Is it worth this tonearm?

Hi folks,

I have been slowly upgrading my analog playback and have come to the final decision, which tonearm? Through Mehran, who is a fine gentleman, I have been able to aquire the Amazon referenze TT and the Atmos ZYX cartridge.

Lastly I must decide on tonearms. Tripanar or Moerch DP6. The combo of the triplanar and ZYX has been well documented and from my research, Moerch and ZYX less so. I suppose what I am wondering is the Triplanar worth the extra funds? Will I have that much more satisfaction over the Moerch?

I will say, I listen mostly to rock, blues, jazz. Also, I am not the type that is going to play around with the arm much. Once I get it tuned in, which I don't mind spending time doing, I do not want to fiddle around much, like say changing the VTA between a 180 gram record and a normal record. I'm more of a get it right, set it and let her play.

Thanks for any input and guidance.

My friend owns the Graham Phantom and I own the Triplanar, both on a Teres table. Both arms are very very good.
From what we could tell, the Graham is more laid back and musical, but the Triplanar is faster and is more dynamic. So for rock the Triplanar is probably a better choice.
Sorry I dont have any experience w/ the Moerch.
The older model Triplanar I owned for a few years and from all the pivoted arms I have owned ,that would be the one I would buy again...superbly built and "rock" solid...I am now lucky enough to have ZYX's best cartridge in the AirTangent linear tracker,which I bought after the Triplanar...the Morch-6 I have heard in a friends system and it is a very nice underrated tonearm...the built and the feel is not as good as the Triplanar...for instance ,the gold plating was coming off in places...however,it is a lot cheaper and VERY musical...
hope this helps...the Triplanar arm ,IMO,can only be beaten by something like the Aussie pivoted arms,the Cobra or Copperhead from Continium...
Greetings from down under
I can understand your feelings on spending time dialing in your choice of new tone arm, but with all do respect i think once you have that caliber of tone arm you wont mind changing the VTA, once you hear the difference that is made in doing so.
With my humble vpi 10.5i tone arm along with ZYX universe xsb. its worth it to note where the VTA setting for different thickness lps is. as the sound difference is quite audible for the better. BTW classic rock is my choice in music also.
good luck on your new arm.
Thanks for your help and encouragement folks. Always appreciated. Hows winter down there Helmut?

My guess is that the arm/TT interface may be the most impt part of this equation, so that all comments from non-Amazon users (including myself) should be taken with a grain of salt. However, I am going to throw another arm into the mix- the Schroeder Model 2 is not that different in price from the Moerch and the Ref is not too much more than the Triplanar. If you are going to take advantage of adjusting VTA (and VTF) its hard to think that any arm can beat the Triplanar; just note the proper position and click, click, you are there. I have a Schroeder M2 on a Teres 255 and I have listened quite a bit to a Triplanar on a friend's 3XX series (its been through some upgrades) and I find both pretty darn good. I would say that the Triplanar excels on attack and dynamics; the Schroeder on musicality and even response across the entire spectrum (e.g., excellent bass and no harshness at the top end). I expect that at a similar price point, there would not be too much diff btwn the Schroeder Ref and the Tri-p. Of course, unless you get lucky like I did with a used Schroeder, you will have quite a wait. So in that respect, the Tri-P may be the way to go.
It is definitely a superb arm.
Nice choices so far Peter. If it were me, I would choose the Tri-planar, it is a first rate arm that takes a backseat to no one, IMHO.

Thanks kindly for the guidance all. Good to hear some familiar voices chiming in, John, swampwalker, thanks so much.
Tri-planar gets some good votes. Swampwalker, i don't think i'll get as lucky as you (some guys have all the luck) so the schroeder ref is probably out. Whats the wait like now for one of those anyway?

I appreciate your time

Hi again Peter...
Winter is very nice in Tasmania...a beaut 15 gerees C and sunny,,,good for the Solar power...Swampwalker nailed it...IMO too,probably the most important interface is the arm/cartridge...the ZYX Universe is a eye opener,definitly worth while saving for,I thought the ZXY 3 Cosmos was it,well I was wrong...put the Uni in a good arm and it is unbelievable...i have sold my LaLuce and am too embarrased to say what this terrific cartridge and the AirTangent is mounted on...Direct Drive,with a modified platter...but the music it produces is just great...and that's what counts...I saw the Schroeder in Melbourne ,but have not had a chance to listen...I will one day,sure looks and feels great...You could not go wrong to put a ZYX into the Triplanar and mount it on a reasonable Turntable...before I sold my triplanar I mounted it on my Townsend Rock and that was better sounding than my than "un-named"reference table,just a example of my long search for musicality...
All thr best
I have the Triplanar arm and ZYX Universe
I am picking up my Galibier table this week

Mehran is so wonderful to deal with
hope he's thriving in his new Chicago setting

I did the same research on the arms (search Moerch here on the gon) and felt the Moerch was good for the money but for 50% more I had an arm I could keep for life!

