VPI TNT HRX table - what tonearms?

I just bought, but have not yet picked up, a VPI TNT HRX turntable, which comes with a VPI JMW 12.5 tonearm. I also have a Graham 2.2 arm and a SME IV arm. Assuming I had the proper armboards, would either of these be superior to the JMW? Would other tonearms be superior to the JMW with this table?
I believe, with the TNT HRX, you are stuck with the VPI tone arms because they are completely top-mounted. The TNT HRX has a very thick plinth with no provision for an arm board as such. Unless VPI has a version of the HRX with and arm board cut-away that I don't know about, no other tone arm will work except VPI's own 'arms on the HRX.

Now the TNT-6 in the non-HR version, on the other hand, DOES have an arm-board. And in that case, I would try the SME iV first, then the Graham.

What is/are your cartridge(s) and what is your phono stage or phono section?
I suggest you try the JMW that comes with the table. If you like it, you could save a lot of work.

The HRX does not come with interchangeable arm boards. The arm is mounted in a hole drilled through the three-layer (plastic, steel, plastic) plinth. (I understand that the proper drilling of this hole is a serious machining job.) The JMW arm is physically larger than the Graham 2.2 and most other arms (probably including your SME IV). In order to use another arm, you need to have the hole drilled in a different place, and that place has to be precisely located to fit your arm. Your arm manufacturer needs to communicate with VPI for this. With the Graham 2.2, a little platform of a particular height is needed as well.

When I bought my HRX, I ordered it without the JMW, and I requested that it be drilled for a Graham 2.2, which I now have mounted on the HRX. As a result, I can assure you that VPI has been sent the specs for locating the hole for the Graham 2.2. I can attest that the HRX sounds very good with the Graham. Of course, I have not been able to compare the sound with the JMW or the SME arms. I explained my rationale for choosing the Graham over the JMW in a previous thread (try an Audiogon search for HRX). I have a Graham Phantom on order, with an understanding that it will fit into the same hole as the 2.2. I'll save the dustcover saga for another occasion.

Good luck.
Dear Suttlaw: With your Koetsu cartridge the SME IV will be the best. BTW, I think that you can really do a great improvement in your analog system if you choose to change your cartridge for a better one.
Regards and enjoy the music.
Thank you for the information. I am now using a ZYX R-1000 Airy2 S cartridge, CAT SL-3 preamp, JL-2 amp. I have a Bent MU MC stepup transformer on order to try with the CAT phono stage.
I didn't realize the HRX was so daunting in regard to changing arms, so I'll probably stick with the JMW for now. (BTW, this is the solid metal plinth/chassis prototype HRX.) I would be interested in Jameswei's comparison with the Graham 2.2 if he ever gets a chance to hear the HRX with the JMW.
I see from the manual I downloaded that I need a 34x21 surface for the table plus dustcover, which is larger than the wall mount stand I have been using (to avoid footfall vibrations from 1st floor wood floor in 100 year old house). If I don't use the optional dust cover (the saga, Raul?), how large a platform to I really need? Any suggestions as to a good stand?
Also, I notice that the JMW doesn't use a din connection tonearm cable (which all of mine are, of course). Any suggestions there?
Has anyone tried changing powercords on the SDS?
OK, dustcovers. The HRX turntable itself covers a rectangle 25 x 19 inches. This is more likely to fit in your location.

The VPI dustcover is a two piece affair that rests on the same surface as the HRX. The bottom piece consists of four walls that are longer and wider than the HRX itself and rise to about the level of the plinth. The top piece is identical except it has a top surface -- like an upside down open box. This dustcover provides a complete dust shield with no openings, and it can be taken off or put on without disturbing the turntable if you are playing a record. (VPI recommends leaving it off because possible resonant vibrations from the cover could color the music.)

My system is space constrained by WAF decor considerations, and the VPI cover would not fit. Gingko makes a dustcover that has dimensions 25 1/4 x 19 1/4 inches. The Gingko cover sits on the plinth, with its corners wrapped around the airbag towertops. It does not provide as complete a dust shield; there are little gaps where the dust could get in after a long time. It does not shield below the plinth. It is harder to put on and take off while playing a record, if you would want to do that. On the other hand, it is well thought out and extremely well made -- it feels solid and more rigid than the larger VPI cover.

To accommodate the JMW, you would need a tall Gingko with a cutout at the back behind the JMW, because the JMW has a high-rising signal cable and its counterweight juts out in the back beyond the plinth. My custom Gingko is lower and has no cut out because I am using the Graham 2.2. I am very happy with the Gingko dustcover given its compact size, good design and fit, excellent build quality, and outstanding support from the manufacturer involving a retrofit upgrade to the cover (to improve the fit by closing some gaps) after I bought it. While it is not the "official VPI" dustcover for the HRX, it performs its function very well. I strongly recommend it, especially if you have a space constraint.
Suttlaw, If you don't mind, what did you have to pay over the price of the standard HRX for the "special" version? Have you had a chance to listen to the ZYX yet. I am thinking of the same cart for my Aries/JMW 10. Has anyone compared the HRX to the Aries...... It's on my dream table list, and I just wonder if there is a big difference. Don't mean to hijack your thread, but you are getting the front end of my dreams.

