When I picked up the VPI Classic 4 more than six years ago, the plan was to install an additional tonearm (the Classic 4 has spots for two armboards). I just never thought it would take me this long. I actually had several arms on hand, a JMW 12" 3D and a metal JMW 10.5, but I never got around to doing so. I hated the sound of the 3D arm, so I got rid of it. The 10.5 was of interest because it had an oil cup for dampening fluid so I could running lower compliance carts; but the fact was, it was more or less the same design as the metal JMW 12" arm. (I was very familiar with the 10.5 as I owned a Classic 1 before the 4). I thought about Tri-Planar and almost pulled the trigger several times when I saw good deals, but I wasn't sure this was the direction (sonically) where I wanted to go. The Kuzma 4Point was intriguing, sort of like a unipivot on two axes; but ultimately I kind of felt what's the point? I'd just be chasing that few percent and I would probably double or quadruple what I spent on the Ortofon Cadenza Bronze MC to take better advantage of it. If there's anything I've learned over the years, it's that moar detail, moar faster transients, that just leads to disappointment. Well, there's no problem to this. Except for me, I wanted to pay off my mortgage before I reached a certain age. Priorities ya know. I get don't get free expensive shit like the guys at Stereophile or Analog Planet. In hindsight, the reason I never added a second arm was because I was happy with Classic 4 and the JMV 12" metal arm. I know the high-rollers will scoff at this. Surely the VPI isn't True High-End™! Except that I've heard this arm on another VPI table (from the golden age of VPI) hold it's own against two other very expensive set ups, each of them four to six times the cost! This in the same listening room with the same records! This is just like DACs, spending more doesn't necessarily mean better, but rather different. Sure there is better by 1-2%, but mostly it's different. I will acknowledge that the VPI stuff doesn't exactly look like audio jewelry and that their approach is more brute force rather than elegance, so perhaps VPI isn't True-End™ in this respect. FWIW, it doesn't matter anyway today. The best tables from VPI (outside of the all-out magnetic platter stuff) where the TNT-6 Hotrod and the Classic 3/4. The best arms were the metal 12" JMV unipivots. These are no are no longer available. I ended up with the Ikeda tonearm because all I wanted was to play with different carts with greater ease. So I went shopping for used metal JMV-12 arms. Except there are none available. I missed a few chances to scoop up used 12" metal arms back in the day and ended up kicking myself for not doing so. I'm sure many fellow VPI TT owners realized how good these arms were and bought them all up. Meanwhile, VPI who sells the 12" arm in the printed 3D form, has jacked them up to $2500. No wonder high-end audio is dying. The Ikeda IT-345 CR1 recommendation came from a friend. I think it was an easy recommendation for him to make as he sort of read my mine. He had heard my main TT setup from six years ago and he also knew that I didn't change things much. The 2M Black to the Cadenza Bronze MC (stayed with Ortofon because I was able to get deals back then), one EC 45 protocol SET amp to another (this time where I got to pick both the interstage and output transformers), and one Fostex BLH to a Frugel-Horn (with FE168NS instead of FE168EZ). The changes were slow and deliberate, incremental improvements, tweaks to shift things here or there, but the essence of the system remained the same. Also, the Classic 4 is the Classic 4. With a neutral cart, it's very neutral, almost dry sounding table. My goal was to put together a neutral and detailed sounding system where I could come back again and again, putting another record on well into the night until I could no longer keep my eyes open. Now I wanted something different, something with a little more character, but one that still sounded "correct". For digital guys, think NOS DACs, that tone, but without the NOS soundstage (because that's just all sorts of fucked up). But this is really very much oversimplifying it. I wanted different, not as replacement because I was tired of what I already had, not as side-grade, but as something complementary to exist at the same time. This is where the Ikeda IT-345 comes in. Of course! Low compliance carts. The classic carts like the SPU (where there is now a modern take with the elliptical needle), the DL-103 which is dirt cheap, and if I wanted to go mono, the Miyajima. There also seemed to be quite a good selection of under-the-radar low-compliance carts in Japan where the price hasn't gone through the roof. I decided I was going to get this arm and use it with my DL-103 and enjoy it for long as I can while I put on the roadmap an eventual SPU purchase. There's no need to rush. High-end audio is journey for me where it's best to really appreciate what one has on-hand, to maximize that pleasure, before moving on. Besides, I can't find an SPU for a good deal right now. Needle Doctor is dead. Soundstage Direct is long dead. SPU carts seem to be special order items. I wished companies like Ortofon would say just FU to the dealer model and sell direct.