I have not heard the Naim Aro. I have heard Itok, Ekos, and; owned the Graham 2.2 on my Linn (as well as the Basik, and Akito). I would'nt have a complaint with the Itok, Ekos or Graham. All sound excellent. The Graham ceramic arm may have a little less resonance in the tube, and the uni-pivot bearing; than the others.
I think the deciding factor for me, would be the cost I could find the particular arm available for.
i have had all mentioned arms on my lp 12....and to me the naim aro is the best tracking out of all them, just more musical then the rest ...aro and lp-12 is the perfect combo.
I am leaning to the aro.
I currently have a used Rega 300 arm which I got really cheap. I also have a Lyra Dorian cartridge, and I really like it. It took almost 100 hours to really break in. I intend on moving up the Lyra line, but with a new arm.
I had the Linn Basik arm and it was horrible, and eventually broke. It was completely lifeless with the Linn K-9. I am not a fan of Linn in general, but I absolutely love my LP12 (vintage 1989) with a lingo and will stick with it.
If anybody knows, what does an aro run these days?
I haven't heard direct comparisons, but, I've heard the LP12 with the Itok and with a Aro. I was surprised how lively and dramatic the sound of an LP12/Ara/Transfiguration Phoenix combination that I heard. A bunch of friends briefly (about 2 hours) listened to this combination in a system with Hovland HP200 preamp, Hovland Radia amp and Sonus Faber Anniversarios. This combination was MUCH more lively than the system owner's regular rig (Basis 2500/Graham Phantom/Transfiguration Orpheus). Overall, the system is on the darker side, so, to me, the extra life of the Linn/Aro combination sounded good. With only two hours of listening, I have no way of knowing if the extra liveliness would eventually become taxing in the long run, but, from what I heard, this combination seems to be quite a lot of fun.
I've had a Naim Aro on my LP-12 (mated to an Ortofon Jubilee cartridge) since 2001. Sublime combo.
One small caveat on the Aro: unless Naim has changed things since 2001, it does *not* come with a cueing device, so unless you add your own, you will have to manually lower and raise the arm. I was able to buy a (no longer made) Naim Aromatic cuing device when I bought my arm. It's not without its foibles, but it beats manual engagement of the arm.
I purchased a Naim Aro tonearm for my LP12 and have never been happier. It replaced a Linn Ekos. You need to have a steady hand cuing it since its unipivot design requires it. However, the sound is awesome. Since then, I've also replaced the Lingo power supply with a Naim Armeggedon, which also demonstrated dramatic improvements to the sound. Good luck!
Larryi: I see you have a Lyra Titan Cartridge. What do you think is the advantage over the Dorian? Have you heard the Helicon? I am not sure if it is worth the money for me. What are your impressions?
I don't know about the Dorian, but, my Titan replaced a Helikon. The Titan delivers more detail and more "air" on top (higher pitched instruments seem more open) and the sense of a real acoustic space and notes decaying naturally is superior with the Titan. But, the slightly better performance comes at a much higher price.
The Titan is not very load sensitive compared to other cartridges, but it MAY be touchy about VTA. It may just be the case that it is so detailed on top that small changes in VTA become evident, but it seems more sensitive than other cartridges I have tried.
Another thing that MAY make the Titan more demanding is that its all Titanium body is designed to transmit the vibrations set up in the body of the cartridge away from the cartridge into the arm (as oppose to dampening the energy in the cartridge itself). This puts a pretty high demand on the arm beign able to also transmit the energy away and then dampen the vibation (instead of reflecting the energy back to the cartridge). In short, a very rigid arm and rigid bearings are a must. A unipivot arm is often actually quite rigid (all the mass concentrated on a tiny bearing point) so many unipivots would qualify.
I would bet that the Dorian delivers pretty good performance for the money. I use to have a Lydian and that was a very good cartridge.
I've used a Naim Aro on my LP-12 for many years now and absolutely love it. I would say that it simply plays music. It does not sound hi-fi in your face, but very even balanced through out the entire range. It does not over emphasize anything. It portrays realistic micro and macro dynamics, wonderful harmonic structure, and is in my humble opinion makes a wonderful combination that I think would be hard to beat. Yes, it is manual cueing but I have never had a problem placing the stylus down on the record or taking it off. However, if you try to cue it to one of the last tracks of the record, it does take practice. This is simply something that I don't do anyhow. If you have an opportunity to hear one, I think you would love it. If ever in Wisconsin, you are welcome to come hear mine.
I wonder if I should be concerned about the weight of the Graham? I can't find specs so I don't know the weight of the 2.2/phantom but they look heavy!
My understanding is that lighter arms work better on the LP12 due to the hung suspension and the lack of stress on the rear right spring. If that is correct, then the Linn or Naim arms might be a better match.
This may all be theoretical BS. Are there may people out there that have tried a Graham 2.2 or Phantom arm on their LP12 and got good results?
Dear Chashmal: Thinking on moving from your Rega tonearm is a very good choice to improve your analog performance system.
Now and thinking on your audio system " future " and because you ask about: if you really want to change your cartridge too ( maybe for the Lyra Skala ) IMHO the Linn ( Ekos ) could be a better choice than the other unipivots other than the Phantom.
I give this advise only thinking on the tonearm/cartridge match and that I have a preference on the Ekos over the Naim one that I owned, I have to tell that I don't have a first hand experience with the Linn TTs.
Regards and enjoy the music.