When buying consumer goods from clothes to cars, “rarely do you find the right tool for the job and when you do, you pay for it dearly,” says David Price in the May issue of Hi-Fi Choice. The world of hi-fi is no exception, with one “glaringly obvious issue” being the disparity between the way a vinyl record is pressed and the manner in which it’s played back. “Conventional arms let the stylus be dragged radially across the record as it follows the groove, but why not do it the same way as the original disc was cut?”
Enter the tangential (or parallel) tracking tonearm. Clearaudio have been making them for several decades, but they don’t tend to come cheap. So what will Price make of their latest model, the new entry-level TT5?
In the TT5, the cartridge, headshell and short armtube run on a linear bearing which comprises a carriage running on highly precise rollers along a polished glass rail. The cartridge therefore remains parallel to the record groove at all times, reading the groove in precisely the same way as it was cut and hence extracting the most accurate information from that groove without distortion. There’s also zero tracking error and no need for anti-skating compensation.
“The TT5 is thing of beauty,” writes Price. It “steps out of the world of compromise inhabited by radial tracking tonearms and into an exotic new place where things are done in a more civilised way.”
Kicking off the auditioning with Steely Dan’s Home At Last, the TT5 “presents the music in an obviously more relaxed way,” sounding “a good deal more revealing.” “You feel like you’re listening to the music, rather than the hi-fi. Therein lies the most significant trait of the TT5 – the ability to provide ‘mastertape’ quality to the music, making everything sound stable, secure and serene.”
Moving on to The Doors’ Riders On The Storm, Price is struck by “the sheer size of the recorded acoustic and the accuracy of placement of elements within it.” “There is a great expanse of sound left to right, superb depth perspective and instruments sound so solid they could be nailed to my rear wall.”
“This combination of rhythmic ease and spatial accuracy is the very cornerstone of the performance, and this applies no matter what type of music you play.”
“Very few high-end tonearms pull this trick off, so it’s interesting to see the (relatively inexpensive) TT5 manage it so well.”
In conclusion: “As the saying goes, what’s not to like?”. Five stars and a ‘Hi-Fi Choice Recommended’ badge of approval.
Read David Price’s full review of the Clearaudio TT5 tangential tracking tonearm in the May 2017 issue of Hi-Fi Choice.
Discover more about the TT5 on Clearaudio’s website.
Find your nearest Clearaudio dealer from UK distributor Sound Fowndations.