Well I have just bought a demo Dynavector 20x2L less than 10 hours use.
I am sure you'll love the 20x2L.
Some people don't appear to like the Dynavector range, but I reckon they are pretty good value for money (if £730 or thereabouts for a cartridge can ever be labelled as value for money) and I am very happy with mine.
Thanks Hmack, Geko, Wiltshireman, Yeti42 and Robiwan,
Unfortunately I'm not in a posistion to pay £730 for a cartridge I paid £450 for a nearly new ex demo that has less than 10 hours on it. I sold my Benz Micro Ace to part fund the purchase which itself was traded up from a used Dynavector 10x5. I was tempted to buy new for once which is why I was considering the AT carts but then this came along and I couldn't really say no. Really looking forward to receiving it.
P.S I don't know why I feel the need to justify buying this cart but I do so apologies if it annoys anyone.
A cartridge is probably the last thing I would ever recommend buying used unless you know its history well and/or you can have it very carefully checked over by an expert before handing over any money.
Having said that, certainly the Lyra and the A-Ts will give you a more upbeat and somewhat brighter sound than the Benz. Many years back I used to have a Benz L0.4 ( a sort of wooden bodied version of your Ace) and while it had many strengths, it was quite warm overall and not as engaging as others on more upbeat music. The Lyra has many fans and so long as it's in good shape then you should still get some joy from it. However, don't forget the A-T OC-9 MLII either. It's a much nicer cartridge than the original and, while still somewhat bright, it is fast and really gets into rhythms, and is superb on inner grooves and on long cuts. It works particularly well on decks such as the LP12/Ittok. It does need at least 50 hours though to lose a slight frigidity to the sound. After that it's really good and undoubtedly amazing value for money at around £300 new.
I haven't heard the AT33EV but did rather like the AT33PTG, which was excellent value for money. A few years back I bought an AT33PTG MkII as a spare backup but haven't used it so couldn't report how well it works.
You are absolutely right buying used carts isn't usually a good idea but I will only buy a used cart if I know it's history or know it's owner.
You are a bit behind the times Richard a new AT OC9 Mk 3 sells for nearer £450 now. I had an ML 2 last year and you are right it sat well on an LP12/Ittock and sounded really nice in fact I prefer it's sound to the Benz which in my admittedly warm system was a bit like putting on a wooly jumper in 30 degree heat.
I keep hearing great things about the AT33PTG and will try one one day for sure.
Thanks again everyone I will let you know how I get on.