Tonearm: Phantom vs. 4 Point vs. 10.5


I'm planning on upgrading my tonearm. My analoge setup is:
TW-Acoustic Raven One with Kuzma Stogi arm and Lyra Delos.

I'm interested in theese 3 arms:

Graham Phantom III: It gets good recomendations, also on the Raven One.

TW-Acoustic Raven 10.5: It is from the same manufactor as my turntable, so they should match.

Kuzma 4 Point: Because i have Kuzma and like the quality of it and because Michael Fremer said: I'm in love.

What can you say about these arms (sound) and witch will you recomend for my turntable.

Pierre...if it's of help, there is a huge thread on the merits/demerits of the TW arm. It's clearly a well manufactured and thought out design but there are plenty of others.
The Phantom, as you say, has a known synergy with the Raven (I use one myself) and is one of the best engineered implementations of a unipivot you will find anywhere.
You should be able to get arm boards for the Raven for the above 2 arms easily enough but with delays of up to 6 months? (Which is quite normal for small manufacturers)

I'm probably wrong but I'm not so sure about a plenitude of Raven/Kuzma 4-point owners(?) It doesn't matter. If necessary TW should be able to create an adaptor or unique armboard but again I would expect a reasonable delay?
Thansk for the respons.

There is a lot of threads about 10.5, but witch do you mean?
TW Acustic 10.5 tonearm

I recently purchased a TW 10.5 tonearm and Raven AC. The TW 10.5 is fantastic! Very quiet, delicate yet authoritative. Can't imagine it getting much better and was voiced on a TW turntable. I would recommened the TW.
You can't go wrong with a Phantom Supreme.
Phil: Did you experience any problems associated with using the cartridge/arm alignment tool supplied with the 10.5 ?
Opus, I had no real trouble at all. I first set spindle to pivot distance using the supplied tool, then mounted the cart. I used the supplied alignment tool (Baerwald) and then fine tuned it with a Mint LP protractor specifically made for the TW 10.5 arm. The XV-1S fit snug in the head shell, but still is easy to set up. I agree with the previous poster that the XV-1S is a good match with the 10.5. I'm very pleased.
TW ACUSTIC 10.5 Arm was much better than my Phantom 2,better stage,better dynamics,better bass impact and weight.Cartridge/arm alignment tool works great as well oh yes i have TW ACUSTIC AC 1 turntable.
Opus, I did not encounter any real problems and set the cart and tonearm up in a ball park configuration in less than 2 hours. I used the TW - supplied spindle to pivot device as well as the cart alignment device (used Baerwald). Onve in the ball park a few days later I spent a couple of hours using a custom Mint LP for the TW 10.5.

The XV-1S was a snug fit but I did have adequate room and tonearm wire length. I really like how the XV-1S mates with the TW 10.5. A great match - musical yet dynamic, great sound staging and super low noise floor.
That's good to hear, Phil, and I'm looking forward to similar results with my 10.5, which is on order, and my Raven One. Guess I'll have to order a Mint Lp also. Doesn't one have to supply specific information for getting it made to spec? Any guess as to how long it takes to receive, and could you please tell me what the contact e-mail address is? Thanks very much Phil, and continued great listening!
Hi Pierre,
As mentioned earlier...
The Mint LP is well worth the cost of around $100. Yip is a gentleman and does great work. All you have to do is email Yip at and tell him your tonearm is a TW 10.5 and he will make it to spec for you. The wait time from order to receiving it is usually around 3 weeks.

There are several threads supporting the MintLP. I completely agree with them!

Let me know when you get your Raven One and TW 10.5 in. I can be of help with set up if you have any questions. You have an awesome table and arm coming!
I made my own arc protractor for my 10.5. I don't know how to email with the new Agon. If you find a way I can email an XPS file.
Thanks again for the info Phil, and I greatly appreciate your offer to help if needed...Jeff
Phil, what's your findings on the difference between MintLP and TW alignment plate? Since you mentioned initially you used Baerwald, but TW 10.5 is Loefgren B, so there should be some adjustment if MintLP uses Loefgren B.

Have you checked again after MintLP to see whether its result matches with TW alignment Loefgren B null points?

I found it's tough to set correct P2B without tool. The Template provided by TW is only good to get you within 2mm. For the last 0.2mm, very tough.
I love my phantom supreme - much better than previous version. But if I ha a TW table I would want the TW arm. System synergy.
There is a difference between the Mint Lp and TW alignment plate. TW has both Loefgren and Baerwald points. After talking with Yip, he could make the Mint with either, but suggested to use Loefgren. So I complied.

The Mint Lp and TW Baerwald points are approximately 0.5 mm different with the Mint about 0.5mm more forward at both null points. The Mint of course for those who have used it, allow a much more precise placement at the null point. It takes great patience and a few breaks for cold beverages to get it right.

I agree on the TW P2B tool. I am about 0.2-0.3mm off right now but am living with it. At some point I will dial it in perfectly but I'm just enjoying the music right now.
Graham Phantom has a very clever little tool to help setup P2S. It's a plastic cap on the spindle. A hole on the head shell to fit into the tip of the cap, level the arm, and P2S is set.

