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

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

  1. wd40addict

    wd40addict pfm Member

  2. sonddek

    sonddek Trade: SUPATRAC

    I have applied under the international patent scheme as well as UK. The international scheme includes China. I do not know the extent to which a Chinese patent will be enforceable, but I will do what I can to see some fair reward for my innovation and hard work.

    I'm not sure if any IP restrictions still apply to Rega arms. They were not enormously novel when introduced. Their selling point seems to be excellence at a great price. I would guess that Rega has succeeded with the design not just by selling directly to consumers but also by supplying at such a keen price to other brands that they would be mad to develop their own arm. I have the utmost respect for Rega, who are largely synonymous with unbeatable value for money.

    I believe that my arm design can outperform Rega arms, and if a volume manufacturer got involved there might be dramatic savings in the cost of manufacture.
  3. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig ^'- -'^

    Not very.

    Those Rega parts may not be clones. Rega may get parts manufactured in China. I'm not saying they are, just that they might be.
  4. VTA

    VTA pfm Member

    It was not unusual at all in the past (and likely not unusual now) to have ones parts made in China only to find some of them making their way out of the factory to be sold direct. This can be very bad when those parts are for bicycles and the designer does not accept the quality of the parts as they are not up to spec and could be dangerous for a cyclist to use. The factory is stuck with parts the buyer does not want and instead of destroying the bad parts sells out the back door. This in a worst case scenario can see the bicycle parts company who designed the parts having to do a recall on the bike parts (all, good ones) as once the bad parts make it into the environment they can not be told apart by consumer. Anyway, just a note that a Rega rip off is really only as bad as the quality of the person who might buy it, not life threatening!
  5. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    The Rega USP was the one-piece casting from headshell to bearing. I can’t remember who got there first, Rega with the RB300 or SME with the V, but they arrived close after one another and Rega managed it on a very affordable arm. Back in the world of ‘80s “rigidity” marketing this one-piece construction was seen as hugely important and in comparison “an Ittok had more joints than a hippie’s ashtray” (quote from a magazine at the time, but I can’t remember which). It was certainly a radical arm, but whether it was patentable I’ve no idea. I doubt it given both Rega and SME produced similar designs.

    PS I’ve only just got around to actually reading this thread and it has to be said that is a very neat bearing design! I still don’t quite understand how you adjust azimuth, but it certainly looks a new way of doing things and I can’t think of any prior examples of shifting the bearing to that plain, let alone of securing it in that way. You get the bearing lower and closer to the stylus height than is usually possible with a unipivot, so that’s a win too. It is a very clever design IMHO.
  6. Darren

    Darren Murder City Devil

    Rega were first as I recall. I think SME bought the tooling for the V from America. I'm sure we all recall the story of Rega winning a metal casting award for their arm - Rega being apparently unaware that their product had even attracted any attention from the casting industry.
  7. sonddek

    sonddek Trade: SUPATRAC

    Thank you Tony - compliments from the PFM supremo is praise indeed! I really appreciate your kind comments.

    Azimuth adjustment is simple: the left hoist length is controlled by the left hoist spool and the right hoist, the right hoist spool. You can adjust lean (azimuth) by shortening/lengthening the left and right hoists in equal and opposite measure. By raising one hoist and lowering the other you can change lean while maintaining the height of the arm. On a non-suspended deck this can be done while music is playing. On one of those wobbly AR clones you need a very steady hand to adjust lean while a record is playing, or use a Rick Astley record.
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2021
    nmtjb, gninnam, MUTTY1 and 1 other person like this.
  8. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Got it, makes sense!
  9. iansr

    iansr pfm Member

    Sonddek, did you get my email?
  10. sonddek

    sonddek Trade: SUPATRAC

    Whipping email elf now. Please expect response in minutes.
  11. yuckyamson

    yuckyamson pfm Member

    As it so happens I made a video of how to adjust the azimuth here;
  12. sonddek

    sonddek Trade: SUPATRAC

    You got me, but it wasn't auto play, so I don't have it stuck in my mind's ear thank God.
  13. sonddek

    sonddek Trade: SUPATRAC

    Blackbird Sondek in the Far East...

    Dark Lord, Dowser, Alun Rains and 4 others like this.
  14. tiggers

    tiggers pfm Member

    They're happy enough to clone anything and make it crap in the process. The trouble starts when they start trying to sell whatever tat they come up with as original branded items as a good friend of mine knows to her cost. She is currently being sued by a 'customer' who bought a Chinese copy of one of her products sold to them as a genuine product and no amount of explaining this to the 'customer' (and pointing out that was why it was a third of the price and why it failed) will dissuade them, the customer wants a refund and compensation. So she is going to end up in court defending herself against a product that is copying her design (poorly) and she can do nothing about it as trademark infringement is just part of the game in China!
  15. paulski

    paulski pfm Member

    I’m assuming (perhaps wrongly) that the Blackbird won’t fit a Keel or other such sub-chassis with integrated arm collars. If that is the case will you be making a variant that will fit these?
  16. sonddek

    sonddek Trade: SUPATRAC

    A Blackbird should fit into a Keel perfectly. The Linn/SME pillar version will drop straight into a Linn Keel as the pillar dimensions are the same, and the ARO/Rega mount Blackbird should drop into an ARO Keel, although that is designed but not built and proven at this stage.

    Most of the orders I've had so far have been custom orders, i.e. a wide variety of lengths and mount geometries, and this has certainly slowed down production/delivery at the beginning, along with breaking my right hand, but I'm aiming to stock up on two main varieties of mount as described above and this should speed things up.
    Mr Pig likes this.
  17. paulski

    paulski pfm Member

    Ah, ok. That then has given me food for thought!
  18. sonddek

    sonddek Trade: SUPATRAC

    If you look at the arm base in the photo above you can just about see that the base is a direct clone of the Linn collar. It has the second inner radius to form rails for stable pillar contact, almost exactly the same dimensions, and it mounts with three M5 bolts on a 24mm radius at 120⁰.

    It also has some features that the Linn version lacks.

    Most importantly it has three extra M5 threaded mounting holes which, in conjunction with one of the Linn mount holes, form a rectangle of bolts which can hold a printed clamp under an SME aperture in a plinth. The sliding range is less than the normal range.

    Secondly, the underside of the base has narrow ribs to ensure stiff but small area contact with the arm board.

    The vertical depth of the tunnel is slightly larger.

    The pillar locking bolt is M6 flat nose and has no sprung brake to semi-disengage the pillar. I like that feature but decided that I would have a think about whether there might be a better way to do it in the future, and setting up the Mk 1 Blackbird pillar could afford to be a more edge-of-the-seat experience. One thing I'm not sure about is the size of the contact between the Linn retaining bolt and the pillar. Due to the braking mechanism the contact area is quite small, perhaps less than 4mm^2. I have not done experiments on whether the contact area affects sound, but we all know that contact pressure does, and this small area may be the reason why. After all, metals are elastic.
  19. Alun Rains

    Alun Rains Jus Juan Cornetto

    Looks pretty cool...
  20. sonddek

    sonddek Trade: SUPATRAC

    Another Blackbird has just landed in Vegas!

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