Name Your Top 5 Most Musical Dynamic Sounding Tonearms of All time?


Could you list your top 5 all time favourite sounding Tonearms and on which table. 
vinny55
Zeta on a Townshend Rock Elite, fitted with a London Super Gold.
Tonearm and Cartridge combination is far more important than Tonearm and Turntable combination. If you have matched arm/cartridge then you can use it on any turntable unless you can mount the arm on that table. 
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I have a Gray Research 208 awaiting installation on my Bogen Lenco B61. A real dinosaur of a tonearm that had widespread radio station use. It will be a good match with my several Denon 103 variants!
Well, if you have a lot of money the Kuzma 4 point 14 with an Air Tight PC1 Supreme. You you have a lot less money the Kuzma 4 point 9 with an Ortofon Winfeld Ti. Even less Money a used Syrinx PU 3 with a Clearaudio Concerto V2. There are others. This is just off the top of my head and combinations I have actually listened to or owned.
+1 on the Zeta and the 4Point.

Add: 

SME 309/IV/V/Vi
Sumiko "The Arm"  



Trans-Fi Terminator low pressure air bearing arm on a non-suspended table. Superb value. Running with Koetsu RSP, Miyajima Zero.
@chakster @bdp24  @mofimadness  @terry9  @nandric
Whats your views on Atp12 tonearm?
I don't like tonearm without armlift, i don't like to make additional hole in the plinth just for the armrest. There are much better tonearms available than Audio-Technica ATP-12 
There are much better tonearms available than Audio-Technica ATP-12

+1
I have no experience with the Audio Technica, and am in fact unfamiliar with it. When it comes to arms, I've always gravitated to those from the UK: SME, Decca, Zeta, Trans-Fi, Helius (the Omega is a fantastic tonearm!), Audiomods, Rega, Naim, Linn, etc.
My two favorite arms are Triplanar VII and Analog Instruments Siggwan, both used on a Galibier Gavia table.  Behind them but still in the running is a Moerch DP-6 with 12” wand.

Some other arms I have owned in the past that did not measure up to these three include: ET-2, JMW-10, PT-6, Grace 707, JH Formula 4.
It is tempting here to just name favorite arms, but, I don't know if it helps in terms of identifying ones that sound dynamic and musical.  I suspect that the terms "musical" and "dynamic" mean different things to different listeners, and any item that emphasizes an particular attribute of sound reproduction will sound good to some, terrible to others depending on taste and matching with the rest of the system.  

Those arms that sound distinctly more dynamic (to me, lively sounding) can tend to sound harsh or "jangly" in some systems.  I suspect that lively arms are doing less to damp vibration and it is the resonance that causes emphasis of certain frequencies that make them sound more dynamic.  Is that good or bad? That really depends on the system.  An example of a lively sounding arm is the Naim ARO.  In a lot of systems, it sounds notably more lively than other arms and that is a good attribute for systems that sound dead and bloodless.  But if you already have a lively sounding system (e.g., horn-based system), it might be too much.  
Larry one of the best post out there.  Of course it kind of blows holes in the its the best theory, that is so prevalent on this forum.

Enjoy the ride
Tom

From what I have owned/own in order of preference under 10K

I feel that linear tracking arms  provide the most musical performance especially when it comes to transparency and soundstage 
Thales Simplicity II 
Trans Fi Terminator 3
Triplanar VII SE 

Arms I would like to hear that I feel would be up with the ones above 
Thales Easy
Kuzma 4 point 11"
Reed 3P

I love the Durand Talea MK II


I can only imagine what the Talos sounds like


it really opened up from a Triplanar VII


I use a Galibier Gavia table and ZYX Universe Optimum 0.24mv mc cartridge

One of the greatest benefits of the Trans-Fi is its adjustability. Adjustments are precise and stable. What's the point of a wonderfully engineered product which can't be adjusted for optimum sound?

Another great benefit is its tweak-ability. One can tweak the mass of the arm wand, the damping, and by supporting the other end of the beam, even the stability.  

I would love to hear a Durand in my system on my DIY air bearing table, but other priorities beckon.
Makes Sense @terry9 what do Tris usually sell for?
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Trans-Fi TERMINATOR, not Triplanar. About $1000 - if they are back in production, which I suspect they are. One of the great bargains in high end.
Grace 707 MKll  with the Grace F 9 cart.
Pioneer PL 1000 linear tracking table with a Denon 103 D.
Plus 1 on the Syrinx PU3.  Haven't really heard any that surpass it.
I’ll mention the Mørch DP-8 here because what it does with the bass in my system.  It’s grip on the low end allows for excellent musical dynamics.  Love it with SoundSmith Zephyr MIMC and Lyra Atlas.
Breuer Dynamic Type 8c tonearm with ZYX 4D on a Brinkmann LaGrange. This combo has kept me ecstatic for almost a decade.

I had a Trans Fi Terminator for a few years and It is a very fine sounding arm that you would need to pay a lot more for to get something better. I think It worked best with medium/high compliance pick-ups. I have a preference low compliance, high-mass, mc pick-ups and now use a second-hand Ikeda CR IT 407 mounted on a Merrill Williams 101.2. I have a (re-built by Ikeda aka ITT Industries) Ikeda Kai mc and the combination Is very musical, dynamic, and thoroughly  enjoyable. For trying out charity-shop, second-hand vinyl, to see what's worth keeping, I have a Denon DL 103 mounted In a Musikraft body. A 17g Ikeda headshell gives too low a tonearm resonance so I have the Denon mounted In a 10g Yamamoto Ebony headshell. Actually the Denon DL 103 Is astonishingly superb In the Ikeda arm. If I hadn't got the Kai for a bargain price I'd be happy with the Denon. It tracks any record with no audible distortion. It Is dynamic and has very solid sound-staging. I'm of the opinion that the tonearm Is more Important the pick-up. The Denon, mounted In Ikeda arm would put to shame many, much dearer pick-ups, mounted in lesser tonearms.






