ViV Lab Rigid Float /CB Tone-arm
ViV Lab "Rigid Float /CB" tonearm
The latest version of the Rigid Float tonearm is the brand new "Rigid Float /CB". Besides some minor updates the new version is identical to the original version, same unique features. But the most important difference and a major upgrade is the newly developed tonearm wand, which is made of carbon. It is extremely lightweight with a very high stiffness and favorable resonance characteristics. We were shocked about the improvement in performance of the already fantastic sounding original Rigid Float tonearm.
The Rigid Float tonearm is a STRAIGHT tonearm design with (magneto-fluid) OIL FLOATED PIVOT and NO OFFSET-ANGLE structure. Very easy installation, just to put anywhere - no mounting neccassary. It now comes with the original Nelson Hold headshell.
- OIL FLOATED PIVOT - ViV Lab's original oil floated pivot (magneto-fluid = magnetically induced oil) not only gives perfect bearing performance but also isolates the arm from the vibration via floor or turntable. At the same time this pivot shuts out the reflection of the vibration generated by the stylus. As a result, the sound has highest purity with high dynamics, sharp focus and very low distortion. We are sure no one has ever experienced such a sound from vinyl disks.
- NO OFFSET-ANGLE STRUCTURE - We believe that elbow shaped arms with offset angle and overhang setting seriously affect the sound quality because of side force fluctuation which can never be cancelled by an anti-skating mechanism. So we dare to choose a completely straight structure. You may ask "...what about tracking errors?", and the answer is - the tracking error is a little bigger but the sound is better. You can hear no distortion even with the 7" model.
- EASY INSTALLATION - Unlike other tonearms, "Rigid Float /CB" is very easy to install. You don't have to drill your turntable plinth. Just put it anywhere on the turntable plinth. You can also put it outside the plinth of your turntable, f.i. the 13" version of the tonearm (template for optimum installation provided).
- Silk jacketed 4N silver inner wire and rhodium plated terminals ensure minimum signal loss.
- Available in 3 lengths - 7", 9" and 13" and 2 color variations - Black/Metallic and Black/Gold.
- Provides easy Azimuth adjustment.
- The Rigid Float /CB tonearm comes with ViV Lab's original "Nelson Hold" headshell. This headshell provides a special "Press Screw" that can be tightened or loosened for resonance control of the cartridge.
Factory Lead time for 7, 9 and 13 inch tone-arms is about 4 weeks.
- Models: Rigid Float 7 /CB, Rigid Float 9 /CB, Rigid Float 13 /CB
- Eff. length: 7-8", 9-10", 13-14" - See drawings of the exact measurements below
- Height overall: min 80mm, max 116mm
- Eff. height: min 70mm, max 106mm
- Underhang: 5-20mm
- Base diameter: 90mm
- Weight: approx. 2kg
- Headshell: Nelson Hold design - weight: 12.5g, length: 97mm, 4N silver wiring
- Techn. details: for detailed technical description click the "Technical description" tab
- Price: 7" US$6390.- / 9" US$6590.- / 13" US$6990.-
Rigid Float 7 inch (measurements in millimeter)
Rigid Float 9inch (measurements in millimeter)
Rigid Float 13 inch (measurements in millimeter)
Winner of the Fidelity Award 2018: "...what to do when certain technical aids, such as tonearms, are so elaborate that they threaten to cross the line from the end to over-development to exceeding all limits? First back to the drawing board. In this particular case: do away with the offset angle, remove antiskating and radically simplify the arm and system calibration. The result: One of the best and most amazing tonearms in analog history..."
- Winner of the Fidelity Award 2018 (Germany)
- 5 Star Award 2015 by The Ear magazine (Great Britain) July 2015
- Recommended Component Award 2014 by the "stereophile" magazine (USA) October 2014
- Product of the Year 2013 Award by the "image hifi" magazine (Germany) December 2013
- Most Wanted Component 2013 Award by "The StereoTimes" (USA) December 2013
Jason Kennedy, The Ear (July 2015) concluded:
"...the Rigid Float is a rather unconventional arm and one that ignores traditional approaches to cartridge alignment, but like another idiosyncratic design, the Well Tempered, it produces superb results. It’s one of those analogue audio products that makes you realise that the conventions followed by the majority are not necessarily the only options. There is clearly room for thinking outside the box and the Viv Labs engineers are to be applauded for their inventiveness..." CLICK HERE to read the entire review.
