Glanz tonearms have just arrived in the UK thanks to an exclusive distribution agreement with Devon-based Timestep, and visitors to last weekend’s Sound & Vision: The Bristol Show were among the first to discover them. Meanwhile, Hi-Fi News reviewer Nick Tate has been getting a sneak preview and in the magazine’s March issue he puts the Glanz MH-124S through its paces.
Glanz tonearms are manufactured by Hamada Electric in Shizuoka, Japan. The range offers three levels: the original very high-end S Series, a subsequent more affordable B Series, and the flagship SD model. There are 9, 10 and 12-inch versions and the price is the same in each range regardless of length. All are crafted by Mr Masataka Hamada himself, ‘crafted’ being the appropriate term since these arms are a real work of art in both visual beauty and precision workmanship. But don’t be swayed by their sleek retro-style bodywork. The Glanz is a very modern and technically advanced tonearm indeed, designed to balance mechanical integrity with fluid movement – two aspects of tonearm design that normally act as opposites.
“This Glanz arm has a tremendous air of quality,” writes Tate. “I was taken by its combination of neutrality and speed, allied to a wonderful sure-footedness. It is sophisticated almost to a fault, yet still has a way of letting the music flow in an exuberant way… It goes straight to the heart of a recording, like some laser-guided homing device. Even the smallest details in a densely packed song seemed so effortlessly imparted that I found myself wondering why many other tonearms make such a meal of it.”
Here’s a clue: all key body parts of a Glanz tonearm are formed from a very high grade, extra hard stainless steel which is machined to a remarkable level of exactitude. Superior mechanical integrity is achieved by joining the tonearm’s key parts using an interference fit, in which the joint is created by friction after the parts are pushed together rather than by fixings or adhesives. This masterful build quality continues throughout. The headshell is seamlessly machined from a single billet of stainless steel. The meticulously assembled arm pivot features four large bearings, each machined to extreme tolerances to provide optimal ‘tight/loose’ contact and each is hand-inserted using a jeweller’s hammer. The lower bearing in the vertical axis uses a high-precision thrust bearing, giving a structure that allows the high-mass arm to move with exceptional sensitivity.
Meanwhile, ‘parallel damping’ ensures effective resonance control throughout, without sacrificing musical dynamics or fine detail. A thin rubber insert is inlaid into the headshell; various strategically-positioned damping structures are placed within the arm tube, and the counterweight assembly incorporates a triple damping system with layers of carbon fibre, ABS resin and rubber.
“There was an embarrassment of riches to be heard,” writes Tate, listening to Thomas Dolby’s ‘Commercial Breakup’. “Fragile vocals, the pounding synthesisers and Linn drums thrashing away – plus the texture of everything so delicately and accurately conveyed.”
Moving on to a bit of Genesis, Tate was impressed by the way the Glanz “got into the swing of things. The sense that the band were all playing together, brilliantly syncopated with one another, was utterly convincing.” Moreover the stereo imaging “sounded exceedingly spacious and three-dimensional, and inside this the various elements of the mix were almost nailed to my listening room wall. The lead vocal appeared to be honed from granite, such was its stability and composure.”
The verdict? “An absolutely top-tier modern tonearm whose sound quality leaves nothing to be desired. Indeed it easily stands comparison with the most respected rival designs from the past few decades. It is lovingly built, beautifully finished and a joy to use.”
Discover more at http://glanztonearms.co.uk
Read Nick Tate’s full review in the March 2018 issue of Hi-Fi News