GrooveMaster 3  Transcription Tonearm

A Master of Analog Playback

The GrooveMaster 3 Maximum Use of High Quality Engineering...

The Audio Creative GrooveMaster III  transcription tonearm is a result of long time building, testing tweaking and listening...

The genesis of the GrooveMaster tonearm lies in the 1950’s. In those days, high quality playback equipment was needed for mastering engineers, recording studios, music executives, broadcast networks, and wealthy connoisseurs. Previous equipment could not play back microgroove records without introducing massive noise and damaging the vinyl. The "transcription record player", as we think of it, came into existence.

These "transcription record players" allowed for high fidelity playback of microgroove vinyl. This equipment was meant to last a lifetime, and and was built with little regard for expense. The GrooveMaster II is developed according to the same standards as these classics.

GrooveMaster 3

The GrooveMaster 3 can be used in combination with many turntables. Obviously, the arm is designed to give amazing results when used with transcription turntables like the Garrard 301 and 401, and Thorens TD124. But the arm will be a great partner for many turntables, old and new. 

groovemaster

Artisan Garrard 301

Kondo Ginga

Garrard 401

Platine  Verdier

Dr Feickert Analogue 'Firebird'

Read Art Dudley's review in Stereophile

Audio Creative GM-II

The GrooveMaster 3 Maximum Use of High Quality Engineering...

The Audio Creative GrooveMaster 3 transcription tonearm is a result of long time building, testing tweaking and listening...

The GrooveMaster is a heavyweight. With an effective mass of approximately 22 grams. It can hold low to medium/high compliance cartridges up to 25 µm/mN. 

Development of the GrooveMaster 3 - 60 Years of Lessons

In our research to develop the GrooveMaster II tonearm, we kept a few things in mind: How were classic tonearms designed? How did they determine what improvements were needed? Were those improvements successful? What measurements did the engineers make? Did they limit themselves due to materials? Did they limit themselves based on manufacturing technologies available in the '50s? All analog equipment is built on the backs of giants. Most lessons have already been learned by the great engineers of the past, though many of those lessons are forgotten with time and "new technology". In the 21st century, some things can be done faster, much more accurately, using better machine tools, on higher grade materials. With this in mind, and many hours of building, tweaking, listening, redesign, and more listening, the Audio Creative GrooveMaster II was born.

A Master of Analog Playback

Groovemaster 3  - An Eye to Detail and - High Precision

The Audio Creative GrooveMaster transcription tonearm is manufactured with utmost precision, using the best components available. The vertical bearing housing is cut from billet stainless steel. The vertical bearing is a high precision, hybrid ceramic, roller bearing, conforming to ABEC-7 specifications. The tolerance of ABEC-7 bearings is 0.0025 mm. A threaded counterweight insures precise setting of the VTF.

Precision Ceramic Bearing to ABEC-7 specs

The horizontal bearing is positioned in the GrooveMaster III top housing, where hybrid ceramic bearings are also used. The horizontal bearing is angled to 17,11 degrees, which matches the offset angle of the tonearm curve. Many older arms did not have matching offset angles at the bearing, which caused constantly changing azimuth. When cartridges only had spherical tips, and played only mono records, this wasn't a big problem. However, any type of elliptical, or more advanced stylus, playing a stereo record, must have stable azimuth. With matching offset angle at the bearing, the azimuth angle is stable.

All parts are CNC machined with utmost precision, using high grade aluminium, titanium and stainless steel.

All materials used in the GrooveMaster 3 are the highest grade. The bearing housing, as well as counterweights, are made of stainless steel. The counterweights are sanded, then passivated, to insure a long lasting, beautiful finish.

The GrooveMaster 3 is hand built and tested, with utmost attention to detail, by Audio Creative in the Netherlands. It takes over 2 days to build and test one GrooveMaster II before it leaves our shop. Parts are produced locally, by master machinists, on CNC equipment, using modern tooling, in a climate controlled shop, and the machinists are well paid for their efforts. They care about quality!

GrooveMaster 3 - Colors

Satin Silver

Titanium Grey

GrooveMaster 3 - The Connections.

Pure silver Tonearm Wire

We chose the tonearm wiring of the GrooveMaster II after much testing and listening. This cable is ultra thin and extremely flexible so it does not put any stress or force on the very precise bearings of the GrooveMaster III. The cable is made especially for us and is made of 99.999% fine silver

silver tonearm cable

A High Quality Custom Headshell Collet!

The headshell connector is an important part of the tonearm. Not only should the headshell be attached firmly and without play, also the choice of material is important. We have decided to revise this connector. The inner part of the connector is now made of (black nickel plated) brass and the screw joint is made of stainless steel. These are two materials that eliminate each other's resonances. It seems unimportant but unwanted (micro) resonances can quickly occur at the head of the tonearm tube.

