Best switchable wand tonearm?

Site7000

New Member
Jul 16, 2011
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#1
I would like to have a tonearm that facilitates fast cartridge exchanges by using switchable wands. What experience has anyone had with arms that offer that feature?
 

kodomo

Well-Known Member
Apr 26, 2017
399
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#2
Kuzma 4 point that I have has something that can cater your need. Its head-shell is removable with just one nut. You can align your cartridges on their own headshells (mine came with two headshells) and just change them as you wish. Of course you will need to correct the vta, vtf and anti-skating but they are very easy to do on this arm, especially with the vta tower (with the exception of 9") You can mark the correct vta and vtf for lets say two carts and then you can do a fully adjusted cart change under a minute.
 
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bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
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#3
I would like to have a tonearm that facilitates fast cartridge exchanges by using switchable wands. What experience has anyone had with arms that offer that feature?
Moerch DP8 and Graham both have wands. Others have switchable headshells.
 

Bodhi

Well-Known Member
Apr 20, 2014
913
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63
Melbourne, Australia
#4
Cost no object I’d vote for the Graham Phantom Elite 12” arm. That has a removable titanium arm wand as Bonzo eluded to. That said, I don’t have personal experience with Graham arms or how easy that operation is. Though I’m sure another member will chime in here.
 

Site7000

New Member
Jul 16, 2011
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#5
Overall I would prefer interchangeable arm wands instead of headshells, but 'under a minute' for the Kuzma is very attractive, considering what a great arm it is.
 
Mar 17, 2012
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Cheltenham
#6
I do have a number of 12" armwands for my graham phantom III. Each of my dynavector XV-1s, Lyra Titan s, allearts MC-1, Io-j and Io-m is fitted to an arm wand. It takes less than a minute to change the wand and then obviosly adjust TW and possibly azimuth. job done. Certainly a lot cheaper than adding extra arms; which i could not do anyway. For those who need a high mass arm, you could add mass to the headshell end which i do for my Decca London Jubilee cart.
The best single arm 'system' was the top of the range Audiocraft arm that enabled you to add three different mass arms, 9" and 12"lengths, as well as an S shaped arm, together with the appropriate counterweights and side weights. It was a superb bit of Japanese kit. I had it for four years before going down the Graham route. I wish I had kept it. It is a shame that Bob Graham did not develop his arm to the same extent, although I did hear that he did produce a prototype S arm but I do not think that it made production
 

bazelio

Active Member
Sep 27, 2016
887
238
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California
#7
Cost no object I’d vote for the Graham Phantom Elite 12” arm. That has a removable titanium arm wand as Bonzo eluded to. That said, I don’t have personal experience with Graham arms or how easy that operation is. Though I’m sure another member will chime in here.
Why recommend something with which you've got no personal experience?

Anyhow, as mentioned, the 4 point headshell system is great. It's really about a 5 minute affair, though. If you've set up a particular cart previously and you leave it mounted to a headshell, then all you need to do is restore its alignment settings after a quick swap.
 

mulveling

Active Member
Jul 7, 2017
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#8
Wands are much more expensive to stock up on, and sometimes much harder to source, than good headshells. I have Fidelity Research FR64fx and FR64S tonearms, and like the Ikeda headshells on them. I do prefer them to my Graham Phantom Supreme. Headshells are universal and generally give you more flexibility (e.g. change mass & materials to match a particular cartridge). Plus wands get versioned and their length is specific to a geometry (e.g. I have 3 Phantom II Supreme 10" arms but the new Phantom III wands have "better internal wiring" - doesn't happen with a headshell). The Graham wand mechanism does work well and secures to the stub very, very well though.

That said, for me even a wand system is far preferable than the fixed-wand, fixed-headshell arms, which I HATE.

Note that there is almost always some slight degree of play in azimuth for the headshell in the universal bayonet mount before & while you tighten, so if that's a problem you'll want to stick with wands. I like it because that little bit of play is usually all that's needed to fine-tune azimuth.
 
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tima

Industry Expert
Mar 4, 2014
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#9
Why recommend something with which you've got no personal experience?
Heh. Why take a recommendation from a person with no personal experience?

I would like to have a tonearm that facilitates fast cartridge exchanges by using switchable wands. What experience has anyone had with arms that offer that feature?
When you're changing an arm wand or a headshell, you're likely changing from another arm or headshell that has a different cartridge on it. That typically means different VTF, VTA and Azimuth for the new cart+wand/headshell, so those will need to be re-set anyway or at minimum, checked.

It seems to me the main advantage of a multiple wand or headshell tonearm can be not having to remount the cartridge and re-do its offset and zenith. That's assuming sufficiently exacting tolerances on the wand/shell mount arrangement that those setting remain fixed from the previous use. With some arms, such as the SME Vd ('d' for detachable headshell) there is no such exactness of fit. Never used a Graham so canna speak to its wand fitment precision.

