Named Houdini, Funk claims that much as a tuning fork couples its vibration when placed onto a guitar box, the very act of firmly bolting the cartridge to the arm similarly couples and superimposes its resonances directly onto the cartridge. Funk claims that to date all arms are responsible for this describing it as “The problem you never knew you had” and all turntables suffer from it. Decoupling the arm is akin to lifting the tuning fork and thereby reduces colorations by an order of magnitude. A fully isolated cartridge would be free to wobble, negating the benefits. Houdini deals with this by utilizing a new-patented suspension and torsion tether to create what Funk describes as an island of stability to achieve “The Record Cutter in Reverse”.
They claim the differences aren’t subtle and they see Houdini as the “Next step forward for analogue”.
Decoupling from a resonant thing (arm) is good, but there will be some loss of rigidity, which is bad. And you’re changing the resonant frequency of the arm-cartridge system (undoubtedly upwards), which will have unpredictable effects, depending on the amount of damping. So who knows, but it’s nice that stuff is being tried.
The thing is, I can’t see any downside with front-end damping a la Rock, but nobody else ever does it. If the arm is effectively clamped at both ends at audio frequencies so much of this shit goes away. Is his patent/licensing such a deterrent?
Not really. An arm only needs to be rigid to maintain geometry. Changes in rigidity will change arm resonance behaviours (not the stylus cantilever arm mass resonance) and Q. Nothing is rigid per-se under dynamic conditions anyway, changing it just moves the misbehaviour around. Adding a lossy interface isn’t a bad thing, though.
How so? Adding mass will lower the arm/cartridge resonance frequency.