High quality custom headshell connector

Extra slot for mounting EMT headshell

Another special feature of this headshell connector is that, in addition to the standard SME headshell, an EMT headshell can also be mounted. We have provided an additional slot for this purpose. By turning the connector a quarter turn, the required diamond connection of the EMT is created. The only thing that has to be done is to swap the blue and green headshell lead to the cartridge to make the electronic connection correct again.

A High Grade Tonearm Cable Connector

The tonearm cable connection of the GrooveMaster III was also developed in-house. Most connectors have brass gold-plated pins. Unfortunately, brass has very poor conductivity (IACS: 16) rather than pure copper (IACS: 101). We have provided our connector with silver plated pure copper pins. This is to ensure the passage of the very small music signals so that also on micro level no signal loss occurs.

The GrooveMaster III tonearm comes with a custom made Cable Connector.


GrooveMaster 3 - Special Options

GrooveMaster 3 - S-Shape

Besides the very popular Banana shape GrooveMaster we also have a traditional S-shape GrooveMaster in our package. Self-made quality like the Banana shape with the same finish. We can deliver this S-shape GrooveMaster in a length of 229 mm. P2S (9"), 254 mm. P2S (10"), 290 mm. P2S (12") and 304.75 mm. P2S (12").

The difference in the 290 mm. P2S and 304.75 P2S is that the 290 mm. is often used where the length of 304.75 mm. is not applicable. 
The advice is to choose the largest length tonearm if the configuration of the turntable allows it. A longer P2S gives a smaller error angle and a smaller offset angle. This results in a better sound.


Good day, I wanted to let you know how much I am enjoying the GrooveMaster 2 (for SPU type A) 12' tone arm I recently purchased.
I am a long term SPU enthusiasts. I purchased my 1st SPU in 1988 (new, made for the Asian market). I used a Ortofon 297 arm (again, new, made for the Asian market) until the bearings began to decline about 2010. I have been looking for a quality replacement for a long time. Prior to installing the GrooveMaster2 I was using a Alfred Bokrand AS-309, which was a good sounding, reasonably priced arm. Your arm is more costly but, in today's market, has to be considered reasonably priced as well.
The quality of the build is fantastic. The set up instructions are easily understood and implemented. I like that one tool is all you need for all required adjustments (and it's included). The arm lock down device is genius in it's simplicity and effectiveness.  What I am most enthused about is that the arm's sound seems (to me at least) to really highlight the strengths of the SPU (a kind of musically engaging vividness without any area calling extra attention to itself). For those "old timers" (like myself) who feel an aluminum arm tube with copper wires is the preferred approach, I want to say, the GM2 with titanium arm and silver wire will have you rethinking your prejudices ! Your representative in the USA (Phillip Holmes) answered all my inquires before purchase. I had asked about a type A option prior to your making one available and for all intents and purposes he had to go thru the sales process twice, which he did with not a hint of impatience.


Mark,  US


GrooveMaster III Mounting Options

Mounting Collar

The mounting collar is a high quality base for the GrooveMaster.The collar is designed to mount a GrooveMaster at a fixed pivot to spindle distance. The mounting holes correspond to a Jelco mounting. It is therefore not necessary to drill extra holes. The mounting collar is available in standard aluminium and a high quality Stainless Steel.The collar is designed to mount a GrooveMaster at a fixed pivot to spindle distance. The mounting holes correspond to a Jelco mounting. It is therefore not necessary to drill extra holes. The mounting collar is available in standard aluminium and a high quality Stainless Steel. The latter provides extra mass on the plinth and a reduction of micro-resonances resulting in a more accurate sound reproduction.

Stainless Sliding Base

The sliding base for the GrooveMaster III is a high quality CNC machined sliding base. The brass sleeve connecting the GrooveMaster is nickel plated. Both materials together with the high mass minimise micro resonances. The unique wedge-shaped construction ensures a quick and play-free adjustment. The GrooveMaster sliding base fits the cutouts of an SME sliding base. The GrooveMaster sliding base is only available in one colour (silver) and fits both the silver and black GrooveMaster III

RotaryLift

The RotaryLift is a high-quality VTA lift developed especially for the GrooveMaster tonearm. This lift has a number of special and unique features, such as a collet attachment for the GrooveMaster and the possibility of adjusting the VTA while playing. The materials are stainless steel and brass. Two materials that neutralise each other’s resonance. Together with the high mass of the lift, this ensures an improvement in the sound. The lift is mounted under the turntable by means of a heavy nut or through the screw holes, which are exactly made to Jelco measurements.

