Unipivots Hadcocks Vs Grahams

I have settled on a unipivot arm as a replacement option for the tonearm on my Technics SL1210 direct drive turntable. I have an Ortofon M2 Black cartridge.
I've narrowed the field to either a Hadcock (probably the shorter one) or a Graham 1.5 (or higher) unipivot.
Both tonearms can be fitted to a Technics... in theory! Your thoughts please. Which one? Can they be fitted successfully to the Technics patient?
I'm curious as to why you will not consider gimball arms, or one Rega based arms.

If given the choice, I would prefer unipivots too, just want to know what pushes you in that direction.

This maybe crazy, but you could consider a Schroeder model 2, which has the same spindle to pivot distance as a Rega, ie 222mm.
The only advice I can give is I recently moved from a Rega 300 to a Hadcock 228 with an ortofon jubilee and am very happy. The hadcock was a significant improvement!
Dear Dsa: Iknow that you are worried about that the tonearm can fit your technics TT.

You change from the wonderful Garrot cartridge ( I don't know why. ) to the Ortofon one. IMHO the tonearm choice decision must be take it around the cartridge, not if it is unipivot, gimball or whatever about, you want to buy the tonearm that can match at its best the cartridge you own where " you " can achieve the best quality performance for that cartridge.
Unfortunately I can't give you any advise about because I don't have experience with that Ortofon cartridge maybe some one could help you about.

Regards and enjoy the music.
"If given the choice, I would prefer unipivots too, just want to know what pushes you in that direction."
The K.I.S.S principle has drawn me to the unipivot. Reviewers seem to pick unipivot designs in their 'cream of the crop' selections. I think they are very musical, yet get 'out of the way' more than other designs. I've also had a modified Rega (the Rega/Origin Live is the easy-option as a replacement tonearm choice on the SL1200 series TT) and I was totally underwhelmed.

"This maybe crazy, but you could consider a Schroeder model 2, which has the same spindle to pivot distance as a Rega, ie 222mm."
Thanks for the tip. What a beautiful looking arm!! I had a quick look for a price- no joy. Are the Schroeders going for crazy money?

"The only advice I can give is I recently moved from a Rega 300 to a Hadcock 228 with an ortofon jubilee and am very happy. The Hadcock was a significant improvement!"
Thanks, Pops- I thought that would be the case and I'm counting on a similar result if I go unipivot.

RE: Rauliruegas
"You change from the wonderful Garrot cartridge ( I don't know why. )
IMHO the tonearm choice decision must be take it around the cartridge."
I wanted to get a MM cartridge and the Ortofon was the surprise candidate. It looks like a top cartridge and I can replace the stylus easy-peasy. Once I had decided to go unipivot, it narrowed the field to cartridges that can really take advantage of the design's attributes- albeit at a modest price! The Ortofon 2M Black fits the bill, and the dollar bill.

A few decades ago, the unipivot was cast aside as a dinosaur. Now unipivot designs are in the the Top 10 lists of suggested quality audio equipment.

Perhaps one day soon, the underrated and overlooked quality design of the Technics direct drive will be rediscovered big-time, like the unipivot. It's happening already- Kudos to Kevin at KAB and many others who are tweaking the Technics and smiling all the way!

What happened to the people who thought that wow and flutter figures were vitally important to consider? We know the Regas were fast (I owned a P3 and it drove me nuts). I'd like to stick a strobe gun on some of the high-flyer super turntables out there. I bet the wow/flutter and speed stability results of some of those decks would shock. On the Technics? Speed and wow/flutter issues? Please!

Thanks to Raul, Pops and SMK for helping me along with unusual audio quest.
Dear Dsa: I respect your idea that the unipivots is the way to go. IMHO the bearing design ( that is very important in many differnt ways ) can't tell any one ( per se ) how good is a tonearm ( if reviewer have unipivots they have not because are unipivot designs, things are a lot more complex that the bearing subject. ).

Here is something that could help you to understand or at least a different point of view on how complex is the cartridge/tonearm relationship, you can see that " things " are not so simple like you imply about unipivot tonearms:

+++++ " The only measurable " cartridge parameters to arm matching. " that I know is what almost all already knew about effective tonearm mass along weight/compliance cartridge where the result ( resonance frequency ) must be ( or have to be ) between 8hz to 12hz ( more or less ).

+++++ " . Share the reasons the match works well " +++++

I have almost non " true/measurable/repetitive " reasons about other that the one above.

The relationship between a tonearm/cartridge ( other that the one mentioned ) is extremely complex for say the least.

I already say many times that I own/owned so many tonearms not because I'm a tonearm collector but because trying one cartridge with different tonearms let me to obtain ( know ) where that cartridge show its best quality performance.
I find with several cartridges that even ( in one tonearm ) when the resonance frequency value is 5hz-6hz those cartridges could perform better than with other tonearm where that resonance frequency is on target: 10hz, reasons?, any one you name could be true but we can't know for sure!!!

