Our custom improved mounting collars for Jelco tonearms have been around for a few years, with many happy users around the world. It all started when I had a new collar made for a Jelco arm, then posted about why I felt it was necessary on The Art of Sound HiFi forum. Very soon, demand for my ‘Shuggie’ collar grew and now the design has been refined and improved considerably, making them even easier to use.
The collars are available to buy in the shop, in grey and black finishes. A matching 10mm spacer ring is also available in grey and black – it is designed to raise the whole tonearm higher to accommodate really tall turntable platters, such as stacked platter Lencos. The spacer ring is fully compatible with the standard Jelco collar. We also supply collars and spacers to MCRU and Divine Audio in the UK.
Key improvements over our original collar include:
- The central pillar hole has a sharp side-cutout. This means that the arm pillar is now held gently, but firmly, against two vertical ‘knife edges’, so there is no longer any possibility of the arm pillar leaning to one side. If your armboard and platter are aligned to the same level plane, this new collar will guarantee that the Jelco arm pillar will be truly vertical to that plane.
- The grub screw is still a large 6mm stainless steel item, but it is now longer with a smooth flat end stub.
- The overall diameter of the collar is now the same as the standard Jelco collar. This means full compatibility with any armboard cut for a standard Jelco arm.
Comparison of standard Jelco collar (right) with our improved version on the left, showing increased height and longer support underneath.
Why do I need a different collar for my Jelco tonearm?
Have you ever tried to set the azimuth of a Jelco tonearm correctly? Just when you think you’ve got it sorted, it’s off again! That’s because the standard collar, while beautifully machined, provides very poor vertical support of the arm pillar; and the tiny set screw typically pushes the top part of the arm to one side, almost guaranteeing that the arm will not be properly set up. The azimuth actually varies as the arm traverses the record, which matters a great deal with modern cartridges and stylus profiles. The custom collar gets around that problem by ensuring that the arm pillar will always be secured properly vertical, so setup becomes easy and repeatable. That means better musical reproduction.
Is the collar compatible with other tonearms?
The collar is fully compatible with standard Jelco collar mounting templates, and all Jelco manufactured derivatives with 18mm diameter pillars, including Audioquest, LAD, Ortofon TA-110, Roksan. Some Sumiko variants have a smaller 16mm pillar, so are not compatible.
- The Improved collar is 4mm taller than the standard collar, and longer underneath for much better support of the arm pillar.
- VTA adjustment becomes smooth and straightforward.
- It is fitted with a large stainless steel M6 grub screw, with flat end stub to protect the soft metal of the arm pillar.
- Supplied with a hex key for grub screw adjustment, and stainless steel fixings consisting of 25mm long M4 bolts with nuts and washers and hex key for arm height adjustment. If you have a thick armboard and need longer mounting bolts (40mm, 50mm and 60mm bolts are available), these can be supplied at no additional cost
The custom collar is 4mm taller above the armboard than the Jelco original. Look carefully at your tonearm as it’s currently fitted to the turntable – if there is less than 4mm clearance between the top of the standard Jelco collar and the base of the arm rest plate as currently fitted to your record deck, it may not be possible to set the arm low enough with the custom collar, to achieve correct VTA, without recourse to a thicker platter mat or headshell spacers. It is possible to use thin metal shims between the cartridge and headshell to tilt the rear of the cartridge down a touch, thereby achieving the correct VTA without using different mats or spacers. Please ask us if you are unsure about this. In practice, the potential problem only applies to turntables with very low-profile platters, eg the Technics SL-1200; however suitable and compatible armboards are available for the SL-1200 from online sellers which allow the whole arm to be sunk low enough to ensure that correct VTA is achievable without any difficulty. For custom made Technics SL-1200/1210 armboards, we recommend Magna Audio (Speedy Steve on the Art of Sound Forum). Magna Audio specialise in the fabrication of tonearm boards, tonearm columns, plinth tops and making/supply of toneram counterweights; also detailed precision machining of turntable parts, tonearm tubes, spacers, anti-skate weights etc. Here is a picture of one of Steve’s ebony armboards: