This has been an interesting thread. I've learned of error modes that I'd
never heard of before. May have missed a few notes, so sorry if this is

A few years ago, some audiophile makers started offering mono phono
cartridges. Not stereo cartridges wired as mono, but moving coil designs
that are sensitive only to lateral motion, thus deaf to the vertical
impulses caused by dirt and rough vinyl. The sound and s/n is said to be
great, much better than a mono'd stereo pickup. I haven't yet got around to
setting up a second table for that purpose - maybe that's a good New Years

IIRC, Lyre, Benz Micro, Ortofon, and Soundsmith were offering mono models;
there may be others. I don't know if the same idea has been applied to
non-microgroove pickups based on modern designs. Perhaps it isn't possible
to rework a Shure or Stanton MM stylus and coil assembly for different

Regarding the original subject, it seems that some years ago most high-end
record player designers decided that the small errors of tracking angle
caused by an arm with a fixed pivot were less significant than all the other
problems of resonances, isolation, speed stability, etc. Curved vs. straight
arm tubes didn't matter as much as the materials used, and a well-damped
structure (like the excellent tapered magnesium SME tone arms) could more
practically be made as a straight arm. Better results could be had by
addressing the record player's components as a total system, rather than
concentrating on a few aspects that were simple to understand but hard to
address. Linear tracking is very challenging and costly to get right (that
doesn't cause more problems than it solves) and absorbs much of the budget
that otherwise can go to improving other parts of the system.

Despite some missteps and charlatanism, this is one area of sound where the
audiophile movement has greatly contributed to quality reproduction. The
better older designs also seem to be products of systemic perspectives and a
concentration on the quality of materials. Anyway, that's the experience of
a guy whose record playing is purely for entertainment.

Best wishes,

Carl Pultz

-----Original Message-----
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Tom Fine
Sent: Wednesday, December 21, 2011 7:05 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Straight Line Tracking was Stanton Turntable

Ugh, I hate listening to mono records this way. Unfortunately, some people
who do otherwise 
excellent transfers of old grooved-disk recordings don't sum to mono. It's
incredibly annoying to 
have "stereo" surface noise with a small field of mono content in the
middle. It actually makes the 
soundfield for the content (as opposed to the extraneous noise) more narrow
and less distinct. 
Summing to mono: 1) removes some low-frequency disk-noise issues by
cancelling out-of-phase stuff, 
and 2) cancels or reduces the level vs the main content for other random
noises and the overall 
"whoosh" sound. When I transfer a mono record, I always sum it, but the
Restoration Preamp has a 
mode where you can mix between left and right to see if you reduce noise or
distortion that way 
(sometimes this works, I find mostly it doesn't matter). I think there is
another method where you 
can put one channel out of phase and mix it to a level that cancels noise
the most, but I haven't 
tried this and don't remember the details.

One man's opinions, but based on years of listening to and transferring mono

-- Tom Fine