Tonearms for reference 78 RPM system Technics SP-10R

Seeking some feedback from all of you audio experts on a quandry I'm finding myself in as I build a new reference-level system. I specialize in transfer and restoration of 78 RPM records from the 1920s. While they don't exactly have the frequency range of modern LPs, I'm sure they still benefit from a good system. Assume the rest of my setup is as optimal as it can be with respect to components.

78s require numerous cartridges with swappable stylii in a range from 1.5 to 4 mil. I have a few different carts: Shure M44, Shure M75, Shure V15 mk Vx. They need a medium mass arm and usually track between 2.5 and 4 grams, usually around 3. The stylii are medium to low compliance.

I prefer using a 12" arm or something that mounts far enough away to be able to play 16" records. I also need to be able to adjust the arm height, ideally being able to raise the arm above the spindle to recenter records that are pressed off-center.

I've been debating for the last week what to do about a tonearm. I hate to have to upgrade again someday, but I don't exactly have 10 grand lying around to drop on the best. I could probably do it if I sell of a lot of things and live like a pauper, relatively speaking, for a while. I'm considering the following:

SME 3012-R: Relatively easy to find, medium price ~$2k, would fit on my plinth's armboard without re-drilling holes.
SME 312S: Will need to wait months for one to turn up on the used market or pay a crazy price
Kuzma 4Point 14": Seems like the correct answer, but obscenely expensive at <$10k. 
Kuzma Ref 313: Seems like a nice second-place option
Other Kuzma arms with VTA towers: Mount too closely to play 16" records :'(
Jelco TK750L/850/950: The 750 seems OK but just decent. 850 and 950 pretty hard to find.
TruGlider: Seems somewhat promising, but not sure I'm quite sold.

Seeking opinions on what's the most cost-effective arm solution buck-for-buck for my needs. I've seen others, too, but they haven't made the list. The Kuzmas look great, and I'll have to suck it up when it comes to swapping headshells. A lot of nice arms don't have removable headshells, which is a dealbreaker. The Kuzma you can at least swap them out but need to unplug and replug leads. Thanks!
I belive the Miyajima cartridge for 78 rpm is a must if you want some magic. And Fidelity-Research FR-64s or Lustre GST-801 tonearm.

If you want to continue with MM cartridges with styli for 78rpm the best tonearm for them in my opinion is Technics EPA-100 or EPA-100 mk2.

Off-centered record can be centered only by moving a record itself on the platter, you can’t fix this problem with tonearm, you can only move your record (expand its spindle hole if necessary) until your arm does not move left and right in the groove while playing.

It’s easier to fix it on 45rpm singles, because the hole is bigh enough to move the record 3-5mm off (without adapter).  
Thanks! Some more things to think about. I've heard about that Miyajima product. I'm sure it's good at what it's intended to do and has great build quality, but the main practical problem as an archivist is that it only works well if the groove width is exactly 3 mil. If not, you're better off using a cheaper cartridge with a custom stylus that's 2.5 or 3.5 or 4. The best 78 stylii are truncated, too, to eliminate the pickup of noise in the bottom of the groove. A further consideration regarding mono cartridges in general is that surface noise is best removed in stereo before summing to mono, and archival transfers always need to be done in stereo. For casual listening, my preamp Timestep T-03EQ A+ sums to mono.

I hadn't heard about the Fidelity Research, Lustre or Technics arms, and I'll have to give them serious thought. 

Right now, the SME 3012-R seems like a good mixture of flexibility, price, availability in good condition, and performance. But how much better would performace would I be if I stick my neck out and drop $5k-10k on a Kuzma?  It's generally difficult to decide, largely because everyone hears differently and it's hard to figure out the marginal returns of a $2,000 arm vs. a $5,000 arm or even a $10,000 arm.

The FR-64s seems good but a bit quirky and demanding of a certain setup, being heavy. It seems like it has its own sound and isn't the most neutral. 

The Technics EPA-100s sound great overall, but possibly lacking in bass. I saw one reviewer rank it above the SME V, which is a high compliment. Overall, I'm still far from decided...
Miyajima available with different size of the styli for different 78rpm records. It is a true mono cartridge. You need heavy tonearm for this cartridge this is why FR and Lustre are recommended.

