Is setting VTF on Graham Phantom fussy?

Please let me explain my question,referring to this wonderful sounding arm......
I have a 2.2,and my friend has the Phantom.I find that our cartridge(Orpheus) VTF requires a "slight" adjustment in VTF once in a while.Actually we both find the benefit of re-setting VTF about once a week(or more often if we feel like being picky).
My concern with the Phantom,which I have good experience with,I "think"(in my friend's system,as I have been his set-up guy for awhile)is that it seems to be much more difficult to set the VTF,without having it's bearing block shift,causing the arm to pull(off it's rest,or the VTF guage),and making re-checking of VTF a real pain in the tush,as compared to the simple,and reliable way it can be "instantly" done on the 2.2!
Maybe I am not familiar with the ergonomic aspects of the Phantom,which "ownership" allows one to get a handle on,but I am seriously interested in moving towards purchasing a Phantom,in a few months,and want to know if this is a problem with my friend's arm,or my approach to an arm I am not as familiar with,as my 2.2.I hope the latter!
As of now,when I want to adjust VTF on my 2.2,I hold the bearing block steady,with my left hand,and twist the counterweight knob with my right hand.I DO move the arm to the "rest" position when doing this.
Whenever I do this with my friend's Phantom,the bearing block "shifts" and requires a repositioning,to realign the pivot/magnaglide.This "then" causes the arm to shift/slide,as though it was sliding on "ice".It seems to be finicky about getting it aligned again,and requires it being "re-centered with the bottom plate",and sometimes pulled up/pushed down on.NOT confidence building!I hope the problem is my technique!!
There is none of this with the 2.2,but my friend claims that the arm does not have to return to rest,with the Phantom,when adjusting VTF,and keeping the arm,just over the downforce scale while making the VTF adjustment will not cause this shifting action,of the pivot.He did not demonstrate this to me,very well,and I am concerned.
I am VERY interested in acquiring this product(among one or two others),and would love some feedback from owners who,hopefully,can tell me that my approach,on the Phantom is wrong.
Thanks in advance.
I have a Phantom and noted the bearing shift you described, but only when I moved the table from my dealer's. He set VTF at the recommended 1.85g for my Audioquest AQ7000Fe5 cartridge, but when I got it home I noted that it would not track highly modulated tracks. So I checked it and VTF had fallen to 1.5g. I just locked the arm down and reset it to 1.85g, where it has resided since. So I did not experience the shifting you noted. One question, though. I bought my original Phantom about a year ago and then upgraded the bearing to a sharper bearing point. I think all Phantoms use this sharper bearing now. Do you have this sharper bearing? You might want to check with your dealer or Graham. Perhaps this could be the issue. Graham did not have the Phantom out long before using the upgraded bearing.
I never have had that experience with my new Phantom. it feels as almost solid as gimbal arms. The only time that the pivot block shifts is that when the top cap is being removed to add/check damping fluid...but that is inevitable.
Never had this "Problem", I agree with Jaytea.
When you screw the top cap, move the arm to the spindle, after that it is in its Bearing 100%
Thanks for the input.I think there may be a problem with the actual arm(in my friend's set-up).This has NOTHING to do with undoing the top-cap.If I so much as breathe on the arm,when altering the "back" adjustment for VTF,it shifts out of position.I am "specifically" talking about the times one has to hold the arm steady,while twisting(very carefully,and I am extremely delicate and careful)the back VTF dial.
We'll see how this shakes out!
I just got off the phone with Bob Graham(super nice guy,btw).He indicated that my friend's arm has the old magnet system,and that this issue is non-existent with arms coming out in the last few months.It is really NO big deal,and I am totally satisfied with his response.
BTW, seem to have been absolutely correct,in that there definitely seems to be a more stable,solid,less edgy sound with the Phantom,over the 2.2.I'm going to start saving my pennies!
Thanks to those concerned Audiogners!

What, if anything, is the issue with arms with the older magnetic stabilization device? I am just curious because a friend has a Phantom bought somewhere around five months or so ago.

