The Well Tempered Royale 400 Is For Those Who Like It Long

In the Devore Audio room I found Well Tempered's new $12,500 Royale 400 turntable complete with sixteen inch long tone arm.

The Bill Firebaugh designed 'table features an approximately twenty five inch by twenty one inch plinth of baltic plywood sandwiched by two thick aluminum plates. The 'table and arm combo weighs in at around a hundred pounds.

A proprietary rubber damping material is between the plinth layers as well as between the motor and tone arm mounting plate. An electronic servo system controls the motor. As always the tone arm bearing utilizes a golf ball suspended in silicone fluid, which on this model is well-hidden.

Profrcw51's picture

Man, that's a long tone arm.You could probably play those old 16" transcription records on it.It's unique, and a conversation piece, and i'll bet it sounds good.

gMRfk6LMHn's picture

I have been using the original Well Tempered Arm for years now and love the sound of it.

Could you elucidate what the benefits of a 16'' arm to this Luddite!

James, Dublin, Ireland

DeFgibbon's picture

I don't want to speak for Bill Firebaugh, but he's unlikely to see this post so I'll just reiterate some of what we spoke about in the room. While the usual argument for length is the reduction of tracking error, this was not Bill's primary goal. Rather it was the reduction of skating force (which is directly related to offset angle, which decreases as you lengthen the arm). The longer the pivot-to-stylus distance gets the closer to zero offset angle and zero skating force you get.

I must say that I didn't know what to expect before the show, but my experience with other Well Tempered designs gave me hope. I needn't have been concerned though, the 'table and arm were a joy to use and in my opinion sounded excellent.

--John DeVore
Top Banana, DeVore Fidelity Ltd

Michael Fremer's picture
yes, the longer the arm, the shorter the offset and that is a worthy goal but there is a price to pay as with anything in this analog world. In this case it's got to be the arm's dynamic behavior in the groove due to the moment of inertia.... the conclusion of the Swedish Analog Technologies SAT arm is that whatever additional tracking angle error and skating issues are created by a shorter arm are more than offset (no pun intended) by the shorter arm's superior dynamic behavior in the record groove. My experience with the SAT confirms his conclusion!
readargos's picture

to verify this conclusion? Or compare other arms of varying lengths on the same 'table (e.g., 9", 10", 10" Pro-Ject or VPI JMW, or SME, etc.)? I have no doubt that SAT is the best 'arm you've heard, and have nothing to say against Mr. Gomez's engineering bona fides (and I downloaded the Led Zep and The Band tracks when available), but I'm suggesting that unless we compare, do we know whether it sounds good in spite of the design decisions, or because of it? As with digital, the theory and the reality (the listening experience), and what we later learn about the reality to explain why the theory was a little off... It seems the reviews I've read of SME and VPI 'tables suggest the longer arm does yield some benefits, although with SME, the 'tables change to accommodate the arm, so it's still not apples to apples.

Miner42's picture

Best of luck finding an alignment gauge that will work with that P2S distance.

doak's picture


audiof001's picture

I have 3 WT's - the original WTT with alignment gauge, the WTRP with alignment gauge and a self-modified WT Simplex with a WTRP platter, bearing and spindle, a bottom base for added depth and a self-built Simplex/Amadeus ll arm and suspension, with some parts 3D printed. While the new WT's tabes come with a fixed mount and no tracking gauge, I built adjustability into my arm and find a gauge helpful.

Catcher10's picture

Talking with others, the only benefit I see with a 16" arm tube is the arc from outer edge of platter to spindle is much flatter than say with a traditional 9" tonearm. But I still wonder how much more wobbly or deflection you will get with a 16" arm vs a 9" arm...None of us want our tonearms bouncing up and down.

doak's picture

Ever use one?
Nothing "wobbly" about it.

Catcher10's picture

No...that's why I said "I still wonder", but it makes sense that a longer pole will be suspect to bounce. I will not ever use one, the only benefit is reducing the arc. Having such a huge plinth creates more chances of vibration..I'm good with a 9" arm.

doak's picture

My "Did you listen to it?" was for MF.

doak's picture

Did you listen to it???

Michael Fremer's picture
It's difficult to give an accurate opinion under show conditions but from what I could hear it did sound good--the WTs always sound good even though i am not a fan of the concept..that is the great thing about analog—more often than not it will sound the sense of pleasing to the ears.
Mendo's picture

That arm has to need some Viagra. Hard to keep anything that long stiff I would think.

audiof001's picture

... ccarbon fibre. It's stiff, baby.

cundare's picture

OK, I've got a degree in physics, so if this is a dumb question, I have no excuse. But why in the world would no alignment guage be required for an arm like this? The angle between the tonearm and the radius of the LP still changes as a function of the stylus's distance from the spindle. Wouldn't you still want to minimize the resulting tracking error?