The FR-64s seems good but a bit quirky and demanding of a certain setup, being heavy. It seems like it has its own sound and isn’t the most neutral.

I have 64s with b60, 64fx with N60, 66fx with Ikeda VTA, Lustre GST-801 and all those Technics tonearms. They are all amazing tonearms.

but tonearm must be matched to your cartridge and mono are low compliance cartridges, you need heavy tonearm, the FR is one of the heaviest tonearms.

Regarding modern tonearm I can recommend Reed 3p "12 inch for your SP-10R drive. Or you can buy Thomas Schick "12 inch tonearm for much less money, it was designed for low compliance carts and nice for the money.

Kuzma tonearms are so ugly in my opinion.

The Technics EPA-100s sound great overall, but possibly lacking in bass. I saw one reviewer rank it above the SME V, which is a high compliment. Overall, I’m still far from decided...

You have SP-10R turntable, why do you think Technics reference tonearm like EPA-100 mkII that cost nearly $3k "lacking in bass"? In my opinion this is the best tonearm you can get for your MM carts. For less money you can find NOS EPA-100 (not mk2).

I have to say the arm that comes with the mew Technics tables is no slouch just because it is Technics.  Its very good.
I wholeheartedly recommend the Acos Lustre GST 801.

It is terrific and has two features you would specifically benefit from:

1. VTA on the Fly (while playing). The most elegant method, loosen a lever, move left or right for up or down, smooth movement while listening, wonderful engineering and precision.

2. removable headshell, so you can have several cartridges mounted, ready to go. You could use various size brass mounting screws

 and headshell weights

to get them of equal weight (if same tracking force range) so only cartridge body height would be the issue, thus #1 to the rescue!

I asked about the arm here, make sure you get the full kit and that it is properly working
I have to say the arm that comes with the mew Technics tables is no slouch just because it is Technics. Its very good.

I think the OP has only DRIVE (SP-10R) without new Technics tonearm.

Personally I wouldn’t mount ’9inch tonearms near this drive, only ’10.5 or ’12 inch.

*My best recommendations: Reed 3P ’12 inch or FR-66fx

Yes, the RME ADI-2 Pro FS-R AD/DA.

I think the Fidelity-Research FR-64s and Technics EPA-100 mk2 are good recommendations and would work well, but I'm somewhat fixated on the SME 3012-R. There's even a pro version with silver wire that can be had. I haven't seen much bad written about them at all, only that certain very expensive arms may sound marginally better. 

Would the FR-64 and EPA-100 be better than a SME 3012-R with MM cartridges?
I think you answered your own question. The SME 3012 is more than enough arm for the job. 

I'm just getting into 78's myself as a patient unloaded his father's collection on me. 100's of 10 " two song records ( the antique version of a 45) and maybe 50 12" records in sets. I have a turntable coming that does 78 rpm. Can't wait to get started. You can tell which records the old man really liked as their center holes are all chewed up from the changer mechanism. 
It’s a matter of personal taste, I don’t like SME tonearms, but it’s just me.

I really like Technics EPA-100 and EPA-100 mk2 tonearms with MM cartridges.

I like Lustre GST-801 and all my FR tonearms with low compliance MC cartridges.

And Reed 3p is fantastic arm, but the most expensive ~ €5000 retail price for “12inch version with best wires.
Small point: Aren't the Technics EPA tonearms and the FR64S or fx and the Lustre all a bit too short for the OP's needs, like to play 16" records?
Small point: Aren't the Technics EPA tonearms and the FR64S or fx and the Lustre all a bit too short for the OP's needs, like to play 16" records?

Well Chakster is always stretching reality.
He probably thinks 10 inches is as long as 12 in his world.

Really Chakster is on the forum to promote his business selling second hand audio gear, thats why he pushes products that dont match the OP's requirements.
What I don’t get is why Chak thinks that something about what I wrote is funny enough to have him laughing out loud. Otherwise, no comment.
Dover you need some pi**s, really. I don’t sell any of the arms I have mentioned, but that’s what I use myself. I’m on the forum to read about affordable and great vintage hi-fi gear, but most of the contributors lost their interest to post about it (even Nandric lost his interest to post on audiogon).

