SME 20/2 & Graham Phantom issue

Hi guys
I'm having an issue trying to setup the Graham's Phantom on the SME 20/2 (in place of the SME IV.Vi ): I cannot position the Phantom straight forward as suggested in the manual (due to the fact that the VTF adjustment knob of the Phantom does not have enough clearance (it touches the rear right post of the SME20 turntable). Did anyone have this problem when setting up your combo? I am wondering if i have to swing the arm rest inwards closer the platter, will it effect the accuracy of the arm's anti-skating mechanism?

The reason i asked is that with SME arms, it is crucial that the arm is placed in a particular position so that the edge of the headshell is about 53mm from the edge of the platter in order for its anti-skating to work correctly, and in this position, the arm-rest is not pointing forward.

Would this be the case with Graham's Phantom too? Would the anti-skating mechanism NOT work correctly if the arm is not pointing straight forward in its arm rest???

Thank you.
I have this exact combo and mine works fine as set up by Brooks Berdan. However, I am not sure how Brooks did it. Actually, the first time I had the turntable set up using the SME mount the VTF knob did slightly hit the suspension o-rings when swinging the arm toward the record but didn't affect the play. Then I found out that Graham developed a new base for the 20/2, so I brought it back to BB and when I got the table back with the Graham base it did not hit the o-rings. I could call Brooks to see how he did it if you want. E-mail me to discuss it further.
Just eyeballing my Phantom, I would think it should be OK if the armrest isn't straight forward. The antiskate is one of those string-and-weight assemblies, and it is actually supported by the armrest support.

I had to position my arm slightly wider (angled the other way from yours) to achieve adequate clearance from my VPI ring clamp. I have observed no adverse effects from having the armrest at an angle.
I have a problem w. the AS weight hitting the outer ring if I use it.


I would love a picture of your setup to see what you did.


I photo of the different base would be great. I know I am jumping in on the thread but curious as well.
Hi Dgad,

I haven't really scaled up to digital imaging capability yet. (Duh.) I'll try to get a pic this weekend using my son's camera and contact you via email.

Verbally, I would say that my Phantom's pivot is located at the correct position, and the armrest rotates on the same axis. I had to point the armrest slightly away from the spindle (vs straight out = parallel to the right side of the plinth) so as to provide adequate clearance for the antiskate assembly away from the ring clamp. There's enough room, barely.
Thank you so so much for the photos are too kind. Seems like your Phantom has a different "SME" mount...or is that what they called Graham's "CUSTOM" mount : custom-made for SME (or any other mounting profiles).

When i ordered my Phantom, i specified that i would mount it on a SME 20/2 turntable. So they shipped the arm with an SME mount..but this mount is nothing like has four elongate holes which allow you to slide the whole thing back and forth to position the arm correctly (similar to regular SME mount, but instead of dead-bolted the base and let the whole arm assembly moving back and forth, in this case you move the WHOLE thing -arm and base- back and forth). Is this the type you originally had?

The Graham "custom" mount you mentioned and showed on your pictures is stationary, right? by that i meant you just screw it down on to the table, and no need to do anything further to position the arm correctly? If this is the case, i'd say it makes much more sense, easier to set up , and more rigid.

I wonder why they didnt ship this with my Phantom..Or is it BECAUSE i said SME??? either way, they should just simplify this and send a "custom" arm base for we users can skip the step of positioning the arm...this would save time, cost, and avoid errors!
Jaytea, I believe your description of your "SME" base is the same as the one I originally had. Yes, my newer "Graham" base was developed shortly after I had the SME base and yes, it is stationary. Since I did not have to change the holes in the plinth for mounting the arm, you should be able to get this base from Graham and just bolt it to the plinth. I think the Graham base is now considered his standard base for most tables. I am not sure why there is so much confusion as to the type of base used for the SME table. I found the Graham base to give better resolution and extension in the bass and better dynamic range, as well as more detail in the midrange and treble. Part of this may have also been due to the newer, sharper pivot bearing. BTW, if you move the turntable after setting it up, you may want to check VTF when you get the table in place. When Brooks Berdan set VTF at 1.85 g I got it home and noticed initially that it would mistrack on dynamic passages. I checked VTF and it had fallen to about 1.5 g. I think the arm had "settled" onto the new bearing. I haven't had any problems since resetting the VTF.
Hello jameswei,it still sounds good if you position your Phantom tonearm in a bigger angle to fit your VPI ring. The TT and tonearm geometry isn't correct. It is ok but not maximize your Phantom performance. I know Granham makes a armwand that is 1/2" longer to fit in VPI (or other) TT that uses the ring. The hole in my arm board was make to fit longer tonearm.
Hi Samleung,

