Which Cartridge next?

This is a question for the TT lovers. I had a Benz Micro Ace SL but as good as it was it didn’t match my system it made an already very warm system warmer.  I need something a little brighter to counteract the warm bass heavyness of my system. 

I have the choice of a Lyra Dorian with 250 hours checked over by Derek Jenkins, a Dynavector 20x2L ex demo with 10 hours, a new AT OC9 III, a new AT AT33ptg II or an AT33EV. 

Budget is about £450 I prefer low hour used. My deck is LP12 ittock arm I have already sold the Benz so need replacement. Any of the above or something else.?

Original Post

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.

Thanks Lyndsay

My head tells to snap up the Dyna I had a 10x5 a year or so ago it it sounded great but my heart wants to try a Lyra. Purchased new a Lyra is way, way above my spending power and even though the Dorian is the budget Lyra and machine rather than hand made using another manufacturer’s stylus it may be my only chance to hear a Lyra in my system. 

Having said that a virtually brand new 20x2 is still a great quality cart. The reason Im considering the AT carts is because they are lively and a bit bright. 

Buying carts is worse than buying speakers in some ways as very few dealerships let you demo carts and like speakers they can sound very different from one set up to another. 

Bob the Builder posted:

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. 

I can offer some insight on the AT33EV. I've had mine for a couple of years and bought it on a bit of a whim. I was hoping that it had some of the traits my AT Art 1 had. Thankfully it had a character somewhere in between the ART 1 and the OC9.

Sound wise I found it very neutral and even handed. On certain music it could sound fabulous. High frequencies were superb. Bass was perhaps a bit light weight but this is a £400 cartridge, so you can't have everything. It was a stickler for tracking weight, it had to be spot on to sound really good. It's taken a Linn Krystal to better it. 

Hmack posted:
Bob the Builder posted:

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.

Richard Dane posted:

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.

Thanks Richard

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.

 

Wiltshireman posted:

I am still running in my new Dynavector 20X2L and am more than impressed with it even from the off it was a revelation. Cant recommend the AT 33AV at all and yes I do know it well as my b in l uses one, tinny about sums it up. 

Hi Wiltsireman 

How long has the run in been?

Had a DV 20X2L for a long while and thought it was liquid perfection.  But honestly, it was the rest of the system too.  That said, I think the DV20X2L is an easy to get along with cartridge for most systems.  I had a $3K USD phono pre-amp at the time and it was a great match.  I have moved on, out of curiosity mostly, I suppose, but the stars aligned in that system and that was the cartridge around which the rest of the system orbited.  I heard other cartridges at that price level and while the 20X2L's dynamics could be improved, I didn't find that my enjoyment did.  I think it might be the pick at $1K USD.  Step up a bit and you can get better trackers and a more startling, visceral presentation, but do you want that?  At this price level, the synergy of the cartridge, phono pre-amp, amplifier, speakers, and room is something you have to really tweak in minute directions to optimize.  Be patient.  I hope you get lucky like I did. 

Thanks Michael and Chris,

Yes when you look at the price rise in cartridges over the past 5 years it in no way reflects inflation I believe the 20x2L was around the £500 on release now £720.  Richard's post above emphasises this as only a few years ago the ATOC9 was about £300 and considered a very good value entry level quality MC cartridge now it is around the £450 mark.  I can remember buying a Denon DL110 when I had my Linn Axis for less than £100 it was considered one of the best vfm MC's around it's now £170.

Unfortunately like new cars cartridges depreciate in value with every record played unlike other hifi kit but get them right and at this level they can have as big or sometimes an even bigger effect on SQ than any other upgrade and so I have my fingers crossed and hope like Michael above that the 20x2L pulls the rest of my system together reproduces a lovely liquid sound.

The Dynavector arrived this afternoon and it was without out doubt the easiest cart I've ever fitted although it will need some fine tuning with regards to vta right off the bat it sounds great. I'm letting it run in by playing background music very low and won't listen seriously until 10 or 20 sides have played through.

5+ years ago the Japanese Yen was on it's backside and Japanese carts were relatively cheap in the UK. All that has now changed as the pound slid markedly post-Brexit announcement and the Yen has climbed back to regular levels. You can see that has had a significant knock on effect on prices of all Japanese carts unfortunately.

Bob the Builder posted:

The Dynavector arrived this afternoon and it was without out doubt the easiest cart I've ever fitted although it will need some fine tuning with regards to vta right off the bat it sounds great. I'm letting it run in by playing background music very low and won't listen seriously until 10 or 20 sides have played through.

Good call Bob I guess you opted for the 20x2 low in the end, I use the 20x2 high MM version and love it, give 20 hours and it will come on big time, enjoy!

PS pic of mine is on last page of system pics.

Yes I’ve seen your photo hifiman looks beautiful. Hopefully I’ll get some serious listening in this week I’m sill playing records in the background to help with burn in so hopefully when I get to listen it’ll be on song. 

Talk Talk Colour of Spring is one of my reference LP’s so I’ll play that and also my nemesis The Who - Quadrophenia. I have a memory of that LP as a child on my parents Sony/Wharfedale system in the 70’s and have yet hear it sound that good again so hopefully the Dynavector will come close. 

Hi Christopher_M 

Unfortunately though Charlie is doing well in U23's and features regularly in PL 2  progression is proving harder than ever but fingers crossed for next season.

As for the cartridge it's sounding very good I had a good listen last night playing, Ocean Colour Scene - Mosely Shoals, Gene Ammons - Nice and Cool and Miles Davis - In a Silent Way.

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