ergmann has offered air-bearing turntables for quite some time, one with vacuum hold-down of the record, but it has just begun offering a separate tonearm. The armtube for Magne tonearm ($7600) rides on a cushion of air, tracking the record in linear fashion, just as the record was cut. Its utter simplicity -- it consists of an aluminum sliding pipe, a damped carbon-fiber armtube, a head shell and a counterweight -- results in a tonearm with no vibrating parts and no mechanical contact to the mounting hardware. The headshell is fixed parallel to the sliding pipe for perfect azimuth, and the counterweight is decoupled from the armtube.
The Magne's air supply was of particular focus. It was designed with the goal of absolute silence, so it could be be placed in the listening room without adding noise and still deliver a clean, even airflow. The pump is an oil-free, long-life unit that requires no maintenance. The air it generates is absorbed in an encapsulated reservoir, resulting in uniform airflow to the tonearm's bearing. A user-replaceable air filter prevents dust particles from entering the system.
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