Great Cartridge for Graham Phantom

I can hardly wait!!!
I've got a Graham Phantom being instaled in a new TW Acustic Raven One.
I know many of you have Graham Phantoms on superb tables.
What are the awe inspiring matches for the Phantom???
I listen to Classic Rock, Classical, LOTS of vocals, organ, other words, a bit of everything. My priorities are musicality, recreation of the recording venue, soundstaging, musical emotion, beautiful harmonies, and NOT microscopic detail. The rest of my system has resolution in spades........Wilson Sophias, Audio research Mono Blocs etc.
So what is the final piece in this system? Give me your best choices.


In my experience, nothing beats the ZYX Universe .24 Copper.
One of the truly enlightening changes to any system.
The Dynavector DV1s is no slouch either but lacks the last vestige of transparent emotion of the ZYX.
Don't touch the Lyra Titani unless your system sounds dull.
The Lyra Helikon is better value or the Lyra Skala (which I haven't heard).
The Clearaudio range is not a patch on the ZYX and I haven't heard a Koetsu that didn't induce boredom, sleep or both.
I have transfiguration orpheus. it seems to fit your bill. very musical have not tried other cartride. but feel no need to.

I have been using Dynavector XV-1s with the Phantom with great results. I guess the Phantom can be easily matched with a great variety of cartridges due to its neutrality.
Think that you would enjoy one of the Allaerts cartridges IMHO.
Allaerts MC2 Finish Gold.
Fantastic on any kind of music I could throw at it.
I think there is a used one up for grabs in the classifieds.
Beat the waiting list!
Why not consider the Graham Nightingale? It is superb.
I am running my Phantom on an SME 20/2 and using an old Audioquest AQ7000nsx that was upgraded to a Fe5 when the original nsx cantiliver broke. I haven't felt the need to try something else because the sonics of this Scan-Tech built cartridge are amazing, and also because I hate messing with cartridges and the like. I have thought about going with one of the Allerts cartridges, though. Any Scan-Tech cartridge would probably be a good bet including the Lyra line.
Thanks for all of your advice.
Does anyone have experience with Koetsu
on the Graham?

Hi Jim
I have a Koetsu 80th Anniversary Onyx and it does work very well on the Phantom.
My personal preference is for the Jan Allaerts Finish Gold that I also own.
It would probably help if you told us the rest of the system and some of your musical priorities.
Terry Dale
I have Koetsu Urushi (original wood version, but rebuilt by Sugano Jr). You hear Koetsu's magic mid range and excel in strings.But I don't think Urushi is perfect, rather even in all spectrum, at least not in punch, impact and dynamics. I use it in the latest VPI TNT turntable, in certain way this TT compensate some dynamics. Vocal and strings are all about Koetsu.
Jdolgin I would be very interested in your views on the Raven one and Phantom. My unit is on order, initially with the stock Jelco arm. A Phantom is what I am aiming for, so your views would be useful. The UK importer of TW Acustic, also imports ZYX and likes the combination with the Phantom. I use the ZYX Airy 3 and can't recommend the Zyx line enough

It hasn't arrived yet!
I'll let yoou know my thoughts as soon as it's in my system.

