Well, the DP6 is not quite a unipivot. I was researching both Graham and Moerch arms when I was upgrading my tonearm, and went with the Moerch because it seems that the Moerch arms do bass better than the Grahams, which seem to have a reputation for having lighter bass.
But these are my impressions just based on internet research, not a direct comparison.
Thank you Roscoeiii. I remember reading somewhere that the Graham is more analytical in its presentation whereas the Moerch has better drive and musicality. Trying to hear more comments on this forum. Graham definitely seems THE most popular tonearm of this era!!
I don't think of the Phantom as a pure unipivot either because it is stabilized with the Magneglide system.
FWIW, I have a Phantom II and don't find it lacking in bass. I did think the 2.2, which is a pure unipivot, had bass issues. Its bass always sounded a little dissociated from the rest of the music in my system. I was able to minimize the issue with super-fine adjustments to the damping fluid but I could never get rid of it entirely. I don't find the Phantom II to have that problem at all.
Never heard the DP-6, and it may well have better bass yet. Personally, I couldn't live without fine VTA adjustment, but that's just me. Were I looking at Moerch, I'd be tempted by the DP-8, which is reputed to have fantastic bass and also has fine VTA. Way pricier than the DP-6, though. I think it's a very tempting arm.
I owned a DP-6 with 12" arm for several years and liked it very much. I eventually replaced it with a Triplanar VII.2 which I also like very much. If I were in the market now, I would try to get the DP-8. By each account I've seen, it sounds even better than the DP-6 so I suspect it's a real winner. One thing that Moerch offers that few other companies do is the flexibility of swapping arm wands of different mass so you can effectively optimize your arm for a particular cartridge without having to get a new arm.
Salectric, DP8 is very expensive, I am in the $2k range where at the max I can expect/aim to buy one of these four arms
1. Graham Phantom (used)
2. Moerch DP6 (new/used)
3. Naim ARO
4. Rega RB1000
I have heard the Rega on a Rega P9 TT and liked it a lot. I have heard the Moerch on a Nottingham Analogue Hyperspace and thought and generally thought it was very dynamic. The ARO and Graham are on my shortlist purely because of their reputation.
I understand about the 2K budget, and of course that doesn't allow the DP-8 as an option. Within your budget, I would choose the DP-6 preferably with 12" wand. Although I've never used a Graham in my system, there are three reasons I never gave any Graham models serious consideration: (1) reputation for being somewhat light in the bass, (2) reputation for not holding up well over years of use (mainly cosmetic issues I believe), and (3) too frequent changes in models. I can't say for sure if #1 or #2 is correct or still applies to current Graham models. The frequent updates to Grahams is a fact but may not bother the buyer of a used arm.
In contrast, Moerchs are very neutral sounding, very reliable and the models stay in the line for many years. They also retain their value on the used market.
If you are thinking about buying the Moerch DP-6 new, why not contact Mehran at Sorasound? I believe he carries both Graham and Moerch. I didn't recommend this earlier since it isn't fair for dealers and importers to spend their valuable time with someone who wants to buy used and will spend their money elsewhere.
I just want to address your point #2. I've used Graham arms for five years and they've held up perfectly. After three years, my 2.2 looked and functioned like the day I bought it. Ditto on my Phantom II after two years--and I listen to vinyl 4 to 6 hours a day, as I work at home. They're extremely well-engineered and well-built. I know several other Phantom owners and I've never heard a complaint. One might not like their sound--that's a matter of personal taste--but it's hard to argue with their quality. I also own and listen to arms from Triplanar, Clearaudio, and SME, so I'm not married to a brand. The Grahams are as well made as any of them, perhaps better. I also think the Phantom II is the most neutral-sounding arm I own. Were I to keep only one arm, it would be the Graham. Just my opinion. Nothing against Moerchs, though; I'm sure they're great arms.
Wrm57, I'd be interested in hearing how the Graham Phantom II compares to the Triplanar arm.
Roscoeiii, here are a few observations in my system. I find the Tri-planar to throw a larger, bolder presentation with excellent transparency, immediacy, and flow. It seems fuller on the bottom and mids, perhaps not quite as extended or refined on top, and perhaps more liquid than the Phantom II. Of course, we're splitting hairs here: the Tri is not lacking for top end; the Graham is not lacking in flow. The Tri-planar adds more of its own character, IMO. I find the Graham to be more precise and focused, more balanced high to low. It's definitely not light in the bass. I've read some comments that it's mechanical-sounding, or analytical, or "not musical" (whatever that means). Not true in my system. I travel just as far on the magic carpet via the Graham as the Tri-planar. But the Graham is a very neutral arm, which makes it a great platform for comparing cartridges, cables, etc. It does requires precise set-up, and miniscule changes in any parameter are instantly audible. The Tri-planar is a bit more forgiving. Both are fantastic in the control they afford over all parameters; I'm quite spoiled by them in this regard. They're different but both are wonderful arms, and equally valid in their presentations.
Thanks very much for that comparison, Wrm57
wrm57...thanks for the graham vs tri comparison...
The Triplanar VII is a excellent unit with its good cable and when using Cartridges below 10gr.
With heavier carts it simply looses information in the high frequency area, it is a bit lifeless and the "airy speed" is not there anymore (compared to other Arms, for example the Phantom, DaVinci or very heavy Arms).
I know, some use this Arm with Koetsus and are happy, but to be honest, what's not there, you can't hear....
It simply can't compare to the next in this case.
The Phantom is much better in this, based on its very heavy block, it can handle lots of different cartridges (I used a few from 4-14gr) at a superior level.
The Adjustments are outstanding and Bob Graham made with this Design a major step forward. Very innovative and no weak points (except possible mismatches with wire or colored turntables)
To the sound
I like the Triplanar, it is good to listen to. With the right cartridge it goes out of way.
The Phantom Arm is very precise and the results can vary based on the connected Phono cable. The differences can be huge (I tried XLO Sign., Siltech, Purist, IC-70 Graham Phono, Kondo Phono cables and some others with it).
The Phantom has an excellent - complete - frequency range, linked with an absolutely amazing holographic Speed in the lower Frequencies. Very precise, super soundstage, the right height and body...
You get what you feed (can be negative too)
For me one of the great Arms out there. Heavy, good Arm material, top bearing ... Unfortunately very expensive, but compared to others, the Buyer won't be disappointed. Even after long time listening to it.
The Moerch is also a good Arm, a bit different from Handling but when you have a cartridge you like, choose the right Armtube and it is done. Great value.