Kuzma Stabi S turntable and Stogi S tonearm

10.09.2015..
Kuzma Stabi Stogi
Kuzma Stabi Stogi

Kuzma is a Slovenian company founded in 1983. Their mission is crystal-clear: making top-level turntables, tonearms and cartridges. Since the ‘90s, when the news spread about the quality of their products, the appreciations of the audiophiles have been numerous and enthusiastic.

 

I have never suggested companies‘ commercials, but the two short videos on YouTube are very interesting. They show Kuzma’s great technological quality. You can learn a lot from this presentation.

 

Kuzma Stabi S with Stogi S unpacked

Two solid and well-made brass-rods in a T-shape, a sub plinth with a central bearing to be inserted in the chassis, the rubber belt, a synchronous motor with a 45 rpm adaptor and, last, the 4 kg solid aluminium platter and the unmovable mat, made of a special mix of rubber and fabric. Stogi S tonearm with its connecting wires, two brass counterweights of different mass and dimensions, plus the unipivot bearing design and a chassis of solid brass that controls all vibrations and facilitates the stability of the tonearm as a whole.

More than a list of the parts, what counts are the images! We have put a lot of them because the visual aspect, together with brief taglines, can better describe this peculiar and beautiful electro-mechanical apparatus.

 

Assembly and calibration

Assembling the parts of the Kuzma Stabi S turntable with a rigid plinth and the Stogi S tonearm is not very difficult. What you need is a large work surface area to place all the components and follow the instructions of the user’s manuals. Harder is instead the perfect calibration of all parameters. For this reason, we put a to-do list with photos and taglines. If you like, you can start from here right now.

 

Do not worry! You have just to adjust VTA, overhang, error or tangential geometry, tracking force, antiskating and azimuth.

If you are not experts and used to these operations, we suggest you reading this preparatory article on ReMusic.

 

When the turntable system is upon a straight line and your favorite cartridge is in its place, the first operation is adjusting the tracking force (VTF). Because we do not have at our disposal a caliber scale, you have to adjust the back counterweights of the tonearm by using a precision gauge. The right weight is the one suggested by your stylus.

The calibration of the Vertical Tracking Angle or VTA is essentially transferred to the adjustment of the height of the Stogi S tonearm, using the Allen screw placed on the back of the Stabi S. The calibration is correct when the upper side of the cartridge, anchored to the shell of the tonearm, is perfectly parallel to the tracking level of the record. Unfortunately, things are not so simple. For example, not all the records have the same thickness and the tracking angle of the cartridge should take into account also the tracking angle of the cartridge that has recorded the LP. What I always suggest is starting from the ideal theoretic condition – parallelism of the tonearm – and then making a fine-tuning by moving up or down the height. Obviously, all that by ear, that is always the most precise tool at our disposal.

Next step is taking care of the azimuth: very important parameter for unipivot tonearms that are free to move on the central bearing. The perfect perpendicularity of the cartridge is obtainable by rotating lightly on the axis the small counterweight. The operation can be simplified with a small mirror under the cartridge.

 

For overhang and tangential error, you can use the template jig provided by the factory. The best point to find is when in the measurement points put at 66 and 120,9 mm – null points – you get the best alignment on average.

Also for the antiskating, there is no grading scale. Once you have hooked the thin wire to the rear block on the tonearm, adjust the position of the counterweight with the Allen key, so that during the tracking, the cantilever, looked from the front, does not show flexions on the right or on the left, with respect to the perpendicular axis.

 

Keep in mind that the contrast range of the centripetal force, given by the counterweight, is from 1 to 2,5 g and that, at half way, we are presumably at around 1,75 g. You can try to set it to the value related to the tracking weight chosen for the cartridge.

What reported before are practical and simple methods that I have been using for some time. However, if you prefer, you can use the calibration jig or a test disc plus the measurements with an oscilloscope.

 

Ok, another check at the tracking weight and there we are!

 

Choices, tastes and aptitudes

Now let’s talk about the choice of the cartridge. The effective mass of the Stogi S tonearm, equal to 11 gr, and the total mass equal to 690 gr, indicate that we are on average. Therefore, without any criticality in the choice of cartridges with low or high mass and compliance.

 

I have tested a MC Denon DL103, which has a bigger mass and less compliance with respect to the other cartridges that I have tested: the MM Grado Prestige Gold 1 and the Ortophon 520 MKII. Unfortunately, I was not be able to test some “heavy” MC cartridges. I mean around 15 gr of mass, limit indicated by the company.

