Wilking High End Turntables, and tonerarms!
By now Wilking might be known for its formidable turntables. Maybe less known are the Wilking tonearms. These tonearms are made with the same attention for detail as his turntables. Also with the same technical approach: sturdy, robust and massive. All made out of honest materials like aluminium, brass, copper and carbon. I have been using these tonearms for some years now and am very pleased with the performance. Even when compared to some other brands like Schick, Schröder and Dava, they most certainly did not disappoint at all! They are typically heavy tonearms, so mostly suited for low compliance cartridges, but that suits my taste in cartridges anyway. Looking at the classic Supex, Koetsu, Miyajima and the more modern Dava fieldcoil cartridge, these tonearms mate perfectly into a big sound. Happy!
As briefly mentioned, the tonarms are made out of honest materials like aluminium, brass and copper. All of these influence the character of the tonearm, make the tone. For vertical movement ballbearings are used, for horizontal movement an oil bearing is used where a neodymium magnet is used for frictionless movement. The armtube is made out of a carbon fiber tube, different diameters (and colours) available. The headshell is part of the armtube so no SME-mount headshells can be used. Below some examples of tonearms being used during the last years.
A full copper version with black carbon armtube.
A brass with copper version with black carbon armtube.
A copper and aluminium version with grey carbon armtube.
Same from a different angle showing the first headshell.
A sudden invitation!
A few months ago there was a sudden invitation from Wilking to come over and have a listen to an upgraded tonearm. So together with some friends we went over and had a listen to the new tonearm. This was an A to B comparison, meaning we had a listen to an older alike tonearm and that was to be replaced by the newer one. On average materials were the same, so tone as well. One thing that had changed though, was the armtube material. The carbon armtube was now replaced by a thin-walled titanium armtube. Second thing was the arm length, this was slightly reduced to compensate for the increased armtube weight. Cartridge was the same, adjustment as well..
Hell yes! First thing we noticed was a higher output from the cartridge itself. At least 2dB judging by the extra attenuation set to compensate. Second aspect was the increased resolution at higher frequencies, say up from 2Khz. Third aspect was a more dense bass, less boomy, more compact. What a difference! This needed no going back again (B to A) but invited to spin all the records which we had heard before the switch. At all records the effect was the same. This IS a serious upgrade.
Of course discussions started about the why and how, the most interesting part as these provide some insight in technical aspects. It took me not long before asking for an upgrade on my Wilking tonearm.. and so we went home again with nice things ahead!
And now we wait..
A week later I took my tonearm and brought it over to Wilking for the upgrade. Of course stating that there is no hurry. Ahem. We all know how it works with an upgrade.. Just after a week I got an email with the picture below, with the message that the Black Miracle was ready for duty.. Yes!
On the table, ready to play: The Black Miracle - a beauty for the eye!
Mounting the Black Miracle.
As its length was decreased a bit, I had to print out a new protractor (Vinyl Engine). After that, setting up was a breeze. It has a big counterweight and a smaller one for VTF fine adjustment. Headshell can be set easily to correct VTA as for the right angle. During these adjustments a fourth improvement was noticed: the tonearm feels much sturdier, stiffer compared to before with the carbon armtube. The Koetsu Tiger Eye was easily mounted and ready to spin the first rounds whilst being curbed by its new partner.
Hell yes again! Just like the demo, exactly the same positive aspects emerged. This is the kind of upgrade that makes you want to listen to all your records again, curious about what details will be heard which were unheard before.
And aesthetically an upgrade as well! That counts as well.. at least, for me that is.
Below some more detailed pictures of the tonearm.