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Mk. V11 Tonearm

2002 Editors' Choice - HiFi+ Magazine 2003 Product of the Year - HiFi+ Magazine 2002 Editors' Choice - Absolute Sound Magazine 2003 Golden Ear Award - Absolue Sound Magazine


Tri-Planar 10” arm $5,999 $4,999



  • Description
  • History
  • Tonearm
  • Features
  • Specifications
  • In the
  • Reviews

Over 30 years in research and design, the Tri-Planar tonearms´ unique dual-pivot design offers maximum adjustability and watch-like precision upon all three planes of geometry.

  • Adjustable azimuth
  • Adjustable vertical tracking angle
  • Vertical bearing at record height



Tri-Planar officially came into being when the Wheaton Decoupled Arm was initially introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Chicago, 1981. The design of that first arm was the result of years of research and development by Tri-Planar founder, Herb Papier.

Mk. I

Tri-Planar Mk. IAs a young man, Herb Papier played trumpet in amateur Big Bands and, later in life, owned a music store. In World War II, he received official recognition from the U.S. Navy for his expertise in chronometer calibration, a skill he continued to hone throughout his civilian career as a watchmaker. Eventually, Herb settled in Wheaton, Maryland, where he combined his talent for fine mechanisms with his love of music by creating one of the best tonearms the world has ever known.

Mk. II

Tri-Planar Mk. IIBetween 1967 and 1980, Herb experimented with tackling the three major problems of tonearm design — adjustable azimuth, adjustable vertical tracking angle (VTA), and bearing at record height. The arms he produced for he and his friends are generally referred to as Mk. I. By 1981, Herb found a design he liked and premiered the Mk. II at the Consumer Electronics Show. He later renamed the arm Tri-Planar, a name that reflects the three planes of tonearm geometry.

Still, Herb found room for improvement and continued perfecting his design. In 1983, the Tri-Planar Mk. III was given International Audio Review's prestigious Engineering Achievement Award, the first of many such accolades.


Tri-Planar Mk. IIIIn 1999, during the Mk. VI years, Tri-Planar was purchased by Herb's handpicked successor, Tri Mai, of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Herb passed away in 2003 at the age of 83, just as Tri was introducing the current incarnation of Tri-Planar, the Mk. VII, which fittingly includes many of Herb's final thoughts on the design.

The meticulously handcrafted Tri-Planar Ultimate continues to be rated among the world's best. It is an ultra-precision tonearm offering maximum adjustability and watch-like precision. And, just as Herb Papier had envisioned, the arm's unique dual-pivot design provides unrivaled tracking, transparency, and resolution.

The unique dual-pivot design of this precision tonearm provides unrivaled tracking, transparency, and resolution.


The arm creates a musical sound stage unmatched by any other. It has been described as powerful and dynamic, solid yet expressive, delicate and tactile. The outstanding quality of this arm,commented on time and again, is that it is invisible, lacking the colorations that plague so many of our competitors.


Black or silver finish
• Damped headshell
• Annealed-aluminum coaxial damped armtube
• Clamping yoke design that firmly couples the headshell tube to the bearing tube, making for a single unit yet allowing azimuth rotation of the headshell
• Silicone-fluid trough tonearm damping
• Bearings featuring hand-crafted, hardened and polished needle cones
• Progressive anti-skating design
• Sophisticated system of decoupled counterweights, allowing proper stylus force for any cartridge without altering effective mass
• Easy 3-screw installation, with no large VTA hole


Type: gimbal-bearing tonearm
Effective length: 250mm
Pivot-to-spindle distance: 233.5mm
Overhang: 16.5mm
Offset angle: 22°
Effective mass: 11g
Bearing offset: 22°

Wire termination

Tonearms come in a variety of wire terminations.


Your choice of color, black or silver:

Your choice of wire termination:

5-pin Din connector
10" RCA box
RCA connector
XLR connector

These accessories are also available for purchase

Counter weight shaft
Mounting hardware
Mounting jig
Allen wrench drivers
Silicon syringe
Alignment template


Stereophile "The Tri-Planar's ability to resolve low level detail was superb, and its tonal balance and frequency extensions were exemplary. In every way, it remains one of the world's premier arms."

-Stereophile July 2001 Vol. 24 No. 7: pages 33-35.

The Absolute Sound"[The Tri-Planar Ultimate Mk. VII] removes colorations... but leaves the 'lushness' and 'sweetness' of the music in a field of the highest resolve and definition."

- Harry Pearson, "Recommended Products," The Absolute Sound Issue 144, October/November 2003: page 63.