The Wand 14-4 Turntable and Wand Plus Tonearm

The heart of the design is a uni-pivot bearing, encapsulated in a massive, fixed counterweight block and coupled to a 22mm diameter, super-stiff, one-piece arm-tube. Tracking force and azimuth are set with auxiliary weights positioned at the rear, the main discs can be off-set to cant the arm, while a small rotary weight provides fine adjustment of VTF. Bias is via a simple falling weight and in this version of the arm, VTA is set using a simple post and collar arrangement. The cartridge mounts inside the diameter of the tube, supported on a small internal platform, the forward protrusion, or nose, offering an elegant solution to the challenge of hand cueing. One-piece Cardas arm-wiring extends from the cartridge all the way to the RCA plugs. Unlike many affordable arms, the Wand offers adjustment of all essential alignment parameters. A slot in the plinth allows you to slide the arm mount for overhang adjustment, a slightly clumsy but effective solution to the question of accurate P2S placement – although I understand hat a sliding sled arrangement, similar in effect o hat used on the SME 5 is in the works and will be warmly welcomed when it arrives. Conversely, it is extremely easy to make small, repeatable adjustments to the performance critical bias, VTF and azimuth settings. All in all it’s another model of simple, effective engineering, one that has found success mounted on a range of ‘tables, not least the LP12, now that the legendary Aro is no longer available.

At home with the establishment…

In fact, I’ve been using the Wand Plus in its 10” version mounted on a Booplinth-ed LP12 for a number of years with consistently enjoyable results. So much so that I’d rate this as the first choice tonearm for any LP12 owner who doesn’t want to go the Ekos route – or still hankers after the livelier sound of the original ARO. Design Build Listen even offers its own replacement armboard for the LP12, which makes mounting even simpler. The Wand’s positive, dynamic and engaging sound is certainly reminiscent of the ARO, although it is far less mid-dominant, with a wider bandwidth, better bottom end stability, greater presence and dimensionality, and a much more linear presentation, all reflected in the more developed and natural stereo perspectives it generates. Ultimately I’d rate it higher than the original Naim design when mounted on the LP12, while its superiority on other ‘tables would, I suspect, be even greater. Given SME’s refusal to invest in new tooling for their arm-tubes and the subsequent decision to limit availability of their arms to complete record players only, I can see the popularity of the high-performance, cost effective Wand tonearms increasing significantly.