Yes, The Kuzma 4 points in general. I think the 4 Point 9 is the best of the lot. Schroder CB and LT. The Reed 2G. The SME V and V12, The Tri Planar. Some of the origin Live arms are excellent.
I just got a Schroder CB and will report on it when I get it set up. The Turntable is no where in site yet. Donna says "weeks away" :-(
My first really good arm was the Graham 2.0. Later upgraded to 2.2. A lot of the reason for getting it was, besides the sound, the detachable arm wand that came with a jib that enabled super precise and simple cartridge alignment. Because back then I had fallen for a lot of the BS repeated endlessly around here to this day making it sound like cartridge alignment is darn near impossible without spending more on alignment jigs than you have in your rig.
That's no exaggeration. Just last week someone used a kilobuck jig to mount a $200 cartridge.
Anyway, two points to this story- one, there's more to it than sound and some arms do make this harder than it needs to be.
The other point is I eventually learned the harm all those connections do to the delicate cartridge signal. My next arm was the Origin Live Conqueror, an arm with no connections but the cartridge pins thanks to its hard wired phono leads. Never again will I buy an arm that requires I also buy an interconnect. At the level of an arm like the Conqueror a guy could easily spend several grand on the interconnect alone. Been there. Done that. No thanks.
FR-64s / FR-66s
(unmatched Real Thing reproduction)
The Basis Vector 3 which I owned was a great tonearm. I really made me aware of the importance of high quality tonearm.
The current tonearm on my Garrard 301 is an Ikeda IT 407 CR-1. A great match with low compliance cartridges in particular Ikeda cartridges. A worthy successor to the Fidelity Research tonearms.
I also have and use a Graham 2.2 tonearm and agree with everything MC says. An excellent value if you can find one on the used market.
-Reed 3p “12 Cocobolo
-Technics EPA-100 mk2
-Ikeda IT-345 (not CR) matte finishing only.
those are some amazing tonearms for different needs (different cartridges)
Schröder Reference but with the neutral balance bearing geometry and all the fine adjustment options used on the SQ. It needs them too and a sensitive touch on the various locking screws. The music can come alive but the sweet spot is pretty narrow. I’d love to hear how an LT compares, though my Artemis doesn’t have room for one. How are the two pivots linked?
Before that was a Naim Aro, used n an Elite Rock without the damping trough and a Rega 300 used with the trough.
TW Acustic 10.5 one of the best tonearms i have ever used with wonderful sound and detail.
I have the Audiomods Series III with the bead-blast finish and the micrometer VTA feature
Jeff has some great new arms that perform even better and are longer (10.5") than the more "regular" length arms
Jeff is a great guy and takes into account the TT that it is to be installed on - sometimes making a custom mounting plate for certain TT's
His work is amazing and the final product is exceptionally well built
He does take a few weeks to make it - mine took about 6 weeks
Last arm I'll ever buy - Steve
Some more from the vaults:
Fidelity-Research FR-64s with B60
Fidelity-Research FR-64fx with N60
SME V, still an excellent arm, matches my tt well, is easy to handle and adjust. Before that, Mission 774, Hadcock228, Rega RB300, Alphason HR100S. All fine arms.
@yeti42 , The LT is genius. There is an arm under the platform attached to the horizontal bearing axis so it moves with the tonearm. At the end of this arm is a small round neodymium magnet. Under the lift platform is another magnet which has a crescent shape. As the tonearm moves towards the center of the record magnetic attraction keeps the tonearm pointed in the right direction staying tangent to the groove. The real beauty of the design is that it is driven by fiction in the groove pulling the stylus and thus the arm forward. There are no skating forces at all. The only downsides are that it is not a neutral balance arm and it is impossible to get the vertical bearing down at the level of the record. The CB is a perfect pivoted and offset tonearm. The vertical bearing is down at record level and it is a neutral balance arm. Anti skating is frictionless magnetic. Effective mass is adjustable from 12 to 19 grams In the 9" version. The question is which one is better the CB or LT with it's trade offs.
Another open-ended question, because one ought at least to reference the cartridge by type and compliance that you intend to use with it.
Of tonearms I own, Triplanar, Reed 2A with Red Cedar wand, and FR64S are the "best". Whoopee.
