Benz Ebony LP loading

Has anyone experimented with the loading of the LP? It says greater than 500 ohm. The Ayre K1xe can do 499 ohms, but I'm thinking that may be too tight. Has anyone done any experimenting??
I'd put the 499 ohms on it and see how it sounds. If the highs seem rolled off then go a little higher, but you may find that the 499 works just fine. I have the Ebony L, which is a little lower output. It seems to like 280 ohms or thereabouts, in my system.
I have a Joule LAP-150 MkII preamp and I use the Benz Ebony straight in, 47kohm. On this preamp you can change the loading with RCA plugs but Jud (the manufacturer of the preamp) uses the same cartridge and he told me to use it into 47 kohm. I did this and it sounds terrific, don't know if it could sound better.
When I first had the Benz LP new, I used 390 or 410 I forgot what the Aesthetix IO setting was, however I now use 1000ohms and it seems to work perfectly. I have not tried higher numerically numbers since the 1000 seems fine to me.

The users manual states >500 to 47K ohm.
If you don't know if it could sound better... it probably can! But that's the point, you haven't tried any other loading options.
I am using the 499 ohm resistor in the Ayre. After checking I noticed the cartridge was a cats whisker off of the exact setting of the overhang template. I can't believe that such a small correction could improve the sound so much!
once the LP it's broken in, I think you'll find that higher is better, more like 2k and up.
I was using a fixed loading of 470 ohms. Both my Ruby2 and LP were at this. My room is very HF unfriendly and I can't get rid of the over strident HF no matter what I do. I tried a few different phonostages and always seemed to prefer 200-300 ohms. THEN, I recently picked up a PH5. Amazingly I prefer wide open at 47K. Why? I find the bass is superior at this setting and therefore the HF's are a bit easier to tollerate now that the LF's are more prevelent. 1000 ohms isn't bad but it can cut the bass slightly whle leaving the HF intact. The Benz Lukachek is set to 20K if I remember right. Which explains why it had greater bass. A friend of mine bought my Ruby 2 and runs it at 47K (no choice). His room is very HF friendly. I never heard my Ruby2 sound so good on top. So really it's system/room dependent but if you have a chance to try a phonostage that allows 1000 or more try it out. The LP loves to run more towards wide open.
Thanks for the information on the LP. Because of you, I am running it now at 47k. The bass and mids are much better, but the highs are much too strident now. I touched base with Ayre the other day who is sending me a few different loads to try. This cartridge is a trade up. I had a Benz Ebony H in there before. Let me tell you that it was absolutely gorgeous. Everything was right about it, but piggy me thought the low output LP was going to be even better. Oh if I could have my H back (some lucky guy bought it from me here on A-Gon.) Maybe the LP isnt broken in yet. I have a Superscoutmaster with the 10.5i arm on it which is a breeze to adjust the VTA. The arm's been going up and down for a month now without the rightness I heard with the H. I'll report back when I get the other resistors. Thanks again.
Try a stepup transformer.
Why a step up transformer?? My preamp is certainly Ayre K1xe.
Hello Stringreen, and merry Christmas to you, and all here.

How many hours have you figured you've logged on the Benz LP so far? Have you tried any VTA adjustments since going to 47K (I assume you have)

With my VPI SDS, one can keep track of hours played per given Cartridge. There is an hour meter within the Unit. All I did with mine, was see how many hours there was before my new Ruby 3 was installed, and just subtract that number from the total.

My new Ruby 3 sounded so bad when new, I certanly thought it was defective, it didn't even sound as good as my old Glider HO.

I estimate-guess (haven't looked at the SDS lately) my Ruby 3 has about 35 hours on it, and it's just starting to be a bit more enjoyable to listen to, and filling out some. Did you note a lengthy break-in with the Ebony H?

Do you know what gain setting you are currently set to with the Ayre?

The different resistors you ordered may help. Perhaps some middle of the road loading between 1000k-47K may do the trick? If ya got the Cardas Sweep-Burn LP, maybe run it for an hour, or so, I did with the Ruby for an hour, and its sound did seem to improve after.
I used to think that my preamp was capable, until I tried the stepup transformer.
Stringreen, there is no harm trying a stepup like Greg suggested. In most cases, it will outperform an excellent active stage. Gregadd, what step up transformer are you using in your system?
I was using the quicksilver transformer.
When you went from the "H" to "LP" H=2.5 mv output to .35mv
That is a factor of almost 100.