I got a lot of help from Doug Deacon and others

what phono pre are you using?

good luck in your quest
I have had both Moerch (Blue dot) and Triplanar in my systems and the most noticeable difference is in the lower registers where I found the Triplanar more rock solid and the Moerch is softer. As always arm matching with cartridges (and phono cable) is very important and for me the Zyx sounds right in the Triplanar and less involving in the Moerch. Hope that helps.
Radi- that sounds great. That was some of the info I was looking for. Partucularly with rock, I don't want "softer.' Thanks for chiming in especially since you have expereince with both!!

Audiotomb, yes i have read a couple of threads of yours and in fact your threads were the ones that lead me to start this questioning. Doug as well has been extremely helpful. I like your point and it is well noted, an arm i can keep for life. Now thats what I am after. That sounds like it should be worth 50% more! I'll be using a Nick Doshi pre with phono.

Cheers all

You've already gotten many insightful responses. I do know one UNIverse owner who upgraded from DP-6 to TriPlanar. He was frankly astonished by the improvement wrought by the TriPlanar. My experience with the Atmos suggests it is worth having a very good arm, so if the budget allows...

Based on your musical priorities and your desire to set/forget when feasible, you chose well getting the Atmos rather than the UNIverse. While both cartridges respond to very fine tuning, the Atmos is more forgiving of small inaccuracies. That's a nice way of saying it's less resolving than a UNIverse, but for many listeners and many records that is probably just fine. We get extraordinary musical results from the top model, even more since some recent changes I'll be posting about, but that extraordinary resolution demands extraordinary attention to every variable. You can't get one without the other.

Peter, I recently switched from a Moerch DP-6 (with 12" Red wand) to a Triplanar, each used on a Galibier Gavia. In my opinion, they are both excellent arms and, with the right cartridge, are each capable of top flight performance. It is hard to provide helpful capsule descriptions of the two arms because the sound of the Moerch (like many other arms) will be affected so much by the choice of phono cable. The Triplanar has a dedicated cable so it isn't subject to that variable. With that major caveat, I found the Triplanar to have slightly greater inner detail and a more solid low frequency foundation. Of course, the Triplanar also has more convenient adjustments for VTA and cartridge alignment.

For someone who prefers to listen to music rather than obsess over tonearm adjustments, the Moerch can be quite satisfying. If you are the type who wants to adjust VTA for each recording, the Triplanar is clearly the way to go.

Doug, good to see you made it here. Thanks for the advice. Dave, much appreciated. Its really good to see advice from folks who have had experince with both products. Thanks a lot.
That was one thing i was certianly wondering about. I've heard that phono cables make a noticeable change in sound and the fact that the triplanars was preset did concern me, as I would not be able to play around with cable choices, which at time I enjoy doing. That was a plus for the Moerch.

In the end though and mostly based on the advice of you great folks here, I ordered the triplanar today. I think it was a good move. Also, I will be revising my statement about not fooling around with tuning in the adjustments. I'll probably to that too. I'm no golden ear but part of that is training over time right!?

Cheers all and thanks for the help
Peter- Great choice. I can't say anything about your table, but the rest of the set-up should be killer! Congrats. As you know, the Doshi/Tri-P/ZYX combo works very well (as does VAC/Schroeder/ZYX). The Schroeders also have dedicated phono leads and I think that there is a big advantage (at least theoretically) in removing any mechanical connections which must have a significant impact on that tiny signal from an LO MC cart. So given all that, I would have made the same choice as you did, if I'd thought that the $$ were worthwhile. For me, analog is still a secondary source, so I could not justify the $$ for a new Tri-P (and missed out on a few used ones). There was a very modest cost savings in buying a used Schroeder. The marketplace has determined that the time savings are more important. The M2 I bought was far and away the most expensive used purchase I have made as a percentage of new price. New SMEs are discounted much more! I have no complaints either; I listen to blues, folk, country, rock and pop mostly, with some jazz and an emphasis on smaller scale, simpler arrangements featuring vocals and acoustic instruments. For that kind of music, communicating emotion, true timber and subtle micro-dynamics are key and I think that the M2 does a fantastic job. But when I spin my discs on Doug and Paul's rig, they all sound great. Enjoy!!!
Hi Peter,

From your description it sounds like you and I were in the same frame of mind before making the Tri purchase. I listen to pretty much the same music that you list. I can tell you that I've been very happy with my Tri purchase and use it for my reference arm/cart setup. I don't adjust VTA except for changes in record weight, or if it is some jazz LPs, or classical recordings. The Tri makes it very easy and repeatable, and I'm guessing that you'll find yourself making more changes than you originally anticipated.