Roy Gregory, The Audio Beat Blog (Feb. 2015 - first impression, review in progress):
"...hearing a record with the Rigid Float has a gloriously unimpeded sense of energy and momentum. Dynamics are quick and crisp, and forward motion has the sort of speed, freedom and grace that I normally associate with sliding on ice. If a really good conventional tonearm is able to corner better, like a sports car on low-profile tires, the Rigid Float makes it seem like there are no corners at all. Musically speaking, this thing just glides through the track..." Check out the blog
Michael Fremer, Stereophile (Aug. 2014):
"...the midrange was gloriously smooth and images were rock-solidly three-dimensional. Bass was meaty and full bodied, yet well controlled....my take is that the Rigid Float - either because of its underhung geometry, or its non-grounded bearing system, or both - has a singularly smooth, lush sound that some listeners will instantly crave..."
Clement Perry, StereoTimes Publisher's note (Jan. 2014):
"...I too must concur with Stephen's assessment of this unique and innovative arm. Mine is the 9" variation and it provides a remarkable sense of neutrality coupled with scale and textures never realized from my analogue rig..."
Stephen Yan, The StereoTimes (Jan. 2014):
"...but if you really wish to find out whether your system has been papering over some sonic cracks and cross-compensating for some aural shortcoming with lucky unplanned system synergies, or simply holding back your cartridge’s true potential, then by all means give the RF a try. You will emerge with a better system, and one from which you will have learnt something valuable. At the end of the day, that truly is what a tonearm is supposed to do - just the truth and nothing else, thank you ma’am..." Check it out
Thomas Schmidt, LP Magazine Germany (Nov. 2013) wrote:
"...I cannot say exactly which of the innovations makes the difference, but the Rigid Float tone arm is without a doubt an absolutely, uniquely exceptional phenomenon in analog sound reproduction..."
"...the Rigid Float tone arm improves even the best systems to a quality that hasn't been heard before - and that by high (such as Van den Hul The Condor) or by extremely low (Miyajima Shilabe) compliance..." Check out the entire review
Stephen Yan, The StereoTimes (Oct. 2013) wrote:
"...the RF tonearm can be very strongly and enthusiastically recommended!"
"...because it is so transparent and neutral, it will brutally and honestly tell you what you may not know about your system... it’s like an implacable polygraph device..."
"...you will, definitely and most assuredly, thank the RF for giving the truth to you, at a price which, while not cheap, actually costs less than many high end pick-ups on the market nowadays. From this perspective, and considering the amount of technology and innovation packed into this device, I believe my use of the word 'bargain' is not misplaced..."
"...so in case you were interested, yes, I bought the review sample." Check out the entire review
Uwe Kirbach, image hifi Germany (Jan. 2013) wrote:
"...this arm is nothing short of an audiophile sensation! ...the recordings sound strikingly direct and immediate, with intense dynamics. Drums and percussions come without restraintment, lively, with great three-dimensionality, depth and micro details...
"...even when not perfectly setup the Rigid Float always played clean and clear, powerful with authority - it was always immediatley obvious that we have something special here... "
"...I know of no other similar superior, compatible tone arm. I can't say what percentage of this is due to the genius bearings and what percent is because of the the skating-free straight arm... The resulting impression of ordinary tone arms is comparable to perfectionizing the chassis of a car on a gravel road, while the Japanese arm glides on asphalt, or better said, on oil." Read the entire review: PART 1, PART 2
Typical Product Feature of Rigid Float (RF) tonearm
(1) Absolutely no mechanical contact at arm pivot bearing mechanism, resulting in highest sensitivity and maximum amount of howling margin (Which promises to reproduce rich but much tight base sound with no distortion, no muddiness, the most clear sound and wider dynamic range).
(2) There are similar type of bearing pivot, dipped in oil bath (Oil damp Type), available in the market, but still they require some string or another apparatus to fix fulcrum for arm rotary motion but RF, thanks to automatic positioning mechanism, requires absolutely nothing to interfere with the force, for cartridge stylus to follow the inward path of record groove.
(3) There might arise some lateral mechanical instability of arm with this type of bearing, but RF, equipped with the most appropriate balancing mechanism, assures the stability of the focus. This is the reason to be put the name of ""Rigid Float"".
(4) Pure Straight Structure (i.e. no offset angle) minimizes side force resulting the best channel separation, sound stage and sound atmosphere with highest transient rise time and no distortion even when tracing on the most internal part of vinyl record disc.(Detai follows below.)
(5) Beautifully anodized aluminum pipe is outfitted with the “resonance ring”, 3 pieces of synthetic ring rubber for damping. You may enjoy different sound in position of these rings in your choice.
(6) User friendly universal type head shell connector and for tone arm installation onto plinth, no drilling hole is required but just put it onto the plinth board.
