The Graham 2.2 is definitely better than the 1.5 version. I had that 2.2 and various Zyx carts. These Airy carts are good, when you want to go for something different, try to find a used Triplanar Arm. It is a good match. The table itself is very good, you can leave it the way it is now, and go for a good Phonostage instead. Could be the best investment.
A.J. told me he liked the older series Graham better than the Phantom. I have a 1.5 that has been upgraded to 2.2 and it is very good; I bought it that way so I don't know what it sounded like before the upgrade. I use a AT EV33 on my 2001/2.2.
Stanwal - I wasn't aware that a 1.5 could be upgraded to a 2.2. I'll contact Bob Graham and see how much it would cost. Thanks for the info.
If you are thinking about the Vector arm you'll need a new arm board, you might talk to A.J. about the cost!!! $1000 + $280 drilling ?
The difference between Graham 1.5 and 2.0 is, the later one offers greater bass extension and solidity, increased dynamics and a expanded soundstage.
The high frequencies are detailed and extended, yet remain very neutral and totally natural. The bass extension reaches to the first octave with authority & detail; yet, it is not overblown or diffuse. Similarly, the midrange is liquid and natural, but without the smearing that can create a false sense of midrange "sweetness".
Most think, it can be easily upgraded, but this is wrong. You can buy the tungsten weights and the bearing cup and the better armtube (SW-3).
But the real difference with Model 2:
The main pivot housing has been redesigned, and corporates tungsten as the material instead of the previous aluminum alloy.
The VTA adjustment has 2 scales, one is the vertical indicator previously offered on the 1.5 Arms, while the second indicator is a vernier scale on the adjusting knob. Better VTA adjustments during playing.
The next generation Armwand incorporates an even denser ceramic material, signal wires are totally shielded.
Samhar - Thanks for the info. At that price, I'll probably stick with a Graham.
Syntax - My 1.5 has the tungsten sideweights, ceramic armtube & IC-50 tomearm cable, so it may lie somewhere between a stock 1.5 and a 2.2. Your description of the sonics of the 2 series makes it very appealing however. Sounds like I need to explore the possibility of moving up. Any idea would I should expect to pay for a used 2.2 on Agon? There aren't any currently listed.
As for Triplanar. . .which version? Sounds like an expensive proposition including new armboard. They are great arms though.
I'm thinking about a different phonostage as you suggest. I'm currently using the internal phono of my Rowland Concerto integrated. It sounds pretty good, but I'm guessing a Rhea or Allnic would be far superior. Any suggestions? Thanks.
Mine was apparently done at the factory as it has both 1.5 and 2.2 decals.
I own a Basis Debut with the vacuum feature and a Vector arm. I like the combination a lot. A friend has a Basis 2500 with two arms mounted on it, a Phantom and the Vector arm. He MUCH preferred the Vector arm for both a Lyra Titan and a Transfiguration Orpheus cartridge. I did not hear the comparison myself, and thought that the Phantom playing the Titan sounded pretty good.
Someone mentioned that A.J. Conti preferred the older Graham arms to the Phantom. That is an interesting comment because I know another person in the industry that also MUCH preferred the older Graham arms (thinks the Phantom sounds cold and lifeless). I guess that there is no such thing as an absolute improvement -- a change is bound to be negative for some peoples' taste.
Your current equipment is very good. That makes it hard to suggest any obvious improvements -- whether something improves the sound will be more a matter of taste/system synergy -- i.e., nothing is unequivocally better.
As a Basis owner, I would say the most obvious first step is to get a new belt. The current model of belt is machined to much tighter tolerances and sounds great. Some would argue that the belt replacement has more positive impact on the performance of Basis tables than the very expensive speed controller (I can't say so myself since I bought both at the same time).
I use to own a Graham 1.5t (the "t" denotes the use of tungsten side weights). I never went the route of upgrading the arm. I believe that the upgrades involve replacement of the armtube with the ceramic armtubes from the 2.2 model. It might be something to look into if you can find the armtubes at used prices.
Certainly a good phonostage is a possible upgrade suggestion. But, you need to factor in the substantial cost of another high quality interconnect. Hence, a worthwhile improvement may be quite expensive.
I didn't follow the pricing for 2.2. Versions, but I think, they are in the 1.5k$ area. I switched from 2.2 to Triplanar VII and from that back to Graham (Phantom).
Your Zyx has a big advantage, it is not critical/sensitive to Arms. When you like it from the sound, keep it. I think, the Airys are really good.
Well, the Phonostages, I also used Rowland Phono some years ago, at that time they were very good, but I have no experience with Concerto Phono. I once had a Rhea here (I also had Callisto Sign., some wrote, the small one is about 80% from the bigger brother, but that is not true) and I don't think, that it is a good one. There is much better out there, Klyne 7 for example.
I never listened to Allnic, but from what I read, I think, it can be interesting. When you have a chance for a loan, try it.
Larryi - Well said! There certainly are no absolutes in audio, as we all hear differently and have different tastes and sensibilities.
From the feedback I've received, it seems my current arm is not so bad. If A.J. likes it better than the Phantom, I'm certainly ahead of the game.
A different phonostage might be worth trying. I know someone who sells both Allnic & Einstein. Perhaps he'll let me demo them at home.
Thanks to all for your valuable input.
Jeff Rowland CADENCE was not a top rated phono stage. The DACT was much better then, and better still was the Klyne.
Today, I use custom tube pre-pre (TFK CCa) without coupling cap to the input signal or any kind of feedback & a clever anti-active RIIA MM phonostage (TFK ECC803s/Raytheon 6J5 St) that supply 250mV-3V adjustable with a passive attenuator directly to the power amp.
I would not advise anyone to go that route as it has too many issues to deal with. (In fact I would not recommend a tube phonostage or likely an active preamp).
Instead, I can confidently recommend the small EINSTEIN as the real champion of the most.
But if you really want to go further, please arrange a listening audition for the VDH "THE GRAIL". In my research I've found it as a real treasure way beyond the Lamm, Jadis, Manley, Goldmund, Klyne, TEAD, FM 222, and some lower level others that I can't remember.
Be very demanding! There are not many phonostages out there that can make the difference. Do not overpay for something that is just works. Search for the exciting factor!