Javelin was inspired by the classic unipivot designs and has been painstakingly developed with new materials and assembly processes to produce an outstanding arm capable of resolving more information,more accurately to create a uniquely musical arm capable of extracting the most from modern high performance cartridges.
The Tiger Paw Javelin features ;
Titanium arm shaft
Bespoke Tungsten and Sapphire main bearing
Specific grades of aluminium for head shell, main body and mounting plate
High tolerance manufacture and machining to provide optimum coupling between assemblies
Revised internal and external wiring arrangements
Easy to use and secure lift/lower mechanism
Optimised bias system
Unique offset bearing arrangement to allow compatibility with a broad range of cartridges
The result is an arm that is capable of producing dynamics normally associated with gimballed arms as well as a natural and seamless delivery that is a hallmark of the very best unipivot designs. It is musically involving whilst at the same time capable of resolving extraordinary amounts of detail. The design and development process have taken nearly two years to achieve the optimal balance of qualities and we hope it will provide our customers with long lasting and deeply rewarding musical pleasure.
Whilst we are delighted with the results, we recommend that you contact our dealers to arrange an audition and comparison against alternatives. The arm is released with Linn compatible mounting for standard Linn arm boards, Kore and our own Akula sub chassis.
Javelin is £1800
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I've had a few emails from people asking about the background to Javelin, and more information so I thought the following may be of interest.
Many moons ago, I heard an Aro equipped LP12 and to be honest I was underwhelmed at the time. In fact I wasn’t sure why it had so many fans. Well, moving on a few years I was fortunate enough to meet Peter at Cymbiosis; there I really heard what the Aro could do, so moral of the story is don’t necessarily judge things on a random listening experience in an uncontrolled environment.
So, as a consequence I started to understand some of the unique benefits that a well designed unipivot could deliver. Of course by this time Linn had launched the Ekos SE and to be honest that is a tremendous arm, but it did make me wonder what could be achieved if you were to carry out the same update process on the now out of production Aro.
Similarly it was clear that there was demand for a high performance arm for customers unwilling to commit to investing in the Ekos SE for budgetary reasons. Of course, this all seemed like a good idea at the time but in reality, as simple as these things look, developing any precision component involved in ensuring that a stylus can accurately trace and read a microscopic groove is going to be a complex and challenging process.
By this time I was used to using an Ekos SE and I guess subconsciously this guided my expectations in terms of information retrieval and musicality. Likewise we had an Aro in use as well so were familiar with what both could offer. The Aro had an uncanny naturalness and flow with music but suffered slightly against the Ekos in terms of dynamics and control at frequency extremes.
The Ekos, and all Linn arms are a joy to use and set up, the Aro is more of a challenge, but there is something unique about the way arms that utilize a unipivot with consequent minimal friction track a groove.
In the same way that choice of materials with the Ekos had been so fundamental in it’s improved performance, so too we decided to investigate with our arm. As a cartridge turns mechanical energy in to electrical energy it generates vibration throughout the arm structure. The choice and shape of materials affect how these vibrations are dealt with and fed back as electrical output in to the phono stage. Whilst theory is always a good place to start, there is a great deal of experimentation and evaluation required to monitor the impact various materials and masses can have on the output of the arm and cartridge.
Similarly the way that different materials are bonded effects how they transfer and reflect energy, and at which frequencies. So there are many variables. To make something that ‘works’ is not too difficult; to make something that works incredibly well is very much harder to achieve. In fact, over several years I was pretty underwhelmed with the results. Using an Ekos SE on a daily basis for personal listening is a good way to keep your expectations high. So I periodically ploughed on with more prototypes, more modifications and then started to make progress in terms of getting a handle on what was doing what. And which areas were critical.
Then, one day late in 2017, I finally reached the stage where I had something that I personally loved using and listening to. There was more work to be done in terms of making it a product, but essentially as an arm this was something that not only could I live with in terms of my own expectations of vinyl replay but I actually would choose this as my preference from everything that I’d heard. During this period I had amassed a reasonable selection of arms including the following:
So I’ve got a pretty good idea how they compare, how they present music and how well they can extract information, and as a consequence what many of our customers are experiencing.
