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NEW Abis SA 1.2 tonearms black or clear.
The SA1.2 was added to Stereophile’s Class A list of recommended tonearms in the April 2016 issue.
Stereophile Recommended Components see comments at bottom.
The SA1 was revised, and replaced by the SA1.2. The arm features improved bearings and geometry.
The sound of the Abis SA1.2 tonearm is powerful and engaging. Due to its substantial construction, cut from billet aluminum, and fastened together with great care, there is virtually none of the resonance associated with S-shaped arms. In contrast to classic tonearms from the past, which suffered from resonance and irregular bearings, the SA1.2 provides the ideal mass for a cartridge like the Denon DL103 or Ortofon SPU (also, mono cartridges like the DL102, or even antique cartridges like the GE VR and Fairchild.
This tonearm is great for any moving coil cartridge like Benz Micro, Miyajima, Clearaudio, Ortofon, Sumiko, Cardas, Transfiguration, Lyra etc...
The weakness of low mass tonearms is that they make poor matches for medium and low compliance cartridges. The Abis SA1.2 gives you precise radial-bearing performance and low resonance, while providing the necessary mass for medium and low compliance cartridges.
Key to the performance of the SA1.2 and SA1.2B is the use of very high grade ball bearings. Bearings used for horizontal movement are axial-loaded, angular-contact, thrust-bearings. These thrust bearings have zero play and are held in contact by gravity. You can think of them as acting like a unipivot, but with more than one contact point. Because they have two tapered seats, they will self-align in the presence of a load (gravity), have exceedingly low moving friction and are especially suited to angular and axial loads.
The angular error needed to misalign these special bearings, commonly used in high precision machinery, are so severe that they fall well outside the operating conditions for a turntable (if you need an arm for playing in zero gravity, or turned at 90° to earth’s gravity, you will be forced to use a different style of tonearm). Traditional deep-grooved ball-bearings are not specifically designed to take an axial load, being better suited for radial loads like a wheel bearing, and they suffer from much higher rolling resistance. While the quality of the bearing materials are a key to success, the proper choice and loading of bearings is just as important.
Also key to the performance of all tonearms, and especially the SA1.2 and SA1.2B, is the resonance characteristics of the arm “tube”. The SA1 design is built from four pieces of billet aluminum, milled to tight tolerances, finished, fitted by hand, and torqued to settings determined by experimental observations. The torque values chosen introduces preload on the fasteners, and produces hysteresis stresses (basically, inner friction) in the crystalline structure of the metal. These stresses damp vibration by forcing the crystalline structure to be more tightly bound, than when in a free state. The elastic and anelastic properties of all four pieces are slightly different, preventing dominant acoustical nodes from developing.
When properly machined, fitted and torqued, a unit composed of several milled pieces will have lower maximum resonance, with several smaller resonance frequencies, compared to an arm tube composed of one piece. These statements are backed up by scientific study into weapons systems, rockets, engines, structural elements, etc.. Resonance is a key source of failure, and the research proves the point: a single piece of billet material can have 1~3 dominant resonance frequencies, with one resonance frequency dominating the performance of the structural member. If you think about the bars that form the notes on a xylophone, you will have a practical understanding of the limitations of “one-piece” arm tubes. In practice, a combination of surface finish, damping materials, shape, density, alloy, crystalline structure, fastening technique, and fastener preload, among others, will determine the relative distribution of acoustic energy in a tonearm. Since extremely dense (heavy) materials, like depleted Uranium, don’t easily lend themselves for use in tonearms, a holistic approach is necessary.
The rectangular shape, the tight assembly by hand, and the nature of billet aluminum creates a low-resonance design that is essentially quiet. The preference for 12″ arms has more to do with compliance match, than the theoretical advantages of a 12″ arm (which are nullified by the use of a spherical tip). The SA1.2 and SA1.2B maximize the possible geometry at 9.4″, while excellent damping and high mass give it the tonal balance of 12″ arms. With the SA1.2 and SA1.2B, the tracking error is very low, while the superior sonic signature of the billet aluminum arm parts, and the mass equivalent to most 12″ arms, gives 12″ arm sound in a compact form. It is ideally suited for low to medium compliance cartridges, especially those that are particularly problematic when it comes to mistracking.
Spindle center to arm pivot distance: 212mm
Stylus to pivot distance: 228mm
Cartridge weight: 15~45 grams, including headshell.
Net weight: 745 grams, with headshell attached 762 grams.
Made in Japan
I also offer an upgrade to this tonearm where I rewire the tonearm with Cardas Clear tonearm wire (the Cardas Clear wire is simply the best available at any price and that includes silver) which is the best phono wire I have ever listened to but a huge pain to work with and costs $50- per foot!.
Check out Cardas for information on this very specific wire.
The cost is $500- for the service but it is very time consuming as just talking the arm apart is a several day job as the factory uses glue in assembly and these parts must soak in Acetone for several days to loosen up the glue.
Expect the tonearm to take 2 weeks plus shipping if you send me yours, I try to have the modded Abis in stock in both colors (black and silver) ready for shipping but I do not always have one ready.
If you purchase your arm and want the modification done already I will sell for $2200- shipped, just choose color, which is a great deal seeing as this modded arm can beat or compete with any of the other great tonearms available.
Check out my website also;
The SA1.2 was added to Stereophile’s Class A list of recommended tonearms in the
Stereophile Recommended Components
Abis SA-1.2: $1775 $$$
The Japan-made Abis SA-1.2 is a high-mass 9" tonearm that began life as the Abis SA-1, famous for impressing AD and for having been withdrawn from an earlier edition of "Recommended Components"—by its importer!—while undergoing revision. The new SA-1.2 reflects a number of refinements: improved bearings, greater effective length (9.4" vs 9"), and slightly higher offset angle. The arm's basics remain: a precision-milled armtube of rectangular cross section, static downforce, and a removable headshell for easy cartridge changes. When he used the revised SA-1.2—also an HR favorite—with the perennially recommendable Denon DL-103 cartridge, the low compliance of which is well suited to such a high-mass arm, AD found it capable of pulling from his records "tremendous amounts of touch and force and impact." The SA-1.2 was so good, he declared, that it made his Thorens TD 124 sound more like his Garrard 301. (This, he suggests, is good.) Speaking of which, AD cautions that, to make the Abis more compatible with the unusually low-slung platter of the TD 124, the user must make one or two adjustments. His conclusion: "I'd put the combination of Abis SA-1.2 and Denon DL-103 up against all but their priciest competitors." (Vol.37 No.3, Vol.38 No.11, Vol.39 No.4 WWW)
The Abis tonearm makes Stereophiles CLASS A recommended components and that is without the rewire job!
This ad was originally posted on US Audio Mart.