Another cartridge suggestion thread

Hi All,
I am in the market for a new cartridge and need a few suggestions to look into. I am looking for a warm low noise cart. Currently I am using an Ortofon Winfeld which I'm not totally unhappy with, but it is a little noisy and have some distortion issues. Also I want to try something a bit warmer.

Have been reading threads on the Dynavector XV-1s and the Koetsu RSP. They both sound promising. I am open for any suggestions. It is a major purchase, so I'm doing as much research as I can.

My current set up:
Brinkman Bardo
Graham supreme II
VAC Ren. mk III / with phono
Wilson Sofia's
All Transparent cable

Music preference: Jazz, blues and female voice.

Thanks in advance for any advice.

Ag insider logo xs@2xmwilliams
I own a XV-1s and I highly recommend it and I know that it works well with your Graham arm. Tracks well, low noise, and very dynamic. I would not classify it as warm though.
I don't know that the XV-1s would be much warmer than the Ortofon, more powerful probably, but not much warmer, if at all. The Koetsu will definitely be warmer, but maybe too warm.

I'll recommend the Transfiguration Proteus, nice, natural cartridge.

Love the VAC gear by the way!! I wish I could play in that league, but I'm quite happy with my Sigma 160i integrated amp.

I only mentioned the XV-1s because of its low noise capabilities.

My listening consist mainly jazz female voice so im looking for something with good midrange. That's why I was looking at the koetsu's.

Thanks, I will look into the Proteus. The Koetsu's seem to be a little over priced.

I came real close to buying the 160i. It just happened that I found a good deal on both units that I could not pass up. Very happy with my Vac equipment.

I have Wilson Sophias, Transparent cables, and VPI Scoutmaster with Herron VTPH 2 phono stage. I use a Soundsmith Paua, which is great all around, and especially with the midrange. Great balance, resolution; very low noise floor. I love it. Also, I am using HiDiamond phono cables.
Brinkmann Audio EMT-Ti

Call Steve Klein at Sounds of Silence. He has a demo for sale. No affiliation, but I have dealt with Steve, and he is a great guy, with superb customer service.
Matt, there is a lot to be said about being in the right place at the right time. Congrats again on your VAC scoop.

The XV-1s is a great cartridge, and it will have a bit more body than the Ortofon or Lyra cartridges. That said, the Transfigurations have a nice, natural sounding midrange that I think you'll enjoy. They are not as dynamic as the Dynavectors, but then again, few cartridges are. However, if it's a natural midrange that you seek, I think you will be very happy with the Proteus.

Transfiguration Proteus is wonderful has great musicality ,wonderful stage etc i am using it in a TW 10.5 arm.
Music preference: Jazz, blues and female voice

I would recommend Zyx cartridges. They are all good from soundstage, overall voicing and rhythm. A great match for Graham Arms, too.
You see, this is why I suggested that the admin add a permanent thread so we can ask for these suggestions. Ain't that a good idea? To whom should it be directed?

I have a square motored Well Tempered Classic table; EAR 834P phono (Singerman modded); and a Shelter 501 MkII cartridge.
I'd like to upgrade the cartridge, any suggestions on a compatible fit? (In the $2K area, however).

Upgrade cartridge or new phono stage?
"but it is a little noisy and have some distortion issues"

Have you checked your setup ?

I currently run a XV-1s and Highly recommend it, lots of body and great dynamics.

Another option I'd encourage you to check out is the new Lyra Etna, installed one at a customers table a while back, great sounding too.

Good Listening

I had a Winfeld MC with my prior speakers (still running the same Rogue Apollo tube amps), which didn't wholly gel with that cart -- it resulted in a lean/analytical midrange and a somewhat searing top end. The detail retrieval and bass quality were phenomenal, though. I moved on to various Koetsus (tried a few different kinds, including RSP), all of which were a MUCH better match in that system. I got a lush, gorgeous midrange (lifelike vocals and strings), perfect tonal balance, non-fatiguing highs, still very good detail retrieval, and very low noise floor (without insane setup precision requirements) -- but I have to say I somewhat miss the Winfeld's bass. I was using a Sonic Frontiers Phono 1 (un-modded) at that time, which was a very GOOD match with both Koetsu and Ortofon. I moved to a VAC Ren. III w/ built-in phono for a time, and can confirm that this phono is an EXCELLENT match with Koetsu Platinum carts (never tried it with Ortofon).

Given what you've described, a Koetsu Platinum will be a superb choice. In my experience though, the stone bodies give a little better bass response without sacrificing midrange or tone.

Today I have darker speakers, and have finally tried Ortofon again (Cadenza Bronze), and I'm glad I did -- they are wonderful carts! However, even still, that Bronze is warmer than a Winfeld and I STILL have to dial my Tannoy tweeter crossover down 1.5dB in order for it to not sound overly bright (Koetsus needing no such adjustment). And those vocals will never be as bold and present as with a Koetsu.
Trust me, My set up is fine. I have all the gadgets and test records you can think of and nothing helped. I just recently purchased the Audio Desk just to be sure that the record were clean. The small pops and ticks are one of the problems I am trying to work on also. I know you can't stop all of them, but I have heard lots of systems that were a lot quieter in that respect.

I had the Kleos before the Winfeld and it didn't impress me very much.

I have not heard the ZYX carts on any system, so don't know much about them. That's something I will look into.


I have had the same experience with the winfeld. I'm not unhappy with it. I just feel that there is something missing. I am not a trained critical listener and don't want to be, because I know how anal I would get. I try to go with what feels good.
The only Koetsu cart I have heard was in a $600,000 rig. It sounded great, but it should. I have been leaning towards the Koetsu's. Bass response is not a priority. The mid range is what I'm trying to improve on. The price of the stone bodies are a bit of a deterant.

Some food for thought