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Moving Coil Cartridge recommendations


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I am currently researching low output moving coil cartridges, ideally with nude/shibata style styli.  I am currently using a Denon 301 Mk II lomc which has about 700 hrs on it, so plenty of life left, thus there is no urgency to replace it

 

My current set-up is Denon 301 - Michell Tecnoarm - Michell Gyrodec - PS Audio GCPH phono. I am happy with my system but for my next cartridge  I really want to upgrade to the nude/shibata style stylus.  

 

My budget is about $1500 and I would appreciate any comments/experiences with the following contenders;

 

Benz Micro Glider Sl ($1390)

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Benz Micro Ace SL ($990)

Benz_Micro_Ace_SL_Cartridge__72943.1555566143.thumb.jpg.4626fc921b28fadff2b5b7762a340b8f.jpg

 

Ortofon Quintet Bronze ($999)

ortofon_quintet_bronze_a1.jpg.ea82b66cc164e35b715a505191e3f5f6.jpg

 

 

 

 

Hana Sl ($995)

Hana-Sl.jpg.d7eea31036601cbf26b970b8dfe295de.jpg

Dynavector 10x5 Mk II MC ($997)

download.jpg.6834e5ac051410c595ee346003cd63df.jpg

 

If you have any other suggestions within budget I would be happy to hear them.

 

Thanks

 

 

 

ortofon 2m black.jpg

Edited by Rocketfrogs
removing pesky MM cartridge.
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Ummm, the Ortofon 2m is MM isn't it?

 

Anyhow, the Dynavector 20x2 is within your budget and a great step up from the 10x5

 

Was going to suggest a Lyra Delos but I see the price has skyrocketed. Maybe a secondhand one?

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https://sonicpurity.com.au/store/cartridges/zyx-r50-bloom

I replaced a Dynavector 20X2L with a Zyx and it was much better in comparison. 

Should be around your budget of $1500, interesting fact is that the more expensive Zyx models offer only modest improvement/ or value for the money. 

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If you want something on the rich and warm side, the Hana SL is my vote. If detail and resolution is your bag, with plenty of air, the Glider is hard to beat. Those two are easily the most popular two I sell as well. 

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I have the Benz glider and love it - it replaced an ortofon kontrapunkt a and it was much more musical with brilliant bass.  It also tracks well and does not seem to emphasize surface noise.  Wholeheartedly recommended at this price point.  

Edited by wadiman
Added Benz model
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I am using a Dynavector 20X2, which replaced a Garrott P77i and I can tell you for certain that the improvement is not subtle. It has just the right balance of detail, air and a smooth texture.

It is similar to the Benz in  many ways but has just an extra dash of substance which tightens bass response.

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3 hours ago, Citroen said:

Ummm, the Ortofon 2m is MM isn't it?

 

Anyhow, the Dynavector 20x2 is within your budget and a great step up from the 10x5

 

Was going to suggest a Lyra Delos but I see the price has skyrocketed. Maybe a secondhand one?

I see some places in Sydney still have the Delos for $2495.  Looks like the new price has jumped to $3200!
 

I have one and quite enjoy it.

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My first venture into MCs was the AT 33EV - I can't fault it in any way. A lot of ATs had a reputation for being a bit bright, not so with this cartridge. Very musical  an excellent tracker  and most importantly seems to kill any surface noise.  I like it so much that I want to buy the ART 9 but the problem is that there have been some faulty units. The 33EV is well within the OPs budget.

 

The 33EV can be bought on Amazon @ USD 469 / from AT in the EU @ £419, from Scot Nagle the ART 9 @ £799 -  both these ATs perform way above their price. With the price drop from the Scottish Co. I am seriously thinking about the ART 9.  I would advise the OP to pop for the 33EV at these prices.

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4 hours ago, Southerly said:

The 33EV can be bought on Amazon @ USD 469 / from AT in the EU @ £419, from Scot Nagle the ART 9 @ £799 -  both these ATs perform way above their price. With the price drop from the Scottish Co. I am seriously thinking about the ART 9.  I would advise the OP to pop for the 33EV at these prices.

 

The AT33 PTG ii is also available as an option  for less than AUD$1k . Another cartridge with many  positive  reviews.  

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8 hours ago, Gryffles said:

I’ve listed a low hours Phasemation PP500 in the classifieds.

Would give all mentioned so far a lickin

Great cartridge, would smash them all ?

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8 hours ago, myskylab said:

Great cartridge, would smash them all ?

Also ASD 3,700 - the OP asked for ideas around ASD 1,500. Also I take it you have heard most if not all cartridges recommended? Plus if it is that good why are you selling it?

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1 hour ago, Southerly said:

Also ASD 3,700 - the OP asked for ideas around ASD 1,500. Also I take it you have heard most if not all cartridges recommended? Plus if it is that good why are you selling it?

