Fidelity Research FR-64 tonearm

This vintage Japanese tonearm still enjoys a certain ‘cult’ status.

Fidelity Research Co. was founded by Isamu Ikeda in 1964 and the FR-64 tonearm was introduced in 1978. Fidelity Research closed down c.1984.

(A new company, Ikeda Sound Labs, currently again offers new cartridge & tonearm products.)

The detailing and machine-finishing is visually uncomplicated. After 40 years, it still looks elegant and the material is durable and un-tarnished.

Uniquely, the FR-64 / FR-64S was constructed from stainless steel (except for the aluminium alloy removable headshell).

Effective Length was 245mm (9-5/8″) and Effective Mass was a weighty 30gm – obviously most suitable for low-compliance cartridges.

The FR-64fx model was a low-mass version constructed from aluminium alloy and the FR-66 model was 307mm long (12″).

The large side-dial contains a coil-spring for applying Tracking Force. (I prefer to not use this spring, leave the setting at ‘0’ and apply Tracking Force using the Counter-weight.)

This example is wired with ‘Silver Inside Leads’.

Anti-Skating force is applied by a simple mechanical rod and weight (no hanging weights).

The larger ‘outrigger’ weight is to ‘Lateral Balance’ the sideways-offset arm-tube.

The headshell is heavy pressed aluminium, unusually with a single screw fixing for a cartridge-plate underneath. The headshell is removable with the usual locking collar (but the usual rubber washer is not used, for a ‘firmer connection’).

The headshell is a strong 4-sided shape, but quite short for long cartridges.

The cartridge mounting plate Inside the headshell is sliding and has 2 alternative pairs of holes for cartridge mounting and positioning.

The Counter-weight is large, weighing 244gm and is ‘decoupled’ with a rubber o-ring inside. (A grub-screw is not strongly tightened and is also ‘decoupled’ with a felt fabric layer.)

The Counter-weight ‘stem’ has a ‘soft’ fixing inside the arm pivot.

Turntable mounting requires a 31mm (1-1/4″) hole. (41mm for the FR-66 model.)

Arm Height adjustment of the arm-pillar is manual, with 2 locking grub-screws (plastic-tipped).

This is the Fidelity Research FR-64 tonearm mounted onto my Technics SP-10MK2 turntable.

Next – we will audition and report on the sound quality of this combination.

Update 21 June 2020:

An original Fidelity Research FR-S/4 has just come my way (below), which was ‘precision machined from a solid aluminium block’.

This headshell was one of three headshell options available for the FR-60 series.

One thought on “Fidelity Research FR-64 tonearm

  1. Pingback: TECHNICS SP-10MkII turntable – Pt 5 plinth support | D a r k L a n t e r n

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