What Reed Say
The Reed 3P is the latest tonearm model from Reed of Lithuania, replacing the Reed 2P. Among other features, like fine VTA adjustment on-the-fly, it also has a unique possibility of adjusting azimuth while playing a record. An exciting thing about the azimuth adjuster is that during the adjustment process the cartridge “swings” around the needle tip, hence keeping all other tonearm parameters intact (you can see how it works by watching this video.
Magnetic antiskating and some other features, used in the Reed 3P, were developed from the Reed Mag prototype model, which made its first appearance in Analog Forum 2011 Krefeld, Germany.
A major innovation in the 3P is its bearing system, which employs magnetic stabilisers instead of conventional bearings. Although the tonearm’s bearing can be considered as being like a gimbal, in effect it acts like a unipivot one. However, the major difference between a unipivot system and the magnetic system in the Reed 3P is that instead of a single pivot, both vertical and horizontal magnetic stabilizers are used. Such a bearing system is as rigid as gimbal, but its friction coefficient is as low as in a unipivot.
If such technical talk is baffling, it is enough to know that with the Reed 3P you can setup most of the tonearm’s parameters (VTA, azimuth, antiskating) on the fly, and due to the very sensitive bearing system you will not miss the slightest music tones. You can set up the arm by ear, while the record is playing. It’s a complex design but that means utter simplicity in use.
What We Say
Our demonstration arm is a 12″ 3P with Cocobolo wand. It comes in a nicely made but not ostentatious plywood box, and packed in very accurately laser-cut foam material (think SME packaging quality). The arm is very simple to mount and set up because Reed provide simple and clear instructions, and a template for setting the ‘at rest’ position of the arm tube. The physical quality and finish of the 3P are beyond excellent – this is absolutely top line stuff. Installing a cartridge is easy because you can do it with the arm tube set aside from the main structure (the wires are captive but that’s no problem). Setting tracking force, SRA and azimuth are all easy – SRA and azimuth can be adjusted on-the-fly.
Set up on our Kenwood KD-990 direct drive deck, with a Miyajima Shilabe stereo cartridge up front, we have been utterly captivated by the sound of the Reed 3P arm. It has a lovely open, organic and expressive sound character that has had us completely transfixed by LPs that we know quite well. The Reed 3P/Miyajima Shilabe combination is certainly delivering the finest sounds that we have ever heard from vinyl.
Downsides? The arm’s vertical pivots are two little pins that locate in tiny cups on the magnetically suspended bearing yoke (hence Reed’s words about it working like a unipivot), and it’s initially quite easy to dislocate these pins when moving the arm in and out of the rest clip. It’s a matter of a second or two to put everything back, and you do learn how to handle the arm to avoid doing this, but it is initially disconcerting. The arm would not sound as good as it does without this particular design compromise and you do very quickly get used to handling the arm correctly, so this really is not an issue apart from during initial acquaintance. It’s our job as a Reed dealer to forewarn customers of this so that they can immediately enjoy the arm without frustration!
|Mounting distance, mm||223||251.6||295.6|
|Offset angle, deg||22.9||20.7||17.6|
|Effective mass||Depends on the armwand material|
|Arm Length||Wenge||Makassar Ebony||Pernambucco||Cocobolo|
For All Specifications and Details, See http://www.reed.lt/products/tonearms/reed-3p/all/reed-3p