A poster named Emailist has a Raven 1 with a Phantom Arm with a Sumiko Celbration. I think he loves it.
Good news!The very latest Phantoms will have a new,slightly heavier counterweight,just for you guys wanting to eek out the absolute best from the heavier cartridges.A good thing,for Koetsu lovers!
There will also be a new lower viscosity damping fluid,and more incremental markings on the VTF dial.So I have been told.
Hopefully I will have mine,"in two weeks",so says my dealer.
I sure hope this holds up,as I am aware of the reason for Phantom delays,which is a darn good one.
Sirspeedy, let us know what you think of your Phantom when you get it with those little "upgrades". Will likely replace my SME V with a Phantom soon after i get my new Cosmos that should arrrive within days now. I have not put an order for a Phantom just yet. Cartridge i use is Dynavector XV1's on SME V with GREAT results.
Long live Analog..............
The Phantom is one of the ultra rare modern Arms, which work with nearly every cartridge on a superior level compared to others.
Indeed, I have to think about, with what cartridge it does not work very well.
I think, a wonderful match is this Arm with the Zyx 100 FS, a real outstanding combination for the money.
Hello Sirspeedy. All the best for the new year. I am glad to see that you have decided to take the plunge and go for the Phantom. I know that you have put a lot of thought into your decision. I am sure you will be very happy with the results. If possible, could you characterize the changes due to the new couterweight and fluid? I suspect that with a less viscous damping fluid the sound may appear to have more "air": some audiophiles were complaining that the arm lacked "sparkle" and "air". In my system the Phantom/Helikon combo had tremendous air and sparkle in the treble region.
I have a Graham Phantom B44 mounted via a Steve Dobbins Stainless steel Panzer Holz arm board to a Garrard Stainless Steel Inspiration 501 Turntable!
I have tried Koetsu Rosewood Platinum, Ortofon Royal N SPU, Allnic Verito, ZYX Universe, Denon 103 Expert Stylus ruby re-build, Ikeda 9EMPL, Lyra Helikon, Grado Statement, Stanton CS 100, Shure V15 MkV xMr!
BY FAR THE BEST-(Decca) London Reference!!!!!!
ASR Exclusive Basis phono stage/ Stealth Indra tonearm cable.
I have ordered a Soundsmith Strain Guage-we shall see.......
Hey George(Gmorris),nice to hear from you.I will not be able to commemnt on the heavier counterweight,as I never had the original one.My friend has the original one,which sounds just great,to me.I was told the new one is for better matching of heavier cartridges,not that I see any problems at all,with the older weight.
The fluid was done,as advised by someone close to Bob Graham,who also thought it was a good idea.I know the older fluid was just fine,on my froiend's arm,but we took a bit out recently and found it fine.
I assume the differences would be minor,and the older fluid would require a bit less,in the well, as compared to the new fluid.Different amounts,based on viscosity.I'm certainly no authority on this,but just guessing.The arm,as is,is fabulous with the Orpheus,so I just want one!!
SOOOOOOON!!!I hope!!!
I am also thinking Phantom right now. I thought it may be
a step up from my Vector 3. This would be to maximize the
performance of my Jade Platinum. I think this somehow ties
in to the original post. Any thoughts on this combo,or any of other stone bodied Koetsu's. BTW, 14.1 grams is the weight on the Jade.
Fjn04,I had two different stone body Koetsus.Loved them!I cannot see any reason for the Phantom(new or old) to have any problems with either.
The heavier counterweight would allow for the weight to be a bit closer to the bearing,but I cannot possibly see any reason for the older weight to not be fabulous.We all get a bit carried away with minutiae,in this hobby at times.
I'll bet one would really have to strain to hear the difference between the older Phantom and the newer one.
What happened with me,at my pal's home(he owns the original Phantom)was that we decided to get a bit nuts with the damping fluid,as we both owned the 2.2 awhile back.THAT arm is incredibly sensitive to fluid!The Phantom is not as sensitive,but it is still VERY critical of it,with the Orpheus cartridge.
So,we played around alot,and lowered the amount of fluid to the point of about half as much as previously used,as per Bob Graham's recommendation(that particular week,two months ago).
Of course he had gone from the Kharma 1.0 to the Magico Mini,so the different voicing of fluid was probably affected by the different personality(timbral/harmonic....and GORGEOUS)of the Magico Mini.
Needless to say,he is in audio heaven,as of now,and is not all bent out of shape about a micro improvement(if any),to an already great arm!
LP's we used for comparative results were Bang Baroom and Harp(RCA),Tabooh Tabuhan/The Black Maskers(Mercury 1s pressing),Decca Lp of Prince Of The Pagodas,Frank Sinatra Swingin' Session(capitol),Pop Pop/Ricky Lee Jones( re-issue),The Pendrecki Partita for Harpsichord and Orch.(EMI box set,and dynamics to die for)and a load of various violin cto's/solo stuff from Ida,Itzhak,Erica to "you name it"(my friend is a violin "maniac",and has about every violin disc ever pressed.Too many,IMO,but it's his money(he's probably spent more money on violin discs then his system)......BTW,theTransfiguration Orpheus is amazing with this arm!
Thanks for your input on the Phantom Sir Speedy. Do you feel
the Orpheus leans in any particular sonic direction.I
think I will always want the Koetsu for it's midrange though.
The Jade has it in spades. Although,I am looking to get better bass with a different arm.
"Do you feel the Orpheus leans in any particular sonic direction"?....
"A very good direction"!..Yet,don't sell a good Koetsu for one,unless you collect cartridges!
Whew, guys are "serious"!!
BTW,a friend(not one I speak to more than two or three times a year) has the Titan-I,Lyra Olympos and a Koetsu Coral Stone.He LOVES the Coral Stone the most!Says that on vocals it cannot be matched.This is second hand info,so take it as such.
Personally I think the "looks" of the Coral Stone body is to "die for gorgeous"!!Fossilized coral,from what I understand.How old is that?...Jurassic?
Thanks everyone for the wonderful suggestions.

