Schroder Tonearms, Schroeder Tonearms

Schroder Tonearms

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Frank Schroder / Schroeder

* Background photography by Uschi Hering - Germany

Frank Schroder / Schroeder, Jan Allaerts MC1B

Schr•der The Reference tonearm and

Jan Allaerts MC1B cartridge

Photo from HiFi+ Magazine

Frank Schrder is among a select few - you only need one hand to count them - who make the finest audiophile tonearms in the world today. Each one is meticulously machined and assembled by hand.  Built with a watchmaker's precision !

 

Because Schrder tonearms are handcrafted exclusively by Frank himself and are always in demand worldwide, there is a long waiting time for each region.  We assure you that the wait is well worth it.  The tonearms are peerless, and have replaced the world's best in several systems.  If a high degree of fidelity and utmost naturalness  is high on one's sonic priorities, a Schr•der tonearm is the new standard of reference.

 

The Schrder tonearm is one of those rare audio products which has achieved classic status - long before it has gone out of production. However, the worldwide demand for Frank Schrder's creations far outstrips the capabilities of a single craftsman to meet.  Frank controls every step in a tonearm's production. You are purchasing an item which is made one at a time, by Frank himself, and not on an assembly line. You can be assured that every Schrder tonearm built today has Frank's personal touch in it.

It is understandably difficult, but the wait for a Schr
der is insignificant compared to the sonic rewards one will get.

 

A Schrder tonearm sounds like no tonearm.  In our experience, for example with either Jan Allaerts or The Cartridge Man Music Maker cartridges and GSP Audio phono stages hooked up, the Schrder tonearms totally transform a system, bringing forth an amazing naturalness - and that is not an exaggeration or sales pitch.  Timbre and tonality of instruments take on a new meaning.  Across the entire frequency spectrum, one will realize what "real" really sounds like.  Once heard, one gets a new education and insight into sound quality - gone is the electronic sound of reproduction, which can be disturbing at first, since many systems we are used to are not as natural. 

Once the realization sinks in that this is as natural as it can get, then one can relax and start to enjoy the system. 

 

One might be mistaken that a Schrder is not suitable for rock music.  Not at all, we are audiophiles who listen to Carol Kidd, Norah  Jones, Ella, Fritz Reiner, etc. but we spend more time listening to Probot, Megadeth, Madonna, Sepultura,  Slayer, etc. 

 

If the Schrder does not rock in a system, other parts of that system need to be investigated, not the Schrder.

 

There really is no need for introduction to the quality of these tonearms for analogue users who are up to date with today's analogue products, as Schrder tonearms are one of the most-sought after tonearms these days.  Still, we hope that this webpage will help provide even more information on the products as we go along.

 

Schroder Table Of Contents:

   

 

Schroder Model 1 on a Scheu Premier MK2 turntable

Schroder Reference tonearm on a Scheu Premier MK2 turntable

Schroder Model 2 tonearm on a Scheu Cello turntable

 

Schroder Model 2

 

Schroder Model 2

 

Schrder Model 2 tonearm on a Scheu Cello 912 turntable

Schroder Model 2

 

Model 2 tonearm on a Scheu Cello turntable

Schroder Model 2 on a Scheu Cello

 
Click Me! for more photos
 
  • Similar to Model 1below, but VTA conventionally adjustable

  • Carbon fibre-sandwich armwand, non-interchangable

  • Effective Mass 12gr

  • Standard pivot-to-spindle distance: 222mm(Rega-compatible)

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Schroder Model 1

 

Schroder Model 1

 
Click Me! for more photos
 
  • Torsion-bearing, magnetically stabilized and damped

  • Virtually no bearing friction, no bearing chatter

  • Dynamic damping of the tonearm-cartridge-resonance through inductionof eddy currents, adjustable

  • VTA repeatably and finely adjustable

  • Tonearm wands interchangeable , available in 8.5 • 12inch length

  • Effective Mass depending on the armwand from 5gr • 35gr

  • Tonearm wands/rods made out of carbon fibre, jacaranda, ebony, acacia, bamboo, pertinax etc.