I am simple so i really like the rega rb900 or rb600 tonearms i have never had one that did not sound wonderful.
Victor 7045 and 7082
Getting Technics EPA-100 from Russian time traveler this year.
Dear @ml89009 : best tonearms? not an easy question with out its cartridges couple.
In the other side could be good first than all to define the characteristics that and " ideal " tonearm must has to at least have a reference against we are comparing to.
I for example we ask to thiose audiophiles that already posted : why the Basis Vector or the Victor 7045 are the best could be interesting their responses about.
Only an opinion, have fun.
Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,
The references I use are LPs that I recorded. I have the master tapes and know what they sound like. I've used a number of arms at home and at shows; the one that consistently gets everything right is the Triplanar.
It has the hardest metal bearings available on any tonearm.
One thing nice about the Triplanar is you have some ability to adjust the effective mass of the arm. This allow you to use a wider range of cartridges. It is the ability of the arm to track the cartridge correctly that is the most important! VTA can be adjusted on-the-fly. Azimuth is adjustable. The arm bearing is in the plane of the LP (provides for more consistent tracking pressure with warp or bass modulation). The arm tube is damped so it does not talk back to the cartridge.
I have found the SME12" to be excellent as well as the Kuzma 4-point.
I just upgraded from an Origin Live Silver to an Origin Live Enterprise. Same cartridge. Same tonearm cables. The difference is staggering. I’d love to have a tonearm or cartridge designer explain the technical reasons for the easily-audible improvements (other than it allows the cartridge to better track the groove).
Only one best: SME V...
after some others not so best, really.
If you can live with non-detachable head-shell(s) ?!? 🤔
I'm using the Swiss Holborne tonearm , 10 inch dualpivot , price € 2990 in
Europe . My turntable is the Dutch DDSphinx PJ 6 .Cartridge Dynavector
Te Kaitora Rua . Marriage in heaven.
Dear @ml89009 : ""
what others? ""
As you can read through the post exist several alternatives and if you give us which cartridges you want to mate with then " things " could be better to give an specific advice for any of us.
Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,
Lyra etna slvandenhul crimson stradivarius
@ml89009 4 point 14 is too heavy for those cartridges. You would have to use a lot of damping to keep things quiet. Your Tri Planar is better. You want a medium to lighter arm.
i am also using Reed 3 p arm. will that work with etna sl and van den hul?
Currently enjoying TW Raven (12”) which is phenomenal. Looking back, only my Alphason HR100S stands out above the many others I’ve owned.
Carbon fiber arm on my
new TDCQQ at-LP3
I have two Garrards, a 301 and 401 and use New Zealand - made tonearms on them. The 301 (on solid macrocarpa plinth) has an Analogue Instruments Siggwan arm made from cocobolo wood and brass bearing housing. The 401 (on solid pine plinth) has the Wand Master carbon fibre arm from Design Build Listen. The Master version has adjustable VTA. It’s a bit of a fiddle to set up - just set it up with one cartridge, sit back and enjoy. I have a Dynavector XX2 Mk2 on it, the Wand brings it alive. I’ve had the XX2 on other tonearms as well, the Master is definitely a good match for it. The Siggwan on the 301 is also a unipivot and has direct tonearm wiring from cartridge to RCA plugs. I have an Ortofon 2M Black on it, it has become my go-to MM setup.
Dear @ml89009 : Your Reed tonearm is good match for both cartridges you own and it's a very good tonearm.
I had an Ortophon 309 arm on my Woodsong Garrard 301. Replaced it with a Tri-planar SE. the T-p runs circles around the 309. Used to have 20-30% of my record collection that was unlistenable. Now it is rare that a LP is not interesting and enjoyable.
I am also using Reed 3 p arm. will that work with etna sl and van den hul?
Reed 3p available not only in different length (from 9’ to 12’ inch), but with different wood (arm tube) which change effective mass significantly.
It depends what wood type and which length you have!
Effective mass stated for each type individually on reed.lt
and any piece of wood on a string ...
The best arms I have owned:
- Audio Origami PU7
- Rega RB2000
- Alphason HR100MCS
- Moerch DP6
- Kuzma 4Point
- Kuzma 4Point9
- Naim ARO
- SME IV
I’m very happy with my classic bi-axis Dynavector DV-505.