While setting up Phantom, I noticed a hole on the TW 10.5 head shell as well. Verified with Thomas @TW, it will set P2S to 251.2mm if the hole on the TW 10.5 is centered on the spindle. Unfortunately, TW is on metric but Phantom is not. So the tip on the Phantom cap will be just a bit larger and wouldn't fit in the TW hole. Still a big help to setup P2S on TW 10.5 arm.

Overall, Phantom is a very user friendly arm compared with TW. It provide easy repeatable adjustments on azimuth, vta with the spirit level, and anti-skate. Arguably the easy swap of arm wand as well. But adding damping fluid to the pivot cap is really hard to gauge.

TW can offer adjustments as well but no markings. TW VTA mechanism is pretty good, nice touch and feel. But TW AS is quite problematic to begin with for the arm I bought, which had an noticable impact on the sound quality. Luckily the problem is fixed easily.
Kdl, what was your problem with anti-skate and the TW arm? Just curious..
Thanks for the respons :-)

What i get from your anscers is that, Phantom i easy to setup and a good match to the Raven One. But TW10,5 is a better match, but diffucult to setup.
Is that right?

You said the problem with the anti skate is fixed easily did you land up fixing it?

Another thing to consider is the captive arm cable, Pierre...

Electrically a benefit perhaps(?) but not helpful when trying to change the cartridge or merely tighten/adjust the cartridge screws (assuming that we do it the advisable way and remove the arm from the turntable each time to prevent possible bearing damage?)

Also what happens if we snap a cartridge wire? New cable loom? Package and ship the entire arm. How long? Another 6 months off-line?
With a Phantom, plug in or order a spare wand and you're good to go?
Hope this proves helpful.
What i get from your anscers is that, Phantom i easy to setup and a good match to the Raven One. But TW10,5 is a better match, but diffucult to setup.
Is that right?

The Phantom is shorter but has a nice black finish. The Raven has a nice print on it and the Kuzma is longer than the others.
when you want an Arm which "matches" to your Table, you know, Synergy is the magic word, roll a dice. It is a difficult decision.
Personally I would choose a CD Player. Makes life much easier. It has Synergy with the Remote...
Think about a Kuzma.
Just noticed this thread. The Kuzma 4Point needs no introduction for those who have read about it and perhaps have heard it. As a Kuzma dealer I haven't installed a 4Point on an AC Raven but have successful installations on tables other than Kuzma including Acoustic Signature Final Tool and SME 30/2. The SME was a couple of months ago, and the customer is happily using a Lyra Titan i on it. A current news item on the Kuzma website features a couple of photos of his installation.

Although you didn't mention it, another choice is the Stogi S 12 VTA, especially with the silver/gold Crystal wiring. Like the Graham it is a unipivot design; its performance comes remarkably close to the 4Point at much lower cost.
Jarraa, when I first installed 10.5, I didn't pay too much attention to AS, just leave it around the middle way. Later on, I used HiFi&RR test record (the torture track) to test the AS, to my surprise, applying max AS resulted in the push of arm to the spindle fast. Also noticable is whenever I drop the arm to the record, it skipped a bit quite often.

I wrote to TW about this AS issue I encountered. 2 Months without answer. After installation of 2nd arm Graham Phantom II (upgrade from I, waiting upgrade to Supreme), I resend my email to TW. Thomas replied. Asked me to do a simple test. Apparently either the magnet in the AS screw or magnet inside the bearing house was installed wrong, reversed. So Thomas sent me another AS screw with a new magnet. I super glued it myself to its correct position. All the problems solved easily.

So I still have the 'bad' AS screw with me. When I have a chance I will let it touch another TW 10.5 AS screw to see how it goes. Then I will know whether the screw is reversed or the magnet inside bearing house is reversed.
Often these threads inspire references to the Mint Tractor.
I would expect a protractor to give good tracing of the stylus tip across the ideal arc when aligned but does the Mint detect whether your cantilever & generator are misaligned with the cartridge body or do you use another process?
I can tell you, that i have just ordred the Kuzma 4point.
It will arrive in 3 weeks :-)
Congratulations, Pierre! Please let us know your thoughts once you've been using it for a while.
Agreed! Your feedback would be appreciated Pierre.
I know little about the abilities of the 4point other than a Hifi+ review I read several years ago. It would be interesting to hear what your feelings are on it. I suspect they'll be very positive. :)
I will let you know, when i get it ;-)
Well, as the designer of the Graham arms, I couldn't resist answering this one! If Pierre's situation would be at all like mine, I have the very excellent TW-Acustic AC-1. This is one fine product, and the Phatnom fits very well on it and sounds, as you'd expect me to say, excellent. The other arms would no doubt be great, too, but before anyone gets too carried away:

As for those comments about "synergy", be aware that a given turntable manufactuer may NOT provide the optimium tonearm, even for their own turntable. The reason for that is that it's more than name alone that makes the difference; it's how it's designed that will tell. Although I designed the original Phantom on an SME-30, the intention was to cover as wide a range as possible for performance. The feedback from SME users who have made the switch has, happily, confirmed that our homework was right. (And to be really immodest about this, we've had similar notes from users of other good tables who make arms (Basis and VPI, to name two) with the same results. It's very gratifying.