The Orpheus, Universe, Allaerts, Dynavector XV-1s are all in excess of 4K.
I'd love to try them all.
After the purchase of the Raven One and the Graham, I'll need some time to be recoup, and be able to swing the 4K+ cartridges.

Any suggestions for under 2500?
Transfiguration Phoenix (new version). List price is 2500-2700usd, it has many virtues of Orpheus to some extend. If you wanna get Orpheus but seems a bit costly, you should consider it. I use it with Graham Phantom currently.
Dear Jdolguin: There are many options with an outstanding quality sound reproduction not below 2.5K but below 1.0K, could you believe it?. Please read the next link:

Dear Adidio: With " that " kind of cartridge budget you could buy at least two very fine cartridges, please read the next link:

Jim, like one Agoner told me: " " High end is who you are, not what you buy ".

Regards and enjoy the music.
Jdolgin..regarding suggestions under 2500....I have quite a bit of listening experience to the Lyra Helikon.My friend had it for three years,and he is an avid music lover/vinyl collector(mostly Classical/jazz).It IS a fabulous cartridge!!!We had a discussion(friend and myself)about how even today(although he has the Titan-I)the Helikon could keep us both happy.Just opinion,but a really nice pedigree in that design.I really respect that cartridge!
I'd love to say that Transfiguration has a winner in this price range(and I'm sure they do),but I am only familiar with the amazing Orpheus,and the discontinued Tmper-V.
Best of luck
Dear Jim: Looking for what music you like and your priorities I think that you must to have/listen the B&O MMC2 that you can buy it new.
This cartridge is an outstanding performer and for its low price a real bargain.

You don't have to pay 4K+ or even 2.5K heavy dollars to achieve a stellar quality sound reproduction, this B&O one is IMHO a better quality performer that the Helikon or the Orpheus or Universe.

I respect the other persons that support the Helikon or other MC cartridges in this thread and I'm not saying that all these MC cartridges are not good because they are, what I'm saying is that the B&O is a little better than them and for a lot lot less money. Those people can't speak about maybe because they don't have know-how about because they don't have experiences in their audio system of B&O cartridges ( or other top MM ones. ) against the MC ones that they own today.

I can recomended many other cartridges but according with your preferences the B&O along the Nagaoka MP-50 are very good alternatives and I'm quite sure that you will be extremely satisfied with either or better than that ( for that low price ) with BOTH!!!

There are some sources for it: LP Gear, ElexAtelier, Sounsmith, PhonoPhono, etc, etc.

Please don't let that those low prices intimidate you. B&O/Nagaoka cartridges are real contenders to top MC cartridges and belongs to the very fine analog rig chain like yours. Don't lose the great opportunity that only a few can/could have with these kind of cartridges because there are only a few in new/original condition.

Regards, enjoy the music and remember: " High end is what you are not what you buy . "

I have heard, in a friend's system, the Titan and Orpheus and Phoenix on the Phantom arm. All are very good sounding and a preference will probably depend on taste and differences in other system components. To me, the Phantom is a very well dampened arm, which means that it is very quiet, refined and presents musical detail, harmonic structure, etc., without exaggeration. But, on the other hand, a lot of systems (most audiophile systems these days) sound like midrange life and dynamics have been sucked out of the music, and for these systems, a livelier arm/cartridge might be helpful. In short, the Phantom can sound a bit dark and dynamically dull in the wrong system.

