Walking the paths less trodden, US importer Daniel R. Barnum of Half Note Audio just announced the addition of the Thales tangential pivotal tonearm from Switzerland to his lineup. The unusual construction and excellent photographs submitted suggested a somewhat more sizable notice than our News Room allows for so our Industry Features section it was instead. Relays Daniel: "The Thales arms are one of a kind custom-built tonearms built specifically for each turntable. Micha Huber, the designer of the Thales arm was inspired by the mathematical genius of Thales of Miletus, an ancient Greek mathematician who was part of a group known as the Seven Sages. Thales discovered that the circumferential angle subtended by a triangle in a semicircle is always a right angle. As a result, the half circle above the hypotenuse of a right-angled triangle is called the Thales Circle.

"Mr. Huber used the Thales Circle to create the Thales Tonearm. The arm combines the advantages of pivoted tonearms with absolute tangential tracking. The patented construction reduces the perfectly tangential tracking to pivot points, while the cartridge is aligned on the Thales Circle.

"The Thales Tonearm advantages are:
  • No tracking error and consequential resulting distortions
  • Minimal friction due to pivot bearings, no linear bearings, no active tracking
  • Short tonearm with little resonance
  • Symmetric inertia at the tracking point in all axis
  • Damping and compensation of the skating force through weights."
Michael Fremer wrote in feeling that the animated graphic above was confusing because it "shows the stylus tracing an arc across the record, which is precisely what the arm is designed not to do". Explains Mr. Barnum that the arm is indeed designed to do exactly what the graphic shows. It's tangential but not linear. The stylus is guided on an arc across the record. This arc has "M" as center. But the stylus is aligned not to this center but at "B". So the tangential tracking occurs not by a linear movement but by guiding and aligning to different points. The following graphic illustrates this from the top to settle the confusion.