Oracle silicone damping kit for 9cc arms

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Oracle silicone damping kit for 9cc arms

Post by moon unit » 25 Nov 2011 21:16

I got an email today that the Oracle silicone damping kit for the 9cc arm is now available, price is $175 plus $15 shipping. There was a write up in the October Stereophile on the Oracle Paris turntable and there is a specific section that talks about the changes with the damping kit vs. without. All very positive with no drawbacks.

Anybody else planning to try this thing out?

Here is a link to the article: http://www.stereophile.com/content/listening-106

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Re: Oracle silicone damping kit for 9cc arms

Post by Purnendu » 22 Dec 2011 15:32

Hi,
In what does a damping trough benefit performance? I have read (and only read) that some people like them and some dont (SME V).
What should we expect from a trough in the 9cc in terms of giving us something we cant get it to do in as it is? Would it for instance enable us to use a cartridge with stiffer compliance.
purnendu

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Re: Oracle silicone damping kit for 9cc arms

Post by moon unit » 30 Dec 2011 08:15

Well, if you go by the article there is a reduction in groove noise and ticks/pops. An expansion of the soundstage and improved resistance to footfalls. Better control of tonearm resonance, which may well be the most important aspect.

The 9cc is a lightweight arm like the SME V (though I would not compare the two) and there are drawbacks to this type of design that SME has tried to counteract with damping. Like the SME, I suspect some people will like the Oracle damping kit and some won't but the article I posted was all positive so I'm going to give it a shot.

You can use a cartridge with a compliance of 12 without ill effect on the 9cc arm but I wouldn't go any lower than that. I don't believe the damping would have any effect regarding this, but I may be wrong.

Maybe somebody that has used/uses damping on their tonearm can chime in here. I have not received mine yet and when I do I will likely not have the time to test it thoroughly and post my impressions for a while.

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Re: Oracle silicone damping kit for 9cc arms

Post by moon unit » 10 Jan 2012 09:32

moon unit wrote:
You can use a cartridge with a compliance of 12 without ill effect on the 9cc arm but I wouldn't go any lower than that. I don't believe the damping would have any effect regarding this, but I may be wrong.
Looks like I was very wrong. According to Oracle, the Paris cart weighs 10g and has a compliance of 8. With an 8.5g effective mass tonearm it's no wonder why it sounds better with damping.

Hopefully I'll see some benefit with my 10.5g cart and a compliance of 15.

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Re: Oracle silicone damping kit for 9cc arms

Post by Purnendu » 13 Jan 2012 17:46

Hi and thanks for the info.
While the particular cart mentioned may be more than a bit on the stiffer side, I suspect that the damping trough would be useful for the more marginal cases. The denon dl 110 woul probably benefit from it but not the dl 103. The Zyx's and the Benz's would also perform better perhaps. The 9cc is indeed very light and there are a lot of good cartridges which are just on the stiffer side for an ideal compliance match i.e. between 9 to 11.

Whenever you have had time to listen to the trough, do send us thoughts.

P

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Re: Oracle silicone damping kit for 9cc arms

Post by moon unit » 14 Jan 2012 08:04

Another review of the Oracle Paris: http://www.oracle-audio.com/imagesup/re ... t_2011.pdf

The 2nd paragraph of the lab report has some impressive things to say about the damping device and it's effect on resonance control, which imo is the only weak point in performance regarding the 9cc/10cc/EVO tonearms.

The tonearm resonant decay graph of the 10cc Evo tonearm tested in the June 2010 HFN is a mess in comparision to the one shown in this review.

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Re: Oracle silicone damping kit for 9cc arms

Post by JonP » 22 Jan 2012 13:49

Hi Moon Unit,

Where can these kits be purchased from please? I might be interested if they can be obtained online and shipped internationally.

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Re: Oracle silicone damping kit for 9cc arms

Post by moon unit » 23 Jan 2012 05:14

Hi Jon,

You can either email Oracle Audio (they are pretty slow to respond) or you can call Jacques Riendeau directly at 819-864-0480. They are located in Canada and Jacques is a friendly guy to speak with over the phone. If you decide to call him, first send him an email to refer to with your address. I'm sure he would accommodate you.

