With the new TT5, German analogue masters Clearaudio offer vinyl fans a more affordable entry point into tangential tonearm technology.
The first tangential tonearm (also known as ‘linear tracking’, ‘parallel tracking’ or ‘straight line’) was reportedly devised by Thomas Edison and featured on the Edison Phonograph from 1877. But the technique of parallel tracking was abandoned with Emil Berliner’s Gramophone, and remained so until almost a century later when its benefits were finally rediscovered and a small number of manufacturers began again to design arms that would open up the full potential of the LP record.
Why go tangential?
In a word, fidelity. To achieve the most faithful music reproduction, the playback of a record should mimic the original cutting of the vinyl as closely as possible. During the cutting process, the cutter diamond maintains a consistent angle of 90 degrees from the beginning of the groove to its end. Therefore the optimum way to extract the purest information from that groove without distortion is with an arm that reads the groove in precisely the same way as it was cut….