Looking for a great arm that is low maintenence

I ordered a Sota Cosmos turntable and am going to get a ZYX Airy 3 cartridge. I am looking for a great arm that is not high maintenence or finiky. I don't want to have to adjust it with each playing, or to add oil every time I use it.

The arms I'm interested in right now are the TriPlaner, Graham 2.2, or the SME IV, but I'm open to suggestions. The new arm with replace a Rega RB 900.

Give me your what and why...
None of the arms you mentioned are high maintenance. The
simplest is the Rega. I currently own the Triplanar and SME IV. The Wheaton is the best arm I've ever owned. It has lots of adjustments but you don't need to touch them after setup. I've owned the Graham 1.5 and, again, once set it is set up you don't to change anything.
Agree with Narrod. In my experience, the Graham 2.2, and before that, the 1.5, that I own and have owned are essentially no maintenance. Once set up properly, and it's not that hard to do (though I had my dealer do it), you can leave it alone. Beautifully made, and very well-engineered arms.
Narrod how would you characterize the differences between the SME IV and the TriPlaner? After a little more research I have decided to drop the Graham from the list of choices.
The Wheaton is more accurate top to bottom. The SME is a little bloated in the bass which makes it an ideal match for the Oracle which is where I use it. The Graham is superior to
the SME. All are good as is the Rega.
I think that context is everything in this instance. You don't need the best sounding arm; you need the best sounding arm on a SOTA Cosmos table. The SME is a very synergistic match with the SOTA tables. You might also consider talking with Keith Bodinet at SOTA; I believe that he is quite accessable and can render informed guidance. Oh, and you can turn off that tube amp now.
Marty - I always grin when I see your looser,er I mean user name come up. You always have something funny to say. I appreciate that! So many people are such stiffs!

I have talked to Donna and Kirk on several occasions. I know they use SME quite a bit, but you hit one something I had not considered, that being the sympathetic synergy between the Sota and the SME. I don't really have much interest inthe SME V, but the IV is a good match for my system, I think...

Thanks Marty, come out here and turn the amp off yourself. I can put you up for a while!?!
Nrchy,I have a COSMOS Series III,that I have run a Triplanar,SME-V,and Graham 2.2 on.I have also used,on the Sotas,numerous Koetsus and the Transfiguration Temper and Transfig-V on.

I know you are an experienced hobbyist,so my first response,in keeping with your sensibilities,is for you to use the "FORCE",in helping you make a decision.You're own intuition will help,as you are no beginner,and nobody can "really" fill that educated void!

Now,down to business.I LOVE the Graham,as you may already know.Very versatile arm.I like it ALOT better than my Triplanar,or my SME-V,but that is only my taste.Others will have their own set of emotions,and voice a differing,and valid opinion,as well.Don't listen to them,just listen to ME.JUST KIDDING!!!Hey,you said you liked humor!

The Triplanar,that I had was not a good match for me at the time.Not the problem of the arm,but my fercrucchena(ATTN moderators-a yiddish expression,not slang) dealer!Even that being the case the 2.2 is a highly evolved cartridge carrier.To me,and my sensibilities,it is MUCH MORE "dial in" friendly,and precise than the Triplanar.Not close,really,and I know I'll get bombed for that one!Remember it's just my opinion!!!The fluid etc,is really no big deal.

The SME was a nice arm,but too many hobbyists feel it is a bit bass heavy,and besides,SME is a HUGE company,so give you're money to someone who can probably appreciate it.Just kidding,again!Also,the SME unlike the Triplanar,and especially the 2.2 cannot have it's VTA adjusted during play,in a repeated fashion.The SME,can be lowered in VTA,once before bringing the arm back up.I don't feel that offers the "precise" fine tuning(which is really important,BTW)of having it available,"on the fly"!

Now for the FLY in the ointment!!Believe me if I were you,and had not made a buying decision yet(and although I prefer the 2.2 over the other 2 arms),remember this is just my opinion,I would HAVE TO look at the Schroeder line of arms.

