Cartridge Recommendations

Hi all. I am potentially looking for an all-rounder to pair with my Da Vinci Grandezza 12", on a TW Raven AC. I have a Kondo IO-m which is likely going to Japan for some work. The idea is to get an all-rounder. At this stage, considering everything (of course the Da Vinci cart - but never met anyone who has owned one), so all suggestions are welcome. Synergy with the arm is critical (not changing arms). Phono at this stage is unclear, but am auditioning a Nagra VPS and enjoying it.

Many thanks in advance.
Air Tight PC-1 Supreme
Air Tight PC-1 (regular version)

Blue Electric Silver Spirit
Blue Electric Magic Diamond
The Airtights are a good suggestion. I have Nagra VPS, the Lyra's match up to this well and I bet to your arm. Maybe a Kleos or Skala?

Maybe some of the Benz' also, however I haven't heard these like the ones I mention above or own...
try the Zyx UNIverse, a perfect match wih the Grandezza 12"

best & fun only - Thuchan
The DaVinci Arm is very uncritical to cartridges. It works with nearly everything on a superior level. Choose what you want. One of the real advantages of the DaVinci is the ability to control even very critical carts (which move a lot of Energy into the Arm). A Lyra Titan i will tell you a lot of new "things" in that combination.
the Kondo IO-m is also a match winner with the Grandezza. you may look foward to its return...
Thanks all, appreciate it.
Dear Hatari: I heard on my system and other people systems all the cartridges name it here but the own DaVinci and the Silver Spirit and IMHO an " all around " great alternative is this one that not only competes at that high level but in many ways outperform some of those named models:

it has an additional advantage over those very fine LOMC cartridges: the cartridge signal has not to pass through your Kondo SUT. Less stages where the recording signal must pass IMHO means less distortions/colorations and means more MUSIC.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Dear Hatari: You could take my B&O advise taking the alternative as a cartridge " spare alternative ", is so unexpensive that you could test it and enjoy it till the Kondo arrive and decide about the LOMC one. You have almost nothing to lose.

Btw, it is not only that the B&O has the advantage that its signal pass on the phono stage for less " stages " it is too that needing less gain means less/lower noise and distortions and you have two add two other factors: first is a lot better tracker that any LOMC I know and this means less and lower traking distortions. Second its B&O cares on its design, build quality and excecution of that cartridge design.

To be nearest to the recording with the MMC2 is certainly not at random, there are strong reasons on that subject.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Most of the suggestions will work. I have mounted titan i, xv1t, airtight PC1 and the supreme, my sonic lab ultraeminent on the Davinci. The 12inch Davinci can illustrate the differences amoung the above carts but it will not maximize their differences. I feel the 12inch davinci arm itself has a fairly strong sonic signature yet enjoyable on classical music. With no azimuth adj., VTA requiring manual pull up, lack of fine VTF adjustment, patience is a must to get the most out of the carts. I would favor the titan but the MSL is very good as well. THe ultraeminent had better microdynamics and resolution than the airtight. The PC1 and supreme had lots of bass quantity. The lyra and dynavector have faster transients.

Good luck.
agree Glai but the PC1 is a real looser against all these alternatives

best & fun only - Thuchan
Does anyone using Ortofon A90? The top of A90 is not flat and has 3 mounted points. The Grandezza headshell is a bit small and could not cover all 3 points. I have to fabricate brass washers for the cartridge screws so that it would be level. Somehow I could not set the cantelever at 23 degree. When the tonearm is level it's still 30 degree. My consolation is the music still sound good even if it's not setup perfectly.

Shelter Harmony....tonally harmonious. I use it on my Clearaudio Universal arm and Innovation Wood Compact table. Couldn't be happier. I listen to jazz, rock.
Mesael, I do use the A90, one of the best latest designs!
Rockitman, good music taste!
Raul is on the right track. I've been using a B&O MMC-2 cartridge for 2 years. Had one in storage NIB and stumbled across it. Bought 2 more on eBay (one already mounted on an 8002 table) so I think I might be set for life. This cartridge performs great and would make a nice alternative to a top performing MC (although for me it's primary and personally I can't see myself going back to MC).

