The Wand 9″ and the Siggwan 12″ (superseding the Apparition 12″).
Recent years have been a rich time for vinyl enthusiasts and in the last 24 months, two new tonearms introduced from New Zealand alone.
Two sonically excellent and quite different concepts in ‘unipivot’ tonearm design from Downunder.
Polar opposites in terms of materials choice, both are well considered designs and achieve top shelf performance (in my opinion).
The Wand employs carbon-fibre composite tubing and stainless steel. The Apparition/Siggwan utilises Cocobolo wood and brass.
Each designer has come up with a unique take on the detail implementation of the unipivot bearing…a significant factor in performance I believe.
- The Wand 9″ tonearm (top) was released by Design Build Listen Ltd in 2011 and later joined by a 12″ version in 2012 and a ‘Plus’ model for retailers with enhancements. (Image from the Best Awards website.)
- In early 2012, Analog Instruments Ltd released their Apparition 12″ tonearm. This has since evolved into their Siggwan 12″ tonearm (above), with finish and functional improvements. (Image from the Analog Instruments website.)
Both of these designs are based on the unipivot concept and both employ unique (to my knowledge) bearing designs in order to ensure maximum stability for the single-point bearing – low frequency energy in particular is demanding of tonearms and both of these tonearms handle low frequency and dynamic energy well.
High frequency purity too, of course, is a recognised good trait of the unipivot (lack of bearing chatter).
The Apparition/Siggwan is the only tonearm I know of where a wood arm wand is extended one-piece and unbroken from cartridge interface through to support the counterweight. There is no separate headshell platform and the bearing itself is integrated with the Cocobolo wood as intimately as possible. As far as damping is concerned, the Cocobolo ‘tonewood’ seems to handle that demonstrably well.
The Wand’s bearing is buried inside a massive (literally) one-piece stainless steel arm ‘boss’ and counterweight combined – additional balance plates and rear screw are only for fine adjustmant. The Wand’s extraordinarily large diameter carbon fibre arm tube is ’embedded’ also into this main boss. So, a visually simple final result in both cases, belies clever engineering.
Here are some more images of these tonearms during installation and use, from around the time of the above reviews. There have been updates to both of these products since that time, however these might still be informative.
Update Jan 2017:
Analog Instruments Ltd is no longer taking orders, due to other work commitments.