This is NOT to say that the other tonerms aren't good; merely that the synergy that Syntax refers so strongly to is not necessarily going to be found with one brand-name.

It'a all well and good to be supportive of a favorite, but then again, if a dealer supports one brand and not the other,then proceed carefully. Too often, the parting words of a well-respected reviewer can be the call-to-arms for any media-obsessed audiophile, and to hell with any other input. The words of member Essentialaudio suggest this is a factor.

OK, so I have to put up or shut up, and I remember an ad from many years ago which went something like this: "We would like to suggest, as soberly as we can, that the Phantom SUPREME be compared, on an even playing field, with any other tonearm available at any price." With all due respect for many of the others (and that's a sincere compliment) I believe you will find that the Supreme really will provide you with excellent synergy with just about any fine turntable out there, even the Kuzma and, in my own experiences, the SME and TW-Acustic.
Good wishes to all, and just WAIT for our next announcement (no, not another upgrade for the tonearm), by the way...!
- Bob Graham (Graham Engineering)

I assume you have a turntable in the works. And as far as synergy, would you not agree the synergy is more important with the cartridge than the turntable?
My Benz LP-S with Phantom Supreme on Clearaudio Innovation Wood is the definition of synergy. Btw the Supreme is supremely better than my previous Phantom II. Hats off to Bob Graham.
Bob, appreciate you replying with your point of view !
I am using Graham Arms since Model 2.2, sometimes it was my only Arm,
sometimes it was one among others but when I wanted to know what a Arm
really can do, a Graham Arm was always on my Table when I made my
comparisons [and a lot bite the Dust, there are various reasons for it, one is,
that Design is done right :-) ].
In all those years when I had conversations with Importers or Manufacturers of
other Arms, EVERYONE (no exception) told me, of course they made
comparisons with other Arms and specially with a Graham Phantom and their
Arm is MUCH, MUCH better.
That is ok. Later I made my comparisons (... with Kuzma 4P & others) and most,
really most, are so inferior that I seriously think, there are more than a few out
there who can't hear any difference at all. I mean, most ( there are exceptions
and of course, everyone has exactly THAT exception) look for sonic
compensation (more Bass is highly regarded, or 'Synergy', whatever this means),
or they get something for a good price (that can increase Performance
significantly) or they think, when something sounds different, it is better
anyway.... :-)
The Phantom has no sonic coloration, no sonic fingerprint, when the System is
up to the Task, the Purity of Tone is remarkable (Kuzma 4P is a total different
chapter here). I know a few who prefer other designs, because they
"like" it more but in reality the Phantom simply shows, where the
problem in the chain is. Some analog Users are not able to accept sonic truth
and they look for a compensation, something which makes analog more 'warm',
more cosy, more lovely (that's the area of the wood ones) and when the owner
'likes' it, it is of course better. But in reality it is different but hardly better. I
learned a lot about the ability of Arms, what they can do or not and the Design
from Graham can make life pretty simple. No distortions in the inner tracks,
stable even with warped records, a good calculated geometry, a superior
alignment System, the right cable material, it works superior with a lot of
different cartridges and so on and on.
Probably it is worth a try to get the benchmark. :-)
The last of the serious ones in our modern time.
Wow - great problem to be faced with. Just out of interest have you also considered the likes of a Shroeder, the Basis Vector, Brinkmann 10.5. not only this, but the Kuzma Airline is supposed to be rather special as well.
I had the Vector 4 on a Basis table and that was a match made in heaven. AJ Conti rocks it -- I'd like to have a 2800 with a Vector 4 at some point.
Anymore thoughts on this subject 12 months later?
I have a kuzma 4point with a kuzma XL4 TT and it works extremely well. I also
have a Kuzma ref 313 as a second arm. The 313 outperforms my previous sme
The 4 point outperforms the 313 as would be expected.
These arms and TT play great music.

They also give me unprecedented insight to minute adjustments of VTA
azimuth and cartridge loading. One could say so what - but my belief is they
are revealing an increased amount of information from the vinyl being played.
I have not had the opportunity to compare with the Phantom, I am sure it is
equally revealing but presents the music in a slightly different manner.

It is difficult to get the opportunity to compare the same TT with two different
arms (same cartridge in each), side by side, which is the only way a question
like this can be definitively answered.
I use a Helius Omega on my Sota Cosmos and an Auroura on my custom Lenco. Very nice arms with ballsy sound.
At around the price of these arms, I'd also suggest looking into a Moerch DP-8. Fabulous bass, and a great arm altogether. I really like the outrigger design, and the swappable armwands that are available in different effective masses are incredibly useful for quickly and easily changing carts and for guaranteeing the best possible effective mass to cart matching.