Insufficnet gain in the phono stage manifests itself as a lack of "slam." Did you have to turn your volume higher than with the "H"?
I believe the Ayre phono has a 60db gain. On the LP, might be barely enough. You would have to crank it up. Lack of gain can cause the system to sound "not interesting".

I had my stepup hooked to my Pass XONO and provided total of 66 db gain. It was barely enough (not enough for my taste)for my Dynavector XV1 cartridge. With the Pass set to MC, the 71 db gain worked much better but more woud be welcome. The system came alive.

Greg, nice step up you have.
sorry too much egg nog. that would be a factor of ten not 100.
..and Happy Holidays to all of you. I feel like you are all my friends and are on my side trying to get this damned thing to work. The gain of the preamp set at 60db. The volume control is set at the sometimes 11:00, sometimes 12:00 position depending on how the record was recorded - the exact place that the H was. Yes indeed I did notice the long break-in time with the H, however, this LP is way longer...I bet I have over 500 hours on it. The "magic" i'm talking about that the H had that mine doesn't seem to have is that super lucious midrange. The H had such a deep and wide soundstage the walls disappeared. There was extraordiny depth. Instruments and singers had a roundness of sound, clearly defined in their own little pocket of space. My wife says that this cartridge sounds like a very good hi-fi and most people would say very nice. The low end on the H had visceral impact and could shake the house with little effort. This one seems only to have the overtones of the lowest tones. The H had instant highs. Cymbals, triangles, etc would shimmer effortlessly. This LP sounds sandy. My whole system is Ayre and therefore balanced. The table has XLR connections. When the stylus drops into the groove its as silent as my Ayre C5xe Universal player. We'll see what more time, and different loading resistors can make. Oh - by the way, when I changed to 47000 ohms, the highs became unnaturally bright, but that midrange spaciousness/luciousness I long for is still not there.
Stringeen, with my Ruby 3, which possesses I believe the same gain, .34mv, I too am using 60db Gain on my Sutherland PhD. This is the highest gain setting on the Stock Gain Boards, but I do have the High Gain Boards, which are 62, 64, 66, 68, and did try these Boards when the Cartridge was brand spanking new.

It truthfully didn't seem like I was overdriving the Sutherland, or getting a too raw, or hot sound with just very minor gain differences, but I myself "may" go back to the drawing board trying these again, as well as trying a different loading, going from 1000K to 47K just for the hell of it?

The only logical conclusion I can come to..... Is that Benz, with thier new iteration of Cartridges perhaps did something that maybe sounds good on paper, (different materials for Cantilever Suspension, and/or the supposed improvement they made holding the Cantilever) but perhaps was a design-performance flaw?

If they did somehow screw up, doubtful they would be notifying customers to return thier Cartridges for exchange, etc.

While my Ruby 3, as you know is right beneath your LP, and sounds OK-pretty decent, IMO it neither knocks my socks off as of yet, which it should for the price, and IMO too, lacks some of the qualities (slam, midrange beauty, and balance) my much cheaper Benz Glider HO possessed.

Seems like this Cartridge does surprise me at times, depending on the recording, and seems a bit more "picky-particular" with recordings than the Glider was.
It seems to be said, that a low output MC perhaps puts a Phono Stage to a more critical test than a high output Cartridge does?

I would assume as well, after 150 hours of play, your Cartridge "should've" bloomed, and broken in by now? Mark
If your experimentations with gain does not reveal satisfying results, I would look at the finer details of the mounting of the benz LP. I have commented before in other posts, the LP is sensitive to tracking force and also to VTA. If the LP is setup to play for 140-160 gram records and you set a 200gram on it, I do notice changes in performances, causing me to either lower tracking force due to increased thickness of the record (As per Michael Fremers' tip on the Vinyl essentials DVD), altering VTA to some small degree. This minor tweak does work and it seems like a trivial matter, but believe me, I have experiemented with this same cartridge from break-in to loading and tracking force/VTA settings to extract the best I could get. It is difficult to adjust VTA on the fly with the SME V tonearm I use now, but I set it to get the best parameters with a wide variety of records and using the MF tweak as needed. Try it out, it works for me and I find that dialing in a TF about 1- 1 1/2 grams lighter makes the thicker LP's come alive.

