A question for Graham owners

Hello guys,

I'm going to buy a Graham Phantom arm but I have had a very good offer over a preowned Graham 2.2t/c in mint conditions.
I have read the Stereophile review about the Phantom with inside the comparisons with the 2.2t
Well .. we know the use of the MintLP Best Tractor can reduce the difference (gap) between the two arms.. surely more than using the Graham Jig on both , like the reviewer did.
Now the question : Anyone here has been able to verify the difference between the two arms in the best MintLP conditions?

It would be interesting for me to understand if the old Graham 2.2t/c could be a good "sonical" deal over the higher price of the new Phantom.

Thanks to everyOne for suggestions/opinions


The 2.2 can't reach the Performance from the Phantom.
This one is a different chapter. Better choice for a lot of cartridges, more stable with warped records, huge soundstage ....But the 2.2 is still a very good coice.
I don't know about the MintLP Best Tractor you mentioned. I used to have the latest Graham 2.2 before the Phantom. The sonic difference is substanial. Deeper and more impactful bass, fuller body, better transient response and dynamic, more focused image, and bigger soundstage. If you can afford the Phantom, grab it.

By the way, I just upgraded to the Phantom II which is also better than the original Phantom. However, the sonic difference between Phantom I and II is not as much as that between the 2.2 and Phantom I. Hope that helps.
I really don't mean to be incendiary here, but this thread is probably as good a place as any to mention a negative issue about the Phantom I've discovered. Due to the fanatical following of the Phamtom, I was poised to purchase one. However, after auditioning it twice in two separate, very good systems and with knowledgeable owners, I distinctly heard mistracking on tracks I am very familiar with. This was a dealbreaker for me for the Phantom. I have not heard the 2.2 and so cannot comment if it's tracking might be better or worse.
Thanks Audiolui and Kipdent
By the way I can't imagine a Phantom that can't track every groove at its best , probably Kipdent the cartridge on that Phantom wasn't mounted correctly
Agree with Curio. I can think of many problems that are more likely to cause mistracking (or mistracking-like sounds) than a tonearm. I've diagnosed mistracking sounds on quite a few setups, and in no case was the tonearm itself to blame.

In some cases what sounds like mistracking isn't mistracking at all. Vinyl pressing voids and various phono stage issues can emulate mistracking noises well enough to fool most of us, especially in an unfamiliar system.

To conclude that such sounds were actual mistracking (without verification) and then attribute blame to the Phantom (without being able to investigate other, more likely possibilities) seems like two assumptions in one.

Not a Graham owner, just a disinterested observer...
Curio - Depends on what your criteria are for a "good sonic deal". You may be quite happy with the 2.2, especially if you don't hear the Phantom in your system. But as others above have stated, the Phantom easily surpasses the 2.2. We can't decide if you'd be happy or not. Two choices - try the 2.2; if you're happy, let it be. If not, you can always easily sell the 2.2 in the 'gon
where you can also find a used Phantom..........
I am with Dougdeacon. I am not here to defend the Phantom. Most likely the cause of mistracking is from the cartridge.

A good case in point. I mounted a new cartridge (quite expensive)on the Phantom I and it sounded great until it rode on one passage where it was the most dynamic on that track and the cartrdige sounded distorted and almost skipped that passage. Of course, I didn't blame the Phantom, I adjusted the VTA and wow, the distorted sound was gone and no mistracking at all. It is very easy to misalign a cartridge.

Both the 2.2 and the Phantom are great tonearms.
Kipdent, I am with the other posters here

I bought a Phantom about 6 months ago to go with my TW AC-3 and aligned using the Graham jig.
I had been using 12 inch arms before that with my HRX so I think I may have got a little lazy as they do track a little better than 9 inch arms.

I too heard that the Phantom was mistracking on the last track or two on albums, some more evident that others.

I bought the Mint tractor and re-aligned - the cartridge was ever so out.

The Phantom now tracks fine, so what I was initially hearing was slight cartridge misalignment.
if you're happy, let it be. If not, you can always easily sell the 2.2 in the 'gon where you can also find a used Phantom...
- Rgurney -

Thanks Rgurney .. I'm already searching for a Graham Phantom here on Agon but the two listed are already sold out and no one else on the horizon.
I also searched for the Tri-Planar MKVII uII , imho another good choice , but finding one is still worse than the Phantom .. no one preowned or demo around! :-(
The Phantom IS a very good tracker....Along with others here you also know set up IS everything.

The Graham Phantom is known to be a fabulous match for your Raven.
With a budget in mind, I would be patient for a used one.

The Phantom is a beautiful sounding arm, well thought out, will handle many if not all available cartridges with "easy fine tuning designed" for the end user in mind as is the Tri-Planer.

Definitely you cannot go wrong with either.
In the long run you will be happy and satisfied.

My instinct is what you have now for a arm compared to a Graham 2.2 could end up being a minimal leap forward at best with a differant presentation.
Definitely you cannot go wrong with either.
- Stiltskin -

Hi Stiltskin,

Thanks for your suggestion .. in fact I'm already searching for a preowned Graham Phantom MKII or the Tri-Planar MKVII UII but I didn't find one yet :-(


As the designer of the Phantom, I was interested in Kepdent's posted concern (a possible tracking problem), and glad to find out that other users can confirm the Phantom was not the problem. That would ruin my day..!!

One of the most important doctrines in mechanical engineering, and especially for me, in my work is, like the doctor's creed: "First, do no harm!" No tonearm should mistrack, or cause any other ills, due to an inherent design flaw. I went to a lot of effort to ensure that the Phantom, like it's earlier brothers, would perform as well as I could make them at the time.