  • Incognito wiring, single run,  other wiring upon request

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Schroder Model DPS

 

Schroder DPS tonearm on a Scheu Premier turntable

 
Click Me! for more photos
 
  • Hybrid between Model 2 and The Reference

  • Wooden armwand - bocate or jacaranda

  • Effective length 239mm

  • Magnets almost as strong as The Reference

  • Modified Model 2 base

  • Single-thread torsion bearing, magnetically stabilized and damped

  • Virtually no bearing friction, no bearing chatter

  • Dynamic damping of the tonearm-cartridge-resonance through induction of eddycurrents

  • VTA repeatably and finely adjustable

  • Effective Mass depending on the armwand from 5gr • 35gr

  • Incognito wiring, single run,  other wiring upon request

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Schroder The Reference

 

Schroder Reference

 

Schroder DPS on a DPS turntable

 
Click Me! for more photos
 
  • Single-thread torsion bearing, magnetically stabilized and damped

  • Virtually no bearing friction, no bearing chatter

  • Dynamic damping of the tonearm-cartridge-resonance through induction of eddycurrents

  • Overhang, VTA, VTF and azimuth repeatably and finely adjustable

  • Armwand custom made to suit the preferred cartridge, range of effective mass: 5 • 50gr, effective length from 8.5 •12 inches, at no extra charge

  • Additional damping of the suspension string with silicon oil, optional

  • Internal wiring chosen to fit customers system, single run standard, termination box optional

  • Tonearm wands/rods made out of carbon fibre, jacaranda, ebony, acacia, bamboo, pertinax etc.

  • Different finishes available at nominal cost

  • Patent. pending

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Schroder Reviews/Comments

 

Sixmoons.com

 

Schr•der Model DPS

 

Edward Barker

Nov 2004

 

 

 

Sixmoons.com Award : SOTA Tonearm Category

"As a reviewer, one can go on for ages singing the praises of a particular piece of equipment, but in the Schroeder's case, its virtues are so obvious and so total that frankly, it speaks better for itself. I would just say that in my opinion, the Schroeder is one of the most significant developments in vinyl reproduction in the last 30 years, and anyone who takes analog seriously simply must hear what it is capable of. It's worth going well the hell out of your way to hear. How far? Across a continent. Go ahead, even an ocean - it's worth the longest journey because that's what it will take you on once you have it. 

 

Click Me! for the full review

 

TNT-Audio

 

Schr•der Model 1

 

Hartmut Quaschik

TNT-Audio Germany

Sept 2002

 

 

"Now, how good is the Schr•der relative to its competitors? Bearing in mind, that I listened to it only on two turntables, Pluto 10A, and Thorens TD124-1, I can say, that it is above most super arms like SME V, Wheaton Triplanar, Immedia RPM2, Forsell Air Bearing tonearms, which I owned, too. I am quite disappointed with some super arms, as they can sound disintegrating or mechanical, a price paid for high, sometimes exaggerated, detail resolution. Among those, I consider the SME as the best of the rest."

 

"To condense it in one phrase, especially when listening to classical music, there is really no alternative, even if cost is no object."

 

 

Click Me! for the full review

 

Galibier Design

 

Schr•der Reference

 

Steve Kaufman

July 30 2003

 

* Customer Comment *

 

"There were no highs, mids, and bass - just music, and more importantly a startling absence of mechanical sound. I have difficulty believing that members of both the "accuracy" school and the "musicality" school, the "moderns" or the "vintage enthusiasts" will not equally appreciate what this arm is capable of doing. From Cal Tjader to Leonard Bernstein to Johnny Cash the Schroeder did not flub a single note."

Click Me! for more

 

Sixmoons.com

 

Schr•der Model 1

 

Edward Barker

March 2003

"The Schroder Model 2 arm is the single-most exciting and cherished component of my system. Head-over-heels stuff."


Click Me! for a micro review

 

Callas Audio

 

Schr•der Model 2

Special in Jacaranda

 

Ron Ploeger Amstelveen

The Netherlands

 

* Excerpt *

"The Schroeder has evolved out of a true passion for tone arm design, and Frank Schroeder has orders to fill out for a long time. The delivery time for an example of the Reference is about 4 months at this moment.."


"The match of the Verdier Platine and the Schroeder is just heaven, words cannot describe the feelings when the needle touches the groove."

 

 

Perfect Sound Forever

The Vinyl Anachronist

 

Schr•der

 

Marc Phillips

Jan 2003

 

* Excerpt - Editorial *

"To illustrate, I recently auditioned what may be the finest-sounding analog rig I've ever heard: a DPS 'table mated with a Schroder tonearm and an Allaerts cartridge. These three companies didn't even exist a few years ago, and now I can't even buy this superb set-up, which retails for a shade over $10K, because everyone is back-ordered for months. Name one digital product right now that's back-ordered."

