Sideways Uni-Pivot Arm - Torque Reaction Assisted Contact
The Blackbird is a new turntable tone arm with a revolutionary 'Sideways Uni-Pivot Arm' bearing (patent pending) which outperforms traditional tone arms. The sideways uni-pivot bearing directly opposes stylus drag at a single point of contact, eliminating microscopic play in the time axis and avoiding the scrubbing and roll movements which can degrade the performance of conventional uni-pivots. The Blackbird's SUPA bearing delivers unprecedented performance.
Loud passages increase stylus drag, producing oscillating vertical torque on normal tone arms - the stylus can struggle to stay in good contact with the groove. The SUPA bearing pivots just below the record level so that bursts of stylus drag produce a slight downwards torque, just when it's needed. That's how the Blackbird hugs the groove with tenacity during punchy dynamics. Torque-Reaction Assisted Contact (TRAC) plays the hottest grooves with less distortion.
The Blackbird is designed to resist the pull of the cartridge with unyielding rigidity on the microscopic scale. Only by maintaining a perfect position in the groove's time axis can a cartridge reproduce the true shape and explosive energy of a recorded signal. By directly opposing the oscillating drag forces from the cartridge, the SUPA bearing avoids scrubbing, chatter and the resulting time errors which can frustrate the retrieval of music.
The blackbird is designed to be lightweight and stable, fitting almost any turntable including classics like Linn, Technics, Garrard, Rega and many more. It can be matched with high compliance cartridges due to its low inertia, and it comes with a mass adaptor to keep low compliance cartridges under control too, making it compatible with the broadest range of cartridges from Shures to Miyajima Monos.
The Blackbird's arm tube is made of two pultruded carbon-fibre tubes bonded together. The headshell area is reinforced with aluminium and the left tube is filled with a rigid expanding foam. The arm tube is clamped firmly to the thrust box with six M4 machine screws into captive steel nuts. The arm forms an exceptionally rigid and dead structure with a tennis-racquet-class strength-to-weight ratio.
Length & Geometry
Due to its construction the Blackbird can be made in any length you specify up to 13-inches. You may also specify Stevenson offset instead of the default Baerwald. Headshell slots are 3mm long to accommodate a range of cartridges. Prices for longer arms are available on request. A protractor is supplied with each arm, enabling accurate spindle-to-pivot distance, pivot-to-stylus distance, and offset.
Mounts are available for Rega, Technics, Linn, SME, Jelco, VPI and others. Custom mounts may be available to order, price on request.
A nine-inch Blackbird has a base effective mass of roughly 10g. A mass adaptor is supplied for compatibility with cartridges which suit much more inert arms. The range of inertias is increased by a ballast block which can be bolted onto the mass adaptor.
The Blackbird is easy to maintain and modify. The arm's internal wiring is easy to replace. If you have specific wiring requirements it is also possible to order the Blackbird with custom internal wiring. By default the internal wiring is 30/0.04mm silk covered copper litz. Stiff wires are not recommended as they can affect the arm's free movement. If supplied, arm cables come with straight or right-angle DIN connectors as requested.
The Blackbird comes with an additional rigid finger lift for those who do not wish to use the string finger lift.
However, the controversial tress of soft cord is recommended as it protects the cartridge from accidental downward pressure. With the tress you can ensure that the stylus has engaged with the groove at the beginning of the record before you let go, and you can grip it firmly at the end of a record before lifting the stylus out of the groove. Many skeptics have changed their minds after finding there is less stress with the tress.
More information about the Blackbird, how to install it, and how to configure it, is available in the pdf manual.
The Blackbird has been reviewed twice at hifiaf.com, first review here, and an updated review here. A TNT-Audio review is under way.
9 inch Blackbird
10.5 inch Blackbird
12 inch Blackbird
Prices for custom lengths and parts are available upon request.
How to order
Please contactSupatrac at email@example.com if you are interested in buying a Blackbird.