That being said, there are certain important setup issues to keep in mind: first, and well covered in this thread, is the importance of cartridge alignment. If that's wrong, then there will be problems.

Also, make sure the pivot of the Phantom is cented in the mating cup; this is generally automatic, but to be sure, swing the moving tracking magnet out of the way, then gently lift, slightly, the pivot assembly and allow it to center into the pivot bearing cup. Then carefully allow the swinging Magneglide magnet to return to it's tracking position.

Be sure, too, that the pivot point is not allowed to bang around, as when carrying the turntable somewhere. The pivot point is made of tungsten, a very hard material, like a diamond. But, like a diamond, it can be fractured if struck, so the motto is "don't strike it!" If the pivot were damaged like that, the pivoting would be compromised. This alamost never happens, and in normal use the pivot is virtually indestructable. Just be careful in use and it will perform exactly as designed.

I've spent the last 15 or 20 years on this, after leaving MIT (the university, not the cable company), and worked very hard to get the mechanics and physics correct. I am truly grateful for the following and support the tonearms have received. The Phantom (now the Phantom II) is the latest in this, being the culminiation of everything I've learned thus far. This includes not only my own ideas, but feedback from reviewers and customers alike. I've corresponded with some of you directly already, and it's always a pleasure.

And speaking of tracking, this might be a good time to touch on why, up to this point, we have not offered a 12" version of the arm. There is a lot of interest in the "front-page" aspect of 12" arms, mostly due to the longer length reducing tracing angle by a small amount. But that's not the whole story, not by a long-shot. The "back-page", not generally addressed, is that there is a serious down-side to the longer arms. (And the 12-inch arms initally came into being when 16-inch transcription records were used in radio stations, and a long arm was necessary. Those were the days of 7-gram tracking, no regard for inner-groove distortion, and so on.)

Briefly, the problems can be defined as having to do with an increased moment of inerita and a more strict requirement for spot-on cartridge alignment accuracy. No matter how light the armtube is, for example, the cartridge weight doesn't change, and at a length about 3-inches further out than on a 9-inch arm, the laws of moment of inertia will come home to roost with a vengence. The penalty for problems with this will open up the possiblity for increased wow over warps, a lowered resonant frequency, possibly to the point of mistracking, among other ills. (See Michal Fremer's discussion of this in the May 2009 issue of Stereophile) At best, there is a very, very slight improvement in tracing accuracy; at worst, you end up with far more problems that you've solved. We do offer a slightly longer armwand, called the "XL-10", but this is soley to accommodate turntables with record rings or other over-sized platters. If we ever did make a 12-inch wand to accommodate special requests, it would be with the proviso that it's not our first choice in design...

To close, rest assured that a properly setup Phantom will track ANY reasonable recoding with any reasonable cartridge, providing normal care is applied in setup and use. And, as new features are introduced, we always try to make it upgradable - preferably to make it easy for the user to do themselves. We want to keep you happy for the long term...!

- Bob Graham
Even with both arms properly set-up, the Phantom is a far better sounding arm, particularly in terms of bass response and solidity. The two arms share a concept but the Phantom's execution is in another league (I wrote the Stereophile review)....
Thanks alot for the perfect explanation Mr. Graham , but I'm interested to know how much is the "gap" between a Graham 2.2/tc and the latest Phantom II both obviously perfectly tuned and reputedly with the same cartridge.
Many here say there is lotsa difference but I would wish to know how much .. and if it's worth it to spend lot of money for a Graham Phantom II new when I have found a preowned mint Graham 2.2/tc at half Phantom II price.
This was my previous question.

Thanks in advance for your very welcomed suggestions , Mr. Graham


I think, it is not Mr. Graham with the Posting, it is MF.
Anyway, when the System (Phonostage , etc.) is able to show everything, then there is no reason to use the 2.2 longer, except you can't afford it.
The Phantom is better in every area.
With this revolutionary Upgrade from his existing top Arm (2.2) Bob Graham showed the world his real competence. All others do more or less always the same (Triplanar, Schroeder, Linn , etc.), but here he "re-thought" everything (what is responsible for what) and his Magnaglide Solution is simply Magna cum laude.
I would not worry about mistracking in a properly set up system. The Phantom in my friend's system displayed no such problems playing real world records. When playing test records with increasing modulation level, the same cartridge (Transfiguration Orpheus) did start to mistrack at lower levels than it did in an SME 309, but matched my Vector arm in this regard. In any case, this was all well beyond what one encounters playing music.

The Phantom is one of the easiest arms to set up correctly, a big plus, given that MOST of the problems (as well as differences people hear in arms) is the result of less than ideal adustment.
Yes Syntax, you are correct. Grooves is MF.
Curio - I and many others posting here would agree - the Phantom is worth the difference in price from the 2.2
I currently habe the Phantom, triplanar & davinci 12". The Phantom track as well as the other two using an airtight PC1. The precision and ease of adjustment of the Phantom is second to none. I used to have the 2.2 and Phantom is better in everway. Music from the Phantom is free, explosive and precise..
I like the word "explosive". I would use the same word for the Phantom II over the 2.2. I agree with Grooves (MF) that the Phantom II bass is deep, powerful, and solid. Go grab the Phantom.
In addition to this with respect to proper cartridge alignment, you must get yourself the proper tool. The Mint LP. I have a Phantom II which has replaced an SME V on a Sota Cosmos IV. I never looked back.......