Thanks for your comments. I am not able to change my armboard but I can play without the ring clamp if it makes a real difference. Can you explain why you think "The TT and tonearm geometry isn't correct"? And, why is the performance less than "maximized"?
Hi Jameswei, I'm no expert to provide knowledge and theory behind the geometry of TT and tonearm. You can find of this knowledge in other website. I use Wally protractor to set up my tonearm, it sounds ok to me.
I also find it sounds quite amazingly diferent if I don't use the ring. With the ring, the tonearm is riding stably along the horizontal pane and result in more signal is picked up by cartridge. Most important of all and what I like most is the stable soundstage it gets from using the ring.

If you can't position/anchor your tonearm on top of the platter spindle (as per manual installation instruction), then the angle of your cartridge isn't placed in the best postion on the platter.

I suggest you call Bob Granham to discuss your problem. I tell you, if your tonearm and cartridge is set up properly, you get sharp and focus image, detail with good extension (assuming your speaker is placed properly and synchronies with your room acoustic). Use Carol Kidd All My Tommorrow Lp to check your center image focus. Her voice should be small relative to your overall soundstage image.
I guess i'm gonna just keep this took me 8 months waiting for the arm, and i dont want to send it back it for modification. Bob Graham says the Phantom is supposed to be poisitioned like SME arms on SME i guess it's OK.
Did you notice the change it makes when you play around with the fluid damping? It makes so much difference ! I ended up with the fluid just pass the bottom of the square shank. More than that, the arm sounded too damped.
Great arm ! It makes my Koetsu Urushi sound full, warm like analog tape, great focus as well. I cant wait to get another arm wand next week to mount my Lyra Helikon on !
Hi Samleung,

Thanks for the follow through.

I agree with your assessment of the benefits of the ring clamp. I like it too!

Perhaps I miss your point about the positioning of the tonearm. You are certainly right to say that the tonearm should be able to rotate the cartridge so that it is over the spindle. My tonearm does that fine. The tonearm pivot is at the right place on the plinth, and the cartridge is mounted in the cartridge shell in the right place.

The question I think we have been asking is whether it matters where the ARMREST is located. I mean, when you are not playing a record and the arm is at rest on its armrest support, at that time is the arm pointing straight out toward the front of the turntable or is it pointing slightly inward toward the spindle or slightly outward, away from the spindle? My opinion is that it doesn't make a real difference, especially since the angle is small.

Again, I am interested in your view. If you have a better idea of this matter, I'd appreciate it if you let us know.
I have been analyzing the Phantom and the armrest position appears to effect the antiskate start point of the tonearm. So it does have an effect. I have 3 arms so I can use the either of my other 2 arms w. the Phantom armrest moved aside. I just need to readjust the Phantom each time. I agree about using a longer armwand to allow you to use the outer ring. I wonder if it compromises the arm to some extent. I doubt it tough as my Schroder is a 10.5inch & the Ikeda is a 9 inch. There is an interesting write up from Frank Schroder re: arm lenghts elsewhere. He explains some of the benefits and compromises. One of the great things about the Phantom is that it is incredibly easy to setup.

Is the elongated version for the VPI the same? Do you use the spindle and the plastic cover to determine arm distance? Do you still use the setup jig to setup the cartridge?