Cartridge Recommendations

Recently broke my Clearaudio Virtuoso and looking for a replacement. Instead of spending 575 for a replacement I am considering a different cart. My modest system:

VPI HW-19jr w/upgraded platter
Jelco 750 arm
PS Audio gcph

Currently using a Denon DL-110 as my backup. Was thinking maybe trying the Denon 304 or Denon 103R or and upgrading it but not sure if I need a step up transformer? Should I stick to a MM maybe the Ortofon 2M black?
The Ortfon 2M Black is a very nice cartridge. Used to own a 2M myself. Only comment is that I found it bright and analytical, but many others have raved about it. If you liked the Virtuoso, you will LUV the Maestro. One of the best cartridges I ever owned -- just couldn't get it to work on my Classic.
I just got a Denon DL-S1 this week and am blown away by the cartridge. I have been lusting after one of the Lyra cartridges but no more. This Denon easily blows out the AT OC9ii cartridges that I have had. My OC9 easily bested the Denon 103r. The Denon DL-S1 has a low output, but your phono preamp has 60 db of gain which is supposed to be good enough. If you can run it with differential gain, your phono preamp has 66 db of gain which should easily be enough.


PS I am running my Denon with tubes that might color my recomendation.
Dear Nhs: Good that your Virtuoso broken because you have a great opportunity to re-tip with a better cantilever/stylus that the stock one that's not really good.

The Virtuoso Wood motor IMHO is an stellar one and when you make that re-tip no one of the Denons ( including the DL-S1 ) could beat it and many of the top LOMC ones neither.

Of course you can go with other cartridge but to be near the Virtuoso Wood re-tipped maybe you have to invest over 4K for the cartridge alone and you need to change your phonoline stage and your TT too.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Nhs, keep in mind Raul's opinions are just that.


There are many experienced analogists here that have years of experience. Also, your local dealer can be a valuable asset.
''Raul's opinions are just that''. The MM thread has more
then 6000 contributions but I can't remember that Raul was
wrong in one single case. Consistent and reliable during this whole thread. I don't agree always with his philosophy but I trust his ears for 100%.
I 'retiped' two Virtuoso's by Axel in Germany. One with pressure fitted nude line stylus in a tapered aluminum cantilever ; the other with the boron cantilever and hyper
elliptical stylus. Among 20 MM carts that I own (AT 180,
Signet 9cl included) those are my best carts. I bought the Virtuoso's because of Raul's recommendation. My advice is to retip by Axel with aluminum cantilever + line stylus
(+/- 160 Euro).
>>02-27-12: Nandric
but I can't remember that Raul was wrong in one single case.<<

So you agree with Raul 100% of the time?

That's funny.

Anyway, this hobby is all about opinions. We'd all have identical systems otherwise.

With what you save through a retip(If you haven't already): Replace the GCPH's stock fuse, with a HI-FI Tuning Supreme and upgrade the power cord to something with conductors of 10 to 8AWG(preferably silver and NO PVC or vinyl dielectric). You will be very pleasantly surprised.
Audiofeil, There are many collisions between Raul and me in different threads but those were never about his carts valuations. The most of us are very thankful for his MM
Raul and Nandric, based on MY experience with the Virtuoso and Maestro, I agree with your advice that if the Virtuoso can be fixed, then fix it. I also recommend the Maestro --based on my hands on experience. Sorry Bill, I've been there and done it with both the Virtuoso (V) and Maestro (M). Probably the best MM cartys out there. If you have critically compared the V and M to some MCs that are within the price points of the V and M, or even multiples of the V and M, please share -- politely. But for $1250 for the M (new retail) or the V for new $975 (new retail), I think Clear Audio hit a grand slam home run. That's based on my experience and humble opinion. Btw, I currently use a Sound Smith VPI Zephyr, which is a very nice MI carty, because of compatibility issues. Otherwise, I'd still be driving my vinyl with a Maestro!!!
Greatly appreciate all your knowledgeable input. Based on opinions you are all seriously passionate about music and its reproduction. I will need to lurk in this forum more often.

Will definitely be having the Viruoso fixed. does any one have a recommendation for a re-tip? The only one I can find on-line is soundsmith. thanks again.
Dear Nhs: This is very good alternative to fix your Virtuoso. This is where Nandric fixed and up date his Virtuoso's:

Regards and enjoy the music,
Dear Bifwynne: Good to read you are really enjoying yours Clearaudio cartridges. Agree, CA are a lot better that we can imagine and very competitive with almost any cartridge out there.

Regards and enjoy the music,