History of Tonearm Model MKs & Serial Numbers

Due to the pace of progress in the early days of the company there are gaps in documentation. These pages may however provide some help.

How to identify Mk1, Mk2, Mk3, MK3C & MK4 tonearms

If you are uncertain what version of Origin Live tonearm you have the following features make identification easy:

MK1 arms

Do not have a dowel pin as shown in the photo: this is the definitive difference. Note: some Mk2 arms have a short aluminium sleeve covering the dowel pin. The arm tube is 12.5mm Diameter on MK1 Silvers and 10mm diameter on MK2 Silvers.

Headshell-Dowel-MK2

MK2 versions

Silver, Encounter, Illustrious, Conqueror – these may have the round pin visible as shown above but later versions had a short 10mm length metal sleeve covering the pin.

MK3 arm

Introduced May 2007 – These all had metal tubes with silver finish. The most noticeable feature on all arms from Encounter and above is that the armtube  can be lifted by nearly 1mm in the bearing house – there is no conventional gimbal bearing on the horizontal axle.

VTA-Adjuster-Arm-Plate

Another distinguishing feature is the integral VTA adjuster wheel shown above.

MK3C Arms

The C represents a special Carbon tube introduced throughout 2009 starting with the Enterprise.

The carbon tubes can be identified by the distinctive headshell joint with the tube.

Linear Flow 2 External Tonearm Cable – a balanced and fully shielded cable was also introduced for all arms as an option but fitted as standard to all Early Conqueror MK3C and Enterprise MK3C arms. It is easily identified as it has a black braid covering as opposed to the smooth insulation on the other external cables.

Silver Hybrid cable later replaced Linear Flow 2. Silver Hybrid cable is clearly identifiable with “Silver Hybrid” printed on heatshrink cable wrap near the RCA phono plug.

Specifications

Origin Live 9 inch (229mm) MK3 Tonearms with Linn Geometry
Origin Live Standard 9.5 inch (239mm) MK3 Tonearms
Origin Live 10 inch (254mm) MK3 Tonearms
Origin Live 12 inch (309mm) MK3 Tonearms

MK4 arms

Illustrious, Conqueror, Enterprise models changed to MK4 specification on  26th March 2020 (serial No’s over 200326)

IDENTIFICATION: Superficially the MK4 version looks similar to the MK3C but MK4 arms can be easily identified by a slot in the rear stub for the counterweight. Other visual differences include a slimmer arm plate to reduce resonance and a slanted arm clip.

DIFFERENCES: MK4 versions represent a major leap forward in performance through a stiffer arm tube. It also introduces a number of improved decoupling devices within the arm tube itself. This includes a new interface with the counterweight which is attached differently.  Significant improvements are made to definition, transient speed, dynamics, separation, timing and overall musicality to name but a few.

Conqueror and Enterprise models were upgraded to Silver Hybrid 2 version in February 2021 ( this upgrade appears on the cable as “Silver Hybrid 2”)
For further details on Silver Hybrid cable please scroll down the page.

Silver & Zephyr changed to Mk 4 specification on  1st Jan 2001 (Serial Nos over 210101)

IDENTIFICATION: The easy way to identify MK4 arms is that they have a single bolt in the side of the arm tube. This bolt is positioned just in front of the Yoke. MK3 arms has 2 smaller bolts in this position instead of one.

DIFFERENCES: MK4 versions represent a major leap forward in performance through a stiffer arm tube. MK4 also introduces a number of improved decoupling devices within the arm tube itself.  Significant improvements are made to definition, transient speed, dynamics, separation, timing and overall musicality to name but a few.

Serial Numbers

Serial Numbers start at 1000 and were only introduced in May 2007.

Prior to this date you can identify what MK arm you have by following these guidelines.

Serial No. 1000 – all Silver and above arms post serial no. 1000 have a special damping on the tube – this was a relatively minor enhancement giving more bass depth.

From Serial No. 1023 on 13th June 2007 a packing insert was introduced which prevents damage to the dual pivot bearing if badly dropped in transit.

From Serial No. 1086 a new internal pillar style on Enterprise, and arm tube damping, respectively, were introduced.

From Serial No. 2117 a shatterproof bearing on the MK3 arm was brought in (date: 1-10-2007)

External Silver Hybrid Tonearm Cable

This cable is identifiable by the printed heat shrink on the cable saying “Silver Hybrid”

In November 2017 there was a major major upgrade on Silver hybrid cable – this catapulted the performance of a £450 cable to outperform respected brands in the £4500 region. The easy way to identify the new version is that they were fitted with Black Rhodium GR4 Phono Plugs – unmistakable because GR4 is printed on the plugs. These plugs are the best we have ever encountered but are not the reason for the enormous improvement in sound quality.

In May 2018 the cable was “hum proofed” through the addition of an earth wire option to connect the signal return to earth. This is not an upgrade to performance but a measure to cater for different amplifier designs which can cause hum issues. This is more fully explained in the product description of Silver Hybrid cable.

External Silver Hybrid Tonearm Cable

This cable is identifiable by the printed heat shrink on the cable saying “Silver Hybrid”

In November 2017 there was a major major upgrade on Silver hybrid cable – this catapulted the performance of a £450 cable to outperform respected brands in the £4500 region. The easy way to identify the new version is that they were fitted with Black Rhodium GR4 Phono Plugs – unmistakable because GR4 is printed on the plugs. These plugs are the best we have ever encountered but are not the reason for the enormous improvement in sound quality.

In May 2018 the cable was “hum proofed” through the addition of an earth wire option to connect the signal return to earth. This is not an upgrade to performance but a measure to cater for different amplifier designs which can cause hum issues. This is more fully explained in the product description of Silver Hybrid cable.

SILVER HYBRID 2 (& s2) – In February 2021 the Silver Hybrid was significantly upgraded and re-named Silver Hybrid 2 (clearly labelled as such to avoid confusion).
The new version has lowered impedance and incorporates our unique “anti-ringing” technology. This translates into drastically improved performance and deeper bass.  The S version underwent the same upgrades and was re-named Silver Hybrid S2 (all upgrades S versions carry the S2 label).