favorite phono cartridge


I am just curious...if you had to live with just one phono cartridge the rest of your life, what would it be?
boofer
Koetsu Coralstone Signature Platinum
The one I have been living with for several years now, the Dynavector XV-1S.
(I am on my second one now!)
I have heard several top notch cartridges and none of them "float my boat" more than the XV-1S, (although a couple of them did equal it).

My two cents worth.
My Zu Denon 103R with ESCCO white sapphire cantilever/Paratrace stylus upgrade. Tough to beat.
Only one :-)

Right now my favorite is the Lyra Etna.

Good Listening

Peter
My Sonic Lab Signature Gold.
I'd probably stick with my current Grado Statement 1. I've owned a number of cartridges over the past 45 years, and the Statement 1 is, by a wide margin, the best I've ever heard.
Lyra Atlas.
EMT Einstein Barco TU-3
My Kiseki Purple Heart Sapphire, but I have several others that I really could live with forever as well.
+1 Peter with PBN Audio the Lyra Etna
Clearaudio Insider Reference Wood - Has beat every cartridge I have used in 50 years.
FWIW - I have never spent more than $4K for a cartridge, so I cannot compare to those more exotic models.
I've had several carts. Currently using my favorite, an AT OC9/II. I;ve tried a few others including a Lyra Clavis da Capo. I just like the OC9/II the best. Works exceptional well with a Herron VTPH-2.
Audio Technica at-ml170/occ, still my all time favorite
There is no reasonable answer for this question. Each and every cartridge has its own merits. Also each an every system has its own weak/strong points. Last of all each and every one of us has own taste.

If everything is neutral, which i mean system and user and we only decide for the cartridge, i beleive who owns a neutral system has a neutral taste and try to find the best possible neutral cartridge in his/her budget, and if we are talking about cost no object, zyx universe 2, lyra atlas can be relativley considered neutral.
zyx UNIverse. I am on the second iteration after many years with the first. Fits my style in musical taste and system very well.
I agree, there can be no definitive "best". There can be only a consensus "best". There certainly can be an individual's "best". "Best" is always a moving target. Quite often there are new bests. Positively subjective. Having said that, a "best" that is determined by design, material, workmanship, imagination, functionality and/or a true step forward, a revolutionary change, are at least one of the very "best". This is true no matter the system, environment, taste or other personnel feelings. Yes "best" is subjective. But all great(best) things like art, music, poetry, novels and yes audio equipment are arrive through time and consensus.
I have not heard every cart(ZYX) out there but from what I have heard,
mine are;
MC type
Lyra atlas
Ortofon anna
Dynavector DRT XV-1s
Clearaudio goldfinger
Benz Micro LPs

MM type
Grace f9 / soundsmith Ruby OCL stylus

*I have heard several other cartridges that do not make it on my list.*
Seems most folks like best the cartridge they own and use in the here and now. Not surprising. I vote with Altanpsx's principle: this is an entirely subjective question and system-dependent discussion. However, a ZYX UNIverse low output version might be my favorite, if I owned one.
Of course it's a question of personal taste, but since that's what the OP asked for, my choice would be (and is) ZYX UNIverse II-X-SB, low output.
Ortofon A-90 still hangin in there.
Lewm, at present I own the ortofon anna only. I have owned about 15 different cartridges. Many I was happy to get rid of. Some made me nervous(atlas, gold finger, XV1-s). Others just time for a change(moving target). All part of the experimate. If there can only be one, at present I would stand by my listed order. Although, I would probably stick with anna. As I said, the atlas makes me nervous.
Shure V15 type IV with Ed Saunders stylus.
Different cartridges for different tonearms thats for sure. On the other hand it's a lot of fun to try many good once and thats a part of the hobby. How do we know the one we like is the best without trying some others? Upgrade is endless process. I like new ZYX PREMIUM 4D copper with SB2. But some vintage cartridges are so attractive...
Each and every cartridge has its own merits and creators ideas and taste about the music. Imho, dynavector, lyra is in a another taste, benz, koetsu ikeda is another taste. Any one may like any of it, also in different systems, you may hate any of it. If the cartridge and the system favor each other strenghts and weakness, that cartridge would be the ones best cartridge. Zyx is not color free cartridge, but again imho, it is as close as the neutral cartridge. Thats whay I think it is a very good candidate for the best cartridge. Also i have many cartridges, and i do not have any zyx right now.

But analog has too much varaibles, even a damping oil may create a huge difference, so best is very dependent on system, more then personel taste. What a hard question to answer :))
I do not own one. But If I were to chose then a Van Den Hul the Crimson would be a contender. Or a Clearaudio Gold finger. Both well out of my budget.
+1 Sdcampbell on the Statement 1. I never would have imagined how beautiful this cartridge sounds. I got mine 2 years ago as a throw-in on a Scoutmaster I bought here on Agon. It was attached to the arm and the seller did not want to take it off to tell me what model it was, so he guessed it must be one of the cheaper woodies. It is just so much nicer than all the big Benzes and other MCs I have been playing for 30 years.

Mr Campbell, I noticed in your system that you have yours feeding a JC3+. Are you using the MM or the MC side for it? I had no choice as My Thor only supports MC @47k. It has never made me want more controls to change, but I am curious how other Grado Statement 1 lovers set thiers up.
Hi Mcbuddah. The JC3+ has three settings: MC, MM, and a "hybrid" setting specifically for lower output moving iron (MI) cart's such as Grado's and Soundsmith. What this setting provides is the 47K ohm loading common to MM cart's with the gain needed by MC cart's, and it's the setting I use with my Grado S1.
1960s Decca (London) FFSS Mk IV C4E, rebuilt by John Wright, current London cartridge designer. Just a stunningly live cartridge with great dynamics.
I'm putting together my last (considering my age) record player right now, and I'm back where I started years ago, with a Decca (er, London). Not for everyone!
Sumiko Pearl...amazing.
I prefer cartridges where the cantilever sticks out in front so you can align them easier. The ones with the tiny cantilevers under the body are a pain.