In my friend's system, I liked both the Orpheus and Phoenix cartridge because they have a bit of midrange "presence." Both sounded much better in this system than the Temper V, which seemed dynamically dull and boring. The Titan sounded a touch faster and more detailed than the Transfiguration cartridges, but it can border on analytical in some systems.

I use to own a Graham 1.5t (I now own a Vector/Titan) and I have helped with the setup of the Graham Phantom. I do appreciate the very convenient and simple adjustments of the Phantom. But, I do notice that there is some loose "play" in the jig for setting overhang/offset and the precise point for overhang is, at best, a guess because the jig does not account for differences in cartridge height. Therefore, I wonder if the Phantom would benefit from using other setup tools, like a Wally Tractor or Feickert.
I was under the impression that using the set-up jig for the Phantom was easy to get the geometry spot on.
Do any other Phantom owners feel the need to use other set up tools to get proper geometry?
Larry,good point about the jig.I always "average out" the set-up jig,by hand when adjusting this.I said,to myself,that if I ever actually receive my Phantom,I will attempt to re-check the set-up,with other devices too.Yet,the jig is still quite good,so let's not start a riot-:)
As to the "resonant characteristic" that can add dynamics to music.I totally agree with you again,insofar as I understand what you mean.
Yet,the Temper-V(which I owned and used on a Graham 2.2 is definitely NOT the least bit lacking in dynamics.The arm/table set-up will greatly influence this,IMO!I was able to coax(using the damping fluid)either a laid back sound,or very dynamic sound with that combo.The particular Lp played,and my mood, set the tone for how I wanted it that day.The Orpheus does blow the Temper away though,even though I was still in the break in mode,when I sold my 2.2,so I cannot wait to get back to that cartridge!
If you heard a lazy Temper-V,I assure you it was not the cartridge,unless old,or damaged!
Ultimately the "added resonant signature thing" wears on the listener,unless one likes to reset arm damping often,on the 2.2(still a great arm,btw,and I'm beginning to miss mine).
The "resonant thing" came into play,when I wanted to reset parameters on the 2.2.Meaning I used specific LP's to find the "right spot".This "spot" was always a moving target!I could get it right for a series of discs,but it always changed.
The Phantom(my friend has it,which replaced a 2.2 too)holds steady!!!.....GAD,I hope mine comes through....SOON!I'm beginning to look at the Caliburn Copperhead,and am beginning to think..."what if"?
One particular favorite LP I use for the "resonant thing",is a disc called "the Pealing Bells Of The Westminster Handbell Choir"!...A fabulously well recorded LP,of gorgeous handbell music!!Incredibly dynamic,and detailed(expensive too...mine cost a buck)Recorded in Princeton,at the church which is one block from my favorite collector's haunt.
If one is not careful with the arm set-up,the bells come off sounding like glass.....HERE you MUST be extremely careful with an arm like the 2.2,as it is easy to either get too much glass sound(the bells are metal,and pictured,btw),or a slightly overly damped sound.
A great disc to set a system to,because if gotten right,your entire set-up came to life.Almost!!The "resonant signature"(which is voiced to,on the 2.2) can work in favor,or against the set-up person on LP's like this.I still have lots to learn,and know it!
On this subject I would "then" concentrate on "that" resonant thing!A real balancing act,on this LP!Must admit,when I was alone(without my critical friends present)it was alot of fun....If my pesky/picky friends were in a bad mood,it was an annoying tweak session.I HATE to sweat,in set ups,where we go to a nice restaurant afterwards,and I am the only guy schvitzed!... BTW,I took this disc over to my friend,when he had the Air Tangent....there,surprisingly,it still had a slight glassy quality.I was not about to ask my friend to "voice" to this disc,as he has his own set of priorities.Still it was interesting to me.
I will definitely be interested in how the Phantom(a "phantom" to me,as of now)"does this" when I get it.Hopefully within a week or so.So I have been told.
Can Phantom users tell me how much dampening fluid they use? I use mine at the minimum level of the required range.
Minimum level is fine.Just add or subtract a tiny bit at a time,for perfection.Based on YOUR tastes.
Good luck
I find the Titan I to be very dynamic in the Phantom. IF you put too much damping fluid you will "slow" down the cartridge & it will not sound live. How much do I use? Not sure but not a lot. I tuned by ear. As the cartridge breaks in further tuning might be needed. The Phantom is one of the most live sounding tonearm I have tried if you don't add damping fluid. I tried a few cartridges that way. No tracking problems are anything just a little edgy. The little bit of damping fluid removed the edginess.

