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January 23, 2018

UK Exclusive: Japanese Glanz precision tonearms arrive in the UK



Could this be the finest tonearm you’ve never heard of? Devon-based Timestep firmly believes so, which is why the company has just signed an exclusive distribution agreement to import Glanz tonearms from their native Japan to the UK. Visit Timestep at Sound & Vision and discover these ‘masters of precision’.

Glanz tonearms are manufactured by Hamada Electric in Shizuoka, Japan. The range offers three levels: the original very high-end S Series, a subsequent more affordable B Series, and the flagship ‘jewel in the crown’ SD model. All are crafted by Mr Masataka Hamada himself.

So what sets a Glanz tonearm apart? Bottom line, these arms are something of a work of art in terms of both visual beauty and workmanship. But don’t be fooled by their stunningly sleek vintage-style bodywork. The Glanz is a very technically advanced tonearm indeed, which becomes immediately apparent the minute you start to dig into Hamada’s design philosophy.

Hamada has relentlessly pursued an ideal of mechanical integrity and fluid movement – two aspects of tonearm design which normally act as opposites – by combining exacting materials with a whole new level of precision engineering. All key body parts of a Glanz tonearm are constructed from a very high grade, extra hard stainless steel are machined to a frankly masterful level of exactitude. Superior mechanical integrity is achieved by joining the tonearm’s key parts using an interference fit, in which the joint is created by friction after the parts are pushed together rather than by fixings or adhesives.

This painstaking craftsmanship continues throughout – there is no ‘weak link’ in a Glanz tonearm. The headshell is seamlessly machined from a single billet of stainless steel. The curvature of the S-shaped arm is precisely gauged. The meticulously assembled arm pivot features four large bearings, each machined to extreme tolerances to provide optimal ‘tight/loose’ contact and each is hand-inserted using a jeweller’s hammer. The lower bearing in the vertical axis uses a high-precision thrust bearing, giving a structure that allows the high-mass arm to move with exceptional sensitivity.

“As an engineer myself”, says Timestep’s Dave Cawley, “I consider the Glanz tonearm to be a masterclass in precision. Its level of detail in design and craftsmanship is something I could happily wax lyrical about for quite some time. But rather than listening to me I suggest you listen to these arms. Speed, agility, clarity, openness and detail are all superlative. The soundstage is focused yet spacious and the overall air is utterly natural. These are quite honestly the best tonearms I’ve heard.”

See Timestep at...

Ground Floor: Bristol 16