I'll tell you why,and think about this!The Schroeder's have NO bearing,other than magnetic repulsion.This obliviates any potential resonance characteristic,and would have to create a very open and relaxed sound.Not as relaxed as you look like on your motorcycle(in the picture,shown)but close.Add to that a one piece cable network,choice of armwand material,to match cartridge characteristics,and,on paper,looks like a no brainer,for careful consideration.

My weakness here,is the fact that I have never heard a Schroeder,but it has a very loyal fan base(sort of like Harly,get it?).

In all seriousness,you will be happy with any of these great arms.I love my 2.2,and can argue it's superiority over the Triplanar,or SME,but it is still my opinion only!

As for the Schroeder,well it is here that you need to look to the "Light Side of the Force",you're own common sense.It has the potential to match the incredible relaxed and open sound of a great Air Bearing design(of which I'm intimately familiar,on a friend's set-up),but without the pumps and hoses,due to it's unique design.

You are in a great position,and will love your sound,ultimately!!Make the choice that best serves you,and do some homework.Forget all us experts.We really cannot tell you a thing about what "YOU" should like.Best of luck!!
The Graham Phantom is a superb tonearm. It should be on your short list of possible tonearms.
Great post Sirspeedy. I feel exactly the same way about Graham. It is way easier and more precise than the SME IV+ and V my friends own. The Ceramic wan is a must. I have both and ceramic is quieter and smoother sounding ( in high freq espeically .)

Some folks told me that they feel the 1.5T is better than the 2.2. What's your opinion?
Chang,everyone is entitled to their opinion,and I'm not going to come off as the Arm Police(re the 1.5t vs 2.2).If they like it ,fine with me.My friend went from the 1.5t to the 2.2 and we felt the 2.2 was significantly more revealing.Just our opinions.Best luck!
Thanks for the Excellent post and very level headed advice for Nrchy. Was your Tri-Planar a model 7 or a previous version? My understanding from those (whose ears I trust) that have heard both, is that the current model 7 is dramatically better than the older Tri-Planar's
I currently own (love) the Graham 2.2 with Ceramic armwands (3) and heard the Tri-Planar 7 in my system for during a long weekend. I have never had the SME IV or V in my system (so I am useless there). When I did my research while making the Graham 2.2 buying decision, the SME's were taken off my short list towards the end based on friend’s comments that had owned or heard them extensively.
In my system, the Tri-Planar 7 was clearly more dynamic with more detail and better attacks than the Graham 2.2 along with stronger and more focused bass. I still prefer the Graham to the Tri-Planar 7. The Tri-Planar was a little bit too edgy for my taste, but other people clearly preferred the Tri-Planar (my room is still a bit on the bright side and that might account for my preference for the Graham 2.2).
Having said all of the above, I would easily prefer a Schroder Reference to either the Graham 2.2 or the Tri-Planar. If my room’s handling of sound was better (and will be someday) , I could easily see myself preferring the Tri-Planar to the Graham 2.2. I do think that the Schroder Reference might be the arm that ends one’s lifelong chase for tonearm Heaven.
I have a two-armed table and I imagine that I will keep my Graham 2.2 after I get a Schroder Reference.
There are lot’s of options for you here Nate, but your short list is looking pretty good.

Get any Schroder and mount any cartridge to it. Get the Triplanar VII and use a silver wire ZYX and there will be no edge. Either option is killer, IMO. Geez, I know that others will disagree. If we could somehow get together soon you could hear what I'm talking about. Honestly though, we are talking about very subtle differences and without another arm to A/B directly in your system you'll never be aware that you may have made a slightly lesser choice. You're not going to be unhappy with any of the ones you are considering.
Larry,really great to hear from ya!I didn't know you had a two arm table/set-up.Keeping the 2.2,and comparing it to your future(I do wish you'd do it already)Schroeder will,obviously interest me,greatly!

