Cartridge Opinions - Sorry

Yeah, another dumb "what's your opinion on these cartridges" thread. Back in the late 80's we had dealers where you could listen to the stuff.

So anyhow I have a Linn LP12 with Ittok arm and a 30 year old Audioquest B200L cartridge. I'm running it through the phono stage of a Jeff Rowland Coherence One into a Spectral DMA90 through a set of Kef R300's.

I prefer a little more laid back sound (err on the side of forgiving instead of fatiguing) but I like a lot of upper end detail, precise soundstaging, air, etc.

So far I'm considering an Ortofon Quintet S Black, Hana SL or a Benz wood - something at or below the $1k level.

I'd love to hear any opinions, suggestions, and experiences with those cartridges or others in the price range. I could possibly go higher if there is something out there that really shines for less than $1,500.



In the 70's/80's a HOMC cartridges were designed for use with MM phono input. Probably a buyer could save on expensive SUT (or MC phono stage) associated with LOMC (low output) but still keep using an MC (high output). Industry always trying to tell us an MC is better and they can make high output MC for some people. In my opinion this is the only reason. If you want a Moving Coil cartridge but you have only MM phono stage (and your budget is limited) then you can use HOMC. To make an output much higher manufacturer should use more coil winding, it will increase a moving mass system (Moving Coil). High moving mass of a cartridge is not good in theory. This is why a classic solution was an external Step Up Transformer and Low Output MC (too keep the moving mass low). 

Moving Iron (and Induced Magnet) cartridges have lowest moving mass. Most of the decent MM also have low moving mass. Those cartridges are better than any HOMC in theory. And stylus is user replaceable.     

Makes sense, yet industry pushed the concept that MC was superior to MM, possibly the case for LOMC, 5 years ago I don't recall seeing the LOMC / HOMC terminology much spreaded, as I remember your posts were the first I found here advocating for vintage MM.
Thanks Chak

For everyday use, I prefer a more laid back sound and not too in your face. The Benz Micro Wood is an excellent choice giving me plenty of detail and air, it's well balanced, and doesn't draw too much attention to itself. You can get a bargain on the Benz from a seller here on Agon.

I can say the same for another cartridge, the Audio Technica AT33PTG/II, though some will dismiss it because of its low price. It's very well balanced and not lit in the highs like some of the other Audio Technica models. This cartridge was very easy to dial for me requiring little tinkering to sound really good.
What tonearm adjustments do you view as necessary to be considered a good tonearm for yourself?
Dear @klooker : You own very good electronics that I know very well too. Your system deserves the best cartridge you can buy and obviously you deserve it too.

You don’t will have problems for future cartridge service with any of the cartridges I linked and probably before 1K-1.5K hours you will up gradedd the cartridge you buy today.

If you can go with the Windfeld pull the triger with. This is a cartridge that beats LOMC cartridges in the 5K dollars and competes with the big boys in the 10+K.

The Ittok can handle it. Don't go with the cartridge mediocrity/average level/range.