Michael, that M2 must be a great step up from the Origin arm! Good on ya'!

a doshi pre - yes you are really doing this right
as others stated - you'll be tuning in the vta on the triplanar with great results
(our honorable doug has a nice writeup on this)

I'm three days away from doing that myself
I've had my triplanar and universe since january
the universe is on a nottingham arm spacedeck table
Thom Mackris has had my arm for fitting for a few weeks
and the table arrives this week

if you don't have a viable record cleaner
by all means buy a loricraft
it will help you extract all that magic
and keep your records pristine

welcome to the world of high end analog
Hi Dan- Yeah the M2 is quite a step up; the music just flows. Still need to make some minor tweaks to deal with occasional mistracking on highs. For its price the Silver is a real over-achiever, but I also think the M2 falls into the same category. It was/is a bit finicky/scary to set up w/o an arm rest of fingerlift (ask Doug, he did the heavy lifting; I did the worrying.) I'm glad the ZYX does not have a nude cantiliver like my Benz did. That would be beyond scary.
Look forward to a report when your table arrives. Which did you get? it has been interesting to me to note how different tables sound. Including the high-mass vs. suspension tables. It still amazes me that tables actually will sound different. I geuss I am still use to CDP's where the sound is noticably different.
Swampwalker, thanks for your vote of confidence. I looked up your system recently. Very nice. I like what your going after. The VAC was second on my list for a pre. If I had had the funds then, I would have purchased that used one that came up a little while ago. How do you like it. From the description you gave, I am assuming very much. And fine point about the dedicated tonearm cable. Does the Schroeder work on the same principle?
I've never heard of lorcraft rcord cleaners. I just assumed VPI was the way to go. Can you tell me some more audiotomb. How oftern do you clean your records? Whats the process like? Which cleaning fliud do you use? That part of the vinyl world is still a mystery to me!


Good move on the tonearm. If you haven't already, search for the thread titled "TriPlanar Tips". There are many fine-tuning tweaks and even one or two safe usage tips that aren't mentioned in the manual. Most of them are discussed there. The TriPlanar page on Thom Mackris' web site is also very helpful.

Don't let the TriP's in-your-face complexity put you off playing around with all the adjustments. However much or little your ears decide to make use of them, you'll be more comfortable with the arm if you're confident of how everything works. Having all those doo-dads visible and touchable actually makes it easier.

Sonic differences between tables? Oh yes. Often more so than between tonearms IME.

I'll strongly second Audiotomb's recommendation of the Loricraft RCM. It's been discussed many times here and on Vinyl Asylum, there's really no comparison with a VPI or any similar machine. The Loricraft (and one or two others) employ an entirely different method for applying vacuum to the record surface. It's much quieter, provides a stronger vacuum, produces less static buildup and eliminates cross-contamination via the vacuum wand and felts - because it doesn't have any. It's expensive, naturally, but I wouldn't trade mine away.

Once a record is truly clean, there should be no need to wet clean it again. A simple dry brush before/after each side should suffice. The trick, however, is getting it truly clean with NOTHING left behind. There've been some excellent threads here by Justin Time discussing the challenges of achieving that.

We're in the midst of trying some new cleaning fluids. Our previous standard is being challenged by the new formulas recently introduced by AIVS. In our tests so far, going on two weeks, Jim Pendleton's formulations are doing a better job in a couple of areas. I'll post separately when we're done testing different combos, but so far we're pretty happy.

Swampwalker's system provides an integrated, you-are-there sensation for the music he listens to that's really satisfying. Paul and I both have pretty high sensitivities to certain artficial flavors and colors. His setup has none of those. It might not do large scale classical or big rock quite as convincingly, but for his music it performs beautifully. I could listen to it for hours and hours, and I did!
Peter- I have had my VAC in Doug's system and as you can tell, he has listened to it at my place. Without having done any detailed long term comparison, I would say that the differences between it and the Doshi are small. The MC stage on the Doshi is an active gain stage; the VAC is a transformer stage. The implementation is quite good, but I happen to have an active pre-pre built by ZYX that is optomized for their carts and have never popped the hood on the VAC to optomize cart loading. So of course, the VAC with the SUT stage is not quite up to the Doshi, but very close. The VAC with the ZYX pre-pre is really quite outstanding, IMO. And yes, the Schroeder has integrated one piece phono leads. I think that this is a big advantage and perhaps partly explains the v. good performance of the M2 and the OL Silver in their price classes. Of course I have never been able to test this theory but as I said, given the VERY SMALL signals we are talking about with an LO MC (0.25 mv, about 1/1000th of line stage voltages). If any tone arm maker wants to help us out here with a pair of identical arms, one with integrated headshell to RCA leads, and another with a DIN connection, I would be happy to volunteer my home for a listening test ;~).
You guys are just grand. My learning curve is just immense in the analogue arena, and I thank you two. I'll be getting the triplanar in about two weeks, of course I will not be able to play it until I get the Doshi, which will be sometime in September I imagine. But when I do get it, I'll set it up, refer to the tips and tricks and of course will be in contact with all my novice questions.

Cheers gentleman.

can you find an intermediate phono stage?
something you get a deal on and sell near cost?

another option is get the Loricraft and start cleaning so you can hit the ground running in September

I've been waiting since january, but had an intermediate vinyl option

in the meantime you'll have fun chasing down all those stellar lps
Good suggestion. I bought a Rogue 99 Magnum to use until Nick finished my Alaaps. (That's a full function line stage.) Sold within a week of re-listing it.