The Triplanar I had was a few years ago,so not the latest.I have seen the newer one,and my problems with it don't seem to be solved.These are ergonomic,and will still play a part in maximizing performance.I "HATE" the fact that there is not a counterweight screw in type setting(the 2.2 has extremely tightly toleranced counterweighted settings,as you know),and mine don't move over time!After all the hard work I've recently done,and getting a really good digital stylus force guage,I don't like the "hunt and seek", "push/twist and pull" way of moving the counterweight on the TRI.I have found a BIG difference in my cartridge performance,when experimenting with various settings ranging in 1/100 of a gram increments.Finding the exact spot is a breeze with the 2.2,as you know.The TRI took me forever.If anyone thinks that this level of accuracy is no big deal,they're deluding themselves,on a high performance system.

I mean I'm sure I could have dialed it in as precisely with my TRI,but I could have flown down to you,had a listening session,and come back already,with the time that would have been spent fotzing around with that.The NEW ownership really does not care,as I've(very respectfully) asked him about this.

While I'm at it,the "Side Screw" that tightens vta may be acceptable(you tighten it by your finger),but there is no way it can have the solid integrity of the "Ring Clamp" full base circumference tightness of the 2.2.Aside from the fact that my my finger lift fluid leaked out,in a few months,and the antiskate "fishing line" thread has a "spring" action,that will change as it dries out, it was fine.Oh,I forgot,and there is NO excuse for this,especially as the new ownership told me it was no big deal(ha!),the VTA dial at the top of the arm,the one with the "cute" little numerical markings,has a good deal of play,and cannot be repeatable,if you want to use the numbers.Why bother having the numbers.This is ok,if you want to dial by memory,but the 2.2 "smokes" it,in every way.I sure hope the new one is better,but I doubt it.So, how could I ever have gotten that ("Tin Man" rattle trap)to perform like a fully maxed out,and worth every cent of it's "Bently Build and Finish",beautifully designed 2.2?
As the new guy(replacing the wonderful Herb Papier)could care less.He's selling quite a few of them,and does not seem to care about actual feedback,from customers.
Could you imagine Bob Graham,or Frank Schroeder not addressing such concerns.I don't think so!

Also,Larry--In all honesty, when any of us,especially me,talks to previous experience with any product,really it is NOT accurate.The reason for this is that I myself,having been so demanding,has learned some finer details of set up that may have colored my decisions regarding my newer,later preferences.If we go back to previous observations,of earlier products(even your arm shoot out),they may very well not be accurate.Just some fuel for thought,though this does let me off the hook,re: the TRIPLANAR!NA!

Well,now that I've had my little rant,have a great weekend!!
Larry, Just out of curiousity, could that be the tracking force you put on the cartidge that makes the difference in terms of dynamics and detail? Every arm geometry and tracking force might be different based on the angle of force pushing downward.
Logically the Tracking force plays a large role (as does the VTA) in determining the detail, focus and timbre of the sound.
I can not promise you that we nailed the set up each time, but a lot of care was given by some very able people when the tonearm/cartridge set ups were done and there was a good bit of tweaking before we settled in to listen.
So yes, it is absolutely possibility that we were misled by the set ups, but that would always be the case. In this case, I feel pretty comfortable that the character of the tonearms and associated cartridges were a result of good set ups.
I hope I didn't go too overboard with my Triplanar "knock".Understand that due to my crappy dealer(of the time),I took a 1500.00 dollar loss,after spending two years trying to get it to perform, as it should have.I probably am still suffering a good deal of angst,from the experience.Not soon forgot;and the industry wonders why so many dealers are losing business to the internet!!
sirspeedy - I'm leaning toward the TriPlaner, but you mentioned that TriPlaner does not appear to have dealt with the issues that concerned you during your experience. How concerned do I need to be about that.

It's tough to make the choice since all the arms on my list are disliked by at least one person that I trust, except for the Schroeder. They just take a long time to order, and I just sold my Rega. I'd rather not sit around and wait a few months for a new arm. Does anyone know how long it takes to get the Schroeder?

My Cosmos should be done in the next couple of weeks. Ideally I'd like to have everything in place by then. What to do, what to do???
Nrchy, most good arms require careful setup but none that I know of (including the unusual Souther linear arm) require any maintenance.