The GrooveMaster diameter of the vertical bearing is 20.50 mm. It is exactly the same diameter of SME tonearms.The GrooveMaster II comes with a solid mounting collar. This mounting collar and will fit Jelco configuration. No need to drill separate holes when you are using a Jelco tonearm. We also do supply an optional GrooveMaster II sliding base. With this sliding base, a correct set-up of the GrooveMaster II will be very easy. The GrooveMaster II sliding base can replace an SME sliding base. It has the same dimensions and mounting holes. No extra drilling is needed. Mounting hole for the Mounting collar is >30 mm.

The GrooveMaster sliding base as well as the mounting collar is available in both GrooveMaster II matching colors: Coal Black and Satin silver. Note: they are not included and have to be ordered separately with your GrooveMaster.


GrooveMaster 3 Package Deals

We can offer special deals on tonearm cables and cartridges if ordered in combination with the GrooveMaster III. Ask for the possibilities.

GrooveMaster 3 Features

The GrooveMaster 3 Keeps you Listening


Most importantly, how does the GrooveMaster II sound? That is very subjective of course. You should check our customer's reviews: what they think of the sound of the GrooveMaster II. You will find glowing comments on the GrooveMaster II from happy owners. A satisfied listener is music to Audio Creative!

The GrooveMaster 3 Defines the Art of Sound

The GrooveMaster 3 has control over the cartridge, providing the stable interface the cartridge needs, with minimal degradation of electrical signal, with minimal resonance, with minimal bearing noise, displaying a full-bodied sound that captures the fundamental dynamics of music, while bringing out the finest instrumental detail. The GrooveMaster II defines the art of sound. Playing records with the GrooveMaster II is very addictive. We love the combination of the GrooveMaster II with the Ortofon SPU cartridges. As they say: a match made in heaven.

Defining the Art of Sound - GrooveMaster 3

"Hear what our customers say " Testimonials

Hello Marco
I have had the groovemaster up and running on my newly rebuilt thorens 124. I don’t have the money for the Miyajima cart/Ortofon SPU  I was plan to use on it yet. But got a Denon DL103 to play with.  But upon hearing the quality I did some comparisons to my VPI Fatboy uni pivot. So while your arm is gimble and the VPI is a uni the sounds are different but the quality of the GrooveMaster II is equal the VPI wich retails for 5200$. My Kiseki Purple Heart is now on the GrooveMaster II/Thorens TD124 table. It is wonderful! The extension is almost as far as the VPI, but the bottom is more solid and there is better slam. The VPI is more ethereal up top but with your arm I hear more separation of individual stings when chords are played and there may be more body or a fuller sound. And the timbre  is great! It is overall a better arm matching or bettering the 2.5x more expensive VPI in all areas, except airiness in the upper treble. I am really happy. And wanted to thank you much for helping me with all my questions. I get nervous about buying HiFi gear I cannot hear first. But this was a great purchase I am thrilled. And it sounds much better than the price would suggest the bearings seem especially well made. So for now until I get the carts I had planned to run with this arm/table I’ll keep the Kiseki on it and relegate the Denon to the VPI. 

 James, US


Peter,  Canada

The new Audio Creative 12'' Banana arm mounted to our reference turntable the Verdier Platine. The magnetic anti skate is really well thought out and executed and sonically it far outperforms the SME 3012. Actually this could well be the best sounding detachable head shell tonearm I've used.

Jack,  UK

Just to let you know I installed the Groovemaster on my PTP Lenco75 and it sounds fantastic, a huge step up from the 12” Jelco I had before. More bass, more impact, great imaging. I’m very pleased. Cheers!


Peter,  Canada

"this could well be the best sounding detachable head shell tonearm I've used..."

GrooveMaster 3 - “Specification 

Specification

  • Ultra low friction Semi-Ceramic bearing
  • Pure Silver Tonearm Wire
  • Custom Tonearm Lift
  • Custom Headshell Connector
  • Custom 5 pin Tonearm Cable Connector
  • Titanium tonearm tube 

Technical

9" GrooveMaster 

  • Mounting Distance Pivot to Spindle 229,0 mm
  • Offset Angle: 22,35 degr.
  • Overhang: 16,80 mm
  • Effective Length: 245,80 mm
  • Effectieve Mass Titanium Toneamr: 22 g.
  • Advisable Cartridge Compliance < 30 µm/mN

10" GrooveMaster 

  • Mounting Distance Pivot to Spindle 254,0 mm
  • Offset Angle: 20,26 degr.
  • Overhang: 15,0 mm
  • Effective Length: 269,0 mm
  • Effectieve Mass Titanium Toneamr: 24 g.
  • Advisable Cartridge Compliance  < 30 µm/mN

"If you need extra information or you have special requirements, don't hesitate to contact us ”

INSTRUCTION  MANUAL 

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The GrooveMaster in the Press

Instruction Manual
GrooveMaster III
Mounting Sjablone
GrooveMaster III

"If you need extra information or you have special requirements, don't hesitate to contact us ”