Which arm best for SME30-2?

I have an SME 30-2 with SME V and a Koetsu Blue Onyx. The Triplanar and Graham Phantom B44 are possible alternetives. Does anyone have any experience in this respsect. i.e. Triplanar or Phantom on an SME 30? The rest of my system is: Asthetix Rhea Signature (yes the new one), CJ CT5 and a pair of LP140Ms driving Guaneri Hommage speakers set on solid (250Lb) Marble columns. CD is vis dcs Elgar DAC, Purcell upsampler and Theta Jade transport. All interconnects are by LFD - Black widow for Rhea and Elgar to CT5 and Silcer Scorpion for SME to Rhea and CT5 to LP140Ms. Speaker wire is home brew. 1mm fine Silver wire (99.9% pure) threaded into Teflon sleeving and bi-wired.
I have tried the Tri-Planar and have the custom machined armboard if you are interested.
All arm are very good and the nice thing about the SME 30 is the ability to change armboard in a few minutes. If money is no object you can have both arms and swap when you want.
The Tri-planar is a very nice arm and did some very good thing while I had it. A trade off compared to the SME V.

I also have the Graham armboard if you are interested. Though I never tried the Graham on the SME it is very nice arm on my TW.

They are all good. It is hard to say which is better in your set up. You have good stuff just depends on what changes you want to make, it is mainly a lateral move if anything.

If you're going to use only one cartridge, the Koetsu Blue Onyx, ask yourself which arm will match best with that cartridge. If you're going to use multiple cartridges, including perhaps a mono cartridge, the Phantom is unsurpassed which quick easy cartridge swapping (each with its own arm wand). The SME V is a gimbaled arm, the Phantom is a unipivot - each has its own attributes. The SME table and arm have great 'synergy'. A personal preference in the end.
I have both a Phantom and an SME V, each with its own SME made armboard - I use both on my 30/2. As Pcosta stated, switching arm/armboard on the 30/2 is quick, easy, and precise. I like the Universe on the V; other cartridges with their wands on the Phantom.
Don't overlook the Basis Vector 4 arm - it can be ordered with an SME base. A beautiful arm as well.
With the Koetsu is the Phantom a safe way to go.
Or a 9" DaVinci (or when another Armboard is available, the 10" with SME/regular mount ...).
Thomas - I have no experience with the DaVinci arm but use a Koetsu Urusuhi on my Phantom. It works quite well, as most cartridges do with the Phantom.
Thanks for the response guys. It is early days yet so I am wtching the discussion with great interest.
Rgurney - "The SME table and arm have great 'synergy'. A personal preference in the end."

Thanks for this. I have often wondered because of all the diatribe about this or that arm being "better" than the SME V, and I've thought OK Maybee a Phantom is better than a V on a different turntable but what about when mounted on an SME 30? .
Once again thanks for the illumination.
Pcosta "The Tri-planar is a very nice arm and did some very good thing while I had it. A trade off compared to the SME V."

Can you give little more info on the trade off? Ie the differences in sound.


It has been over three years since I have done the Tri-planar on the SME but I will try and describe what I heard.

Tri-planar had a touch better dynamics being more detailed on transients. People complain about bass bloat on the SME V, it does not exist on the SME 30 as you may well know, but it beat the Tri in that regard. I thought the SME had a better juicier midrange that I liked with my Miyabi 47, or XV-1.

When you get in to this league the differences are so small. SOme arms excell more with a certain cart over another arm etc.
Very useful. Thanks again. Any other comments?
jskg: I have a sme 20/2 with SME IV.Vi.

Do you have the newer power supply? via push buttons instaead of the knob? If not, that's made a definate difference on my 20/2. Lowered the noise floor, brought out all kinds of inner detail and transparency. #2 is a good power cord on the motor controller.

What arm cable are you using? That's something to be explored to.

All that said, I am curious abotu a Graham Phantom as well. Maybe even switching out my TT for a TW Raven AC and keeping my IV.Vi arm. I wish this was easier!

Good luck
I would buy those arms as an alternative not as replacement. Add them to your stable, have fun!

Yes I have the new supply. The SME V arm is wired in 7 strand silver at the factory. I think its van den hull. The wiring is an upgrade at time of order. Arm to phono is LFD Siver Scorpion. Pure Silver.
Thanks for the interest. I'm told by a reliable source (mag editor) that there is not a great deal of difference in sound between an SME 10 and 20, however there is a big jump in sound to the model 30/2. There is also a big jump in price as well, of course. Just thought you might want to know if you are considering a TT upgrade.
I have a 20/2 with a SME V arm. Not to hijack the thread, but is the difference between the older and newer power supplies that great? I have the older supply and was wondering whether I should upgrade. Again, my apologies to Jskg. :)

- Doc
I also have a SME model 20/SME V and the new power supply unit. I upgraded to the PSU from the old supply and noticed that the sound was bigger, richer and more powerful but maybe slightly less transparent.
I'm always being told the SME V can be bettered and recently I tried the Graham 2.2 on my table and prefered the V. The graham maybe more neutral in some ways but ultimately the soundscape is further away making the listen rather boring.

Sorry about off topic...

doc-stereo, I thought the power supply was a solid step up in all areas. bigger/richer/power applies, but I thought the lowering of the noise floor was the root improvment, which just allowed the table to play music more.

I got lucky and got one for $700. At list price, I'd think about it, a arm cable, cartridge step up might yeild more for your $$'s. Nothing wrong with the supply you have.

It's about the same difference as the stock power cord vs a top flight power cord on the power supply...if that helps.
I have had Koetsu on my SME, Schroder, Ikeda etc. I have a lot of experience. I would suggest keeping your SME V and adding mas to the underside of the arm. I used Blue Tak. Koetsus are low compliance cartridges. Usually about a 10. You need an effective mass of about 20 plus gms to get it right. The difference will be huge. You can email me offline for more. Otherwise get a 12 inch Ikeda or maybe try the 12 inch SME if you have the 20/12. I think the 20/2 is the too small.