I have a SOTA Cosmos also. I have replaced the SME IV with the Graham 2.2 and I am delighted I did. Overall, the Graham sound more transparent--no heaviness in the bass--and livelier. It also offers more adjustments and execute them better than the SME.

I have had a long look at the Wheaton Triplanar. Great construction. It sounds excellent in my friend's system but in my limited exposure to it, it was not as ergonomic as the Graham. So I selected the latter. Though there are too many variables to make a valid comparison, I felt that my system with the Graham sounds better than his with the Triplanar. Finally, I like the fact that Graham has been consistently improving their arms over the years and offered reasonable upgrades to their customers.

If you are like me, no matter which arm you eventually buy, you are going to have the nagging feeling that the one you did not get might be better. These are great arms that will all do well on the SOTA. Any one of them will give you great sound. Just pick one and enjoy!
Nrchy,I really don't have alot to add,that Justin has not stated.I think I initially chose the Triplanar because it looked more solid and massive in construction.Like a fine piece of medical equipment.I'm sure this plays a part in "ALL" products chosen,though performance should be the first criteria.Obviously it was,for me,but as the eventual owner of both arms,I can state that it really is the Graham 2.2 that is MUCH better designed,built,finished,and as stated(beautifully phrased)by Justin,it "executes" the adjustments(needed for accurate set-up)better than the Triplanar.

As I look back at both arms,the 2.2 is an incredible design.SO GOOD,to me,that I really don't care about the Phantom(especially in lieu of the fact that I run a very light,high compliance cartridge).Also,and here is where the "human nature" of asthetic choice comes into play;the 2.2(to me)looks like it was made for the Cosmos.It just looks SO DARN GREAT on my Black Fountainhead table.The Phantom looks absolutely MASSIVE,and although I have NO DOUBT it is a fabulous design,it looks a bit like overkill,for a cartridge of 7 gms.I'm probably wrong,but we all have our own way of seeing things.If I had a much heavier cartridge with low compliance,I'd be looking at the Phantom,or Schroeder Ref.For sure!Actually,I like the Shroeder with my current Transfiguration,since I can select arm mass.

Which brings me back to the original advice I gave you and was so beautifully expressed by Justin.Just pick one,of these all fine arms,and be happy!!You will love any of them.Remember,though(like this year's Belmont and Preakness winner)the Schroeder should NOT be easily dismissed.It may be the "dark horse sleeper" in the field.Something tells me that I'm not wrong about that.The design is WAY too strong to be dismissed,and you have a designer/owner who seems to be unbelieveably passionate about his products.Like Elliot said,in Close Encounters Of The Third Kind;"This means something"!
Sir Speedy, there you go again. I disagree with your characterization of the Phantom as MASSIVE. The fact is my Helikon is 8 grams with reasonably high compliance and it sounds wonderful in the clutches of the Phantom. I hate to repeat myself, but as you have never auditioned the Phantom I would caution readers to take your comments with the proverbial “grain of salt”. In the final analysis, actual listening not conjecture will determine the compatibility of the Phantom with low mass/high compliance cartridges.
Fact: The Phantom exceeds the 2.2 in every musical category, and not by a small margin.
Sir speedy,

I'm going to have to agree with Gmorris. The Phantom is far superior to the 2.2.

The tracking abilities of the Phantom blow away the 2.2

Try one!

Dear Gmorris: As all we know is not exist the " best tonearm " , like many things in audio all is " relative " and in the tonearm subject there are many issues around that can define the " best one ".

When we are comparing tonearm " names " like: Graham, Triplanar, SME, Breuer, Schroeder, Audiocraft, Brinckman, Pluto, Audio Note, Moerch, Wilson Benesch, Basis, Air Tangent, Kuzma, etc.., we have to compare " around the stage system " where that tonearm is working, here the most important ( maybe ) issue is with: which cartridge.

I own all my tonearms and cartridges not because I wnat to be a " collector " item, but because that give me the opportunity to " test " one cartridge with severals tonearms till I find which one is the " best match " combo for to have the greates sound reproduction with that particular cartridge. When I find it I never think that this " best match " tonearm is better than the others, it is only the best match with that cartridge, that's all.
Till today I never find a tonearm that have the consistense that with that tonearm any cartridge sounds always better.

