Review: 4Point Bejeweled – A Guided Tour of an Improved Kuzma Tonearm

tima

Industry Expert
Mar 4, 2014
757
336
63
#1
Franc Kuzma recently upgraded his 4Point arms with new bearings. Prior 11” and 14” 4Points are upgradeable at the Kuzma factory in Slovenia. You can read about it here.

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bazelio

Active Member
Sep 27, 2016
798
183
43
California
#2
I had an 11" 4 Point arm with standard wire upgraded by Franc Kuzma to the ruby/sapphire pivot cups and the Kondo wire recently. I've just installed it within the last few days and have had some time now to listen to several familiar records. My own brief impressions are as follows...

While it's impossible to now determine where the wire vs the new lower friction pivots are contributing, this is no small sonic change overall. After installing the new arm, I set it to the same nominal VTA and VTF that I'd been using previously. Immediately noticeable was the bass. And I mean, whoa. Far too much bass. Previously I'd kept my cart (Proteus) slightly tail down to achieve a good balance. I now readjusted to a slightly tail up position. Balance was slightly better, and I liked what this did for treble clarity, but balance was far from fully restored. Next step: cartridge loading. For a long while, I'd been running a fairly high load value for my cart of 675 ohms. This was simply what I'd found to sound best. But it is clearly out of whack now. Conveniently, my Intact Audio SUT essentially allows for unlimited loading options (by loading the primaries) with resistor load plugs that are easy to DIY. The two I have on hand bring the cart load value down to 85 ohms and 188 ohms. I'm going to solder up several more and experiment further, but for now the 85 ohm load sounded rather thin with the 188 ohm load seeming pretty close to balanced again. This is clearly a rather drastic change after merely changing tonearm wire and pivot cups! I actually don't understand it.

Second, and again with regards to bass, I'm noticing a lot more record to record variation than previously. I feel as though adjusting cart loading to suit a particular record is something I'll be doing now, whereas previously it was not. This would primarily be needed to quell overly warm records. And this newfound transparency is almost both a blessing and a curse in some ways.

Third, the rest of what's left... Image precision is even better (and it was already excellent). And resolution has improved as well. Perhaps these two are correlated. Perhaps not. But either way, I'm hearing more inner detail, and not in any sort of forward or fatiguing way.

So, after the initial shock and "what have I done!?", and then getting a handle on how to retune the system, this is an undeniable improvement for my system and an upgrade that I'd recommend to any 4 Point owner.
 
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