Earlier this year ‘The Wand’ tonearm made its debut at Sound & Vision: The Bristol Show thanks to a new distribution agreement with County Durham-based Decent Audio. Now, it is available from selected UK dealers for the first time.
Developed by New Zealand-based company Design Build Listen (DBL), The Wand unipivot tonearm represents a step change in tonearm design. Pared back in rather clever ways, it is crafted to deliver superb sound at a considerably more modest price than might otherwise be expected. The result: remarkable musical bang for your buck.
The Wand tonearm is available in three lengths: 9.5″, 10.3″ & 12″ and three specification levels, The Wand Classic, The Wand Plus and The Wand Master Series. In all cases the first thing you’ll notice is The Wand’s unusual looking (but undeniably cool) large diameter carbon-fibre arm tube which is cut off at a sharp angle, hence effectively negating the need for a traditional headshell. Instead, the cartridge bolts straight to the arm via a fixed metal block. The cartridge angle is fixed but with an adjustable overhang.
The Wand’s engineering is top-class. The tube is said to be four times stiffer than an arm of more conventional diameter and is the result of many hundreds of hours of computer-aided design modelling, as well as considerable time spent listening to various alternative materials.
The arm’s pivot, bearing and counterweight design are also different from the norm. The counterweight and bearing housing are a composite assembly, keeping mass as close to the pivot point as possible and therefore structural resonance to a minimum. Within the bearing itself the pivot point rests into three ball bearings inside the arm tube, as distinct from the more common point-and-cup approach.
The 9” arm, being mounted at a pivot-to-spindle distance of 222mm, can be used as a drop-in replacement for Rega tonearms. Design Build Listen also manufacture a range of adaptors for Lenco, Throens, SME and the Linn LP12. The ‘Master Series’ also features high quality sockets rather than a supplied arm cable, allowing the customer to choose their preferred audiophile lead.
Since its launch in 2011 The Wand’s design has attracted a number of highly favourable reviews along with some impressive honours: The Wand Classic and The Wand Plus have won awards for innovation, excellence and value-for-money in design and construction, while in 2016 The Wand Master picked up a BEST Design Award (New Zealand).
The Wand is a powerful performer, punching considerably above its price tag at all three of its specification levels. If you’re looking for something that’s exciting to listen to, is completely at home with a wide variety of music, offers phenomenal value and yet still delivers that extra audiophile-pleasing factor, The Wand should definitely feature on your audition list.