Graham Model 2.0 tonearm Manufacturers' Comment
Editor: When I first designed the new bearing cap for the 2.0 tonearm, the improvements were so positive in our testing that I knew it warranted a new model number. I chose the designation "2.2," and at the time thought that would be it. But as we got into the next production run, I took another look at the bearing cap and decided I could expand on the results by building on the principles that the upgrade kit had already demonstrated; ie, the pivoting assembly area. And so, I made slight changes to the design and materials of the coupling block that joins the main pivot housing to the removable armwand, and strengthened the main support post; ie, the "other half" of the bearing assembly. Sure enough, these two changes made the arm sound even better, so they were included in the new production units bearing the designation "2.2."
The mounting base plate, although more visible, was less important than these other two details. Michael is exactly correct when he states that the strength of the support system is important, and we had already addressed this when we went from the earlier SME-compatible mounting-base style to our own Custom Mount pattern. This concept was further expanded on with the two changes already mentioned, and it is these additions that are primarily responsible for what Michael heard as further improvements over the 2.0/2.2 upgrade kits, rather than the mounting base. The gripping-surface dimensions are identical in the earlier two-piece mounting plate (introduced with the 2.0 arms) and the newer, one-piece version. The primary reason for going to the one-piece design was, frankly, for machining simplicity.
As we have used up our existing stock of the two-piece mounting plates, we have begun to phase in the one-piece version; however, either mounting base will provide the same degree of rigidity to the turntable plinth. Unfortunately, due to our overlapping schedules, Michael (the Frequent Flyer himself) and I didn't have a chance to communicate in detail about the specifics of the production unit prior to his writing his comments, and the mounting plate, being the most visible change to his previous sample, was understandably singled out as the reason for the improvements. So this explanation is just to put the technical matters into proper perspective.
There was also a time when I toyed around with the idea of calling these additional changes by a new model number, perhaps "2.3." However, I quickly decided that that was the way to total confusion all around, and instead merely kept the 2.2 designation for the production units, even though they had been slightly improved over the 2.0/2.2 upgrades. While it may amount to a "new" arm in that the production 2.2 units are further improved beyond the upgrade versions, rest assured: there is no Model 2.3 at this time.
We also agree with Michael that the bearing upgrade kits are where the majority of the improvements are to be found, and so don't suggest that customers of 2.0/2.2 arms do anything further. For those who must be current, it is possible to upgrade the internal parts; however, this requires complete disassembly of the tonearm and must be done at the factory. In that case, and even though we don't think it's necessary for most, any further factory upgrades will require making an appointment through your dealer for scheduling the work.
We are, of course, extremely pleased that Michael appreciates the improvements in our designs, and that he uses the 2.2 arm as part of his reference system. What the future designs will be, at this point, is unclear; however, we will always pursue new materials and designs in an effort to keep our products at the very pinnacle of analog performance.—Bob Graham, Graham Engineering