Some of our design decisions
We wanted users to be able to remove the arm top. However we did not want an arm board mounted plug. First off, small plugs are hard to deal with, secondly it only allows for a very short exit wire from the arm, and lastly it is unsightly. Using a short piece of wire from the arm to the plug requires using a very fine wire in order to avoid any impact on the operation of the arm when playing a record. Ultra thin wires do not necessarily sound the best so we wanted a solution that gave us a broader choice of wire, this meant having a longer distance between exiting the arm and terminating in a plug. We also wanted to utilize an industry standard plug as this would allow customers to be able to choose an alternative external arm cable if they wished. Consequently we mount the arm cable in a bracket at the bottom of the deck. Unplugging the arm is achieved by accessing the plug from the access hole in the rear coerner of the LP12 bottom plate, or Trampolin base. Not as convenient as an arm board mounted plug, but in practice allows all the above mentioned benefits, and as long as you’re not in the habit of regularly removing the arm then this seems fine. The additional consequence is that we have been able to choose a wire that has optimum electrical properties, sounds good and does not interfere with the mechanical operation of the arm.
All conventional fixed point arms (as opposed to parallel tracking arms) use an offset cartridge mounting system in order to reduce geometric tracking error over the course of replaying a record. The consequence of this is a centripetal force that makes the arm attempt to move towards the inner part of the LP. This puts more pressure on one wall of the groove than the other. This is overcome by the use of a bias mechanism to apply an opposing force to attempt to balance the force on each wall of the groove. Now I won’t go in to all the details of this in too much depth, but suffice to say it is a complex area. Two of the major factors in calculating this force are the velocity of the record under the stylus, and the friction between the stylus and record. Now, both of these forces change through out the playing of a record, so at best one can only achieve a compromise, but we can and do want to ensure that our compromise is as close as possible to optimum. With a unipivot arm it is important that the lateral pull on the arm is position exactly at the fulcrum point. Failure to do this will result in the stylus and cartridge experiencing an azimuth change as a consequence of the twisting force applied by the bias system. So our bias system is adjustable in height to match the height of the arm which in turn is determined by the choice of cartridge.
Secondly we have chosen to use a rotating weight system which varies the amount of force applied to the arm as it traverses the record. We have determined the ratio of this force by a practical method. There is debate about the calculation of forces acting on the arm, I won’t go into that now, as it gets very complex, I’m not sure I fully understand it, and to be honest it is disputed by brighter people than me. So we came across a device called an Orsonic SG2. This is essentially a stylus and cantilver mounted on a precision bearing and which can be mounted on to an arm. It reads side pressure and force on the cantilever so it is possible to see what this really is over the course of a side as opposed to what it theoretically is. Our bias system tries to imitate this behaviour as closely as possibly.
Ease of Use
Unipivots are quite simply not as easy to use as gimbal bearing arms. This is a fact – they are inherently less stable to handle, the pivot points are not fixed and contained in all planes. However we wanted to make sure that it was as easy to use as possible so the Javelin incorporates a lift lower device, and also an arm locking mechanism. You can manually cue the arm if you wish but you can also use the lift lower mechanism if you prefer. In practice the arm is easy to use and live with. The benefit is that you still retain the advantages of a near frictionless bearing system which allows great levels of information retrieval.
Javelin uses Baerwald alignment system. We wanted to ensure compatibility for both LP12 owners and also those using other players that offered Linn mounting compatibility. Effective length is 229mm, spindle distance to pivot is 211mm, cartridge offset is 24 degrees. However, whilst the fixed head shell holes offer minimal cartridge adjustment (we believe that there are good reasons for keeping this area as rigid as possible) we have incorporated an offset main bearing pillar system that allows the distance to be varied by +/- 2mm to cater for cartridges that do not have a standard 18mm over hang when fitted in the head shell. This allows greater flexibility for customers and there choice of cartridges. So the standard Javelin base will fit standard Linn arm boards, the Linn Kore, and of course our own Akula sub chassis.
We will shortly be introducing a version which will be compatible with Keel for Aro, and then after that, a version to fit the standard Keel.