 

There are a lot of good and interesting arm recommendations made in this thread, but, as I said before, it is hard to attribute any particular qualities to the arm alone, particularly dynamics and a sense of being "musical."  At best, one can say certain combinations of arm, cartridge and tables have these qualities as strengths (and someone may find those same qualities weaknesses).

You could argue that an arm that can handle the demands of a Decca London cartridge is extremely dynamic because the cartridge sounds dynamic.  The same could be said of an arm that optimizes the performance of a Van den Hul Colibri. 

Keep in mind that "dynamics" is determined by the particular table chosen.  As a rough rule, tables with direct drive, idler drive and very high torque motors on belt drives tend to sound dynamic.  While I am tempted to say that a lot of tables without a spring suspension also sound dynamic, but, there are plenty of exceptions to that rough call (e.g., a good Linn setup is quite lively sounding).  Also, the kind of platter mat on any given table also affects the damping of vibration which greatly affects the sense of dynamics (the right mat is quite specific to each setup).  

  
I get confused with so many tonearms
I get confused with so many tonearms

because it's a pointless thread!
Comparing one tonearm to another on the same turntable with the same cartridge is not easy, probably the best way is to have two identical turntables and cartridges on two different tonearms connected to the same phono stage to make such test. Still not easy to tell which one is more musical, because a cartridge and arm must be matched very well. Then it's a system dependant and we're not a reviewers. What is good for me might be not good for somebody else in his system. It's like tubes vs solid state, conventional speakers vs. full range speakers ... etc. New toneatms vs vintage tonearms and so on and on  
Trans-Fi Audio´s Terminator T3Pro - analog audio´s most ridiculous bargain, back in the business and better than ever : )
Fits all kind of cartridges, from very low compliant 10 cu (like Entré-1) to highest compliant MM´s.

As Terry says: Another great benefit is its tweak-ability. One can tweak the mass of the arm wand, the damping, and by supporting the other end of the beam, even the stability.
Time to experience something new and totally different. Time to experience today´s technology and future of analog record play.
Enjoy the ride
I've heard the Eminent Technology ET1 and 2 (but not the 2.5) on many occasions, as well as the old Rabco (ancient history), the Goldmunds, Mapleknoll, Souther, and Versa Dynamics (oh how I lusted for that table/arm!). They were all, for their time, rather expensive. If one wants to try out a linear-tracker, the TransFi Terminator is cheap enough to take a risk on.
And of the LT tonearms you named, I’d bet the TFT is not only the least cost but also the best sounding. Rabco, Goldmund, and Mapleknoll are essentially the same, IIRC.
All Time Top 5?

Is there anyone here who has even heard 5 different arms?
On the same table, I mean. Oh, and with the same cartridge.
And phono stage.

Anyone?

Beuller?
I am pleasantly surprised at the versitility of the Spiral Groove SG2 turntable with the Spiral Groove Centroid arm. I've used a Lyra Delos and
Stanton 881S with D81 Stereohedron stylus and Long Hair Brush installed. 
I was pleasantly surprised that the high compliance Stanton 30 x 10-6cm/dyne at 10Hz, performed exemplary in the Centroid arm. I measured (with a test record) 9Hz -13Hz lateral resonance and 10Hz -14Hz vertical resonance.  That is pretty close to what I get with the medium compliance Delos (10-13Hz lateral resonance, 10-12Hz vertical resonance).
The versitility of the arm "Balanced Force Design™ "...modal analysis places centroid at bearing point Counter-weight design minimizes moment of inertia by staying close to bearing
10" pivot-to-stylus distance".
The representation of the music with either cartridge is stellar. 
@millercarbon well on my current table (EAR DiscMaster) over the past ten years I’ve owned it I’ve had an SME-IV, Triplanar VII, Wand+, Durand Talea and Durand Kairos.

As it takes two arms at the same time it’s not hard to make comparisons. I’ll be getting a Durand Tosca shortly to replace the Kairos which should be an interesting comparison.

Much although I like the unipivots I always have that nagging doubt whether they are en pointe, the Talea seems more stable so that I will keep, and hope that the Tosca retains the snap and dynamics I liked from the Durand unis (and much preferred to the Triplanar or SME) while adding some more heft 😉
Ha! Excellent! I knew some here would have done this. Not very many. But some. 

Still it shows how rare it is. Even a hugely experienced analog guy with a two-arm table, over ten years. Most never manage even to compare even two. Oh, they hear different arms- but on different tables. That's no comparison at all.

Then even when you do get a valid comparison its not always easy to know quite what is due to what. My first arm for example was a Graham. The Origin Live Conqueror that replaced it is leagues better. But is that because the Graham is a unipivot? The Graham has a detachable arm want and uses an interconnect. So was it all the connections? I'm sure its some of each, and everything else. 

Then on top of all that they all have this habit of constant improvement. Some of these arms were different depending on when they were made. Oh well. At least we know they are all magic, each in their own way.
Versa Dynamics 2.0 & 1.0 on respective tables.
Here is my mid priced top 3 vintage tonearms i've been using on decks like Technics SP-10mkII, SP-20, and later on my Luxman PD-444 (with 20 different cartridges from MM/MI/MF to LOMC).