Schroder LT x Kuzma 4 point x Graham Elite x SME V-12

Which of these tonearms is the best?


  • Total voters
    45

VPN

VIP/Donor
Dec 28, 2013
181
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#1
I am considering buying one of these four tonearms: Schroder Linear Tracking x Kuzma 4 point x Graham Phantom Elite x SME V-12

Regarding the ones that you actually heard in your own system or have been able to hear and fairly compare in another system, how would rank them (1- being the best, then 2, 3, and 4)? Why (pros/cons)?

Thanks!
 
Last edited:

XV-1

Well-Known Member
May 24, 2010
1,901
298
83
Sydney
#2
I will have much appreciation for anyone who has heard these 4 tonearms in their own systems

Don't think it will happen thou :D
 

VPN

VIP/Donor
Dec 28, 2013
181
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18
#3
XV-1,

Just to clarify, if someone has heard two of them, this person would rank only the two he/she has heard. If someone has heard three, this person would rank only those three that were heard.

I agree with you that it is unlikely that someone has heard all four.

Cheers.
 

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
5,632
496
83
North Shore of Boston
#4
I don't think many people have the experience to compare more than two of these. Albert Porter owns two SME V-12s, had the Kuzma in his system, had a Supreme, not Elite in his system and has two great friends who each own the Schroder in systems that Albert knows well. You could start by contacting him privately by visiting his website.

Do you have a cartridge in mind? There could be particular combinations which may work better than others.

I'm curious why you don't include a Durand or the Axiom. The latter seems pretty interesting to me.
 
May 14, 2014
380
0
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#5
As far as I know Altanpsx used to have Kuzma 4point with his Clearaudio tt. He sold it and bought Graham Elite. You can ask him. He has been very happy with Elite.
 

jfrech

VIP/Donor
Sep 3, 2012
1,586
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Austin
#6
I own the LT and have heard the V-12 extensively, although in friends systems. They are both great arms, I am not sure you can say a best here. System matching will likely yield the "best"
 

rockitman

Member Sponsor
Sep 20, 2011
7,103
336
83
Northern NY
#7
Fremer reviewed Phantom Supreme and the 4 point a few years ago and compared them in the same review. The were neck and neck...both very neutral. The Elite is better (more resolving) than the Supreme. The new bearing design is more precision and you can feel it between both arms when cueing from the runout groove back to rest. The Elite floats like it's on air. The wiring is also of higher quality in the Elite. I have a Supreme 12" and Elite 10" on the same table.
 

VPN

VIP/Donor
Dec 28, 2013
181
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#8
I don't think many people have the experience to compare more than two of these. Albert Porter owns two SME V-12s, had the Kuzma in his system, had a Supreme, not Elite in his system and has two great friends who each own the Schroder in systems that Albert knows well. You could start by contacting him privately by visiting his website.

Do you have a cartridge in mind? There could be particular combinations which may work better than others.

I'm curious why you don't include a Durand or the Axiom. The latter seems pretty interesting to me.
Hello Peter,

Thanks for you comments.

For cartridge, right now I am leaning towards the Air Tight PC1 Supreme. I have been told it works very well with the SME V-12, and I am trying to find someone who tried it with the Schroder LT and the other two arms, to know if it is a good match.

I did not include the Durand Telos because I am not willing to pay that price. Regarding Axiom, I never heard much about it.

Cheers,

VPN
 

VPN

VIP/Donor
Dec 28, 2013
181
9
18
#9
Fremer reviewed Phantom Supreme and the 4 point a few years ago and compared them in the same review. The were neck and neck...both very neutral. The Elite is better (more resolving) than the Supreme. The new bearing design is more precision and you can feel it between both arms when cueing from the runout groove back to rest. The Elite floats like it's on air. The wiring is also of higher quality in the Elite. I have a Supreme 12" and Elite 10" on the same table.
Hello Christian,

I read the comparisons of the Phantom Supreme with the Kuzma 4 Point. I seems the Kuzma 4 Point is slightly better. I have not seen a direct comparison between the Kuzma 4 Point (or Shroder LT, or SME V-12) and the new Phantom Elite.

Cheers,

VPN
 

VPN

VIP/Donor
Dec 28, 2013
181
9
18
#10
I own the LT and have heard the V-12 extensively, although in friends systems. They are both great arms, I am not sure you can say a best here. System matching will likely yield the "best"
Hello Jfrech,

My impression from reading yours and several threads were you posted (here and at Audiogon) was that you really like the Schroder LT a lot. I was surprised to read now that you think it is difficult to say which one is best, that it depends on system matching.

Would you mind sharing your views of how they compare, for example in terms of bottom end extension, midrange body, detail, dynamics, air, top extension?

Thanks,

VPN
 
Last edited:

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
5,632
496
83
North Shore of Boston
#11
VPN, Another person you might try to contact is Andre Jennings, aka Dre_J. He is a cartridge/tonearm set up guy of the highest caliber. I just sent him my MINT protractor to help him align a PC-1 Supreme on a V-12 and SME 30/12 for someone. He may have extensive experience with some of these arms. If JV has reviewed any of them for TAS, Andre has done the set up. He has also written about set up procedures in TAS. You could do an online search.