So, your statement that: +++++ " The Phantom exceeds the 2.2 in every musical category, " +++++, is a " relative " one not an absolute one. I can assure you that with the right combination the 2.2 can " beat " the Phantom and that don't means that the 2.2 is better than the Phantom.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Hey guys,why don't you read my post a little more carefully!I ALWAYS state that my impressions are "opinion".I also was clear that things are a matter of taste,and that is why I made the statement about the Phantom being massive,which it definitely IS TO ME!!!Also I have auditioned it on two occassions,and it sounded great.So?

I also believe I CLEARLY STATED that any potential doubts I may have had about the Phantom were "probably wrong",as I don't like to knock any product,unless I have owned it for a length of time.I don't take myself all that seriously,in this forum,and am only having fun corresponding with fellow hobbyists.

Splashkin,I know you are happy with the Phantom,as you have stated this to me in the past,and I TOTALLY believe you,when you praise it's performance.It has been obvious from previous correspondence that you are a well adjusted and decent guy,with a sense of humor.I hope all is well,and wish you the best!BTW-I still love your Basis!

Gmorris,I do take your comments as having a bit of a "goading and antagonistic edge".Believe me I don't want to create ill will with ANY hobbyist on this forum,but lighten up!Your "there you go again" statement does not seem to sway towards the friendly!I hope you are a bit more mature than some hobbyists,that I've seen in Audiogon who start a verbal assault because someone doesn't like (BTW-I do happen to like the Phantom,but my 2.2 is proven,by my own experience,which could very well migrate towards a Phantom at some future point)something the other guy owns.That is ABSURD,and I'm NOT accusing you of this.Just don't take my "opinions" so seriously.I,myself,don't!If you like stuff you own,then that's it.Nobody can dictate what someone should like.But we're free to make comments,which is what this forum is all about!Someone correct me if I'm wrong!I'm just a yutz,who likes the hobby,and has some experience with a couple of products,as well as some harmless opinions.Anyone who thinks differently is taking this forum WAY too seriously!!Best wishes!

BTW-I agree with Raul!!
Thanks for the kind words Sirspeedy.

If we get back to the original question requesting a tonearm of low maintenance, then the Graham 2.2 or Phantom does the job.

This weekend I listened to a number of my old Mercury Living Presence stereo recordings with the Phantom. I was amazed at the increased tracing ability and rendering of information I had never heard before on these recordings. The first Mercury stereo recordings with early matrix were tough to track. Not for the Phantom-Koetsu Jade Platinum. Of course, a Zenith Cobra would also do an excellent job!

Best Wishes,

You know Sirspeedy, sometimes with your obfuscations you come across like a politician. I tend to be upfront with my comments. The fact is that you have never heard the Schroeder but perhaps the Phantom (which you claimed “sounded great”); yet you are willing to recommend exploring the Schroeder based on reputation and design whereas you are dismissive of the Phantom based on your erroneous conjecture that it may be too MASSIVE for low mass/high compliance cartridges. I said, “Here we go again” because many words were expended in a previous thread discussing this issues (including a lengthy explanation from the manufacturer). I found it odd that on a thread were someone was seeking recommendation on possible arms that you would raise this conjecture.

Are you positioning yourself for a nice accommodation price on a possible future Schroeder purchase?

By the way Raul, I own three arms: Zeta, 2.2 and the Phantom.
Splashkin,I LOVE the fact that someone is actually talking about the "software" aspect of this hobby.In a forum where equipment is taken WAY too seriously!ALL of the equipment we all love to discuss,is easily replaceable!!The software,in many instances,and especially if one has put together a truly "great music collection"(one that you can really take pride in,and one that your mother-in-law is impressed with,too)),is almost impossible to replace!!