As for setup, honestly, I checked the Phantom setup tool myself feeling it to be not 100% accurate against the DB Systems protractor using the magnifying glass. It was spot on. I was surprised but there was no deviation at all between the 2 null points. I thought it would be off.

Now, a final point and this is a big one. What tonearm does not change HTA whe you change VTA. Basic geometry. Slight changes in VTA will do very slight changes in HTA if you have a fixed bearing. I do check HTA if I do a major change in VTA. Mind you, must arms the VTF changes if you change the VTA too much. Just simple physics.
What is the recommended weight for the cartridge being used for this tonearm.
Not 100% sure as nothing in the manual but it should handle from 6-12 gms.
Thanks DGad.
Anyone tried the Grado The Statement on this arm? I listen to RocknRoll(all genres) 1957-1972 Jazz mostly and some classical. I've owned Grado before and like the way it sounded on rock. Opinions?
Hi..I am about to purchase my new Graham Phantom B44 and would like to know if my current tonearm cable will be suitable. I have a Hovland phono cable with curve din and rca output. If you know this would be workable with my new Graham, please drop me a note. Thanks a million for taking me to the right track of vinyl worlds. Regards.
It should fit. Depends on your turntable a bit.
It should be a great choice.

Good luck
Thanks Sirspeedy. Very encouraging, indeed.
Dgad, thanks for your response. I am not sure if TW Acoustic Raven AC will be a good pair with graham now. Any idea? Thanks for sharing.
I find it to be a great match. It depends on the cartridge. I love the Titan I with the Phantom. I feel it is one of the "great" combinations. There are many great combinations. I love the Schroder/ZYX. I can hear well into the arm/cartridge combination since the turntable is so neutral compared to my previous turntable.
My opinion... Geez, I can't really give one. I think a cartridge really can complement or detract from the rest of the reproduction chain. And I don't have any of the other components that you have. But I'll give my impressions of a few cartridges that I've lived with, and maybe that will help...

Benz Micro Ace - Relaxed. Very easy to listen to. It grooves! Addictive quality.

Shelter 501 - Forward in presentation. Loved it. It seemed to highlight the part of the music you most want to hear.

Dynavector DV20 - Loves Oboes and Violas. Hates Wah Wah Pedals. (Just Kidding). The DV has always been my favorite for catching tone just right. You never wonder "if that was a cello???"

Grado Sonata - Wow, the dynamics! This cartridge should be bouncing off your kitchen. It's really amazing.

Audio Technica AT-0C9 - Beautiful. I always thought this cart was the best for blasting. Every cartridge I named can rock out, but this one "one-ups" the rest.

I hope this helps.


One of the best cartridges for the Phantom is - surprise - Graham's own Nightingale II. Disclaimer here...I have my Nightingale listed for sale at this writing. There's no way in the world that I would be selling it, except that it is too wide to fit in my new Triplanar arm. It is truly an outstanding cartridge.
has anyone paired the graham Phantom I w/ any of the shelter cartridges ? will the pairing be ok ?
Last year I used a Shelter 90x with the Phantom. No problems. This Arm works with a very wide range of cartridges on top level.
thanks for clarification syntax... how about for phono cables. Is straight din to rca needed or does one need the angled din to rca ?
The table is possibly a tw acustic raven one.
thank you.
can someone recommend some tonearm cable for this particular combination ?