@SoutherlyI`m not selling this 1,  but it is for sale in the classifieds for $1800 a few hundred more but to me that is exceptional value read what was said not what you imagined. I have listen to most of the above mentioned cartridges and agree with @evil c the bloom 3 is really good also the art 9 is good. But the phasemation if the arm can take the weight would be fantastic value ??

 

 

Edited by myskylab
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I started my TT journey with a Glider, fantastic cart.  If you could stretch to get @Gryffles PP500, then I would grab that.  Otherwise, the Glider is hard to beat as an all rounder.

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10 hours ago, myskylab said:

@SoutherlyI`m not selling this 1,  but it is for sale in the classifieds for $1800 a few hundred more but to me that is exceptional value read what was said not what you imagined. I have listen to most of the above mentioned cartridges and agree with @evil c the bloom 3 is really good also the art 9 is good. But the phasemation if the arm can take the weight would be fantastic value ??

 

 

 You made a very bombastic comment with no mention that you had heard most of the cartridges offered as possibles to the OP, hence my comment.  Also maybe the OP may think that whilst good the Mitchell deck and arm don't rate such an expensive cartridge. He could buy 4 x the 33EV for the same price. I would  buy the Soundsmith Zephyr MIMC Star in preference to the ART 9 if I could buy in the USA but as always Europe is a rip-off compared to the USA and I demand value for money eg. I bought my 33EV for USD299 when the rate was £1=$1.75 at that time the best price available in Europe was in the UK @ £457. It was bought for me by an American friend who posted it on to me., sadly my friend is no more - so it goes.

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I forgot to add that there is another huge advantage - the Zephyr can like all the Soundsmith cartridges can be rebuilt, the Zephyr for $350 which makes all the Soundsmith cartridges a really good buy  - value for money and an excellent sound.

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I have had the Benz Ace.  Pretty decent.  Solid choice I guess but not earth shattering.  I upgraded to the Benz Wood and I could live with that.  I am slightly conflicted about cartridges.  They are vastly more impact-full than tonearms or phono stages but they wear out and / or break.   

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5 minutes ago, SL1200 said:

I have had the Benz Ace.  Pretty decent.  Solid choice I guess but not earth shattering.  I upgraded to the Benz Wood and I could live with that.  I am slightly conflicted about cartridges.  They are vastly more impact-full than tonearms or phono stages but they wear out and / or break.   

Says the bloke with an Ikeda 9TT ?

 

Sorry couldn’t help it, no offence intended.

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1 minute ago, Gryffles said:

Says the bloke with an Ikeda 9TT ?

 

Sorry couldn’t help it, no offence intended.

Hi Ben, nice to hear from you.  Ikeda was bought second hand, and since then I have munted the tip of my Benz Wood AND the tip of my Charisma cartridge.  I don't know what is wrong with me - just born clumsy I suppose.  I am following the thread with interest as I need a 2nd cart.  Thinking Hana at the moment, also bottom end of zyx have my interest.  But either way my days of spending large on cartridges are OVER.

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4 minutes ago, SL1200 said:

Hi Ben, nice to hear from you.  Ikeda was bought second hand, and since then I have munted the tip of my Benz Wood AND the tip of my Charisma cartridge.  I don't know what is wrong with me - just born clumsy I suppose.  I am following the thread with interest as I need a 2nd cart.  Thinking Hana at the moment, also bottom end of zyx have my interest.  But either way my days of spending large on cartridges are OVER.

Damn, that is a bad run! 

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The best sounding MC I've heard remains the Supex SD900 Super retipped with a shibata. I don't know why though I've generally found the best vintage carts seem to outperform modern in the sub $2,000 price range. They may often lose that last little bit of detail though make up for that in sounding far more natural and real in comparison.

 

Of those you've listed I'd go with the Hana. :)

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Southerly-, yes the Soundsmith cartridges I've heard are very good, my son recently bought a Rega 6 with a Carmen 2 on it, very impressive and it will probably be the next cartridge I purchase (I have an Ortofon Quintet Black and MC30 Supreme ATM)                                                                                                                                                                                                    MattyW - Yes I had a Supex SD900 Super with a Garrott Line Contact tip, was a great cartridge, was very sad the day one of my kids broke the cantilever, I've still got it somewhere.                                                                                                                 

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4 hours ago, Rhythm Willie said:

Southerly-, yes the Soundsmith cartridges I've heard are very good, my son recently bought a Rega 6 with a Carmen 2 on it, very impressive and it will probably be the next cartridge I purchase (I have an Ortofon Quintet Black and MC30 Supreme ATM)                                                                                                                                                                                                    MattyW - Yes I had a Supex SD900 Super with a Garrott Line Contact tip, was a great cartridge, was very sad the day one of my kids broke the cantilever, I've still got it somewhere.                                                                                                                 

Very worthwhile getting this retipped. These days I use Joseph Long in the US. Hre goes my cartridge_retipping-5 on eBay. Maybe one of tlhis diamond hardened tapered hollow cantilevers and FG II. ;)

Edited by MattyW
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Hi Rocketfrogs

I have lived with a Gyro for a while now. My vote would be Benz Micro.

