We’ve been dealing with Roger at Tiger Paw for some time. Last year saw a small but unsettling supply hiatus but it’s good to report that everything is now back on an even keel. Oh, did I really use that word? 🙂

In addition to the established extremely effective Khan top plate, sKale weight for Linn and Aro arms and Elevator for the Aro, they are now making the Akula  sub-chassis and VulKan wall shelf.

The shelf can be used with a Linn because it’s got a ‘K’ in it. The construction quality and finishing can be taken as read. Pricing is decidedly realistic too.

More exciting is the Akula sub-chassis. Rather than simply regurgitate Linn’s existing internal design, Roger has re-thought the structural requirements. A great deal of thought, not to say experimentation, has gone into the choice of alloys used too. And it shows. It is now possible (but not obligatory) to fix the arm board and have the arm freely floating through it. Cuing an Aro could be a lot less traumatic, even without the elevator, and removing this bouncing potentially thrumming mass from the arm makes perfect sense.

We spent a pleasurable few hours with Roger a few days ago and listened to the effects of this new sub- chassis. Suffice it to say that we now carry it in stock. Let’s let Tiger Paw explain:

“Since the launch of the original Khan, and subsequent sKale and Elevator products we have received requests to look at alternative sub chassis solutions. The Keel has always been our reference and indicates the fundamental performance improvement that good engineering in this area can achieve.

However, I’m aware that the sub chassis area is one of controversy with other manufacturers and we were not keen to become embroiled in that confusion. Following several discussions and having examined some of the alternatives we set about analyzing the issue over the past 18 months.

We have taken a slightly different approach in arriving at our solution in order to come up with a product that delivers the highest level of musical performance and remains cost effective.

The first conclusion that we came to is that we are essentially trying to manage the relationship between the main bearing and arm connection (perhaps obvious). As demonstrated by the Keel, this is best achieved by a single connection; further connection points act as filters, ie, placing an armboard between the arm mount and rest of the chassis results in loss of information.  However, a large piece of material between the two points gives rise to similar issues; not all materials can be machined to that shape and choice of material is critical in managing the harmonics between the two pieces. In car terms, this is the equivalent of designing a suspension component to link the hub to the chassis and then adding additional mass and shape in order to fulfill a non critical application; the ideal is to design a component that is correct for the job.

So with that principle in mind we use two pieces. One piece is the primary connection and locates the arm directly to the main bearing housing. Being a smaller assembly this gives us great choice in material and allows us to optimize that piece for it’s specific role. This is the connection that drives  information retrieval and musicality.”

I’ll post about the wall shelf later.