Any word on the Blue Angel "Mantis"?

Hi all! - I am trying a cartridge that raised the bar in my conception of analog reproduction, the "Mantis" is keeping me awake rediscovering my entire vinyl... but I have found not too much information on this South African jewel.

I will appreciate any word regarding this marvel and help me in my investment decision.

Thanking in advance.

If you can get it for a 'sane' price? I've only heard good reports about it --- (but not exactly for $5k as it was offered some time ago)
Some seem to get it either discounted OR there are those cheaper versions (in fact there are, same motor I think, but anodised ALU housing only i.e. no fancy African 'wood-works')
Axel - this is the ruby canteliver and exotic wood model, I can't disclose the asking price right now but it is far low the 5k you mention.

Any source of the reviews you mention?

Mike Fremer reviewed one model rather favourably, plus there is other detail on the manufacturers web-site.
A lot more discussion can be found at the Vinyl Engine forum
Even the Mantis's creator is a regular poster over there.
I will be hearing a Mantis myself in the next few days as a friend of mine bought one recently.
I have one: it is a great cart and substantially below $US5k, mine has a wood body but aluminium cantilever as the ruby was a bit much for me. It pushes all the right buttons for me: clean bass, detail without being sterile. It just sounds quite neutral to me and very musical. You can contact Andre via his web site and get a price. I don't want to give the price I paid as he said the prices were going to rise because of the global financial crisis and the fluctuations of the South African Rand, however, $US5k is not even close.

The problem with carts is that you often have to buy on reputation and trust, I have never regretted buying a Mantis, the most expensive, but far and away the best cart I've ever owned.

Thanks for your feedback - I am havinf the opportunity to try & buy thanks to a generous offer from the seller. I compared the "Mantis" with my current Dynavector XX2 and heard some others at friends installations.

We have all agreed that this has been the best analog reproduction I have had in 30 years, and looks hard to beat it with similar priced options.

I have received some mails directly from a couple of "Mantis" owners that are willing to speak with me by phone and share their impressions - both sound very happy customers so far.

I am deciding to keep it, it is by far the best cartiridge I have heard so far - it is very picky with VTA adjustments and overhang - once properly set up it sounds fantastic, very musical, honest and full of energy.

if I'm right, for ~ $1.700 of the snake-wood (alu cantilever) item it seems a very good cart for fair (MC) money.

Some dude offering it for $5'000, as could be seen on the web, was obviously trying to make a quick buck.
Dear Axel: +++++ " good cart for fair (MC) money. " +++++

What is a fair price? for whom? what really means fair price?

Do you think that a 50.00 cartridge that " fumigate " not only the Mantis but cartridges ( like Lawrence posted on the MM thread. ) in the 8-12K price range have a fair price?, well take a look:

Regards and enjoy the music,
Hi Raul,
(MC) money = money for MC carts, which is usually 5 - 10 times more then for MM carts.
BUT, --- if you MUST HAVE an MC, for what ever reason and motivation, it seems 1.7k for the Mantis is fine?
Quickly compare it to the cost of e.g. a Jubilee +/- same price but lesser claimed performance, or Windfeld >3.5k +/- equal performance, which is what I was trying to express.
AND, note both these carts mentioned are considered to be a BARGAIN for comparable MCs, yes?

There is this thread about the high cost of MC and all explanations including J.Carr who is doing it mostly for the love of it, as he explained. How can you pay less for an MC and not feel very touched by the suffering of those poor dealers, designers and manufactures? Raul...

Do a good thing and support them, 1.7k is not so much 'tithing', no?
To go pay 10k$ - 20k$ MC 'tithing' is only for those generous souls that want and can afford it.
Now, if everyone will go change to MM, the MC cart industry will collapse, is that what you ask? Not a good thing to loose choice I think.
Dear Axel: No, I always " see " at the MM like an alternative/choice ( nothing more ): just like tube/SS electronics.

Dear Raul:
>> I always " see " at the MM like an alternative/choice <<

oh yes, you take the words out of my mouth!

It's just a bit tricky, and if cost conscious much more so, to put "fair" value to an MC, isn't it?