I would love to see some of us mention some of the more interesting(obviously one's own opinion,but interesting to consider)Lp's we have come across.Ones that may not be of the norm.GOD,I LOVE to try to hunt down something different,and unique,that I've heard at a friend,that "blows me away"!How friggin' great is it when you finally get it?Locking yourself in your listening room,and "Going Back Through Time".To the "Event"!Anyone ever hear of the British EMI/Columbia pressing called "Conquistadors"?About the Spanish conquest,and destruction of the Aztecs.A disc where Raul's insistence that we "MUST" have TWO subs begins to make sense(I only have one)!In line with the DECCA recording "The Plague".Only better,to many,who have heard it.Stunning orchestration,and percussive forces,here.Man,those Spaniards were "MEAN"!Sort of like Steven Spielberg,for the ears!Finding that disc is another story.Took me ten years.

I have almost all the MERCS.WOW!!Are some of these magnificent.The DECCAS may be technically better,but as you probably know,there is NOTHING like the sound of some of the orig Mercury series discs.I hope I'm not going to get "yelled" at by someone for making that statement.It's JUST MY OPINION!!!There's a ton of newer music in this series that MUST be heard.One can source from archives(I'm fairly certain)the "GREAT" reviews by the INCOMPARABLE and "One of a kind" SID MARKS.This series was in TAS,as of a few years ago!!

Splashkin,if I can make a suggestion as to an incredible disc(one that sort of mirrors some of the Merc series,in content)that has some absolutely stunning sound(real demo quality,especially with a Phantom),as well as Phantomstic,oh sorry,I meant fantastic,and a "HOOT" fun musical content,it is the Deutche Grammaphone pressing of Russo's "Street Music".It is coupled with a fine Gershwin piece,but the REAL discovery is the "Street Music" side.It is(believe it or not) a Blues Concerto,for harmonica,with "slammin" blues piano,string bass and orchestra.It "ROCKS"!!!!!NOBODY,and this is NOT my opinion ,who has heard it,has been able to lift his/her jaw off my listening room's carpet!You should see the saliva stains on my nice rug.A bit like a dentist's office!I really should make everyone "RINSE",after the piece ends.

I hope you(or anyone else reading this)has this fabulous disc!If not keep an eye out.It should not cost more than 15-20 bucks!!And you thought I got off on equipment!!

Man I love this hobby,but it's WAY MORE FUN sharing "musical passions" with fellow music lovers!

In response to your last comments to me,and REDICULOUS conclusion,as to my intent!
#1-Phantom vs Schroeder--you have a point!
#2-I specifically stated that I thought the Phantom probably was a great arm.Did I not?I also stated that it looked massive to me!Which it does!What the heck is the problem here?It's my freakin' taste!Actually,since you seem to be so damn condescending,I "think"(my opinion,which means nothing,and I'm sure I'm NOT impacting sales)my 2.2(and it's arm mass) will perform better with my cartridge,on my vacuum table;and I don't care that you have a Helikon,that sounds fine with an arm that you clearly have so much attachment to.Good for you!How dare I speak to my feelings,that OTHERS know is to be taken with a grain of salt,anyway.That was my advise to NRCHY,as well.So tough luck if I hit on a nerve,and you have decided to impress me with your propensity for arrogance.

#3-Your inference that I may be trying to position myself for a possible accommodation price on a Schroeder is so laughable that I "just have to love you" for making the accusation.
I have one child in the fourth year of med school,and another in the first year of graduate school.I have a mortgage,employees that actually like me(I pay all med/insurance expenses,and offer 3 week vacations,after 1 year),and have positioned myself to have a satisfying existence,with as little aggravation as possible.In other words-I haven't got alot of loose cash lying around,as of now.If I was to consider adding any additional expenses,after what I have spent on this hobby over these last few years,it would be ME not my wife who would have myself committed!Also,I really like the 2.2.

BTW-I have been gracious towards the Schroeder line because I think it looks like a finely designed and made product,has gotten tons of acclaim and because Frank Schroeder comes off as a very engaging guy, "committed" to his products(as I know Bob Graham is)and customers.If you have a problem with any of this,than all I can say is "TOUGH LUCK"!!

