Once the collar and post have been used to set the arm’s basic height, this can be preserved using a separate locking ring. Above the mounting post is positioned the VTA tower. First seen on the Airline and since adopted for the 313 and this design, this elegant arrangement employs a large, graduated knob to alter arm height and thus VTA in a continuous and repeatable manner, on a record by record basis if so desired. Once set, the VTA is locked by a cam linked to a cueingstyle lever behind the tower. It is a precise and beautifully damped set-up that’s easy and intuitive to use. My one complaint is that I’d like finer graduations on the knob, making repeatable adjustments easier, but apart from that this remains the bestexecuted VTA adjustment I’ve used. The VTA tower carries the outrigger arrangement that supports the cueing device, falling-weight bias and horizontal bearing (and associated damping trough).
Which brings us to that bearing; the separate arm tube and bearing post might suggest a uni-pivot but this is a far more complex design than that. The bearing “post” is in fact an external sleeve that does sit on a vertical point (a la uni-pivot), but a second, horizontal point engages a polished trough on the front face of the post proper, preventing any fore and aft or sideways movement and thus stabilizing the sleeve. A horizontal plate is attached to the bottom of the bearing sleeve and it’s this that carries the attachment for the bias thread and also the outrigger that dips into the horizontal damping trough. But on the rear of that plate is a pair of bearing cups, angled slightly back from vertical (take a look at the pictures – in this case they truly are worth a thousand words). Drop the yoke on the arm tube over the bearing sleeve and two forward angled points sit in those cups, allowing free vertical movement (and justifying the 4POINT moniker). The four pivots employed combined with the arm’s massive construction should provide a combination of negligible friction and excellent stability, while an outrigger added to the top of the bearing sleeve engages the trough on the side of the yoke to complete the independent horizontal and vertical damping layout. A small stub on the rear face of the outrigger supports the arm cable, the short flexible section allowing the arm unimpeded movement.
Clearly, the separate arm tube construction means that entire tubes can be swapped, although not as easily or quickly as on the VPI arms. If you employ the vertical damping, that will need to be disengaged and then the armcable will need to be unshipped from the outrigger and “parked” back on the bearing yoke. The arm tube can then be lifted clear, although it’s still carrying the armcable and connected via that to the phono-stage. In part, that reflects that interchangability was never one of the design goals, although in practice, many of those looking to profit from the opportunity on offer will have two separate phono inputs (one mono or configurable, one straight RIAA), which would ease things considerably.
Finally (as if that wasn’t enough) there’s one more little wrinkle up the 4POINT’s sleeve. You’ll notice a termination box, a foot or so down the arm cable. Look a lot closer and you’ll see that each cartridge tag is connected to a pair of wires coming from the arm tube. In fact, the arm is double wired, one set running from the tags in an uninterrupted run to the Silver Bullet plugs (an advantage over the breaks in the Lemo plug and phono sockets setup used by the VPI; the price paid for that arm’s peerless convenience). The other set connects to the phono sockets on the termination box. The cabling used is Crystal Cable throughout, but the provision of the termination box allows users to employ a different armcable from that point onwards should they so choose.
The physical description should have underlined just how easy it is to set up the 4POINT, especially as the Linn geometry and mounting has to be the most common pre-cut armboard. Kuzma even provides an under-board fixing collar to provide even clamping to unthreaded armboards. But before you reach for your LP12 or Pink Triangle, make sure the Kuzma’s (off-set) mass isn’t going to upset the suspension, while the arm-cable is sufficiently stiff to impede free movement too. But assuming your ‘table is appropriate, then the stage by stage nature of the set-up, even down to the detachable headshell makes the process extremely straightforward, while the range of repeatable adjustments on offer means that there’s no excuse for anything other than optimum geometrical precision. Like its forebears, the Tri-Planar and the VPI (as well as earlier Kuzma designs) clever engineering ensures that you needn’t compromise any aspect of proper set-up on the altar of mechanical integrity This easily attainable geometrical precision is reflected in the quality and consistency of the sound, each cartridge used sounding more like itself than is usually the case. I ran both the Lyra Skala and Titan i, along with the vdH Condor, each with excellent results, although the differences between these three transducers, and especially the resolution gap between the two Lyras, has never more obvious. Ultimately, it was the Titan with which I did the majority of my listening, its transparency and dynamic resolution a perfect foil for the 4POINT’s presence, life and energy. The arm was mounted on a fixed height Stabi XL4 tower, although I’m keen to try it with other decks too – especially the VPI TNT and Kuzma’s own Stabi Reference, a combination which I suspect could be the audio equivalent of Floyd Mayweather Jr – just without the mouth.