Kuzma 4Point tonearm Follow-Up
Follow-Up from October 2011 (Vol.34 No.10):
I reviewed Kuzma's 4Point tonearm in September (p.99) and concluded "while I'm hesitant to call anything 'the best'. . . I can definitely say that the Kuzma 4Point produced the best performance from the Lyra Titan i that I've ever heard from it in my system: the best tracking, the best tonal balance, the best imaging, the best (and most remarkable) cleanness of vocal sibilants." However, when I compared the $6500 Kuzma with my long-term reference tonearm, the Continuum Audio Labs Cobra ($16,995), the latter was fitted with the Ortofon A90 cartridge. I preferred the Kuzma/Lyra to the Continuum/Ortofon, but further comparisons were necessary to eliminate the effect of the different cartridges.
Using my BPT-modified Alesis Masterlink hard-disk recorder, I played and recorded some LP test tracks at 24-bit/96kHz, first with the Lyra Titan i cartridge in Kuzma's 4Point tonearm, and then with an Ortofon A90 cartridge in Continuum's Cobra arm. Both arms were mounted on the Continuum Audio Labs Caliburn turntable. Then I swapped the cartridges between the arms, played and recorded the same tracks again, and compared all four versions.
These are both great tonearms with similar tonal balances, but I think the Kuzma 4Point pushed more energy down the pipeline. It sounded closer to the sound of tape than any other arm I've heard. An improved version of Graham Engineering's Phantom is on the way, but for now, the Kuzma 4Point may be the finest tonearm out there, period.Michael Fremer