The arms you're considering are all low "maintenance". Once set up there's little to do. The Graham 2.2 does require damping fluid and getting it right is critical. But once you've got it things should remain stable, at least until you change cartridges. The TriPlanar and some SME IV's have a damping trough, but unlike the Graham you don't have to use it. We haven't found it helpful on our TriPlanar. I cleaned the oil out months ago and the trough just sits there empty.

Whether you adjust arm height (or anything else) for each record has little to do with your tonearm. It has much to do with your cartridge, your ears and your listening preferences.

Cartridges with micro-ridge or line contact styli (including ZYX) are more sensitive to SRA than cartridges with elliptical styli, which in turn are more sensitive than cartridges with conical styli. If you truly want to set-and-forget then choose a Grado or a Denon 103. You won't need to adjust very much because they won't respond to the adjustments anyway. Of course you won't hear all the music either. That's the tradeoff.

Getting the very best sound from vinyl does require working at it. Anyone who says otherwise has a limited system or limited ears. If you're happy with and relaxed about a notch or two less than top performance that's perfectly fine of course. You can save yourself a lot of work, and a lot of money too.
Doug and others, other than the recommendation for the SME because Sota uses it a lot, do any of you think one of these arms will be appreciably better than the others with my Cosmos and ZYX Airy 3 combination?
As I said, the Wheaton is the best arm I've every owned. It is mounted on a TNT-6 Hotrod. Of all the arms you've mentioned, I feel the SME would provide the most synergistic match with the Sota.
Nrchy, I had both the SME and the Graham on my SOTA for several months--they use the same SOTA board!--so I had time to compare them with a variety of cartridges, though not the ZYX.

My experience was that both arms work extremely well with the SOTA but the Graham was slightly superior to the SME in most respects: better sound (bass), better adjustments (VTA on the fly) and greater ease of use.

I sold the SME and kept the Graham.
Thanks for the album recommendation Sirspeedy.

Like yourself, I have all the orignal Mercury and RCA stereo recordings.

Splashkin,unlike you,I don't have all the Mercs and RCA's.Just a goodly amount.Hey,but you have the Basis,I love so much.I do have a friend that has, not only all the RCA's/Deccas etc(all of them),but he has the entire Mercury catolog in "White Label Promos".I think I have to hate him!!

I haven't heard any SME so I can't help you with that comparison. Sorry.

FWIW I've heard an Airy 3 on both a Graham 2.2 and a TriPlanar VII (in the same system). The TriPlanar VII controlled the Airy 3's high energy levels much better.
What is the problem with the Rega arm??
Dougdeacon: did you apply damping with the Triplanar as well, and if so, how much?
Docsavage, I don't know that I'd say there is anything wrong with the Rega, it's just not in the class of the others listed here. For it's price it does a very good job, but it does not have the ultimate respolution of the Graham, SME, or the TriPlaner.

I spoke to Mehran last night, and ordered the TriPlaner and the ZYX. Thanks to everyone who was instrumental (that's a MUSIC joke) in this process, like Cello, and Vetterone, Sirspeedy and Doug Deacon. If I hate the combo, watch yer backs guys!!! : )
Nrchy,best of luck with your new table/arm/cart combo.Great stuff!It will sound great and you will love it.Of that I'm certain!
Dear Sirspeedy: I already send you an e-mails that was bounced back to me.

Please, could you send me an e-mail?

Regards and enjoy the music.
Raul,I am perplexed as to why I cannot receive E-mails,as my screen name is my business website address.Trust me I would not have come up with Sirspeedy.Something like "topspin" or "baldguy"(my daughter can't get off that one) serves me best.Actually my audio pal who reads my threads likes to call me(and I admit it is probably accurate,unfortunately)"bloviator"!What can I say?Guess I can't help myself.I appologize to those my rediculous thread lengths,and sometimes over the top conclusions annoy.C'mon,you know you're out there!

As I'm really NO computer guy,or keyboardist,I guess I need your E-mail address.What is it/where do I find it?

If this is in response to my ZYX Univ statement--No I was not serious,and YES,I think it could be "that great".The guys "high" on it have been around the block,a few times.Give them the benefit of the doubt,as I(actually do) with regards to Gmorris's Phantom comments,not the gratuity inference;and I'm sorry for reacting so negatively towards you -Gmorris.I have no animosity at all!!Just a bit of a big mouth!I always feel bad,a couple of days after a "little disagreement" with another,usually well intentioned music lover.Sorry!

