best value current production tonearm

I don't want to mess with vintage arms.
As a second arm to my Steve dobbins garrard 301 (the 1st one is ortofon rs-309d) i'm looking for a great value current production (or last years production) arm with adjustable vta and preferably with detachable head shell at a budget of up to $2-2.5k new or used.
thanks in advance to all repliers.
Actually Peter, the Mitchell Techno Arm and the Audiomods Arm are quite dissimilar, sharing only one common denominator, and that one tenuous---a Rega arm tube. For anyone serious about investigating what I and quite a few other Vinyl Engine Forum members consider the best current value in a tone arm, details of it's design and manufacture are available on the Audiomods website. I don't understand how anyone not even aware of it's existence, let alone it's design and execution, can believe they know of an arm superior to it for the money. Alas, a sign of the times. For he needing a little prompting to get over to the Audiomods site, consider these facts:

The Mitchell Techno Arm is a slightly modified Rega, nothing more, nothing less. Mitchell buys a complete OEM Rega arm, and does the following to the arm tube ONLY: Removes the black paint, scores the bottom of the tube with large, shallow circles (which do NOT go all the way through the arm tube, but are on the surface only---they are not holes drilled into the tube), lines the tube with foam, rewires the arm, and replaces the stock counterweight and cw stub with their own excellent ones. You will notice that these modifications, the only changes Mitchell makes to the stock complete Rega arm, are all to the arm tube only, the rest of the Techno Arm remaining exactly as it was received from Rega---identical, in fact, to a stock Rega. The bearing assembly, the bearings themselves, the main pillar, the anti-skate, the plastic assembly for the arm rest, the plastic cueing platform, etc. The one other thing Mitchell does is provide an arm mount that is installed on the turntables armboard, into which the arm's stock main pillar is then dropped down into, affording height adjustment of the arm, the lack of which is a major complaint against the Rega arms. To accommodate the diameter of the pillar, the mount is slightly larger than it, requiring a correspondingly larger mounting hole than a stock Rega. The Techno Arm is therefore not a drop-in replacement for a Rega.

In stark contrast, the Audiomods Tone Arm contains only two parts (not whole arms) they buy from Rega: the 303 arm tube (the improved version of the Rega tube), which is heavily modified---read on, and the cueing lever. And that's it. Every other part, let me repeat that---EVERY other part of The Audiomods Tone Arm is hand machined out of solid blocks of billet aluminum by the owner/designer of the company, he a machinist by trade. In his machine shop he does the following to the Rega 303 arm tube:

- Bead blasts it to form an anti-resonance "skin" on it's outer surface, resulting a matt finish. A polished finish is also available.
- Installs disc-shaped internal braces at three locations along it's length, stiffening the tube and reducing it's low-frequency resonance.
- Drills small holes completely through the tube's wall in a double helix pattern, thereby reducing the arm's mass, and again lowering it's resonance by opening it's internal cavity, without decreasing the tube's stiffness.
- Rewires with either Cardas copper, or silver, your choice. Complete cartridge tags-to-male RCA plug looms are offered, as well as DIN terminated internal-only wiring.
- Machines a new counterweight stub and adjustable-mass counterweight, the counterweight featuring removable discs of brass and lead to allow tailoring the arm's effective mass to the compliance of any cartridge. For use with a very low-mass cartridge of low-compliance, Jeff will install mass at the front of the inside of the arm tube. Amazing!

The above is only what Jeff does to the arm tube! He also hand machines the following out of billet aluminum:

- An original design horizontal bearing assembly (into which he installs ceramic bearings of much higher specification that those in even the most expensive Rega)
- A bridged arm yoke
- The main pillar
- A mount with the same outer diameter as the stock Rega main pillar, making the arm a drop-in replacement for Rega's. The mount allows arm height/VTA/SRA adjustment with a finger lock.
- An arm rest
- A cueing platform
- An anti-skate assembly of the thread and weight variety
- Every other little part I haven't remembered or just mentioned!

All right, how much would YOU pay for a completely hand-machined (except for the arm tube and cueing lever) tone arm of such excellent design? How does 625 British Pounds sound to you? That's the price of the Audiomods Series 5 Tone Arm wired with Cardas copper! Not expensive enough for you? How about 675 Pounds for the same arm wired with silver? Still not enough? For an extra 120 Pounds Jeff will install his Micrometer with precision calibration, allowing on-the-fly adjustment of VTA/SRA. On the other hand, if you need a lesser priced arm, there is the Audiomods Claasic at 455 Pounds. If the Audiomods Tone Arms at these prices isn't the best value in currently available tone arms, I have no idea what ya'll are looking for in an arm.

Thomas Schick "12 is great value if you like to use low compliance cartridges.
Thanks for the info about the arm customization. I can measure the depth pretty closely with an old dial calipers. don't know the machining dimensions under the arm board as I bought the table used with the JMW 10.5i base securely mounted. It's a factory stock VPI Super Scoutmaster plinth mounted with the 4" square board.

I am starting to yearn for this arm to play with to replace the 10.5i, but the system sounds so good these days that I hate to screw it up. I think the SSM Rerefence (belt-drive) could be an ideal platform for a floating arm. I loved my ET2 for 15 years despite the fact that both tables during that time - a SOTA and original TNT - were suspended on springs. Because the machining quality of the ET bearing was so high, the friction along the manifold was near zero and the carriage had such high mass, it was almost impossible to stay perfectly level along its path. This brought out the OC part of me that relentlessly fixes everything I know isn't right about my system. I think 15 years' experience with an ET2 in the worst of platforms qualifies me to put this little guy in place of the VPI arm. I need to assure myself that the swap won't prevent me from going back to the JMW if that's where the results lead.
Check out the SME 309 or the less expensive M2-9. They are both medium mass ( 9.5 grams) and work great with a whole range of cartridges. BTW,I have the 309 and it betters the many arms that I have owned before.
Don't do that. Trans-Fi bumped SME IV and Graham 1.5TC from my system. Check out testimonials of the many high-end TT owners on the TF web site. No affiliation.