The 4Points do not use a standard 'universal headshell', only 4Point headshells. However I've found the fitment precise such that the alignment is stable or very very close assuming the arm is returned to (or remains unchanged from) the settings in place when doing the original alignment. (You will need to re-fit the tonearm wire cartridge clips to the cartridge pins.) I change carts with some frequency but still go through checking the normal setup parameters each time I switch.

So, imo, while wands and swappable headshells can make the vinylist's life a bit easier, there are no fast cartridge exchanges when using them.

edit: I believe VPI offers tonearms (the VPI JMW Tonearm Base) with switchable arm wands - they call them arm-tubes iirc.
 
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Mar 17, 2012
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Cheltenham
#10
Like most things, once you are familiar with making the adjustments with the Graham it becomes second nature. There is ,however, an arm that is rarely discussed that allows you to use interchanageable headshells; the VIV Rigid float. Ignore the naysayers who will tell you that it cannot work properly but have never heard it but insist on having an opinion. There is plenty of factual info on this arn on the net so no point in repeating it.

I lived with both the 7" and 13" for about six months and it does some thing rather special. It did not have the dynamic textures of the Graham but it had a flow and coherence that characterised it across all the carts that i put on it. You can use its own Nelson hold headshell or any other that takes your fancy. I have heard this arm on my TT (Verdier) and on the Grand Prix Monaco. On the latter it sounded magnificent. Anyway something else to think about
 
May 30, 2010
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Portugal
#11
Cost no object I’d vote for the Graham Phantom Elite 12” arm. That has a removable titanium arm wand as Bonzo eluded to. That said, I don’t have personal experience with Graham arms or how easy that operation is. Though I’m sure another member will chime in here.
Why recommend something with which you've got no personal experience? (...)
An opinion is not a recommendation. The first quoted post is an example of well structured post explaining the objective why's and the particular conditions - no personal experience. IMHO it is a very reasonable and welcome contribute to the thread.

I have owned the old Graham 2.2 and really miss the removable wand - mounting cartridges was much easier and rigorous than with small headshells or fixed arms. The wand had the proper size to get a good grip in a well cushioned vice and I felt much safer carrying the alignment in it.
 
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bazelio

Active Member
Sep 27, 2016
887
238
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California
#12
So, imo, while wands and swappable headshells can make the vinylist's life a bit easier, there are no fast cartridge exchanges when using them.
Right, it's not a lickety split operation. But with the Kuzma headshell swap, I do find that zenith and overhang are repeatable, and I never need to readjust those. Just vta, vtf, and azimith. Two of those three are easy to mark on the Kuzma so that returning to prior settings is simple. Vtf isn't easily marked, but is quick and easy to set without disturbing any other settings.
 
Last edited:
Mar 17, 2012
84
16
8
Cheltenham
#13
An opinion is not a recommendation. The first quoted post is an example of well structured post explaining the objective why's and the particular conditions - no personal experience. IMHO it is a very reasonable and welcome contribute to the thread.

I have owned the old Graham 2.2 and really miss the removable wand - mounting cartridges was much easier and rigorous than with small headshells or fixed arms. The wand had the proper size to get a good grip in a well cushioned vice and I felt much safer carrying the alignment in it.
Yes we need more people to give opinions and accept them when they are not based on evidence.
 
Oct 12, 2011
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Brooklyn
#14
Most Schroder arms would work. For mine, the wires terminate in a connector block. Fairly simple to lif each wand off the pivot. I've been thinking about getting another wand just for that purpose. Depending on your table config you might even be able to switch between BA and CB configurations as I believe the pivot/base is the same. You could also experiment with just changing the mounting plate he uses to attach to the wand.

VTA and VTF would need adjusting each time but easier than mounting a cartridge each time.

Of course, you could wait for Wilson Benesch to come out with their new TT/Arm!!

http://www.theaudiobeat.com/highend2019/highend2019_wilson_benesch.htm


Overall I would prefer interchangeable arm wands instead of headshells, but 'under a minute' for the Kuzma is very attractive, considering what a great arm it is.
 

tima

Industry Expert
Mar 4, 2014
921
459
63
#15
Yes we need more people to give opinions and accept them when they are not based on evidence.
Heh. it's usually fairly easy to spot those who don't know what they're talking about, but it is still a disservice to the one looking for experienced opinion, as the OP did.
 

Site7000

New Member
Jul 16, 2011
5
0
1
#16
Thanks, terrific responses. And it's not hard to suss out the real experience from the more academic analysis. Both have their place. The new Wilson Benesch arm certainly does look intriguing. They have good engineers.
 

XV-1

Well-Known Member
May 24, 2010
1,901
297
83
Sydney
#17
the Thales Simplicity II has replaceable head shells for easy cartridge swap. You set up the cartridge separately on an alignment jig before attaching it back on the tonearm.
It's not as easy as the Graham Phantom arm wand thou in swapping carts.
 

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