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Being Frank about vinyl

  • In the above photo, we see Frank Schröder, a Berlin-based tonearm manufacturer of over twenty years, sitting on my couch (in Mitte) and not on his own, 6 km away in Charlottenburg. He has just installed a Zu/Denon DL-103r to a Rega Planar 2 turntable — because if anyone in the world knows how to properly align a cartridge, it’s Schröder.

    This Berliner made his first tonearm at 14 years old, sold his first tonearm at 17 years old and joined the world of high-end audio exhibitors in 1999 at the High-End event in Frankfurt (before it relocated to Munich). Schröder has been designing and manufacturing tonearms for high-end audio enthusiasts ever since. Extensive R&D, per-order production and intensive hand labour see pricing start at €2-3k.

    Despite acquiescing to a video interview, Schröder isn’t keen to talk about his work. He doesn’t want to come off as an egregious self-promoter — a second reason why we’re at my place and not his. Reading between the lines – and looking at the man’s website – Schröder doesn’t need to talk up his talents. A formidable reputation as a high-end tonearm designer is already in his pocket. Demand easily eats supply.

    Instead, we steer toward more general topics such as ‘What’s the world’s best cartridge?’, how best to source a turntable, vinyl’s tangibility factor and how the majority of modern-day vinyl records are pressed from hi-res digital files (and why that might not matter):

    Further information: Schröder Tonearme

    John H. Darko

    Written by John H. Darko

    John is the editor of Darko.Audio, from whose ad revenues he derives an income. He is an occasional contributor to 6moons but has previously written pieces for TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile. John used to live in Sydney. Now he lives in Berlin.

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    KIH #64 – Get real!