My very long experience ( in deep cartridge/tonearm quality performance research ) on the subject tell me that there are not simple explanations about, let me explain:

IMHO almost every tonearm and cartridge each one design parameters contribute ( more or less ) in the final quality performance.

Take the tonearm ( for example ):

- bearing design: unipivot, linear tracking/air bearing, dual pivot, gimball/jewel, etc, etc. Each one bearing design has its own signature " color " ( in the right color word meaning. ).

- each tonearm bearing design is added with the " color " of the bearing build material ( ruby, air, magnetic, steel, ceramic, etc, etc ), how is this?, hard to say how contributes and in which " quantity " to the final " color tonearm performance ".

- we have to continue adding more " colors ", tonearm shape: J, S, straight, etc, etc. Each design has its own resonances, dissipations vibrations speed, etc, etc Which one is the right one?, IMHO almost no one can say it.

- continue on the adding color to our quality performance matched final " picture ", tonearm build material: aluminum, steel, ceramic, titanium, wood, hybrid, plastic, etc, etc, etc. Each one of these tonearm build materials has its own characteristics: self damping, elasticity point, self resonances, easy to vibrate, etc, etc

- fix or removable headshell in each tonearm bearing design type/bearing build material/shape tonearm/tonearm build material/etc/etc. How many combinations here? !!!!!and each combination give us a different quality performance.

- we can go on on this: headshell shape, headshell weight, headshell build material, tonearm dynamic or static balance way, internal wiring, counterweights?

Now, we can go to the cartridges own parameters:

- MC or MM.
- magnet type
- coil material
- output level: infinite number!!!
- cantilever material
- cantilever length
- stylus shape
- body shape
- build material shape
- cartridge weight
- cartridge compliance
- internal impedance
- suspension type
- suspension build material
- cartridge channel balance
- cartridge channel separation
- cartridge frequency response
- tracking ability
- tip mass
- etc, etc, etc

Well, IMHO all those single cartridge/tonearm each one parameters/characteristics ( between others ) contribute to the final great or poor tonearm/cartridge quality performance. I can't say for sure the reasons but I can say again that is extremly complex to say the least. " +++++

this is not only my experience and the experiences of many other people in fact we are ( Guillermo and I ) in the tonearm design right now where we already made an in-deep research about.
Maybe you are right and the unipivot tonearm design is the way to go, like I say I respect your opinion.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Hello Raul,
Do you count tonearms to get to sleep? All of what said is true and some of it I even already know. To a degree, it's like russian roulette. However, the weight/compliance issue is at least a good starting point.

It's a little like front wheel drive versus rear wheel drive. Everyone has an opinion on it. For the record, front wheel drive only makes sense to me if I look at manufacturing costs and, perhaps petrol consumption. Beyond that, its plain dumb. However, like certain tonearm designs, if done well, it does work well.

In the end, due to money, time and availability, we go with design principles as a starting point (at least I do). The theory behind Unipivot arms makes real sense. Keep it simple, use good materials, and manufacture to tight tolerances.

With so many tonearms and cartridge combinations tested, what would you suggest I do? We have a few givens. (1) I own a direct drive Technics SL1210 (2) I will soon have an Ortofon 2M Black (3) I have a strong preference for a unipivot arm (4) this thread is about choosing between the Hadcock and a Graham (older 1.5 albeit) (5) It actually has to be able to fitted to the Technics (6) I don't want a Rega or a Moth or a Origin Live Silver.

You could also give me your take on the Graham 1.5. Too old? Too light in the bass?
I just bought an Ortofon 2m Black to put on my (unipivot) Basis Vector tonearm. It replaced a Grado Signature (I need a high output cart because it plugs into a restored McIntosh MX 110.

The Grado was failing (all sorts of problems), but even in its best days, it never had the tight bass that the Ortofon has. The Ortofon is a little bright, but it's new so I'm waiting to see what happens as it breaks in.

I own a Graham 2.0 (upgraded) with ceramic arm - but never mounted it because I bought it with the mistaken impression it would drop in to my Basis 1400 turntable. If you're interested in the arm let me know. I haven't tried to sell it because I was thinking about buying another turntable.
Dear Dsa: Like I told you : maybe you are right.

Regards and enjoy the music.
I've been using a Hadcock 228 for many years. Despite its light weight it has matched well with every cartridge I've put on it irrespective of weight, compliance, MM or MC; however, in principle it should match the Ortofon perfectly. The only problem is setup. Unless Hadcock has changed its design, set screws hold everything in place requiring a lot of patience whereas I believe the Graham allows you to dial in many of the adjustments but perhaps at a performance cost.
Hello everyone: Great responses- thanks!
RE:0luuke1- That's interesting about the Grado "failing". Is the cantilever on the way out? Stylus worn? Regarding the Ortofon Black- perhaps it seems a little bright in comparison to the "failing" Grado. And, as you said, it will take time to settle in. Keep us posted on its performance. I'm sure there are others looking for a MM that has exceptional bang for the buck- I know I am and I'm looking forward to trying the 2M when it arrives!

