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The 4Point Hybrid Story – Part-2

Galibier Design - 4Point Hybrid on Savoie Prototype
4Point Hybrid (click to enlarge)

In part-1, we documented our 4Point Hybrid project from its initial conception, through prototyping and preliminary evaluation. 

Since we’ve been using the 9″ arm wand for the past year, we wanted to spend some time re-familiarizing ourselves with the mass of the 11″ arm wand before comparing it against the standard 4Point with it’s VTA on-the-fly bearing structure.

That time has now arrived …

The Bottom Line

We’ll save the background commentary for last, as this experiment has created quite a bit of excitement.

The short story is we’re not going back.  Period!  We suspect however, that what we’re hearing may not transfer to your system, and we’ll explain why shortly.

The improvement we’re hearing (while subtle) matches the musical values we spend sleepless nights instilling in our turntable designs:

  • A sense of dynamic presence
  • A visceral listening experience (music is both cerebral and physical)
  • Rendering of delicate dynamic shadings
  • The ability to follow multiple, interleaving voices and make sense of it
  • Tracking the leading and trailing edge of the notes without overhang

It Ain’t Braggin’ If It’s True

Galibier Design - 4Point Hybrid (Bearing Closeup)
4Point Hybrid (click to enlarge)

As we hopefully return to a semblance of post-COVID normalcy, we’ll be opening up our listening room to the public for you to experience what we’re describing.

Until then, we want to set realistic expectations.  We can’t guarantee you’ll experience these results in your system.  These differences are subtle.

We realize this sounds immodest, but in our travels, we’ve yet to hear a turntable (even at multiples of the Stelvio’s price) that equals the Stelvio’s noise floor performance, and the Stelvio’s rhythmic and dynamic presentation is second to only our Savoie.

The reason we love the Kuzma tonearms is because their design sensibilities are very much in alignment with our listening priorities, and the complimentary attributes of our turntables set the stage for us to experience any differences between the two Kuzma bearing tower designs. 

Will a lesser turntable mask these differences?  It’s very possible.

We mentioned a visceral listening experience.  This attribute (in our opinion) redefines the concept of sound stage.  We’re not talking piccolos reflecting off the plaster in Symphony Hall (although that counts too).

When an orchestra is going full-tilt, fortissimo, our Stelvio and Savoie present you with a physical sense of the stage rocking.  The standard 4Point (VTA on-the-fly) compliments  this, but the Hybrid mounted to our turntables takes this up a notch.  Don’t confuse this with instability, but rather consider how a stage is set into motion when 100+ musicians turn it up to “11”.

With all of the attributes mentioned above, the Hybrid takes the standard 4Point (VTA on-the-fly) design and squeezes just a bit juice out of your record collection.

A Pleasant Surprise

Galibier Design - 4Point Hybrid on Savoie PrototypeWe fought confirmation bias when evaluating the two arm iterations, although we did have some expectations. 

We expected results parallel to the improvements we observed between our Mark-I turntables (pivoting armboards), and the more stable arm mounting architecture of our Mark-II turntables.

Our Mark-II designs brought stability in the record groove, and lower distortion.

Credit to the 4Point (VTA on-the-fly) bearing tower’s design, as it made no apologies to the Hybrid bearing tower in this regard. 

The “standard” 4Point’s VTA on-the-fly bearing tower is that good!  This stability is not trivial, and is why we’re comfortable in recommending both designs.

So, Why Would I Want the Hybrid?

Galibier Design - 4Point Hybrid on Savoie Prototype
4Point Hybrid Mount Orientation (click to enlarge)

It’s worth restating this from our previous post:

  • If your turntable will only accommodate a longer mounting distance, then this is your ticket to a 4Point, unless you fancy the 4Point-14, of course!
  • If you’re an Occam’s Razor person like we are (and your turntable base will accommodate a 264mm mounting distance), then yes.
  • If you know your way around a turntable setup (or hire us to set it up for you – either in person, remotely, or via remote Skype coaching session), then quite possibly.

Also, if the angled orientation of the “standard” 4Point (VTA on-the-fly) troubles you, the Hybrid can be oriented any way you please.  It’s a minor ergonomic issue, but since people remark about this to us when we’re installing it, it’s worth mentioning.  Click this link for various views of the standard 4Point (opens the Kuzma website in a new window).

Note that with the Hybrid, you’re “giving up” the damping feature.  We put that in quotes, because as built, the Hybrid is remarkably capable of dissipating energy from the cartridge.


We would be remiss if we didn’t mention that this Hybrid arm is a non-standard product.  

We specify it as a “one-off” with Franc Kuzma.  Some people are a bit reluctant to take a step like this.  If you’re that person, we recommend staying with the 4Point-9 or the standard 4Point (VTA on-the-fly), 11″ arm.

Because we’re working directly with Franc on this arm, we can specify customizations – some of which are normally not available on Kuzmas delivered to the U.S.  One such change is to build your Hybrid with our our preferred ETI RCA and XLR connectors

We’ve been working with various wires, and have most certainly developed preferences which we can walk you through.

Contact us for details.

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