Of course your mileage may vary (YMMV).
..and yet, The Absolute Sound or Stereophile exclaimed the LP as truely something special and put it in their highest category. I'm going to continue my quest to mke this thing work. I'll report my progress
I still think gain is your answer. It is the only significant change between the two carts. It(gain) has always been the source of my disappointment with low output mcs'. The output level of the H was like a moving magnet. The Lp is near the lowest you would see in a mc. That has to make a huge difference.

It could also be that I have always found HP's all out recommendations to be highly system dependent. Moreover in upgrading, you expected the the LP to be the same as the H only better. It maybe they went for a diffewrnt sound. I have found this to be frequently true. It is not as easy one might think to design a no holds barred product.
Hello Audioquest,
I got a little confused at the end of your post with VTF recommendations? I'm thinking the Benz LP requires identical VTF, to my Ruby 3, and going my memory here, factory suggested range is I believe 1.8g-2.2g, correct? Are you then suggesting going perhaps lighter than 1.8g? To like what? 1.7g, or 1.6g?

I'm currently at 1.9g with the Ruby 3, and perhaps will remain here a little bit longer until I have some more hours on it. Then, as Doug Deacon suggested in another thread, I'll begin backing off VTF slowly, and listen carefully. It's a PITA with the Expressimo Weight on my Arm, dealing with a locking Allen Screw on the Weight, and there's not much room left on the Arm Stub to try Doug's suggested O-Ring trick to ever so slightly. lighten VTF.

I'm not trying to in any way hijack this thread from Stringreen, but figuring since our Cartridges are "very close brothers", we both may have mucho in common, and both have something to gain by folk's suggested advice here. Thanks all, Mark
I find the fact taht the "H" sounded much better interesting. My Ruby2 was about 6yrs. old with low hours. I picked up a used LP one with 100hrs. or so. I still had my Ruby2 to compare both. The LP was better all around I thought. It was more transparent and had better control of the treble. Though in my room that means nothing. In my friends system my Ruby2 is going through a Quicksilver stepup trans. and just smokes my LP (in my room) regarding the treble.
My phonostage in my preamp has 56dB of gain. It was enough for my Benz. Though loading it at 470 ohms ceratinly dropped that down a tad. I have had 5 or 6 different phonostages in my system for trial. They were all ss and all performed differently. Recently I added a AR PH5 tubed phonostage and really like it. Anything to soften my troublesome treble. It has 58dB gain. I think it helps to have that xtra 2dB. 60dB should be enough for the LP. Every phonostage shows its hand when loading a cart. No two even at the same loading sound the same (relative to the loading that is). I recently had the SIM Audio in my system and would never have considered setting it at 47k. My ears would have bled.
I would try 1000 ohms and see how that sounds. In my sys. 1000 ohms is just slightly different than 47k. If 1000 doesn't do it for you try something btwn 1000 and 500. If 500 seemed too damped you may see bigger differences btwn 1000-500 than I do. I wish I had a 20k or 10k selection. That might just do it for me. You could try the stepup using the MM section. I may try that myself since my friend has one. At least you know that the "H" sounded good. You can always go back to it. I wish I had one to try.
Hi Markd51,

That is what I was saying to do, back off the tracking force from whatever setting you are using now and do it gradually. I may have gotten a little long winded in my last post trying to explain all of the minute things I have experimented with to get this cartridge to sound its best, and when it does, you will know. I think the Lp is a sensitive cartidge and dialing it in takes some trial and error. I love sharing information with others who need help or have not tried things I did to make something work right.

Bottom line, yes, back off to about 1.7gm and listen to an LP, the same one preferrably and at the same place on the LP, take something you will want to reference with a wide dynamic range if possible to hear some cymbals, horns and drums. Then get a reference point and make your adjustment. Make sure you know what your initial tracking force setting was and then start experimenting. You may want to make a bold adjustment to see if there is a change in the sound characteristic at first instead of making all of the minute changes. I am interested in finding out what the cause could be, because I felt I had the same experience with some LP's that varied in thickness and this became even more noticeable as I put more hours on the LP.

Good luck,
Hi Mark - if you can't back off your weight any more, you can always add a bit of blutak stuck on the rear weight to make it heavier.