I agree with Jfrech, system matching and preference may play the most important role in deciding between these arm/cartridge combinations. They are all top tier arms. IMO, the LT is most interesting because of the novel pivot/tracking mechanism, but I have not heard it. I don't know how much less tracking distortion there is compared to a longer 12" arm, but it is probably audible. On the other hand, other designs may or may not deal with vibrations and energy drainage better. Some people have biases toward uni pivot vs gimbal designs. The Kuzma is also a rather novel design. The SME and Graham are the latest evolutions, and the best iterations, of very successful long term designs.

All of the arms are from well established designers. Other factors to consider are ease and quality of service and reliability. Finally, ease of adjustability may be important. The Kuzma and Graham have nice offset VTA towers for easy SRA adjustments.
 

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
5,632
496
83
North Shore of Boston
#12
Are the current polling results based on what the participants own or on the comparisons they have made between the various arms? Have the three members who have thus far voted, actually heard more than one of the arms in his system or at least compared the arms in another fixed system? If not, I don't see how the results have much meaning.
 

VPN

VIP/Donor
Dec 28, 2013
181
9
18
#13
Peter,

It is not based on what a participant owns, but which one is the best among those he has heard.

If anyone actually heard at least two of these tonearms (in his system or elsewhere) and believes he can fairly compare them, this person should vote for the tonearm he prefers.

Cheers,

VPN
 

jfrech

VIP/Donor
Sep 3, 2012
1,586
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Austin
#14
Are the current polling results based on what the participants own or on the comparisons they have made between the various arms? Have the three members who have thus far voted, actually heard more than one of the arms in his system or at least compared the arms in another fixed system? If not, I don't see how the results have much meaning.
I didn't vote...just pontificated ;)
 

jfrech

VIP/Donor
Sep 3, 2012
1,586
15
38
Austin
#15
VPN, Another person you might try to contact is Andre Jennings, aka Dre_J. He is a cartridge/tonearm set up guy of the highest caliber. I just sent him my MINT protractor to help him align a PC-1 Supreme on a V-12 and SME 30/12 for someone. He may have extensive experience with some of these arms. If JV has reviewed any of them for TAS, Andre has done the set up. He has also written about set up procedures in TAS. You could do an online search.

I agree with Jfrech, system matching and preference may play the most important role in deciding between these arm/cartridge combinations. They are all top tier arms. IMO, the LT is most interesting because of the novel pivot/tracking mechanism, but I have not heard it. I don't know how much less tracking distortion there is compared to a longer 12" arm, but it is probably audible. On the other hand, other designs may or may not deal with vibrations and energy drainage better. Some people have biases toward uni pivot vs gimbal designs. The Kuzma is also a rather novel design. The SME and Graham are the latest evolutions, and the best iterations, of very successful long term designs.

All of the arms are from well established designers. Other factors to consider are ease and quality of service and reliability. Finally, ease of adjustability may be important. The Kuzma and Graham have nice offset VTA towers for easy SRA adjustments.
This is just PURE conjecture. So with that caveat, I suspect the LT is the best at tracing distortion. I sit amazed at the clarity I now get at the beginning and end of recordings...as well as everything in between. Now I suspect the SME arm is much better at vibration control/energy drainage (I still remember my SME IV.Vi). Both of these traights are important ...
 

VPN

VIP/Donor
Dec 28, 2013
181
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#16
This is just PURE conjecture. So with that caveat, I suspect the LT is the best at tracing distortion. I sit amazed at the clarity I now get at the beginning and end of recordings...as well as everything in between. Now I suspect the SME arm is much better at vibration control/energy drainage (I still remember my SME IV.Vi). Both of these traights are important ...
What would be the sonic impact of better vibration control/energy drainade?
 

BruceD

VIP/Donor
Dec 13, 2013
994
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#17
Hello Christian,

I read the comparisons of the Phantom Supreme with the Kuzma 4 Point. I seems the Kuzma 4 Point is slightly better. I have not seen a direct comparison between the Kuzma 4 Point (or Shroder LT, or SME V-12) and the new Phantom Elite.

Cheers,

VPN
I've heard both arms in Hi-End resolving systems--the Kuzma is definitely better in nearly all sonic parameters-- that would be my choice-equal with the superb Schroder-the SME just faltering slightly---

the Graham would bring up the rear

BruceD
 

jfrech

VIP/Donor
Sep 3, 2012
1,586
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Austin
#18
What would be the sonic impact of better vibration control/energy drainade?
Lower distortion...better clarity ...
 

VPN

VIP/Donor
Dec 28, 2013
181
9
18
#19
I've heard both arms in Hi-End resolving systems--the Kuzma is definitely better in nearly all sonic parameters-- that would be my choice-equal with the superb Schroder-the SME just faltering slightly---

the Graham would bring up the rear

BruceD
BruceD,

Thank you! I may be mistaken, but I understood you heard both the Kuzma 4 Point and the Graham Elite and you preferred the Kuzma 4 Point in nearly all sonic parameters. This is useful info.

Did you hear the Schroder LT? If you did, what would be its positives and negatives vs the Kuzma 4 Point?
 

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
5,632
496
83
North Shore of Boston
#20
What would be the sonic impact of better vibration control/energy drainade?
To jfrech's "lower distortion" and "better clarity", I would add "increased transparency", in other words, adding less of its own colorations or character to the sound.
 

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