(7) World uniquely shaped standard head shell “Nelson Hold” tightly supports the cartridge magnetic circuit, which is the most important part of a cartridge and at the center of which, stylus is located, on the other hand the conventional head shells hold the outsides of a cartridge body with 2 screws. “Rigid Float” with “Nelson Hold” removes haze and distortion from the sound completely.
(8) Inner wiring : Remarkable pure silver wire(4N) with silk jacket.
(9) Qualified RCA connectors with isolated ""earth"" terminal with possibility for balanced transmission line."
Stylus tracking force adjustment
(1) Prepare separately available "Stylus cartridge tracking force meter" for tracking force adjustment.
Side Force Superiority in Rigid Float tone arm
(1) Rigid Float (RF) with straight arm shape does not set any ""Overhang"" amount, but only reverse direction ""Underhang"", unlike many other conventional tone arm with offset angled “S” or “J” shaped products.
(2) Conventional tone arms with proper overhang, create typical point where tangential line of cartridge stylus is in parallel with record groove line but still partial inside force towards tone arm pivot occurs somehow (Force in dotted line to arm pivot), resulting eventually still in inside force. (Fig-1 in ""RF Technical Description (B)"" )
(3) As (Fig-2 in ""RF Technical Description (B)"" ), straight tone arm would assure customers that absolute no inside force occurs at some certain point (Null position in straight arm) on record groove area by appropriate underhang adjustment.
(4) Fig-3 in ""RF Technical Description (B)"" illustrates how inside force would occur in offset angle type tone arm system.
Followings are representing figures:
(?) : Head Shell offset angle,
(a) : Tracking error angle,
(µ) : Friction coefficient between record groove and stylus,
(W) : Stylus Tracking (Force) weight,
(µw·tan(a+?)) : Inside force
(µw·cos (a+?)) : Pulling force towards arm pivot
(5) In Fig-3 at ""RF Technical Description (B)"", tangential line of cartridge stylus is in parallel with record groove line (a=0), under which occasion, stylus pressure to side wall of record groove is theoretically 90 degrees, being no tracking angle error.
(6) However there is still pulling force, arising from cartridge stylus to tone arm pivot in oblique with amount of “µw·cos(?)” and simultaneously, inside force amount of “µw·tan(?)”, which means cartridge stylus is still pulled towards center of record disc spindle direction.
(7) Normally, as offset angle value of (?) is around 25°, tan(?) becomes 0.47, resulting in almost half value of total friction force is given to left channel record groove, reacting to cantilever base stem. even tracking angle error is zero point. ""
(8) On the other hand, in straight tone arm (Offset angle ?=0), inside force is only “µwtan(a)” at any tracking erroneous angle area. if we set 10° as tracking error angle, tan(a=10°) is only 0.18 which is much smaller as inside force value than ones of “S”, or “J” shaped tone arm with offset angle.
(9) In general, as (µ) varies a lot in accordance with music cut signal on record groove, difference of inside force amount between “µw·tan(a+?)” (Offset angled tone arm) and “µW tan(a)” (Straight arm) shows quite a few and, as it directly causes modulated sound distortion (As inadequate inside force causes to vibrate irregularly cantilever base stem where cartridge armature is located), reproduction sound of straight tone arm has much superior predominance against others.
(10) There is an Anti-Skate Device (Inside Force Canceller), available for offset angled tone arm which normally reduces certain constant value of inside force itself but is not in effect to reduce “Range of inside force deviation”, which means no way to solve this problem.
(11) In (Fig.2), null position of tracking error is set (By attached RF tone arm template, packed in product box for arm installment on turn table plinth surface) at just before the end of most inner record groove area where distortion gets the highest.
(12) Now, from stability point of view, tone arms, presumably a kind of bridge, sustained by cartridge stylus and pivot, the length between these 2 points is shorter the better but the thing is tracking error angle becomes vitally large when arm length is shortened.
(13) In straight tone arm, however, as offset angle (?) is zero, shorter tone arm is now becomes available even by 7” length model which is almost impossible in “S” or “J” shaped tone arm, keeping much high motive stability and lower modulating distortion, developed by ViV Laboratory researcher and owner of Mr.Koichiro Akimoto.
Side Force Variation
The stylus cartridge body (magnetic circuit) should stand still for accurate transformation of vibration into voltage. The factors that shake the cartridge body are side force, tonearm resonance and vibration from base via pivot or from air. Among them all, side force is the biggest factor on conventional tonearm with offset angle (about 25deg) and overhang. The most significant is that side force varies in proportion to the fliction of the stylus tip and the groove. This means you can't cancell the side force anyhow, even using anti-skating, mechanism. Variation of side force leads directly to distortion, channel separation, forcus and so on.