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DesignBuildListen The Wand Tonearm

Discussion in 'Turntables' started by andyecon, Mar 23, 2014.

  1. andyecon

    andyecon Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    615
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    I have recently installed a new tonearm, DesignBuildListen's The Wand, an interesting concept made by Simon Brown in New Zealand. You can see the website here (it has gotten great reviews):

    http://www.designbuildlisten.com/wand.htm

    I don't think this arm is very well known in North America, so I thought I would write a running commentary about it.

    I am listening on my Garrard 301 in slate plinth. I am mainly using the Monster Cable Sigma Genesis 2000 MkII cartridge, which is theoretically a perfect match with this 12.5 gram effective mass arm.

    I will mainly write when I hear something in a record that stands out, either positive or negative. The first thing I want to write is quite positive!

    I'm listening to a well-loved copy of Songs of Leonard Cohen, which is one of my favorite albums. In the second track, "Master Song", there is a part in the chorus where some trumpets enter on the left side with Cohen's voice on the right side. The trumpets are bleating softly and it stood out to me that there is some reverb effect that makes it sound haunting in a way that I haven't experienced before. This new sound grabbed my attention, leading me to pay more attention and I noticed how Cohen's vocal inflections keep your interest even in songs which are quite monotone.
     

     

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  2. bob06

    bob06 Addicted Member

    Messages:
    5,552
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    WOW! Cool looking arm. Never seen one before. :thmbsp:
     
  3. andyecon

    andyecon Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    615
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Hi Bob - it is a very cool design and the rationale is sound (it shares the logic of the Cobra and Copperhead tonearms, which are really fat in the middle to maximize rigidity).

    Today I listened to some random cuts from my ECM collection, which are always sonically interesting but can tend towards cheese. The stand out was Art Lande and Rubisa Patrol's Desert Marauders. Side one track one makes me think of hard-bop-fusion and the horns sounded especially crisp and clear.

    I am thinking that one big gain over my Audiocraft AC-3000 is coming in a less colored upper midrange. That has benefits for sure, but I am also getting more noise on beat up vinyl than I was before. I used to have the ability to switch over to my mono DL-102 to play noisy records, which doesn't work with the Wand because it has only two posts. I am going to work on making a connector for that, so maybe that will help with those records.
     
  4. andyecon

    andyecon Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    615
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Listened to Paul Simon's Graceland tonight and am again struck by the midrange purity. I think I once knew that Linda Rondstadt does the back-up vocal on "Under African Skies", but tonight I heard it and said, "Ah, who is that? I have to look that up!".
     
  5. drtool

    drtool It might get loud In Houston Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,204
    Location:
    Houston Texas
    Thanks for the post Andy.
     
  6. mikeburns

    mikeburns Active Member

    Messages:
    111
    sorry about the late bump on this but how is that tonearm going now after a few months? I am planning on getting a 9 inch "the wand" in the next month to put onto my Technics 1210, so would love to hear more about it. Lucky for me designbuildlisten is a local store!
     

     

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  7. andyecon

    andyecon Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    615
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    I've been traveling a lot for work, but I still have it mounted. I have listened to it with the Monster Sigma Genesis 2000 as well as a Denon 103r and Shelter 501. I think it does a good job with all of these cartridges. Specifically, you can hear the differences between them very clearly: the Sigma Genesis is very detailed and clear sounding, with very low distortion but not as meaty sounding as the 103r or the 501. The 501 has deeper and more prominent bass, but it is a bit wooly compared to the Sigma Genesis.
     
  8. mikeburns

    mikeburns Active Member

    Messages:
    111
    Awesome, have been in touch with the guy at designbuildlisten, looks like I will be purchasing in the next month or less!!! Now thinking about doing some lp recordings with the 1210 stock tonearm and then again with the wand when it is set up... now just need to figure out the easiest way to do it.
     
  9. JBL GUY

    JBL GUY Addicted Member

    Messages:
    7,007
    Very interesting.

    Thanks for information and the link.
     

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