We have tried it with several different cartridges -- Lyra Titan, Transfiguration Phoenix and the Orpheus. I have also heard the Orpheus in a Vector Arm in two systems (including my own system) and in an SME 309 with upgraded bearings, dampening trough, etc. The Orpheus sounded good in all of the setups. It did not strike me as being particularly fussy about VTF, but, I did not do a lot of auditioning at different settings (a big p-i-t-a with my Vector arm). The one "objective" test of tracking ability (using the Shure V test record) showed that the Orpheus tracked much better in the SME arm than either the Vector or Phantom. This is a torture test so I don't give the result much significance when it comes to regular music (I use that test to set antiskating).
Larryi,Bob mentioned that the newer arms have more powerful magnets.I don't think the Orpheus is fussy about VTF,anymore than other designs,but VTF IS a significant aspect of top flight performance.Even with my friend's adjustment hassles,the arm has fabulous performance.I have NEVER heard my Mercury pressings "traced" so well.
I haven't tried any test records on my friend's Phantom,other than the antiskate,which is "then" ultimately voiced by ear.The Phantom definitely tracks better than my 2.2.HATE to admit to it,but it does a much better job of this.
The main reason I can now state this is because I now have an Orpheus(still my 2.2)and my friend,with the Phantom,has an Orpheus too.When we play my discs,I can clearly hear the difference.It was more of an assumption when I had my Temper-V.
Looks like my recored flattener accessory is taking a back seat,as I have started my "Phantom fund".-:)
I've used the Orpheus in 4 high end arms and in those applications the best tracking occurred between 1.95g and 1.99g.

Anti-skating compensation for day to day (optimum) listening was somewhat less than the amount needed to track the HiFi Test Record.


Disclaimer: retailer
Hello Sirspeedy:

How are you? I just returned from extended trips to AZ and FL, sorry for the delay in responding to your inquiry on my virtual page. Do you know the starting serial number of the Phantom with the upgraded magnet? I spoke to Mr. Graham some time late last year and he indicated that the magnet had changed from a pointed to a flat configuration. He implied that this led to better arm stabilization (If you look at the original picture of the arm on his site you will note that the magnet is pointed). Is this the upgrade?
I just checked and the picture on the Graham site now shows the upgraded magnet (flat face). However, if you click on the Stereophile review link, you will see a picture of the older version arm with the pointed magnet.
Gmorris,thanks and best to you(as always).My friend has the flat magnets.I believe he needs to contact his dealer,if he wants to rectify his situation.It's "his" arm,and he makes the decisions.
Yet,the performance is truly fabulous,and he knows how to fotz around with it,to correct the shift(which is NOT a normal situation).Since I see him every few weeks,I don't know how to play around with the coupling enough,as it is not my own possession.
I have NO concerns,after speaking with Bob Graham,and DO believe this is an unusual,and "one of a kind" situation.Believe me,I was totally looking for a way to declare my 2.2 the arm to "keep",but why lie to myself,when my LP's tell me something totally different.
-:).....Of course if this was the "me" of 2005-2006 I'd probably be overstating my own agenda,and rationalizing how the 2.2 stands up to the Phantom.It DOES NOT!! -:)
BTW,got to go with Audiofeil's input about tracking force.
We find 1.97-1.99 to be almost "perfecto" in my friend's system.My own set-up is around 1.98 as of now,but obviously this number changes slightly.
Last Friday we were at my friend Ed's home.He has the Cosmos/Phantom/Orpheus.He got Magico Minis about three months ago.Also,he added(other than a PS Audio P-300 for front end,and preamp/phonostage)a BPT line conditioner(huge Plitron trannys)for his Rowland 8t amp.
Now,with this current config,virtually every lp we play has an amazing level of stability,dynamics,tone color,and inner detail.The ENTIRE system has moved up dramatically,and he did not have dreck before.
It is now clearly obvious to me,how good the Phantom is at maintaining such a low level of tracking/tracing coloration.I know I cannot get this in my own syatem,which is very similar to Ed's.
I cannot state with enough emphasis how "amazing" early original Mercury pressings(which can be tough to get "right",according to the maven Sid Marks)now sound in his stunning system.
It reinforces the theory that once you get out all(you never get it "all" out)of the resonances,you can "really" hear the music.I am beginning to believe that this business of resonance control,though well understood,is the DEMON hidden in all our set-ups.You just never fully know what component is responsible,all the time.BUT it sure is obvious when it is "line noise" and "analog front end" related.Those are the issues Ed has addressed lately,and the main REASON why I know how good his system now sounds is because my friend Sid is in denial,as to how much better all these changes(which are as obvious as your nose)have influenced the MUSIC.I must laugh at the rationalization,when it is SO obvious!
You simply have to understand the audiophile mentality,in situations like this,to get it!