* Webmaster's comment :

We don't know about DPS, but Schr•der and Jan Allaerts, the brands,  have existed for some time already.  Jan Allaerts in 1978 and Frank Schroder has been making tonearms since 1980.

 

Hi-Fi+ Magazine

Coming Soon
 

 

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Schroder Instruction Manuals

 

 
 

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Schroder FAQ

 

The following responses are from Frank Schroder quoted from the Vinyl Asylum.

 
What is the estimated waiting period for a Schroder tonearm ?

The wait is now typically from 10 to 12 months, any model, due to the extremely high demand.

 

The Schrder tonearm is one of those rare audio products which has achieved classic status - long before it has gone out of production.  However, the worldwide demand for Frank Schrder's creations far outstrips the capabilities of a single craftsman to meet.  Frank controls every step in a tonearm's production. You are purchasing an item which is made one at a time, by Frank himself, and not on an assembly line.

You can be assured that every Schrder tonearm built today has Frank's personal touch in it.

 

It is understandably difficult, but the wait for a Schrder is insignificant compared to the sonic rewards one will get.

 

If by any chance you have a used Schrder tonearm in excellent condition to sell, we will be glad to consider purchasing it.  We have not seen even a single used one for sale yet in many years, but you never know.

 
What magnets are used in Schroder tonearms ?

"The magnets used are made from the strongest commercially available Neodym-Iron-Boron alloy. The create an attracting force of 8 -12kp to resist deflection and to provide damping through induction of eddy currents.

The magnetic field is shielded, they won't lose their magnetism in 100000 years (that should suffice...) unless you heat them up beyond 120•C (their Curie point)."

 
What is the recommended gap distance between the magnets ?

"The distance should - in my experience - not exceed 1,5mm, in most cases 0.3 - 0,5mm yield optimal results.

Anything above 1,5mm can lead to a loose or soft bass, this figure being cartridge dependent."

 
How many joints in the cables does a Schroder tonearm have ?

The Schr•der has one piece wiring (two solder joints) in contrast to the seven (yes 7) solder joints in the Graham arm and six (6) in the SME V.

 
 
What cartridges suit Schroder tonearms ?

"Jacaranda and ebony are the woods most often requested. A 9" jacaranda armwand has 12-14gr.eff. mass and therefore falls in the medium mass category.


A "12gr."-arm will accommodate 80% of today's high quality MC cartridges. Even your Koetsu Onyx (somewhat depending upon the vintage) will be a reasonably good match for such an arm. Though it is a low compliance cartridge it features a comparatively heavy body, which compensates for a "stiff" suspension.


I will name 6 cartridges that I believe to offer excellent performance in their respective price bracket (needless to say I have no affiliation with any of the manufacturers): 

Denon 103
Ortofon SPU
Lyra Helikon (especially the mono version!)
Jan Allaerts MC1b Mk2
Koetsu Red Signature
Miyabi, aka Red Rose "Rose Petal"


No, they certainly don't sound alike, but each of them (in the right system) puts music before any hifi criteria (unlike most Clearaudio carts, sorry).


BTW , both the No.2 and the Reference arm are NOT unipivots in a strict physics sense. For all practical purposes they are much closer to a unipivot than to a cardanic bearing arm though."

 
Do I need to change armwands every time I change cartridges ?

"No, you don't need to buy a new armwand every time you change the cart.

 

The No.1 arm, as Garth stated correctly, comes (standard) with a carbon fibre wand (12gr. eff. mass) or a Jacaranda wand (~14gr. eff. mass). Both of these will work very well with 80% of today's top cartridges. BUT, if you'd like to run an Audionote IO or an Ortofon SPU (or even a Denon 103), you're going to need a "heavier" armwand. The other way around for something like early VdH Colibris (high compliance - lighter armwand).

 
The wooden armwands do NOT sound different from each other (depending upon the type of wood) but merely differ as far as their density, therefore their eff. mass (given the dimensions are the same) goes.

The carbon fibre wand does sound different, in part due to it's conductivity (eddy current losses...) and it's less than ideal dielectric properties.

