Conqueror Tonearm - Owner Comments
Impressions from Bernd (Previous owner of an illustrious)
I am still quite impressed even if it is now already 2 days ago since I did hear the arm. Really amazing and difficult to describe. The most impressing feeling with this arm is the strong control it is providing above the movements of the stylus and it appears that he his absolutely able to avoid nearly every oscillation. Deep bass foundations but also very dry....with other arms you some times get the opinion that the signal are a little bit swimming or they overlay each other. Not with this arm and that is what I do mean it provides a total control. I did already pass on my Mail to you to Mr. Jan?en from Amazon Audio with my highest recommendation for this combination. I told him also that he is invited to come to my residence for some serious listening test to convince him that this combination can be considered by him for everybody that is interested in purchasing a very delicate TT/tone arm combination. Therefore you should feel absolutely free to use my comments on your web site. For example: The comments of my son was that he can not imagine that the sound of this combination can be topped by something else. He is in the age of 16 and started this Hobby last Christmas by receiving his first TT as a present.
Bernd - Alfeld, Germany
On Saturday I collected the Conqueror arm and installed it to the Oracle. I have never heard one of your products before and I hoped that it will be slightly better than my SME V ( as promised in some reviews).
But it was a shock to find out that the years with the SME were lost years. Your product betters the SME in each aspect. It is outstanding! Because of this experience, I will go to Mr. Schmitz ( Munich) to hear your decks next time.
During the last week ( after fine tuning the arm ,cartridge and suspension system) it was getting better and better. Unbeliveable wide/deep soundstage, tons of finest details and this tuneful bass, great. What I cannot understand is, why now there is so much less surface noise than with other arms. Where is the trick?
Andreas Winter - Bochum, Germany
For the last couple of weeks I've been enjoying my new " Conqueror" tonearm. Since I know the "Silver", " Encounter", and "Illustrious" very well I was curious what further gains will I get when switching to the Conqueror ( especially since the Illustrious is already damn good). Well - the basic signature is quite similar, but fortunately, there were also clear improvements. One of the most difficult things for a turntable is to recreate deep bass correctly. I believe this is one area when digital has an inherent advantage. However - The Conqueror has very deep, forceful bass, and can compete with digital bass easily. Subjectively I found the bass a bit louder than with the Illustrious, but I think this is simply because it is cleaner, and better controlled. Another thing that I appreciate is it's great dynamics. Again - this is a thing I find essential for the impression of realistic sound, and most systems cannot pull this off. This means that the sound becomes compressed. Some people actually prefer it that way, because it more "comfortable" as background music. Well - the Resolution and the Conqueror are extremely dynamic and fast. You simply cannot ignore the music. It demands your attention. This is the way it should be done. It simply sounds closer to the real thing. Another gain over the Illustrious, albeit a smaller one is a touch more details. Sadly, this also means that surface noise is more apparent, but I cannot blame the arm for being a transparent mechanism.
I am not familiar with other superarms, so I cannot claim this is the best pivoted 9" arm. But I do know this: it's extremely difficult to find anything to criticise in the performance of this arm. It's truly superb.
The Conqueror has nevertheless revealed an immediacy and realism to the recordings which is beyond even the Illustrious.
The Illustrious transmits not only the music, but a real sense of being at the performance. The acoustic of the venue is palpably present. However, I always had the sense that the acoustic space terminated at the front of my originlikers, and did not quite extend to where I was sitting. The Conqueror now makes me feel that I am in the same auditorium as the musicians. That is in addition to a better resolution of all aspects of the music, and an awe inspiring sense that these outstanding musicians, immortalised in vinyl, are actually performing live for me.
The Conqueror reinforces the virtues of outstanding recordings, such as those Decca made in the early 1960s. Equally importantly it now allows me to enjoy all those recordings which, for one reason or another, seemed previously flawed. Sopranos’ top notes have subtle nuances, and no longer sound strained. Choral climaxes are open and reverberant, instead of harsh. Male voices that had unpleasant edge have lost it. Mono recordings have so much depth that I have to check to confirm that they were not recorded in stereo.
There are only two aspects of the Illustrious that I prefer. Firstly, the arm clip actually held the arm. With the Conqueror, it just sits in the clip, but is not gripped. This makes me feel nervous about my cartridge. Secondly, I think, the counterweight hole was a slightly tighter fit on the arm, making it easier to ease it a tiny amount backwards or forwards to balance the cartridge.
I received the Conqueror MK3c tonearm you sent and set it up Sunday using the Shelter 9000 on my Linn LP12 and "WOW"!!! What an awesome arm. Even without proper "burn in" time this combination literally blew away my previous setup (Linn Sondek LP12 (1987) with mods and Origin Live DC motor; Ringmat (platter) record modular support system; Origin Live Encounter tonearm modified with Pete Riggle VTAF and a Grado Statement Reference phono cartridge stationed on an Origin Live 'Skyline Platform' Turntable Stand with an Origin Live Ultra phono amp ). Everything improved dramatically, the tonality, clarity and Imaging is far better. Also, the soundstage became even more expansive and lifelike, and the bass is to die for - clear, sharp and deep. I can't wait to hear this combination on a Sovereign MK2. It is hard to believe it could get significantly better than this. If it does I'll be in" Nirvana". and no one need bother contacting me!!
Thanks for everything!!!!!!!!!!!!
A grateful customer
Dr J White
"I have now been able to set up the arm - wow. My system has over the years improved by millimetre increments but in one go your arm has moved it forward sonically by miles - thanks",