I got the Sorane SA-1.2 for my Denon DP-80 turntable. Match made in heaven!
I highly recommend the Kuzma 14" 4 point. I'm quite surprised that a couple of guys listed Kuzmas as among the worst (though the 14"er was not on that list). I also agree with an earlier post which stated that it hard to evaluated a tonearm alone. The pairing of a cartridge will have a significant impact on performance. Naturally, the turntable, itself, is also of major import. that is why it is so difficult and complicated to set up a proper analogue rig. ...and then there is the phono stage, not to mention the preamps, amps, and cables. Oh, I forgot to mention how crucial a proper setup is to maximum (or awful) performance.
As indicated, I use the 14" 4 point Kuzma and it is attached to the Kuzma Stabi XL DC turntable (their newest and top of their line), with a Koetsu Rosewood Signature Platinum cartridge. The sound is spectacular. It is played through a complete Naim Audio 500 Series system, about to be upgraded to the Naim Statement next month.
I also vote for the SME V - I use them on both of my tables. The Grahams are also excellent, and at the lower end some of the Regas give very good value .
I have played around with things like the Mission Mechanic (good luck finding one) which were quite good.
Surely 'the best arm' is the one that best suits the cartridge that you are using and the turntable it is mounted on?
The 'best arm' for a high, medium and low compliance cartridges will be different?
I've had an SME V, Helius Cylene, Terminator, and RB 600, with various cartridges. I now have an Ikeda CR 407 with and Ikeda 'Kai' mounted on a Merrill Williams 101.2,
which is my favourite combination, to date.
You didn't mention a budget. For $2K and under, Rega makes the best arms for the dollar. It's not even close. RB3000 ($2200), RB880 ($1200), even the BR330 at $600 will outperform ones that are several times the cost. They also have a super expensive one made out of titanium not available for a standalone purchase that comes with their super rare/expensive Naiad that was used as the basis for their high end tables.
Above that, I leave it to the big spenders who patrol AG. I know there is an interesting one for $4K that doesn't touch the plinth from Integrity HiFi in Canada. Only found out about it because I bought a Tru Lift arm lifter from them. They swear it makes any cartridge sound great. Conceptually it makes great sense to have total arm isolation with no motor or platter noise or vibration. Anyone ever try an arm totally separate from the table?
Tru- glider, no bearings sits next to turntable , sold my Schroeder ,not even in the same league
I have a Morch UP4. Sounds fine, but what a pain to set up. I dream about those elliptical weights and wake up in a cold sweat.
Technics Epa 100
Technics Epa 500 with Arms 501 L -H-E-M
I'm happy with everyone but maybe the SME IV is the one I like least
SME V. Buy it new or used, keep it for life!
Such an odd & open ended topic - I’m hesitant to participate.
No one has mentioned AMG. LP12 guys should take note of their 9” versions. A very capable tonearm that is not a massive affair - excellent for suspended ‘tables like my ‘64 Swiss built Thorens TD150. One of the easiest tonearms designs to dial in. The “Turbo” (marketing) versions are fashioned with thumbscrews making most tools unnecessary. Poorly executed owner’s manual (sheet).
The SME Series V is my go to when I really want to get a feel for how a typical MC pickup really sounds.
Really like the 11.5” Kuzma 4-Pt and 12” Stogi S and appreciate the elegant simplicity and performance of the better metal wand (Steve Lueng built) JMW unipivots which beg for Wood Bodied Benz and a gravity tilt for A/S.
Yes, the Graham 2.2 is a serious contender, but a bit fiddly to setup. Much improved performance over the Original 2.
Sad to see Jelco go out. Their TK850S is surprisingly good.
Never played with Schröder & Reed or Fidelity Research & Ikeda or Basis Vector - all of which are held in very high esteem.
Agree on the Kuzma 4P arms. I had the Stogi ref and went to the 4P 11 and there is nothing left to be desired.
Another SME V vote. Shines with everything from a Lyra Atlas to a Sumiko Blue Note #2... MM, MC. They all just work, and overall work well.
No one has mentioned AMG
AMG? Sorry but from AMG I only know the sports elaborations of the Mercedes Benz, everything else is not important.