RE: Raul- And it's with advise from experienced guys like you that we can make better better decisions when setting up a rig- thanks again.

RE:Br_ian- Good point. Although the Hadcock is a simpler design, it does have the downside of being a fiddle to set up. The Graham has that covered (like the 80's vintage arm on the Technics- that arm is SO easy to set-up). Interesting comments regarding the matching of cartridges- it looks like the Hadcock can be happy with most cartridges that are set into it's chrome wand.

So, anyone out there with an early Graham (1.5, 2.0, 2.2) who like to throw their hat into the ring and comment the arm's performance? I read in an old Stereophile review that the 1.5 is bass-shy (it doesn't resolve the bass- the lower octaves are free from colouration or so it seems??) Comments welcomed!
I was having problems with bass response and overall dynamic range seemed very compressed. I fiddled with set up AND rolled tubes. AJ at Basis suggested to change the cart. He was right.

The Grado was at the end of it's lifespan. The Ortofon is a much different sound - one which I think will compliment the MX110/MC275 as well as the resolution of the Basis Vector.

We'll see.
I am using a Graham 1.5tc that was upgraded to a 2.2 (but still with the SME base). I'm running it on my Gyro SE, which I have heard in my system with a Michell Tecnoarm before (which is a highly modified variant of the Rega RB-250).

In my opinion, it's a fabulous arm. Definitely not bass-shy, it is very consistent from top to bottom. The top end is absolutely fantastic, just so smooth, natural and musical. The arm doesn't add warmth though, so if your system is lean and you're hoping to add some extra warmth, you'll need to do it with the cartridge. It is a marked improvement over the Tecnoarm and is a breeze to set up and adjust.

Everything I've read about the Hadcock indicates that it's pretty tough to deal with, which is why I never seriously considered it for my table. I guess it all depends how comfortable you are dealing with a more tricky arm - but I've never heard (or even seen) a Hadcock.

One thing with the Graham - look for something that comes with their fantastic cartridge-mounting tool. It makes it a breeze to change cartridges and have them set up perfectly in a few minutes. Also, all models can be ordered with an SME base if you prefer, so even a new Phantom can be ordered (but that's not a cheap arm!!!). On the used market, not many 2.0's or later will be found with an SME mount, since it was a custom-order option from that model on.
HI Countingbackwards: Great tips on the Graham tonearm- thanks. Do you know if the bearing was upgraded for your model (1.5tc/2.2) from the bearing on the original 1.5 (basic)?

One thing about the Hadcock (and most arms- unless you want to change VTA on every record...) is that once the set-up is done, it's done.
Hello 0luke1,
Contact me with some detail on the arm you are thinking of selling.
Fellows, the Hadcock is not that difficult to set up....believe me If I can do it anyone can. Took a couple of hours and well worth the effort.
And when it's done, it's done- right Pops?
Pretty much, VTF, overhang, and Azmuith is a breeze. VTA is adjusted by a grub screw which is easy, but if you adjust VTA frequently then it might not be your cup of tea. For me, the arm has just enough tweaking options.
Pops: Thanks for the set-up info.

RE: Graham owners- looking at the custom mount 2.0, would you say that this would be too hard to get into a Technics? The DIN junction box looks like it would only be suitable for specific decks? Any thoughts?
My 2.2/1.5tc is identical to a new 2.2 deluxe in every way, except that the mounting plate changed from model 1.5 to 2. While the design is the same (with the exception of the availability of a Graham mount from model 2 on), the materials changed for model 2.

As such, a 1.5tc with the 2.2 bearing added becomes nearly identical to a new 2.2. Currently, you can still buy 2.2 bearing caps from Graham, but if you have a 1.5 model on which to use the bearing cap, it needs to be a 1.5t or 1.5tc (where the "t" means tungsten sideweights as used in the model 2.0/2.2 and the "c" means ceramic armwand as used in the 2.0/2.2 deluxe).

FYI, Graham's are set it and forget it if you want them to be, but there's also the option of easily swapping cartridges due to the ease of setup. Many consider one of the Graham's best features to be that minor VTA adjustments can be made precisely and repeatably. I just find the arm to be very pleasant to deal with, and never intimidating - not to mention how good it sounds...which I'm sure is partly due to the fact that cartridges are always set up properly on the arm.

Unfortunately though, I've compared it only to the Michell Tecnoarm directly, and never heard a Hadcock.
A poster (Cmk) suggested a Schroeder Arm as an alternative to the Hadcock and the Graham. Since I am exploring unusual options, I thought it might make an interesting thread. So, I will start a thread on the Schroeder Model 2 arm, its compatibility with the Technics, and its compatibility with the Ortofon 2M Black.