Clearaudio Cartridge vs. Audio Note
I recently purchased the Clearaudio Ovation and I’m using an Audio Note IQIII cartridge which was carried over from my previous Audio Note TT. I've always liked the Audio Note cartridge. IMO it is well balanced and has a good amount of detail. The new Clearaudio TT brings out even more detail and extension in the cartridge than I was getting previously. What I have noticed is that on occasion, depending upon the recording, the highs can be bright and in certain instances somewhat piercing. Ideally, I would like to smooth things out and warm things up. As I get older the brightness of any component or recording seems to affect me more and more.
I’m thinking about trying a different cartridge and I’m considering the Clearaudio Maestro. I’ve read some very good things about this cartridge and was wondering if anyone has had the opportunity to hear both an IQIII and Maestro. I’m open to other suggestions as well. The Ovation was professionally set-up by my dealer and I’m running a Conrad Johnson tube preamp and amp, an EAR 834P (MM only) phono, and Merlin TSM’s with 2 Velodyne subs, so I’m zeroing in on the cartridge as the source of the brightness. Ideally I’d like to try a Koetsu but I’ve got a budget of $1k - $2k. Plus the Koetsu would require a new phono or step-up, which would require a total outlay of at least $5k. Also, I’m only considering new cartridges.
Your comments would be very much appreciated.