 
Carts that I would recommend (no particular order):

Denon DL 103, 103D
Lyra Argo, Helikon(Mono!), Titan and yes ..Olympos
Miyabi (all of them)
Jan Allaerts MC1B, MkII
Koetsu Rosewood Platinum, Urushi
Ortofon SPU (for older-pre 65-records)
Benz LP


And there are other great carts out there too... "

 
What else can you tell us about Schroder arms ?

When altering the VTA the arm base can swivel indeed but is brought back to it's original/proper position once the locking screw is tightened again. That's why it says "do not adjust VTA while playing a record" in the manual. It certainly won't mess up your initial overhang adjustment.


When the customer tells me upfront he has an unusually heavy cartridge I'll just send a heavier counterweight. The standard counter-weight works with all carts between 6 and 11gr., for a VTF of 1.2 to 2,5gr.

The arm comes with the wiring of your choice, either Incognito or my own, very thin high purity solid core copper wiring (others available upon request). The Incognito would be very hard to break, the solid core copper is easy to kink but not so easy to break (yes it's not for the fainthearted ;-)).


Sonically there is a very small difference between the two, but the solid core wire (which I prefer by a hair) requires a long break in time.

 

Yes, the armrest might need adjustment which is true for any arm if you're not happy with the cueing clearance between stylus and record. The armrest parts are press fit together so that they're going to move out of the way instead of being bent in the case of mishandling (UPS should do all the stress tests on the shuttle parts...)

Setting antiskating requires the use of a test disc (any disc with a long lead out groove will do, read the instructions) or Wally's antiskating tool - and then your ears, as is the case with any high caliber arm. Quite often calibrated dials should be regarded as a guideline only.

 

Yes, fitting a dustcover may require cutting out a small piece of the dustcover (usually there is enough clearance between the cover and the plinth), or better, drill a second, small hole in the tt base next to the arm and let the wire go out through the base (That's what a dealer/distributor is for, assistance in setting up).

The possibility to change armwands was incorporated with those people in mind that, after listening to one cart for a long time, want to go for another cart with vastly different parameters (cart mass, compliance). This way you don't have to buy a new tone arm, just another armwand. It was never intended for a quick swap of wand/cart combinations as implementing such a feature would require additional electrical and mechanical connections (Graham, Moerch) or exchanging almost the entire tonearm (VPI). All excellent arms, btw.

Each tonearm designer is facing a multitude of challenges, some which exclude the combination of certain features. I happened to go for best sonics and did sacrifice calibrated dials and detrimental electrical connections for as plain and "clean" an appearance as possible.

I wholeheartedly second your statement that my arms are not for beginners, simply because their sonic potential will only be unleashed through proper setup.

BTW, the reason for the sonic superiority of the reference arm is directly related to the reduction of thread length and armwand/assembly mass (not eff. mass!). You do need a top quality system to appreciate the differences though.

The perceived higher "stability" (two degrees of freedom versus three in the No.2 and Reference arms) of the No.1's bearing is inconsequential in operation.


Lastly the No.1 arm is more difficult to set up than the other two since as you correctly stated. Changing one parameter can or will change another (VTF - azimuth, azimuth - overhang).

 

On the other hand changing VTA on any unipivot arm will automatically change VTF to a certain degree (true for my No.2 and Reference arm as well). Oh well, you can't win 'em all... "

 
How do you adjust VTA on the Model 1 and 2 ?

"Both my No.1 and Reference arms allow for making the tiniest (and repeatable) changes of VTA. And yes, in many cases 0.2mm (sometimes even less!) up or down accounts for the difference between excellent and truly magical cartridge performance.

 

Neither raising nor lowering the arm's base will require any additional lifting or pushing.


To adjust VTA, you need to loosen a locking screw (Allen head grub screw, on the side of the arm's base), then insert another Allen key (both provided) and turn it clockwise to lower, counterclockwise to raise the base.

Since one full turn results in 0.7mm change the position of the Allen key in relation to the 4 screws on top of the base can be determined/remembered very easily.

 

Finally tighten the side grub screw again.


In addition you might place a ruler against the base which will provide a direct reading. Aesthetically the inclusion of a scale, printed or engraved, went against the desired plain appearance. If you must have it and are willing to pay for it, I'll gladly add one though..."

 

 
Do you tailor your arms to suit the cartridge's sound ?