I’m not interested to read about belt drive toys or some overpriced modern high-end at all, all the information about modern high-end available from professional reviews. If you can post something interesting about analog gear I have mentioned plz post, but you are nothing but a retired dealer (and you said it yourself many times). So ? 
I will “promote” great analog gear as long as I wish too, hope it will help people (audio enthusiasts) to find an alternative to stuff heavily promoted by the industry today. 

If you don’t own SP-10R you probably forgot that 30 years ago when you briefly tried SP-10 mk2 or mk3 it was hard to mount any ‘9 inch tonearm near the metal chassis of this drive without moving the arm too much forward. Steve Dobbins (plinth maker and dealer) told me the same, he was a dealer of Reed in USA for some time. I post the images of my SP10mk2 with many tonearms, I’m wondering how many tonearms did you try on SP-10mk2 or mk3 and when? Any owner of SP-10R (or older models) will tell you why Technics EPA-100 is ‘10.5 inch, a ‘12 inch arm is even better for this square chassis. I’ve been using SP-10 mk2 with many tonearms! A short arm is aesthetically the worst choice for SP-10R even if technically long arm may be not better than short arm, the problem is the size of the Technics chassis , not the size of tonearm.

Regarding SME of any king I already posted my opinion, really not my kind of tonearms (no matter what model).

Interesting that Miyajima designer recommended vintage SAEC tonearms for his cartridges! SAEC was Japanese answer to British SME.

Lewis, all my 78rpm are 10 inch.

I am involved in a similar project.  Personally, I would look at something like a 12" Jelco and spend the money on better cartridges and associated gear (like a SweetVinyl SC2 to remove the sound of clicks and pops.)   

I would rethink your choice of cartridges.  Could a Shure with a 3.5 mil tip really sound better than a Miyajima Zero with a 3 mil even if not exactly the right size?  In any case, even my Stanton 500 II sounded better than the cheaper Shure with 78s and there are all kinds of different size stylus available for that.
There are lots of ways to transfer 78s effectively.  I would confer with as many people as possible (if you haven't already) before you make expensive commitments.     

But the OP indicated he wants to be able to accommodate 16” records. I am well aware of the lengths of the tonearms you suggested and of the restrictions presented by the SP10R, but those are lesser issues if you want to play 16” records. For that he needs a 12” tonearm, minimum.
In addition to the prior good suggestions the Groovemaster tonearm would also be great... Higher mass vis a vis the 3012R a real champ with SPU etc.
I missed the need for 16" disc, thus a long arm, the Acos is wonderful but 9".

a removable head shell seems mandatory to me, and VTA on the FLY. what long arm does that well? the 12" SME has a removable headshell, but VTA on the FLY?

Perhaps one table with 9" arm for up to 12" discs, and this TT only for long arm, fixed cartridge body, changable styli.

Many 12" arms are not that long, verify the specs. My Russian blackbird is 12.5" effective length (39% more than a 9"), I love it, for you: a cartridge body with interchangeable styli. you cannot change the cartridge easily, the cartridge pins and very fine litz tonearm wires would take a beating

Hi mke,

It seems the first thing here is to put the horse before the cart (so to speak).

I understand why you may want a collection of stylus sizes to fit various 78 records.  So the question is: will you do that with multiple cartridges or with one cartridge body which accepts a range of styli to be fitted?

That answer can guide you in selecting an arm.  With the former you will certainly want one with interchangeable headshells, with the latter it could be fixed or interchangeable.

Then you mention arm mass.  I thought the Shure V-15 series worked best with low mass arms?  Check me on that.  Anyway, having one cartridge body with multiple styli would make mass matching easier.

Also accommodating 16" records, will a 10" arm allow proper alignment or is a longer arm needed?  That should help narrow the search.

Lastly, are you familiar with the resources at this site -

Not only do they offer a range of 78 styli, they also have reasonably priced EQ units.  Given the variety of different EQs utilized with 78s (essentially all prior to adoption of the RIAA) that will be critical if your ADC does not provide that function.

