The GrooveMaster II Tonearm
12″ Transcription Tonearm by Audio Creative of The Netherlands
Maximum Use of High Quality Engineering…
The Audio Creative GrooveMaster II 12″ transcription tonearm is a result of long time building, testing tweaking and listening…
The genesis of the GrooveMaster II tonearm lies in the 1950’s. In those days, high quality playback equipment was needed for mastering engineers, recording studios, music executives, broadcast networks, and wealthy connoisseurs. Previous equipment could not play back microgroove records without introducing massive noise and damaging the vinyl. The “transcription record player”, as we think of it, came into existence.
These “transcription record players” allowed for high fidelity playback of microgroove vinyl. This equipment was meant to last a lifetime, and was built with little regard for expense. The GrooveMaster II is developed according to the same standards as these classics.
The GrooveMaster II tonearm can be used in combination with many turntables. Obviously, the arm is designed to give amazing results when used with transcription turntables like the Garrard 301 and 401, and Thorens TD124. But the arm will be a great partner for many turntables, old and new. When you are building a nice Lenco L75, like this PTP Lenco in the picture, the GrooveMaster II will be an excellent partner.
The GrooveMaster II tonearm is a heavyweight, with an effective mass of approximately 22 grams. It can hold low to medium compliance cartridges up to 20 µm/mN. It is a natural partner for low compliance cartridges, like the DL103 and SPU, or the classic mono cartridges.
Development of the GrooveMaster II- 60 Years of Lessons
In their research to develop the GrooveMaster II tonearm, Audio Creative kept a few things in mind: How were classic tonearms designed? How did they determine what improvements were needed? Were those improvements successful? What measurements did the engineers make? Did they limit themselves due to materials? Did they limit themselves based on manufacturing technologies available in the ’50s? All analog equipment is built on the backs of giants. Most lessons have already been learned by the great engineers of the past, though many of those lessons are forgotten with time and “new technology”. In the 21st century, some things can be done faster, much more accurately, using better machine tools, on higher grade materials. With this in mind, and many hours of building, tweaking, listening, redesign, and more listening, the Audio Creative GrooveMaster II tonearm was born.
An Eye to Detail and High Precision
The Audio Creative GrooveMaster II 12″ transcription tonearm is manufactured with utmost precision, using the best components available. The vertical bearing housing is cut from billet stainless steel. The vertical bearing is a high precision, hybrid ceramic, roller bearing, conforming to ABEC-7 specifications. The tolerance of ABEC-7 bearings is 0.0025 mm.
The horizontal bearing is positioned in the GrooveMaster II top housing, where hybrid ceramic bearings are also used. The horizontal bearing is angled to 17,11 degrees, which matches the offset angle of the tonearm curve. Many older arms did not have matching offset angles at the bearing, which caused constantly changing azimuth. When cartridges only had spherical tips, and played only mono records, this wasn’t a big problem. However, any type of elliptical, or more advanced stylus, playing a stereo record, must have stable azimuth. With matching offset angle at the bearing, the azimuth angle is stable.
All parts are CNC machined with utmost precision, using high grade aluminium and stainless steel.
All materials used in the GrooveMaster II are the highest grade. The bearing housing, as well as counterweights, are made of stainless steel. The counterweights are sanded, then passivated, to insure a long lasting, beautiful finish.
The GrooveMaster II is hand built and tested, with utmost attention to detail, by Audio Creative in the Netherlands. It takes over 2 days to build and test one GrooveMaster II before it leaves the shop. Parts are produced in The Netherlands, by master machinists, on CNC equipment, using modern tooling, in a climate controlled shop, and the machinists are well paid for their efforts. They care about quality!
Cardas braided tonearm cable
The GrooveMaster II comes standard with Cardas braided 32 AWG tonearm wire. Optional is Cardas Clear tonearm wire which we do like very much. Other wire is available, if desired.
