Ariston RD11 – Tonearm SME 3009


Cover is clear great condition, no cracks.

Tonearm: SME3009, fixed headshell.

Cartridge: Ortofon 2M Blue

“The RD11 shared many features with the LP12 Sondek of the period, so much so that many of the upgrades for the LP12 (Valhalla power supply, Nirvana springs etc) will also fit the Ariston.

As with all good things, the Ariston RD11 is very simple in concept – and in turntable design, simplicity is the essence of perfection.

A 24 pole synchronous motor, specially designed by Ariston engineers for the RD11 minimises wow and flutter.

Its smooth running, combined with the high mass platter, have contributed to unquestionably excellent specifications.

The main bearing elements consist of a precision ground mirror finished shaft, resting on a perfectly spherical ball-bearing, giving a single point of contact – and reducing friction to a bare minimum.

The tone arm and platter are mounted on a shock absorber to achieve isolation from external vibrations, and two external concentric rubber rings provide positive record support with minimum surface contact, thus eliminating electrostatic build-up.

A slip-clutch mechanism on the belt drive prevents belt stretching and, aided by the high torque motor, ensures a swift and smooth build up to full speed.

Few people today know about these Ariston turntables, or their meteoric rise and fall in the mid 1970’s.

Fewer still know the very intriguing history that the Ariston RD-11 was in fact the predecessor guing to the world famous and enduring Linn LP12 Sondek turntable, and that the Linn was based upon this prior Ariston design. Both turntables were machined in the same Castle Engineering factory in Scotland, with the Ariston preceding the Linn by three years.

There are many variations of this story, but what is undisputed is that Hamish Robertson, the founder of Ariston, designed the Ariston RD11 in 1971, and contracted Castle Precision Engineering, to machine the critical tight tolerance tapered shaft, and bearing assembly, that is key to the superb results of both the Ariston and the Linn.

In 1973, just 2 years after it had begun, Hamish Robertson left the company he founded after it was taken over by Dunlop. Within a year, Ivor Tiefenbrun (the son of the owner of Castle Engineering) debuted a new company and a new turntable design that looked interior -part for part – like an exact replica of the Ariston RD-11 turntable with a few cosmetic changes. That new company was Linn, and the turntable was the Linn Sondek LP12, which would go on to become perhaps the most enduring turntable of all time.

In those early years for Linn, the Sondek LP12 was not only essentially identical to the Ariston RD-11, it was at first even marketed that way.

In Vol. 6, issue No. 2 of the February 1973 Hi-Fi News & Record Review, Linn announced the release of their new LP12 turntable with the following text: “The turntable previously available under the name Ariston RD11 is now available under the name Linn LP12”.

Taken from

Listing ID: 4775ebb62717c22f

May 12, 2020 9:59 pm

107 days, 20 hours

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