What are you looking for, sonically, that the Kondo does not deliver (what do you mean by an all-rounder)? Are you saying that the Kondo works with certain kinds of music and not others, and if that is the case, on what kind of music do you think it falls short?

Also, what phonostage were you using with the Kondo? Were you using a step-up transformer (that is a quite low output cartridge, with a somewhat high source impedance, which would make it a bit trickier to match with some step up transformers)?

With such a high quality table and arm, you have a huge range of alternatives. I think the bigger issue is not what to match with the arm, but, what combination of cartridge and phonostage will work to deliver the kind of sound you want.
good input Hatari. The Kondo needs a very well matched SUT, e.g. the SFZ KSL using the 1 Ohm input or another very fine inbuilt SUT. I like some MMs too but they will never, never ever reach a well adjusted Kondo IO-m in the right chain. This is for sure!

best & fun only - Thuchan
Dear Thuchan: IMHO the KOndo IO makes it better trhough an active high gain phono stage, I know this cartridge that I runned with the own AN SUT and with out SUT. Obviously that this is only an additional opinion.

On the other side affirm that " a well adjusted IO in the right chain " never be reached by a MM/MI cartridge is IMHO only a misunderstood ( for say the least. ) by your part.

In the " right chain " the right MM/MI cartridge IMHO competes and in some ways surpass the IO quality performance, but remember that I'm talking of levels of Excellence: nothing less. The humble and " ridiculous " looking B&O MMC2/1 are examples of those MM/MI cartridges I was refering.

Thuchan why if you always refute " absolutes " on the IO/MM_MI subject you speak on " absolutes " terms ?.

Anyway, as I said only an additional opinion.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Dear Raul,

if you ever have tested the Kondo IO-m in a pure Kondo chain, meaning Kondo KSL SFz and Kondo M7 as I do and as Roy Gregory has described it in a very good way as the "Kondo artillery" you would no go for the active high gain phono stage or something may be wrong with you :-)

This is real excellence! believe me or not. I invited you many times but you prefer living your philosophy which is ok for me.

best & fun only - Thuchan
Dear Thuchan: I readed the RG review but he does not compare with nothing near a MM/MI alternative.

In the other side, I think that you did not heard in the last six months a top MM/MI cartridge in the right overall set-up and this is IMHO what makes you post what you post because with out a fresh experiences on the best of the best on MM/MI cartridges ( not the ones you own. ) in the right audio system how could you attest that this alternative can't reach the Kondo one?. IMHO makes no sense to me that you states something with out heard it and taking reviews as to confirm what you heard on the Kondo one.

Anyway, I'm only trying to help Hatari. Enough on this subject, it is useless to go on.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Dear Raul,

you are a MM afficinado and I am a MC afficinado. As simple as that.
Nothing wrong about it and we both will enjoy.
On MMs the opinions vary too as you have seen on the MM thread and among my 10 MMs (you have much more I guess) there are some (!) other audio friends assessing my units as their favourites. It is just a matter of taste.

best & fun only - Thuchan
Dear Thuchan: Not really, I'm an audio analog and digital source afficionado that learned to enjoy what the " market " has to offer with performance levels of excellence.

Btw, ++++ " other audio friends assessing my units as their favourites. " +++++

because IMHO they not own yet the other higher performance cartridges that some ( as me ) already owns. It is not a matter of taste IMHO it is a matter of be aware what really does means " levels of excellence " where those distortions that you and your friends like it has no room. Why always want you to put everything in audio on the subjective approach?, I know that you as many of us are a " result "/created through the AHEE ( on audio through the years. ) and this fact is a very limited one and a very convenient too because that: " It's wrong but I like it " is the norm of AHEE mediocrity.

I fro my self am trying to be away on that precise regard.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Thanks again. Lots of food for thought. My propensity to get a new cartridge will depend on how long it takes for my IO-m to return.

Thuchan - I do use the Kondo SUT with it and have been generally very happy. The preamp used to be a Shindo, now it will be something new.

Raul - interesting, and economic idea, I will consider.

Larryi - as above, using the Kondo SUT, will now likely be with a Nagra VPS. There was nothing about the Kondo that bothered me, only that it needed service (taking it away from me). I wired my DaVinci with Kondo cable as well.

Glai - thanks.

All - many thanks, all great input. I will see what the ETA is for the IO-m before spending more dollars.