Anyone have experience with the Graham Phantom MkII...

Looking at this as an upgrade over my Origin Live Conqueror MkIII…

All the reviews I have found for it all seem very positive.
The Gear... Carver "Statement" Mono-blocks, TriangleArt Reference SE with PS Audio NuWave Phono converter, Walker Precision Motor Drive, ClearAudio Stradivari v2 cartridge and Origin Conquerer Mk3c tonearm, Polk Audio "Signature" Reference Series 1.2TL with complete mods, Pass Labs X1 two channel preamplifier Signed by Poppa himself, PS Audio PerfectWave DAC MkII, Krell Evolution 525a CD Player, Pioneer Elite SC-65, Oppo UDP-205 Blu-ray , Sony XBR70x850B 4k, Polk audio AB700/800 "in-wall" surrounds


  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,193
    edited June 4
    John, I will give you the good, the bad, and the ugly regarding my experiences with the Graham Phantom II.

    The Good
    My Phantom II...this should last a lifetime since I don't play records anymore...and assuming some unfortunate accident does not occur.

    I absolutely love my Phantom II tonearm. Graham Engineering richly deserves every accolade and class A rating they have received from the owners and the audio press. The Phantom II is my third Graham tonearm. I first had the 2.2, then the Phantom, then the Phantom II.

    I wanted to send my Phantom II back to have it upgraded to the Phantom II Supreme. This is where the ugly began. But first the bad.

    The Bad

    Be aware that when you buy a Graham product, you are essentially dealing with a one-man operation. Accordingly, customer service, and service after the scant to none existent. Heaven help you if you need a repair or upgrade and you aren't a well known audio magazine reviewer.

    Mr. Bob Graham is a very nice man and he does his best to answer inquiries and keep up with orders, but since this is a one man operation, things fall through the cracks. Your phone calls may or may not be answered or returned. Your emails may or may not be answered. The Graham website is in a constant state of outdatedness. This is what it looks like now: just a single page with a couple pictures of two tonearms and the advisement that "a new website is being developed".

    If nothing ever happens and you don't need to interact with the Graham Company for information, service, or repair, then I think you will have a richly rewarding analog playback experience.

    The Ugly

    Graham offered an upgrade path from the Phantom II to the Phantom II Supreme for $1500. I signed up in October 2011. As usual, there was a long waiting list, but I didn't mind a reasonable wait of several months. Like I said, Graham is essentially a one-man operation.

    I became aware of the upgrade program via a review I read. I emailed Graham Engineering and Mr. Graham promptly replied and referred me to their U.S. agent, Musical Surroundings, to arrange the upgrade. When I contacted Musical surroundings, I was told that the turnaround time to complete the upgrade was 2 weeks, once they got down to my position on the waiting list.

    I kept getting the runaround from Musical Surroundings until November of 2013, when I was told by them that the Phantom II Supreme was discontinued and Graham had moved to the Phantom Elite model. When I contacted Graham Engineering in December of 2013, Bob Graham said the Phantom II Supreme had not been discontinued. When I mentioned the difficulties I had experienced over two years trying to get my Phantom II upgraded (along with emails between me and Musical Surroundings), I received no response. That was my last communication with Graham Engineering.

    After this episode, I contemplated selling my Phantom II and buying a tonearm from a company with better customer service resources, but I really couldn't find anything that met my performance, price, and features criteria.

    Good luck.
    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
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