Here's a few to consider...SME V or IV.Vi, Grahm or VPI JMW. Depends on your table, cartridge and tastes. I use the SME on a SME table...
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The AirTangent arm is one of the best ever made. They can be found sometimes in the $3000 range used. Cartridge compatibility is a major issue with any tonearm, and I would recommend choosing a combination of arm/cart as a system instead of a great arm and great cart separately, and hoping they will work great together. Also, there are some lower price arms that will compete well with the big buck items. For a gimballed arm, the Origin Live Silver 250 or Silver Taper are great contenders for top honors at lower prices. For a unipivot, the RS Labs RS-1 has gotten great praise. These arms offer the performance of the best for a lower price and represent great value. Unless you are going for status, you would be well advised to audition these arms as well as the expensive ones.
Origin Live Silver 250. The British HiFi press called it "possibly the best tonearm in the world right now". The TNT Audio review said it was hard to categorize, since it has absolutely no coloration or flaws, and thus categorized it a the ideal "reference" tool, to assess the performance of other high-end tonearms. I have had one myself for several months now, and it blows away any tonearm I have ever owned, or heard. My assessment is that it has the best blend of all the best qualities of the top flight tonearms with little or no shortcomings that plague the others. It is easily competitive with the $3000-$4000 offerings, and it only costs $725. Hard to believe? You bet. And so is the sound. If you could imagine the bass authority of the SME V, with none of the overly-analytical nature, the midrange and high end liquidity of the Graham 2.2, and virtually no colorations, with the ease of set-up of a Rega, and the ability to handle extremely low-compliance low-output MC cartridges, this is the Silver 250. Even if one of these other great arms was a very thin hair better than the Silver 250, would it be worth 4 times the price? My money is on the Silver 250.
I'm so glad the Breuer and Brinkman tonearms are being manufactured again after a decade's absence. I wonder if the new arms capture the Swiss essence of the original: fine chocolate, cuckoo clocks and polite federalism, which when experienced simultaneously are often mistaken for neutrality. That said, the Type 8's rendering of acoustic accordion will make you weep. Really.
I know this is an old post but it's probably a question that people are still asking, especially as a lot has happened in the Tonearm market since 2002. As I write, that's 17 years ago!
So I am extremely impressed with the Viroa tonearm from Tien Audio. Tien is currently doing a giveaway of this $2,500 tonearm. You can get the chance to win on here https://giveaways.rateyoursound.com
If sweepstakes aren't your thing and you want to read more, see https://tienaudioltd.com and read a full review of the Viroa tonearm here https://www.rateyoursound.com/reviews/tien-audio-viroa-best-audiophile-tonearm-under-3000
Haipo, there is one arm that stands out from all the others in this price range and that is the Kuzma 4 point 9. I has the best bearings of any pivoted tonearm ever made, the same bearings used on the much more expensive 4 point 11 and 14. It has a removable head shell and its effective mass is perfect for medium compliance cartridges. It has a fat, stiff and tapered arm tube. It has been favorably compared to the $20K SAT arm. Read about it!