Cartridge Recommendations w/ ARC PH-3 SE

Hi, all.

Well, the cantilever on my Benz Glider has given way and I am in need of a new cartridge. I still have my P25 turntable that I really love and am not yet ready to upgrade. However, I am curious about cartridges that would work well with my ARC PH-3 SE. I am also using the ARC LS-15 Pre and Viva Aurora monoblocks. My speakers are Soliloquy 6.5s.

I am considering the next Benz (Woodbody) H2O or M2O. What else might you all recommend?

My friend says that I am pretty much maxed out with the Glider/P25 combo and that I really need a new table. Is this true?

Thanks in advance for your time and advice.


My system consists of:

Analog Front End: Shelter 901 (0.5mV), SME V, Michell Orbe SE
Amplification: ARC PH3 SE (with 3 white label Amperex 7308 USN), LS-2B MkII (Mullard Master 10M 6DJ8), Levinson #333
Speakers: Thiel 3.6

I had switched my cartridge from Benz M2 (0.8mV). Couple things that I noticed:

Although ARC stated the 0.5mV is the minimum loading for the PH3, you need something slightly higher. With the Shelter, I have to turn the volumne pot to about 11 o'clock to 12 o'clock for normal listening. And you can hear the hiss in the back starting at around 11:30 position. (I've been contemplating about a step up transformer)

Cartridge loading is critical. This might be due to my cartridge (Shelter). I just changed the loading from 47k ohm to 100 ohm as recommended by Shelter, and WOW! What a difference.

What cartridge works best for you will depending on what kind of music you listen to, and what sonic quality you prefer. Sorry, I can't give you more specific recommendations as I am not that familiar with the rest of your system, including your turntable.

I have used Koetsu Rosewood Sig, Benz Ruby II, Shelter 901, Lyra Helikon, Benz Glider(0.9mV), ATOC9, etc over the years with ARC PH3SE. One of the major strength of the ARC PH3SE over other high end phono preamp is ability to change the sound via chaning 6922/6DJ8 tubes easily and there are plenty of different type of 6922/6DJ8s to try out. If you don't feel you have enough front end gain for ~0.4mV to 0.5mV cartridge, contact ARC and get resistor sets for your LS15 to increase the gain on your preamp(12dB single ended gain to 18dB single ended gain).

Make sure to experiment the resistor loading on PH3SE via listening. Cartridge loading for your set up will be different than other people's set up due to your music preference, rese of set up, etc. Also try out different set of input tubes on both PH3SE and LS15, you will prefer one set over the others on certain cartridge.

From what you describe, Rega P25 with RB600 arm, turntable/arm combination may become the weaklink when you upgrade to higher performing cartridge.