Time to fit the cartridge. That was easy because the position of the mounting holes at the arm's end is fixed. In pivoted arms the head shell is nearly always slotted to position the cartridge thus stylus correctly. In the Holbo, the entire arm is adjusted for tangency and azimuth with just one screw. The counterweight slides easy on the far end of the arm. Following instructions, we now used our fine scale to adjust for the recommended 0.1g tracking force and then installed Holbo's linear gauge [below].

This sports a hole to fit over the platter axle and three fine lines, two vertical and one long horizontal, its surface being very smooth. Lowering the needle to the gauge strip, we could observe its movement. Would it drift left or right? That would signify need for more precise leveling by raising or lowering one of the table's feet. But our initial leveling was fine and the cartridge stable.

With the gauge still on the platter, we checked VTA. The arm should be parallel to the platter. VTA can be adjusted while the table is running. A screw is used to fix VTA and a large knob trims it.

Tangency is adjusted by first loosening the screw that affixes arm to air-bearing runner, then making sure that the stylus tip follows exactly along the horizontal line of the gauge. Azimuth, the term used for the perpendicularity of cartridge cantilever to record surface, is set with the same screw. After setting VTA, we slightly tightened that screw so that for the very fine azimuth tuning, we had some extra friction. Benz Micro recommend a VTF or tracking force from 1.8-2.0g for their Ruby Open Air 2. With some trial and error of shifting the counterweight, we settled on 1.85g as our starting point. A final check for tangency completed this part of the setup.

And here we were now with a Slovenian air-bearing turntable system with not only an air-bearing tonearm but also an air-bearing platter which itself weighs 2.16kg. When the turntable is switched on with its pump running, 0.3 bars of air pressure on the spindle will lift the 5kg platter by just 10 microns to run smoothly on a cushion of compressed air.

This air is supplied via one tiny hole. The air supply of the tonearm bearing uses multiple tiny holes also for a 10-micron air gap. We asked Bostjan how he handles humidity in his compressor. All the air in a house contains moisture and as humans we are quite happy when relative humidity sits at ~70%. When that humid air contacts a cooler object, condensation occurs. So windows not double or triple glazed fog up on colder days.

Condensation in an air bearing is unwanted so Holbo have fitted their linear OEM pump with a three-stage air filter, one of which is dedicated to drying the compressed air. One of these filters is visible at the back of the pump housing. Another anti-condensation factor is that both turntable and compressor can reside in the same room, thus in an environment with equal temperature and humidity for both devices.

Before we go on to music, a few stats on the tonearm. It is constructed from an aluminum alloy with carbon to a length of 163mm. Its effective vertical mass is 7.5g while the arm in total weighs 31.6g. The internal wiring is made from a silver/copper Litz.

With all adjustments checked off once more and all equipment properly connected, we picked a few records to start the listening sessions. To kick things off, we picked Erik Satie's Monotones as danced to by the Royal Ballet with orchestrations by Lanchbery, Debussy and Roland-Manuel. John Lanchberry conducted this recording in 1978 and its release was in 1979.

The opening track is "Prélude d'Eginhard" where we instantly enjoying the full-sized orchestra of the Royal Opera House. The stage was both wide and deep. That same effortless depiction of musical scenery held for the next four Gnossiennes mostly known as solo piano works. Here the orchestra adds body and swing while the solo piano performances adhere to more minimalist self reflection. On that same LP there are three tracks of Darius Milhaud's orchestration of the Satie ballet Jack in the Box. These are perkily rhythmic almost cartoonish pieces with lots of brass involvement and the necessary cymbal crashes. Played at a decent volume, this is uplifting music.