As far as I know this kit cannot be purchased online.

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Re: Oracle silicone damping kit for 9cc arms

Post by JonP » 23 Jan 2012 14:13

Thanks. I have emailed them. Assuming that price is still correct and the fitment of the kit is fairly straight-forward (i.e no harder than fitting the Henley motor kit or fitting a cartridge), then I will almost certainly buy one (so long as they will sell me one of course).

If it involves actual disassembly of the arm, I will pass on it, but hopefully the fitment is not much more difficult than fitting the required parts onto the arm as-is, rebalancing the tonearm and adjusting the level of damping.

Incidentally, I read those reviews of the Paris turntable last year and thought to myself, bummer - look what Oracle did to that arm - I wish Project could have done that for even a couple of hundred more dollars. I am almost surprised in a way that Oracle would provide their kit to 9cc arm owners, since it might be money to them for the kit, but it also might mean that cheaper turntables like Project's RPM 6 to 9 series could get much more of a look-in for prospective buyers, knowing there was this instant upgrade to the arm available.

Even the humble RPM 5 (RM5) with the Henley motor kit and this damper would go from a low-end midrange turntable to something very solid middle-range indeed.

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Re: Oracle silicone damping kit for 9cc arms

Post by moon unit » 23 Jan 2012 19:57

JonP wrote:If it involves actual disassembly of the arm, I will pass on it, but hopefully the fitment is not much more difficult than fitting the required parts onto the arm as-is, rebalancing the tonearm and adjusting the level of damping.
Absolutely no disassembly of the arm involved, you simply fit the delrin clamp to the arm and the silicone trough is fitted to the hole directly before the tonearm lift mechanism.

Here is a link that includes instructions for use (#9) once fitted: http://www.oracle-audio.com/?action=pro ... ec=1&lg=en

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Re: Oracle silicone damping kit for 9cc arms

Post by JonP » 24 Jan 2012 09:36

Thanks. I am a little worried about what it might do to the top end, but I am getting a Wireworld Eclipse interconnect for my phono stage soon and I know from experience that this interconnect is going to give me a better quality treble (smoother but with much better detail and clarity) than what I have with my current interconnect. I am already using the Eclipse with my DAC and it really improved the top end. So hopefully that might help ameliorate any losses in that respect.

Anyway, if I get this silicone bath and fit it, I will certainly post my impressions and will also upload a comparative "before" and "after" needledrop (unless I cannot hear the slightest difference).

I take it they speak English at Oracle? I will ring them in a week or two if I have not heard anything, but my French is seriously rusty...

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Re: Oracle silicone damping kit for 9cc arms

Post by moon unit » 25 Jan 2012 00:35

I should have received my kit by now but I'll give it a few more days, Canada Post can be very slow sometimes. They do speak English and I've found that most residents of Quebec are bilingual.

The nice thing about tonearm damping is that you can tune it not only by the depth of the plunger but also by adjusting the viscosity of the fluid. If it ends up being too thick (optimised for a compliance of 8 ) and it hurts the top end, I can try using a lighter weight silicone fluid which may be more suited to a cart with a compliance of 15.

I will post my impressions as well, once I receive the kit and have the time to test it out.

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Re: Oracle silicone damping kit for 9cc arms

Post by JonP » 25 Jan 2012 21:37

Thanks. I have also emailed a dealer that I have bought a lot of stuff from in the last 2 years. He is an Oracle dealer, so I have asked him to see if it is possible to source the kit. He has an un-related order of mine pending (awaiting the arrival of stock) so it might be easier to add the kit into that order, assuming it is possible for him to get them.

As for the effect of the kit, I am specifically interested (or curious might be a better term) as to whether it can resolve (or reduce the effect of) some tracking issues that I have noticed with the 9cc arm / Rondo Bronze combination. Despite meticulously trying to avoid these issues by experimenting with different alignments, VTF, VTA, etc, I have only had partial and extremely limited success in resolving the problems.

