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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

    Written by John

    John currently lives in Berlin where he creates videos and podcasts for Darko.Audio. He has previously contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

    Follow John on YouTube or Instagram

    KIH #64 – Get real!