Cardas Clear tonearm cable
The optional Cardas Clear Tonearm cable features ultra pure Cardas copper, arranged in multi-stranded Litz conductors, and wrapped in ultra-light nylon microfiber, instead of an extruded jacket. The result is nearly weightless, and is so flexible that your tonearm will barely know it is there. There is a modest upcharge for this option, but this is one of the finest conductors made for tonearms.
A High Grade Headshell Collet for a Special Tonearm
The headshell connector/collet is a completely new design developed by Audio Creative. Instead of the commonly used generic headshell collet used by most tonearm manufacturers, the GrooveMaster II headshell connector is sturdier, with a more solid grip to mount heavier cartridges such as the Ortofon SPU series. Contacts are silver/gold plated for reliable, low resistance, low-noise connections to the cartridge.
The Audio Creative GrooveMaster II 12″ transcription tonearm comes with a Cardas 5-pin Phono connector. However, if you want to make a connection directly on the RCA connectors on your record player we can provide the GrooveMaster without 5 pin connector, and supply a longer tonearm wire. In that way you can solder the tonearm wire directly to the RCA connectors.
GrooveMaster II Special Options
Audio Creative GrooveMaster II Titanium
Now for something truly rare. Audio Creative developed a Titanium GrooveMaster II tonearm tube. It is heavier than the standard aluminium tube, and is specially designed for low compliance cartridges up to 10 µm/mN. The GrooveMaster II Ti will give you more space, detail and control over your music compared to the aluminium tube tonearm. Titanium has many benefits. It is more resistant to damage, is 60% denser than aluminium, but more than twice as strong as aluminum, with greater rigidity.
Audio Creative GrooveMaster II Sliding Base
The GrooveMaster II tonearm comes standard with a mounting ring. However, Audio Creative does offer an optional sliding base. With this sliding base, a correct set-up of the GrooveMaster II will be very easy. The GrooveMaster II sliding base can replace an SME sliding base. It has the same dimensions and mounting holes. No extra drilling is needed.
Audio Creative GrooveMaster II Features
- Length: 12″ Transcription
- Bearings: High precision hybrid ceramic horizontal and vertical bearings
- Antiskating: Magnetic antiskate device
- Colors: available in two colors: Black and Silver
- Banana shape: Banana tonearm shape stresses the metal, lowering resonance
- Titanium tonearm: Titanium tonearm optional
- Wiring: Cardas, but others available
- Most important: Fantastic sound!
GrooveMaster II Defines the Art of Sound
The GrooveMaster II has control over the cartridge, providing the stable interface the cartridge needs, with minimal degradation of electrical signal, with minimal resonance, with minimal bearing noise, displaying a full-bodied sound that captures the fundamental dynamics of music, while bringing out the finest instrumental detail. The GrooveMaster II defines the art of sound. Playing records with the GrooveMaster II is very addictive. We love the combination of the GrooveMaster II with the Ortofon SPU cartridges. As they say: a match made in heaven.
Pricing and Availability
|Groovemaster II Tonearm||$1,550|
|Groovemaster II Ti Tonearm||$1,765|
- Exclude 5-pin connector (sent with extra long tonearm wire) $30.00
- GrooveMaster II sliding base $190.00
- Cardas Clear Tonearm Wire $80.00
Shipping is included in the price of the arms. The arms will be ordered individually, to allow for choice of color, tonearm wire, and other possible upgrades. Please allow 4 weeks for delivery.
I am offering “package prices” for the Groovemaster. Please inquire about special package prices with Ortofon and the low compliance cartridges from SoundSmith. Further, I will offer discounts on Yamamoto headshells to tailor the look, sound and compliance of your package. For low output cartridges, I have the special magnesium shielded tonearm cables from Tiglon, among the quietest cables produced.
The margins on the Groovemaster tonearm are kept fairly thin, to make prices reasonable, and to encourage adoption. This arm is better than MANY arms costing much more. There will be no discounting of the arms. Further, my cost is in Euros. I will make quarterly adjustments to prices, to keep in line with my costs.