Benz Micro H2 or Grado???

My system:
Rogue M150's
VPI TNT 3 w/ JMW 10 Tonearm.
Magnepan 3.6

My Question:

I had a +/- $300 Grado Cartridge which I broke (because I am an idiot).

The upside of the Grado was that I needed the output (4.0 mv). Now I am ready for a change. Which Cartridge do I get. I want to limit the question to Benz or Grado because Ibelieve the predominant winds shift around these two high output cartridges. needs to stay around $1000.


Absolutely go with the Grado. MUCH MORE musical cartridge
without a doubt. The Grado has greater depth of field and
that famous Grado Midrange so very famous for decades!
Grado also has a much greater musical pace/bounce. They
also stand behind their products better than anyone in the
industry. If you want to hear the MUSIC (what else is
important?) get the Grado!
My system:
Plinius Cd-Lat
Aesthetix Io
VPI TNT 3 w/ JMW 10
Wisdom Audio D75's

I recently bought a Benz H2 for my VPI rig and I am very happy with the combo. The Benz tracks extremely well and has a somewhat laid back presentation. It doesn't seem to put it's signiture into the equation. Additionally the VPI/Benz extracts tons of info from LP's and pesents a large, deep soundstage. Also note,the H2 can stand up to the detailed nature of the Maggies. I am in the process upgrading my system around my last two purchases (Wisdoms and the VPI). While I've got some holes to fill in the chain, the H2 isn't one of them.
There is no way a Grado can compete with a Benz wood series cartridge. I have owned both and still own the L2. Hands down winner. Yes the Grado might have a "lusher" midrange, but it doesn't have the tracking ability, transparency or articulate bottom of the Benz.

Well, as always, we get confident votes for each of them. I have not heard the Benz, but was really pleased with the $1100 Grado. So could the tone arm match be the deciding factor for each?
Ozzy...No way! really? I beg to differ. You didn't mention the grado model for comparison.
I only had the Reference Platinum. I have heard the Sonata, but not in my system. I'm not knocking Grado, a lot of people like them. But it's the Grado house sound that's not my preference.

Hey Oz. Yes, I understand the logic behind your post regarding the so called grado house sound.Many people identify with grado from their experience's with the older signature series and perhaps the newer midpriced woodbodies like the reference platinum and sonata. At that level I would concur with your assessment of the benz's bass resolution and transparency in the lower octave and a half. Trackability speaking... I rather doubt the benz would outtrack the grado in the appropriate tonearm and furthermore.... The grado is much more suited to a lot more tonearms than any model benz. I suppose it would depend on what level of each company's cartridge models one is using for comparing apples to apples. Personally speaking.... I have never really been a fan of the Grado sound and have always preferred various mc cartridges for more than 20+ years. From supex, koetsu, various fidelity research's, denons and Benz. While I believe the Platinum and Sonata woodies are decent sounding cartridges at their respective pricepoints.... I also believe the more expensive [$1200] reference statement and their flagship Statement cartridges are truly world class reference cartridges that are at a whole higher order of magnitude superior to their lower priced bretheren and can state in all honesty that they do "not" sound like your familiar Grado House sound.Although I have heard a lot of the Benz models, I have not heard them in my own systems other than the benz h20... Im my rigs using either an et2, David Fletcher's "THE ARM", or a 12" stax unipivot [with the carbon fibre arm tube] the Grado signature wins in every dep't including bass articulation and resolution. My Melco Table employs 2 arms and I can compare the cartridges head to head within seconds. The top two grados are magnificent cartridges any way which you want to slice it and can compete with the big guys in any high resolution phono stage..
Ok, granted I haven't heard the most expensive offerings from Grado. I will concede to you on this one. That is excellent news indeed if they are as good as you say, I should make it a point to investigate in the future.

You may also want to consider the Cartridge Man's Music Maker MK3. It is a rebuilt tweaked high output MM in the body of a Grado and is extremely nice sounding for right around a $1000 new.

The owner of Audiofeil who sells the Music Maker on this site uses it on his VPI Aries2, and I going to assume he is using a JMW arm with it.

Might want to contact him to get his thoughts on the combo.
Thanks for all your posts!!! I went with the Benz and got it mounted yeterday.....

HOLY CRAP is this thing good!!!

Right out of the box the Benz made my system sound exponentially better.

Glad that you like it! I'll surmise that if you are this happy with the Benz H2, then you could be happier with the Benz L2 as the lower total weight of the L2 makes it a better tracker & more transparent. However, in your case you'd have to spend more money to use a L2 & that might not make you happy! (The CAT SL1 will not work very well w/o a step-up xformer for the L2. My experience! I lived with the L2 w/o a step-up for a few weeks. With step-up is better).
Someday, if you plan to spend $300 you could get the excellent K&K Audio (Lundahl xformer-based) step-up & exchange the H2 for a L2.