Viper Tonearm: Minimal Mass, Maximum Rigidity

Viper Tonearm: Minimal Mass, Maximum Rigidity

To many enthusiasts and experts, the Viper tonearm supplied with Obsidian might look impossibly massive. Once they lift it, they will immediately realize that not only is the Viper much lighter than it looks, it’s also much more rigid than other tonearms.

Why such a large tonearm? Because every percentage of increase in the width or height of a tonearm increases stiffness by nearly 8 percent. Clearly, the larger we could make it, the better. To keep the weight the same, we used material roughly as thick as (but much tougher than) an eggshell. To minimize resonances, we instructed our finite-element analysis (FEA) software to do the impossible: to achieve infinite stiffness with the lowest possible mass, and thus eliminate the resonances that can be detected only through sophisticated software tools … or through the ears of experienced listeners. The result is the contoured shape you see here.

The Viper tonearm can be removed and changed easily, and additional tonearms can be acquired to facilitate quick swaps between different cartridges, and from mono to stereo.

The tonearm bearing—a sapphire vee jewel paired with a hardened stainless steel pivot—assures smooth, free, unimpeded movement and ideal tracking on any record. The swash plate rides on damped miniature bearings manufactured to ABEC 9 standards, the tightest tolerance (0.0012 mm) and highest quality available. A 30mm tungsten central tower provides a massive, stable support for the feathery light arm.

The entire tonearm mechanism is designed for effortless, accurate adjustability. A threaded ring on the support tower provides VTA adjustment. Azimuth adjustment is precise and repeatable. A precision set screw at the rear of the arm allows ultra-fine-tuning of VTF in 0.001g increments. On its own, the tonearm can support most cartridges, and a washer system allows it to maintain optimum effective mass with an even wider range of cartridges.


Overview
Isolated Arm Board
Oversized Bearing
Innovative Motor
FEA Modelled Platter
Viper Tonearm


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