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Sideways Uni-Pivot Arm, SUPATRAC Blackbird, formerly "Ekos Killer (Price?)"

Discussion in 'audio' started by sonddek, Sep 20, 2020.

  1. sonddek

    sonddek Trade: SUPATRAC

    It depends what you mean by easy. Rega's arm tube casting is only 'easy' once you have the machinery to do that. In some ways you could argue that the Blackbird's arm tube is 'easier'.
    Woodface likes this.
  2. sonddek

    sonddek Trade: SUPATRAC

    Here are a couple of comments from a Blackbird user on another forum who has upgraded from an Audiomods 6:

  3. BlueYeti

    BlueYeti pfm Member

    Just curious, have you sent out any review arms to the Hi-Fi press, or perhaps some of the more well known dealers such as Cymbiosis who are well versed in using different arms on the LP12?
  4. Robert

    Robert Tapehead

    Can't believe I've not looked at this thread before, assumed it was a discussion about buying an Ekos cheap!

    Superb work and congratulations to sonddek on getting this out there in what 12 months?
    Nice to see something different, and £1500 is perfectly reasonable for a quality arm. To those wanting it done on the cheap, this isn't the 1980s.
  5. sonddek

    sonddek Trade: SUPATRAC

    Not yet - I'm trying to get to the point where I'm confident about ramping up production before legacy press reviews. There's no point provoking burgeoning demand if you can't supply. I'm about to make a first order with a manufactured parts supplier because I can't keep up with current demand if I continue to make everything myself. Paying customers are waiting for their arms and I'm in the workshop non-stop.

    I understand that a dealer is about to install a customer's Blackbird on his Sondek shortly, so more reports should be coming soon.
    BlueYeti likes this.
  6. sonddek

    sonddek Trade: SUPATRAC

    Thank you Robert!
  7. BlueYeti

    BlueYeti pfm Member

    Ah, perfectly understood! It has been truly fascinating to watch the development and how the arm has come together, and hope the parts supplier help you manage the efficiencies of production, which I can imagine will be quite challenging. Look forward to more user experiences and of course, dealer feedback too.
  8. gninnam

    gninnam Is it a hobby or a disease

    Like this :)
  9. Copperjacket

    Copperjacket pfm Member

    May I respectfully suggest that to avoid any completely unintentional racial connections , it may be worth changing the name to say Songbird. Blackbirder and Blackbirding have undoubted slave trade connotations.
  10. MUTTY1

    MUTTY1 Waste of bandwidth

    Me too. After two decades of a linear tracker I wanted to try a unipivot. I would have gone for the first adopter price, no question. OP changes title too late so it’s back to the Hadcock that arrived this week….funny old thing chance, and the Hadcock;)
  11. Bob McC

    Bob McC Living the life of Riley

    A ridiculous post.
    w00fer, Marra, SteveH and 3 others like this.
  12. MUTTY1

    MUTTY1 Waste of bandwidth

    I vote blackboards should be banned too: an obvious slur. But then what about whiteboards?
    w00fer likes this.
  13. iansr

    iansr pfm Member

    Quite right. In fact we should exterminate all species of Blackbirds and then never refer to them again.
    w00fer and alcarmichael like this.
  14. sonddek

    sonddek Trade: SUPATRAC

    Here's another quote from one of the DIYers who has made a fair fist of cloning my bearing design for his own use:

    ...and here's the response:
  15. wylton

    wylton Naim and Mana member

    @sonddek , I'm intrigued that you seem to encourage copies of your design; have you made it to be open source?
  16. sonddek

    sonddek Trade: SUPATRAC

    Since I decided to patent and sell the arm, I knew that the internet and patent publication would make the details of the unique bearing widely available, and that people would soon be able to make their own versions for personal use. The only way to control that would be to keep the design secret, which would be a pity. Given those facts, it makes sense to embrace the efforts of those who want to enjoy their records to the maximum like me, but can't afford to buy a SUPATRAC arm. IP law generally offers protection from commercial exploitation of an invention for a period - it doesn't stop others exploring the idea for personal use.
    matfff, Seanm and wylton like this.
  17. david ellwood

    david ellwood Kirabosi Kognoscente

    What an absolute crock, please climb back under your bridge.
    naimplayer, alcarmichael and Robert like this.
  18. wylton

    wylton Naim and Mana member

    That sounds like a sensible approach & I wish you the best of luck with your venture.
    sonddek likes this.
  19. VTA

    VTA pfm Member

    “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”. Patents provide good protections from commercial copies but not from the odd home diy’r. I applaud Richards reaction to the DIY clones as I think it is a reflection of his true excitement of discovery and design. Also collaboration with the diy community could well provide future advancements in design as more people experiment and provide feedback. Win/win.
    sonddek likes this.
  20. JensenHealey

    JensenHealey pfm Member

    This thing looks brilliant and I love the thought and inventiveness that has gone into it.

    The thing is with something very physical like a tonearm, no amount of patenting can stop it being taken apart to understand it. But at least a patent, if properly worded, would prevent straightforward commercial copying. But then again the market (even the world market) for tonearms is not going to be big enough, or profitable enough, to support a worldwide patent enforcement over the life. Nor would the cost of defending it be worth it, but then again nor would the potential cost of copying and defence of infringement be worth it for a would-be thief. On the other hand, some countries seem to play fast and loose with IP and there is little you can do about it.

    A granted patent gets more expensive every single year of its life - on the basis that exploiting it should be more profitable year on year. Can't see that being the case for a tonearm. Getting a granted patent in enough important territories might be too expensive even in the first place - but the act of publishing it will provide some kind-of-protection, as at least no-one else could then patent the same thing, or prevent you from making yours. Granting can take years! especially over multiple jurisdictions.

    If there are 'secrets' to the manufacture - might be best to have them as internally documented 'trade secrets' and not publish them or include them in the patent. 'Proper' full scale IP involves building a 'family' of interconnected patents - but this gets super expensive, complicated and so on - when what you really want to do is manufacture the product in question. My company has a separate dept. that does this, all day, every day.

    Long time ago I looked - but Design and Copyrights could be looked at in addition to patenting? Might be easier to prevent copycats this way?
    sonddek likes this.

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