I have some audiophile classical albums and the current combination struggles on a few of them. One example is the Impex reissue of the Ravel Piano Concerto in G (Bernstein). Try as I might, I can't get the combination to track the piano properly, yet it can handle the other side of the LP (Shostakovich Piano Concerto) fine. I am getting distortion on particular piano notes when the hammer really hits the string hard, but they are only occuring in a particular pitch range, which makes me think the mistracking has more to do with the tonearm than the cartridge. I would say 90% of my piano LPs are OK, but this one just kills this combination completely, as does the Mercury Living Presence reissue on Speakers Corner of the Liszt Piano Concertos. Both these titles have a common element- - the piano is very upfront, the frequency balance is very bright, the midrange presence is overwhelming compared to real life, therefore making the percussive sound of the piano much more edgy and evident than say, you would hear on better-balanced RCA or Decca recordings. The Shostakovich (which tracks perfectly) has a different balance and is closer to what you hear from other labels, since it is devoid of that extremely aggressive upper midrange and treble.

So I am curious to see how these two LPs (which are my "worst") might benefit from the damping device, seeing as there is no solution when fiddling around with the stock arm / cartridge combination.

I also have a couple of LPs at the moment that have massed choirs and again the current combination can struggle at times, and again it is the same sort of pitch range where this occurs.

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Re: Oracle silicone damping kit for 9cc arms

Post by JonP » 26 Jan 2012 16:23

Hi again,

The information I have been given about the damping kit is different to what you have heard. My information is that the kit is not actually available at all to owners of 9cc arms. The Oracle arm has different bearings to the standard 9cc arm and the trough containing the silicone is integrated into the Oracle arm.

So apparently - or at least so I am told - the only way to obtain these features is to buy an entire Oracle arm. Needless to say, it would be very expensive and not worth anyone's while unless they were specifically looking to buy a 9 inch arm and did not already own the 9cc.

So I don't quite know what the story is with yours - perhaps you were "accidentally" slipped one and you will be the one and only owner of one!

Oh well, I actually thought it was too good to be true, for the reasons I stated earlier. Being able to buy this kit would have turned a Henley motor-suspended Project RPM 5 into 90% of an Oracle Paris at well under a quarter of the price. And that would be a silly way for Oracle to go about business - it would probably help Oracle's competitors (where they offer products using the 9cc arm) far more than it would help them.

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Re: Oracle silicone damping kit for 9cc arms

Post by moon unit » 27 Jan 2012 08:47

Jon, who told you this, the Oracle dealer? If so, he is misinformed. The information I heard came directly from the owner of Oracle. The arm does not have different bearings, it is a stock 9cc tonearm. The only difference is that is stamped "Oracle" instead of "Pro-Ject carbon" on the side. The trough is fitted into the hole closest to the tonearm lift, you can see this clearly in the photos and it is not integrated into the arm.

BTW, I don't think it is silly of Oracle to sell this kit to owners of other tables at all. It probably costs less than $10 to produce and they sell it for $175 - not a bad profit and there is a large installed base of 9cc users to sell it to. I don't think anybody that is interested in a Paris turntable is going to be swayed into a Pro-Ject table on account of this.

I learned of this kit several months ago from another forum member who stated that Oracle would be selling the kit to retrofit onto 9cc tonearms. He received an email response from Oracle, "We do not offer the Micro Vibration Silicone damping kit to sell seperately at this time ... But we intend to do so in the coming months ... The model we offer with the Paris is the 9CC ... Not the evolution. Keep an eye on our web site !"

My exact question to Jacques in October was "Will you be selling the Micro Vibration Silicone Damping Device (as seen on the new Paris model) seperately to retrofit onto other tables with the 9cc arm?" I received an email response about a month later stating that it was now available, along with the price.

I would wait to hear from Oracle to find out exactly what the status of this kit is.

As soon as I receive it (should be any day now) I will report back.

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