Good luck with your project.  My own needs for 78 playback were far simpler.
I gave up, I know nothing about 16 inch 78rpm record, I don't have any of them. They are bugger than Technics SP-10R platter! 

If you need 12" arm and removeable headshell there are not a lot of options, but here are some

Jelco 12" - out of production but might still be around
Ortofon AS309 & RS409 - around but since made by Jelco may run out.
Ikeda 407 

SME 3012R - advantage of old SMEs are spares availability
Audiocraft AC400/AC4000 - very reasonable price if you can find one in good condition - plenty around. The S shaped armwand has SME bayonet

Refurbished EMT997 would also be an option.

I have several 78 cartridges.  They tend to be very heavy.  I use Miyajima Infinity with the Fidelity Research FR-64s.  I also have EMT OFD 65 (37 grams) and Ortofon CG 65 (35 grams).  I wonder if such cartridges would be too heavy for the Lustre-801 or Technics EPA-100.  The Miyajima is 14.8 grams and my Ortofon LH-9000  headshell is 16.8 grams.  Obviously, there are other cartridges options...but I think the models I mentioned are common choices for folks who are seriously into 78s.  I could be wrong...maybe those tonearms have heavy counterweights available.  I'm curious about those Lustre-801 and Technics tonearms as well.
Definitely too heavy for EPA tonearm, but Technics made additional ring weight for superheavy cartridges.

I think the limit normally SPU weight (30 - 32g) for Lustre, but only with ring weight and heavy counterweight (if you can find a NOS sample then there must be two different counterweights and additional ring weight).

Another great tonearm is Victor UA-7082 with subweight for SPU carts. 
but Technics made additional ring weight for superheavy cartridges.

Sure, it's called the Technics Sh-100G1
I have been Demonstrated the SP10R > 12" Glanz > Miyajima MC in a friends Home System very recently.
The Demonstration was to present the TT Set Up to myself now the Post COVID Lockdown Freedom is allowing Meeting in a Home.

Additionally the TT Set Up was used with a Selection of Phonostages that the owner is expressing an interest in acquiring.
The Phonostages were used with ’In Built’ MC Stage and Separate Ancillaries.

The Different Permutations within the Vinyl Replay Chain, was quite capable of producing Variations within each of the Performances produced by each Permutation being produced.

There were 33 and 45 RPM Albums used.
Even though there were a couple of Stand Out Moments when the Ancillary Devices was being swapped around,
especially where certain Tracks were being replayed.
The TT > Tonearm > Cartridge, as an assessment of the long overdue audition of the TT Set Up.
I will say without hesitation,  it performed with a extremely impressive presentation from the off set.
In my mind the Miyajima had shown itself as a great performer and was an exceptional MC in this system.
I ended up going with a Fidelity Research FR-66S. Will be a few months before I'm able to assemble everything, but I think I'm in good shape for tracking at 3-5 grams with low compliance cantilevers. I may have the arm serviced and rewired down the road.  With 78s, it's mostly about the stylii, anyway, I will also be ordering another full complement of truncated stylii for my Shure V15Vx. Thanks for all the input. I ended up going in a different direction than I initially envisioned. I know there are a few detractors of the FR arms (e.g. the talk about vibrations and dampening), but I think the overwhelmingly positive reviews I've read speak for themselves. I may end up picking up an Ortofon cartridge down the road if I decide to dabble in LPs. My preamp allows for cartridge voltage selection, so I don't think I'd need one of those fancy transformers...
So you bought the most expensive tonearm :) I’m sure you will be fine with any low compliance cartridge on your 66s, I have 66fx. 

Wondering if you could please clarify, how do you know what stylus and tonearm to use in different situations with 78’s? Do the thickness and mass of the thick records vary?

Still loving my Fidelity Research FR-66S, but my alternative setup with a Dynavector DV-505 is also producing great results. 78s often have high-speed warps, and the Dynavector seems to track them very smoothly, picking up a lot less distortion than the conventional arm. I've been too busy to run fully-controlled experiments, but it's pretty easy to connect the dots in this case.

I responded regarding stylii in the other thread. Record thickness does vary, so it's good to have an arm with adjustable VTA.