We've tried using the TriPlanar's damping mechanism with four or five different cartridges. Without exception we've preferred the sound without any damping. I cleaned the trough out months ago (it was collecting cat hairs!) and it's been dry ever since.
Dear Sirspeedy: No, it's not for the old ZYX subject.
My e-mail: rauliruegas@hotmail.com

Regards and enjoy the music.
I am a lucky guy with a bit of money to spend on what people say. Some said that it was good to have a neutral arm to go along with a "romantic cartridge", so I took the advice and I went for Graham 2.2 with Koetsu Urushi first and now with Rosewood Platinum Sig. At certain point in time, I came across HP's recommendation and decided to go along with Triplanar 7 with Miyabi 47lab cartridge. Reluctantly to discard one arm after another followed by the decision I had made, I mounted both of them on a Nottingham turntable.

It comes the phono stage. I have had Black cube, EAR 834P, AudioResearch Reference Phono, 47lab Phonocube with dual power supply, TomEvan The Groove, and the Whest. I spent a lot time tweaking and pairing each of these phono stage with the arm/cartridge combinations.

I settled down finally with Koetsu to go along with Whest or 47Lab phono stage and Miyabi with The Groove. I found both combinations equally and highly musical involving. My problem is it is very hard for me to switch from one combination to the other every time after i get to listen to either of them.

There is no maintenance on either of the arms. They are both great arms! It just depends on the synergy of the system which you put up.

The rest of my system consists of The CAT Ultimate Preamp runs into the mono block of McIntosh 275. They drive the Avalon Ediolon speakers. My digital fronts are the Burmester 969/970 combo.
Raul,and Larry etc,Actually try Sirspeedy7068@earthlink.net.

Drop the last "0" in 70680.I hope this is helpful in getting in touch!
Also Raul,I really don't want to get into a subject of contradicting the UNIV fans.As to your post aiming at Doug.

You are a better man than that!That was not necessary!!You know I like you,and you have a right to voice your "opinions",but being mean is beneath you.So someone liked a specific product,and didn't like another.What real significance does that really have when very few of us have actually heard eachothers' systems.To me,the only time to get "Hot Under The Collar" is when someone actually targets me with a false accusation,or is downright nasty.Or doesn't realize that my set-up is actually the "Best in the World"!!!Just kidding!!!Then the gloves can come off.Don't worry about getting beaten up.Have you ever taken a look at us "audio geeks"?The next time you are at a HI FI show take a look at the crowd.Imposing tough guys?I don't think so!!Even if a fellow hobbyist does not find something credible,we have NO IDEA what that persons views towards what his "sonic tastes" are.So,it's a matter of opinion,only!

As far as I'm concerned,with the amount of time you seem to spend on this website,how am I to be convinced that you have gotten ANY kind of accuracy from your extensive collection?I have to hear something myself to be really definitive.Though if one thinks something looks like a great design,I see no reason why it should not be recommended as a possible good product!

Fortunately nobody can "smack" us through the screen.When technology gets to that point I'll quit this forum!!Best luck!
SORRY!!!I was responding to the comments made towards CELLO,not Doug ,on the Titan Re-tip thread!
Raul,I think I may have "done it again" and butted in when I should have stayed out of something that was none of my business.I feel,now,that it was pointless for me to interject my own thoughts.As I had indicated to you in the past I'm surely NOT the audio police.Sorry!Sorry!Sorry!I really have to get a life.

I wish I were more like Dougdeacon,or Albert Porter,who are always able to stay on topic.They must have been really good students,in school!
Nrchy, the SME is totally maintenance free. I had a IV before the JMW 10.5 and it was completely troublefree and once set, forget it. The JMW however has me reaching for the VTA frequently...
Hi Sirspeedy: Don't worry about. Sometimes our " emotions " are really stronger than our " mind ".

Regards and enjoy the music.