So the only way I attempt to do it now, is consider them quite separately in terms of cost and this was the basis of my comment of the snake-wood Mantis to be fair (MC)-value at 1.7k$.
If you have a different assessment I like to you to please share it with us.

Raul, "fumigate"? Were you quoting someone else?
I have a week so far with the "Mantis" and still keeps me awake and re-listening my LP collection. I read a review somewhere stating that this is an "honest sounding" cartridge - and I fully agree.

It has all the tonal palettes correct, great dynamics and excellent resolution of both inner details and full scale re-creation.

I don't mind if this is an MC or an MM cartridge, just as when a good Tube or SS amp is in the chain - one forgets the design principle since the system gets me back to the music, to the performance and to the artistic event.


>>> I don't mind if this is an MC or an MM cartridge <<<

And if it costs 10x more? No sweat?
I'd take the MM and get more vinyl for the balance...
Hi Axel - I got the Mantis far from the 5k mentioned earlier here, way south
that figure! Not a drop!

Hi Flg2001
the figure last mentioned (by me for) the snake-wood cart with alu cantilever was ~ $1'800, and I'd also mentioned it was a "fair" price in deed for a good MC.
Raul had a small issue with this, so I explained my take in a follow-up.

Yet, I have a cart that sounds as good as a good 1.8k$ cart and it cost $150 --- NOS "M20FL super" --- and that is where I'm coming from, and that is what Raul had in mind also when I'd called the MC price fair, which I still think it is, going simply by what MCs go for these days.

Now you mention 'south of 5k$' -- hell that's a long way to go in getting to 1.8k$, so I'm not TOO sure if there was too much left for vinyl, which like hell it is looking at a 150$ NOS MI (moving iron) cart.

I am glad that your MI cartridge is giving you that level of musical satisfaction Axel - Raul and some other guys down here are also experimenting great results with inexpensive cartridges (MM and MI designs).

I ended up paying @ $2,200 usd for the "Mantis", I considered it a great buy and a bargain.

Take care,
Dear Flg2001: +++++ " I considered it a great buy and a bargain. " +++++

I respect your opinion but certaninly what for you is a " best buy/bargain " is totally different for other people mainly because the different know-how level on each one " other people ". It is clear for me that you have a long long road to walk in the whole audio learning curve.

The 50.00 P-76 cartridge is IMHO a true " great buy and a bargain " not only because its " ridiculous " price but because its very high quality performance. I can't imagine how you could name the P-76 that is a " little " better than your 2.2K cartridge or the Axel ( 150.00 ) Ortofon M20FL Super.

Like Axel posted the " balance " on those prices tell us that we have more than 2K to spend on LP's where you only have the cartridge ( that we have too ): to each one what deserve it.

Anyway the important subject is that you are happy and enjoying it, good.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Just for some interest and still on the M20FL super subject.
My Audio friend, a VERY fussy stickler to sound performance and owner of Transfiguration Orpheus-L has heard both carts in my system and conceded that the M20FL was doing A LOT of things better the his Orpheus! (I'm shocked) ---- he also agreed with my earlier statement of the M20FL bettering a Kontrapunkt-B, and being at least on a level with a Jubilee performance, possibly even slightly better.

What more to say then, that MCs are just in another -cost- but not -value- bracket?
(I do own a ~ 3.5k$ MC just to mention)
Axel - just for curiosity, would you consider selling to me your 3 5k cartridge?
(you can answer me privately if you wish).

Raul - your note left me speechless and I really can't tell where that
agressiveness came from. I enjoy the music but also my friends. I feel sorry if I
said something that disturbed you in any way and apologize in advance if that
did happen.
>> Axel - just for curiosity, would you consider selling to me your 3.5k cartridge? <<

Yes, though it will be a brand new cart as my 'old' < 1 year one has been replaced by Ortofon.
So, you could just as well buy a new Windfeld?

I guess if not sold, it will become some sort of Audio trophy..
Dear Flg2001: There is no " agressiveness " like you say there are IMHO only facts.