 

I realize that an aesthetic judgment on the minimalist design of this turntable depends on the personal tastes. I find it beautiful, even more if provided with the Plexiglas anti-dust cover that you can buy as an optional.

 

The two characteristics of the Kuzma Stabi + Stogi system that I appreciate most are the extreme stability (inde nomen!) and insensitivity to the vibrations and external solicitations, plus its “disappearing” with respect to the other components of the audio chain.

It is like having the cartridges sailing happy, suspended in the space and in the best conditions to express their character and give their best while tracking.

The tracking capacity of the Stogi S tonearm, once well calibrated, is optimal: no fear to track the grooves also in records that are not perfectly planar and a bit elliptical.

 

Listening test

How can you establish what a turntable+tonearm can change, for better or for worse, or characterize differently the sound in an analogue chain?

For me only one answer is possible: you have to know very well the timbric features of the audio chain, starting from the cartridge to ending with the loudspeakers and the listening room.

The risk is not having at our disposal the “best” meant as the most suitable things to extract the possible from the tested device. I have tested three cartridges with different character and features, but I am quite certain that with a cartridge with bigger mass and less compliance I could have written something more and better about the Kuzma Stabi + Stogi system. Just to name someone, a Dynavector or a CAR by Kuzma, although its 17 gr are beyond the suggested limit.

 

The stable and massive mechanical character of the turntable and the light sailing of the unipivot tonearm seem to reflect themselves in the listening impressions.

Quite nothing from outside can affect the tracking of the Kuzma and, at the same time, the tonearm seems to do everything to avoid any interferences in the playback. With respect to other systems that I know very well, I have noticed a slightly closed soundstage even if the instruments and the voices are well focused. It can follow easily hard takes, mechanically imperfect without affecting the listening pleasure.

If that means something, I would say that the classical and symphonic music is better than the energetic rock.

 

Conclusions

We are not speaking of a prêt-à-porter turntable-tonearm match. Therefore, if you like to dedicate some time to the overall adjustment, I suggest you to think to another product.

Instead, we are speaking of the ideal analogue source if you like to dedicate the right time and the right patience to the fine mechanical adjustments required to calibrate at best the system and get great performances.

Once that everything is in order, think at this turntable as a partner for a long journey. Nothing is definitive in life but many thinks are Stab(i)-le!

 

SCHEME SUMMARY

top score ✳✳✳✳✳ ReMusic Sparks

Timbric: ✳✳✳✳ | Clean and linear, just a bit dark. The cartridge makes the difference.

Dynamics: ✳✳✳✳ | From the grooves it extracts almost all in terms of dynamic transients.

Detail: ✳✳✳✳ | Of top level. Same as the timbric.

Clearness: ✳✳✳✳✳ | Assigned to the cartridge and to the audio chain.

Image: ✳✳✳1/2 | Good, in some tracks a bit crushed by the vertical dimension.

Rate: ✳✳✳✳✳ | Very good.

Manufacture: ✳✳✳✳✳ | I like it very much. The mechanical precision is at the top.

Price/quality ratio: ✳✳✳✳ | If you like this turntable make it yours!

 

Official technical specifications:

 

Kuzma Stabi S

Mass: 13kg

Dimensions: 400x140x300 (WxHxD)

Platter mass: 4kg

Platter material: aluminium

Mat: yes, unmovable, made of a special mix of rubber and fabric.

Drive: flat rubber belt

VTA adjustment: yes

Speed: 33; 45rpm

Motor: AC 24 poles,100-240V; 50-60Hz

Accessories: Oil, Allen keys

Finishes: brass or black

Options: SD- second arm kit,12” kit, extra platter kit(2.6 kg), various armboards, outboard power supply, Brass clamp, supporting platforms.

 

Kuzma Stogi S

Effective length: 229 mm

Arm mount distance: 212 mm

Distance from spindle to horizontal bearing: 212 mm

Bearing type: Unipivot

Effective mass: 11 gr

Total mass: 690 g

Offset angle: 23°

VTA adjustment: Yes

Azimuth adjustment: Yes (fine)

Tube: Straight

Bias: Yes

Max. Standard cartridge weight: 15 g

Optional light and heavy counterweight: Yes

Damping: Yes

Detachable headshell: No

Arm mount: Kuzma& Stogi

Standard wiring: Copper, RCA Bullets (58pF)

Accessories: calibration jig, Allen keys, cartridge mounting screws

Options: XLR, 5pin

 

Official Italian dealer: to Il Tempio Esoterico website

Official current price in Italy: 1,950.00 Stabi S, 1,390.00 Stogi S EUR

Associated equipment: to Mauro Cittadini’s system

 


DIRECTOR’S CUT | INQUIRY SUPPLEMENT

Besides being a valid turntable, the Kuzma Stabi is a good “system”. If you read the pages of Kuzma’s website, that you find here, you can find out clamps, armboards, outboard power supply, 50 and 60 HZ motors and other accessories that makes it an adaptable system.