Dear Cmo: I think that in your system is a better choice the Dynavector XV-1, Koetsu RSP or Benz Micro Ruby 3, instead of the ZYX: this one is not at the same quality sound reproduction level of the others, maybe the next generation of ZYX cartridges can be at the top but not now.
Regards and enjoy the music.
so you are the lucky one who got that deal recently, I woke up too late to see the ad...
Suttlaw, You asked about power cords with the SDS. I can recommend the Silent Source power cords for both the SDS and the motor. If you do put Silent Source PC's in the mix of cords you audition, let us know what happens.

As for cartridges, if you are first going to try a Benz---as some posters have recommended, give the "LP" or "Ebony" a shot.

SME IV or V 'arms on the HRX: Since SME 'arms require such a large cut away to accommodate the over-hang, sliding assembly (not to mention their low-slung DIN connectors), I would think that making such a large cutaway would make any other 'arm un-mountable after a SME has occupied the space. (The mounting holes are made directly into the base/plinth, right?) Also, the large cut-away for a SME would somewhat undermine the presumed design benefits of the massive, rigid, contiguous plinth/base of the HRX in the first place.

JMW 'arm connectors: I think you can get a VPI Phono Interface Box with a DIN connector.
Semi is right. I was the lucky one that got the HRX prototype listed on Audiogon yesterday. I woke up early, checked the ads, and voila'. I drove 400 miles roundtrip today and picked it up from a very nice audiophile near St. Louis. He had 20-30 calls about it (including several that offered more than he asked) but sold it to me because I was first to email. You have to applaud a man who honors a commitment like that.
He apparently talks regularly to Harry and Harry mentioned that he is considering producing the all metal chasis model for real because he has been getting a lot of calls for it. However, it is going to be more expensive than the stock model if he does.
This Missouri audiophile has a super system but is disbursing it because he will be homeless (while building a new house) for some time. Steelhead, Meitner DAC/SACD, big ass horn speakers (Avante duos??).
He heard the prototype HRX at the NY Stereophile convention in 2003 and talked Harry into selling it to him. He had the original metal platter and the new vinyl one that Harry sent him. Also the original screw on center clamp and the later weight only one.
He was using standard power cords and a Cardas Golden Reference IC with the unit. He had an extra Cardas which he loaned me to audition to buy. Interestingly enough, we had the same taste in vinyl. Dead jazz guys and gals. Half the LPs I brought to listen, he had.
I can't really comment on the ZYX yet. I only had it in the system for a few records, but it was revealing enough to show bearing noise from my Cosmos. I probably need fluid.
The HRX is too big for my present stand situation. Any suggestions for stands that would work on springy wooden floors. I'm afraid to try and put it on a wall platform like I used for the Cosmos.
I have some BMI Sharks and one Whale Supreme that I will try with the HRX. Anyone have any luck with these?
I liked Jameswei's description/idea of the Ginko dustcover. The VPI one sounds quite awkward, and I wouldn't want to leave a dustcover on the table while playing LPs anyway. Does Ginko make dustcovers in smoky gray?
Gingko Audio is Vinh Vu. His web site is www.gingkoaudio.com. He is an AudiogoN member with ID "Gingko." (His old ID was "vtvu.") He is a pleasure to deal with, and I heartily recommend his work.
It has been seven years since I started and ended this thread, but I am basically repeating the question. I have been using the JMW 12.5 arm with the TNT HRX version I have (different from normal in that the plinth is solid aluminum plus different weight platters). Has VPI a better arm or someone else one that fits this table?
Hi Suttlaw, I have a regular HRX and, after a few year, couldn't stand the JMW 12.6 tonearm any longer, so I found a way to put another one, and then two, and then three. If you take a look at my system, you will see that the slight mods required are completely reversible and self explanatory, and any local machine shop can do them. Be aware though, you have limited options for the tonearm that will take the place of the 12.5, you can only choose one whose cables don't exit from the bottom. As far as I know, the only arms with this provision are the Reed, that I have, and the Triplanar. I hope that helps, and sorry for my english.
Hello again Suttlaw, a Trans-Fi Terminator linear tonearm easily surpassed a SME IV and Graham 1.5tc on my modified VPI TNT. I've corresponded with an HRX owner who experienced similar improvement replacing a VPI 12.5 arm. The stock tonearm mounting hole can be repurposed without modification.
The best Performance from a TNT I ever listened to, was such a unit with a ET2 linear Arm.
Stick with your 12.5 arm. It is v good.

I used to own the 12.5 with tnt5 hr, then moved to hrx with 12.6. I much preferred the 12.5. Damping trough is required imo.

How would you compare the TNT to your Cosmos? What was your reason for changing? What arm and cartridge did you use on the Cosmos?