My advise to you before you go on other big price cartridge is that you try/test that Ortofon M20FL because IMHO till you have that experience you can understand where is the " music ". I know that you are enjoying what you have as ever in the last " 30 years " and that is good, what I'm telling you with all that " agressiveness " ( sorry for that ): is realy pushing you a little to open a new" window " at your home audio system, the MM/MI alternative is something that can/could like you or not ( after hearing it ) but worth to try it, is part IMHO of our own audio learning curve.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Thanks Axel/Raul - As I said I already bought the "Mantis" and, to my ears, it is the best analog reproduction I have had in my system.

I will defintely consider listening to MM/MI in the future since I am open to all options (I am currently listening digital thru mi iPOD (WAV files)/Wadia 170i/Reimyo DAC as well) - so you can tell how "open" I am in this regard.

I am sure there are better options out there - I have learned that system sinergy and balance is a critical factor to obtain great performance - and that does not neccesary mean to pour top dollars at each link.

I would like to thank all who privately or thru this thread shared their opinion, it all served to document my decision for the "Mantis".


as I said earlier, a 2.2k Mantis (snake-wood or what ever)seems a very good MC pick, and that is MC-fine in every respect.
If it was 5k as advertised by some 'operator(s)' I'd be not so sure of course.
In fact there will be very few, I any MCs at that price point giving you the performance you found.
Visit my recent post on:
Starting with: "Lewm, well thank you, --" ... were I gave some impressions of mine on the odd 'MC competition' at this price point and you might be pleased :-)
Axel - Yeap - I read it last night - very informative! Thanks...
for what it's worth, I was getting ready to pick up a new cartridge and emailed the maker of the blue mantis for a price and options. He responded that he is too busy to take on new business. When asked if he would entertain new business in the future, he did not give me a clear answer as to when I could inquire.

Too bad, I was kind of looking forward to ordering one.
hm, that 'smells' like some $$$ issue to me.
Again, if his stuff was moved at 5k then again going a ~ 2k also, maybe he is not interested in too much low profit business after all?

I'd be little surprised you'd get service for 5k...

I guess, he also has to pay the rent ---- and then he might be 'full up' with orders and good for him. Get a M20FL super for 150$ in the meantime and give the man a break to catch up with his orders :-)

Thanks for your input. Other than the german ebay cartridge seller (forgot his name), do you have other sources for that cartridge?

I am going to email the mantis builder again in a few months and politely ask for some guidance as to when or if I can request a price quotation.
I figure he is probably just busy. I know he had quite a few on the go when I got mine about 6 months ago. I couldn't be happier with it so, Flg2001, enjoy, it's a great cart to own.

On another note, I came here to discuss the Mantis, not some other cart, please start your own thread.

>>> ...I came here to discuss the Mantis, not some other cart, please start your own thread. <<<

So you did, didn't you!
Thanks for sharing this detail, hey!

Now back to this strictly limited, and nothing other then Mantis subject:
One of my dealers in Durban had one (nake-wood) in good condition not too long ago. So if you are interested I can give you his email of line.
PS: DS, now I hope I was not trespassing YOUR subject, my oh my.
Chosenhandle - I recall one dealer in the US who had at least one stock Mantis. I got to him thru Google but did not take the precaution to save his URL. I will try again and, if I found them, will post his info here.

It is RPM Audio, think it is in the UK thou...
I was the USA dealer for Blue Angel and the Mantis in the US in 2007 (Oswaldsmill Audio.) I still have one top of the line Mantis cart available, new and never used. Please contact me if you would like to discuss further.

Jonathan Weiss
Johnatan - I think that you will be contacted shortly! Thanks
Davidss - what version of the Mantis are you using? I have a ruby/blackwood

My Mantis is a Tulip Wood (might be the only one) and it has the aluminium cantilever. You can see photos on The Vinyl Engine - look in the gallery section and search for my user name (same as here) or in the Blue Angel gallery. You don't need to be logged in to do this.

I love it, best cart I've owned and seems quite at home on my Micro Seiki BL51 with a Stax UA7 arm I bought here on Audiogon.

Very cool pictures David!

I am very happy with mine as well - no need to look elsewhere....
Uktel - did you have the chance to listen to your friend's Mantis?