"While I can build arms ranging from 5 to 25+ gr. eff. mass, I don't believe in "tailoring" the arms' sound to suit a specific cartridge. My arms inflict as little a sonic signature upon the signal as possible, they are not (meant to be) tone controls.

The entry level model (No.2) has 11gr. eff mass, the No.1 and Reference models cover the range mentioned above."

 

It is more on getting the right effective mass.

 
How does the carbon armwand differ from the wooden ones like ebony ?

Ebony, like the other types of wood I'm using, is sonically superior to the carbon fibre sandwich armwands also employed.

 

Plain carbon fibre wands, depending on the way there made, exhibit fairly strong resonances, that's why I'm using two additional materials to form a constraint layer sandwich armwand cutting the peaks in the resonance spectrum).


The different woods I'm using have far greater internal damping and are less resonant than carbon fibre. They would still exhibit different "sonic signatures" if I would not treat them using a process that takes two to three weeks wherein all the microcavities in the wood are filled (with two different oils) until they are all equally non-resonant.

 

This treatment results in non-susceptibility to climatic changes.

 

Why different woods?

In order to keep the dimensions( and therefore the mass distribution) the same, I need materials with different "specific weights" (don't know if that is the proper term in English) to be able to vary the eff. mass of, say a 9" arm, to suit different cartridges. It has to be said though that 80% of all top quality cartridges work fine in arms of ~ 12gr. eff. mass, notwithstanding the benefits of fine-tuning the arm-cartridge resonance according to the type of TT employed (another topic).

To sum up this longwinding and tiresome post:


The wooden armwands sound even less "mechanical" or "artificial" than the carbon fibre sandwich wands. You'll hear a VERY realistic rendition of timbre and dynamic gradations, provided your associated components are up to par. "

 

Of course, the carbon wand will also suit some systems.

 

Are the Schroder arms variants of the Well-Tempered arms ?  Is damping adjustable ?  Can VTA be adjusted on the fly ?

"As the designer and maker of the arms discussed, allow me to step in to clear up a few issues.


I have been making tonearms featuring magnetically stabilized thread bearings since 1980 (I hold two related patents). The Well Tempered Arm did not appear in Germany until 1985/86 if I remember correctly. I have a background in watch and clockmaking and studied industrial design. The use of a thread as a bearing element is nothing revolutionary - the torsion spring pendulum is a design of the 18th century.


Yes, the damping is adjustable. By varying the distance between the magnets you can increase or decrease the flux density in the gap between the magnets and their immediate surroundings. Damping in this bearing is a result of induction of eddy currents as mentioned previously, the change of flux density translates into an alteration of eddy current strength = amount of damping.

Yes, you can adjust VTA "on the fly" (for Model 1 and Reference). After loosening one grub screw, using a supplied allen key you can turn a screw hidden inside the arm post to raise or lower the arm by small and repeatable increments. One revolution changes the height by 0.7 mm.

In the case of the Reference arm zenith too can be adjusted within seconds and in repeatable increments (read the manual).


My other arms allow for zenith adjustment too.


As of the beginning of this year the No.2 arm features the single thread bearing as well.

 

My arms look deceptively simple (intentionally so), but, i.e., try to drill a small diameter hole through a 10 or even 12" wooden armwand and keep it centered, - good luck!

As far as pricing goes, don't forget that the manufacturer sees only a fraction of the retail price (nothing new). The Well Tempered Arm or any other imported arm is MUCH more expensive in Germany compared to the US.


Reading many of the posts in vinyl related forums makes obvious though why distributors and dealers (should) exist: It is they who should educate, advise and help the customer, not the manufacturer (at least that's what their share of the retail price is for).

My arms are individually handmade to suit basically any cartridge or TT in existence, they are not falling off the conveyor belt at the end of some production line. Maybe I should start thinking about outsourcing from eastern Europe or Asia. The result: lower cost, yes - but the quality and adaptability goes down the drain.


Don't get me wrong, the Well Tempered Arm is a very good sounding product but if I (and all my customers so far) wasn't convinced of the sonic superiority of my arms, why produce them? Certainly not because it is making me a rich man.


What it comes down to is that YOU have to like it first and then decide whether you want to spend that kind of money.

 

My advice: Buy the most reasonable arm you can live with and spend the money saved on your wife, kids, live concerts or even records."

 
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Schroder Tonearms, Schroeder Tonearms

Schroder Model 2

Schroder Model 1

Schroder Model DPS

Schroder The Reference