But no matter what cart you end up choosing make sure it matches well with your tonearm mass.

The PS Audio GCPH has all the gain and loading settings you'll need.

 

Here are some other upgrades you might consider before a cartridge change on the Gyro. Or upgrades after a new cart to further your hifi journey.

 

- get the best alignment you can - bar none the no.1 thing to get right for the best sound no matter what arm, cart, phono cable, or phono amp. So invest in a good protractor. Best Tractor (aka Mint tractor) is the best I've used so far. Better than the Dr Feikert. 100% worth the money and your time. If you get one make sure you get the 10x Peak Loupe magnifier as well. Other things I would suggest would be a digital stylus force gauge, test record for setup, and a Fozgometer. Yip is great to deal with and very helpful if you need support.

 

- HR Power supply - seems expensive but after you have this upgrade its a no brainer and a must upgrade for the Gyro. The motor runs smoother and the sound improves by a big margin. Cheaper to buy in England. One of the top if not the top upgrade to get. You won't get the best out of your cart until you've done this upgrade. I would recommend Analogseduction for the HR Power. Gary at AS is always nice to deal with.

 

- upgraded tonearm. An SME IV or V is probably a logical end goal for the Gyro turntable. I use to use an Origin Live Zephry arm. Upgraded to a Morech DP6. Big improvements in overall sound. Better tracking, stronger bass, greater sound stage, quieter background, etc. Also makes correct alignment easier. Cameron from Krispy Audio is your man to talk to if you are interested in the Morech - he does Benz and Hana as well. Analogseduction in England for Armplates.

 

- get rid of those 3 stock suspension towers. They don't do you any favors - they muddy up and blur the sound . Upgrade to something like SolidAir Audio Pylons. Similar to a SME turntable configuration. The sound improves a lot - especially in complex passages on a vinyl recording - way more detail comes out. Miles Kilby is a real gentleman - and provides good support.

 

- upgraded tonearm cable - good gains to be had if upgrading to the right cable. After a few upgrades I found a cable that had better materials in the ground cable - gave me a quieter background. Also more detail from the cable change.

 

I think these are the 5 top changes in my experience with the Gyro.

 

Good luck with your cart upgrade.

 

 

 

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10 hours ago, haygeebaby said:

Here are some other upgrades you might consider before a cartridge change on the Gyro. Or upgrades after a new cart to further your hifi journey.

Thanks for the info!  Lots to think about.

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On 19/04/2020 at 9:22 AM, myskylab said:

@SoutherlyI`m not selling this 1,  but it is for sale in the classifieds for $1800 a few hundred more but to me that is exceptional value read what was said not what you imagined. I have listen to most of the above mentioned cartridges and agree with @evil c the bloom 3 is really good also the art 9 is good. But the phasemation if the arm can take the weight would be fantastic value ??

 

 

You guys were right, very happy camper !?

 

On 19/04/2020 at 10:22 AM, scuzzii said:

I started my TT journey with a Glider, fantastic cart.  If you could stretch to get @Gryffles PP500, then I would grab that.  Otherwise, the Glider is hard to beat as an all rounder.

 

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1 hour ago, jg@speedofsound said:

Having had the same TT for nigh on 10 years, I'm a +1 for the Benz ACE SL. Purchased from Cameron @Krispy Audio just over 3 years ago - nearly time for another one! I've also run a Grado's with much success but you're talking MC!

Good luck!

 

The Grado 'Statement' series has 0.5mV output - so MC level.

 

Andy

 

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2 hours ago, andyr said:

 

The Grado 'Statement' series has 0.5mV output - so MC level.

 

Andy

 

Not really. There are various outputs. But yes Andy, the Statement series only is .5mv  only @ 5 CMV.

Edited by Wimbo
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Theoretically with the lower moving mass the low output moving iron carts should be superior to moving coils. I won't know for sure until I get Andy's Aksa Paris head amp. They don't work well with step up transformers.

 

I've a Grado Statement Master 1 and a few other Stanton/Pickering low output moving iron carts to try. :)

Edited by MattyW
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  • 4 weeks later...

Went with the Benz Micro Glider SL.  I must say the installation/alignment was the most stressful 1.5 hrs of my life.  No stylus guard on the bloody thing it but my shaky fat fingers got there eventually. 

 

P1070807.JPG.2846860ce38cb0aa1ecac5953c4f0e10.JPG 

 

 

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