But the most appreciable thing, from the point of view of the sound quality, is the availability of bases in marble or wood, depending on the “tuning” you want to get as for match, and the “T”-shape chassis of various lengths, adaptable to any tonearm available on the market.

Solidity and good sense. Male metal and manufacturing precision. No surprise that the Stabi has been available since 1998.

A philosophy distant from who aims to “designing” products, maybe also to hide the manufacturing defects.

 

G.C.

 

 

 

 

previous slide next slide
The heavy “T”-shape chassis.
The heavy “T”-shape chassis.
Brass chassis with the motor nearby.
Brass chassis with the motor nearby.
Sub-platter inserted in the chassis.
Sub-platter inserted in the chassis.
Insertion, between the motor pulley and sub-platter, of the drive belt.
Insertion, between the motor pulley and sub-platter, of the drive belt.
Stabi S with the platter.
Stabi S with the platter.
Kuzma Stabi S with the plexiglass anti-dust cover (optional).
Kuzma Stabi S with the plexiglass anti-dust cover (optional).
When the turntable system is upon a straight line and your favorite cartridge is in its place, the first operation is adjusting the tracking force (VTF).
When the turntable system is upon a straight line and your favorite cartridge is in its place, the first operation is adjusting the tracking force (VTF).
Because we do not have at our disposal a caliber scale, you have to adjust the back counterweights of the tonearm using a precision gauge.
Because we do not have at our disposal a caliber scale, you have to adjust the back counterweights of the tonearm using a precision gauge.
Here is the gauge I bought. The right weight is the one suggested by your stylus.
Here is the gauge I bought. The right weight is the one suggested by your stylus.
The calibration of the Vertical Tracking Angle or VTA is essentially transferred to the adjustment of the height of the Stogi S tonearm,<br /> using the Allen screw placed on the back of the Stabi S.
The calibration of the Vertical Tracking Angle or VTA is essentially transferred to the adjustment of the height of the Stogi S tonearm,
using the Allen screw placed on the back of the Stabi S.
You have just to adjust VTA, overhang, error or tangential geometry, tracking force, antiskating and azimuth. 

Next step is taking care of the azimuth: very important parameter for unipivot tonearms that are free to move on the central bearing.<br /> The perfect perpendicularity of the cartridge is obtainable by rotating lightly on the axis the small counterweight.<br /> The operation can be simplified with a small mirror under the cartridge.
You have just to adjust VTA, overhang, error or tangential geometry, tracking force, antiskating and azimuth. Next step is taking care of the azimuth: very important parameter for unipivot tonearms that are free to move on the central bearing.
The perfect perpendicularity of the cartridge is obtainable by rotating lightly on the axis the small counterweight.
The operation can be simplified with a small mirror under the cartridge.
For overhang and tangential error you can use the template jig provided by the factory.<br /> The best point to find is when in the measurement points put at 66 and 120,9 mm – null points – you get the best alignment on average.
For overhang and tangential error you can use the template jig provided by the factory.
The best point to find is when in the measurement points put at 66 and 120,9 mm – null points – you get the best alignment on average.
Also for the antiskating, there is no grading scale. Once you have hooked the thin wire to the rear block on the tonearm...
Also for the antiskating, there is no grading scale. Once you have hooked the thin wire to the rear block on the tonearm...
...adjust the position of the counterweight with the Allen key, so that during the tracking, the cantilever, looked from the front,<br /> does not show flexions on the right or on the left, with respect to the perpendicular axis.<br /> Keep in mind that the contrast range of the centripetal force, given by the counterweight, is from 1 to 2,5 g and that, at half way, we are presumably at around 1,75 g.<br /> You can try to set it to the value related to the tracking weight chosen for the cartridge.
...adjust the position of the counterweight with the Allen key, so that during the tracking, the cantilever, looked from the front,
does not show flexions on the right or on the left, with respect to the perpendicular axis.
Keep in mind that the contrast range of the centripetal force, given by the counterweight, is from 1 to 2,5 g and that, at half way, we are presumably at around 1,75 g.
You can try to set it to the value related to the tracking weight chosen for the cartridge.
by Mauro Cittadini
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