sufficient tracking force to follow the grooves adequately with relatively stiff styli. Record wear was high. With better technologies, far-smaller tracking forces became possible, and the balanced arm came into use.

    The tonearm is built-in on the vast majority of turntables, provided for by the turntable manufacturer. The most famous turntable makers include well-known names such as Sony, Technics, Numark and Gemini.
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