First in line...


At the moment I can't afford to upgrade both so which is best to upgrade first, arm or cartridge...?

I'm currently using an upgraded Origin Live Onyx/Audio Technica AT33EV & Roksan Xerxes 20plus.
Convert?fit=crop&h=128&policy=eyjlehbpcnkioje1mdg0njuwmjmsimnhbgwiolsicmvhzcisimnvbnzlcnqixx0%3d&rotate=exif&signature=85311bdc7e66f42a4fabe803d9b1151de0942e63ac944f48c311b276b3e496cd&w=128infection
You have a pretty nice system. What would you hope to accomplish in an upgrade that you are not getting now from your system?

What kind of music? Budget?

The Xerxes is a terrific table and can support quite a nice arm. But I think you get better bang-for-the-buck with a cartridge upgrade. That is assuming you have a phono stage that can deliver the goods with a better cartridge.

So I think we need to know more to help you. If it were me, I already have a great phono stage, so I'd be looking at cartridges.

Hope this helps!
Your setup seems to be pretty well matched. Nothing really stands out as a weak link. If you're looking to upgrade, I think you'll get better results if you set some goals as to what you expect to get from the upgrade.

If you don't already have one, you may want to consider getting a speed control instead of an arm or cart.
Thanks Dfhaleycko & Zd542. The phono stage is the latest & improved Whest Audio whestTWO direct from James Henriot.
The arm & cart do sound good but was thinking it didn't have any balls! So I tried Don Caballero's 'For Respect' on vinyl & the original CD on my Ayon CD-3...the Ayon was far superior.

I was considering the Origin Live Illustrious as it will extract a lot more from a cartridge but that of course would mean using the AT33EV for longer.
As regards cartridges I'm looking at the Ortofon Cadenza Bronze & Blue, Lyra's Delos, Dynavector DV XX2 MkII & Transfiguration Axia S.
Infection-It all depends on system synergy which phono cartridge is best. The Transfiguration Axia S has IMO the highest ceiling of all the cartridges mentioned.
That table / arm / cart combo doesn't have any balls? Are you serious? That should NOT be the problem with that combo. I would suggest looking at your downstream electronics.

What's the rest of your system?
Ok I'm probably exaggerating a little saying it has no guts! But after conducting that comparison it's certainly lacking...although Shellac sounded pretty good...!
I'd suggest test driving a Herron VTPH-2 phono stage and a VTSP-2 line stage.
Were they nearly 4k new...? The cartridges on my shortlist are all cheaper than a used Herron...

Are there any owners of the aforementioned cartridges who could contribute their views please...??
If everything seems about perfect but it sounds ball-less compared to good digital playback, it seems to me that there's something blunting the transients. I agree with Zd542 that you may (probably) need a speed control. You may also have a slightly slipping or stretching belt that needs to be replaced.

TAS had a very favorable review of your very turntable, the Xerxes.20Plus, that extolled its pace and dynamics. However, the test system included Roksan's off-board Reference power supply and their DXP SE phono preamp. Read the TAS review and compare the descrption with your experience. The power supply and phono stage may be worth looking into.
Infection - There's nothing wrong with the 33EV, the arm and cart are top drawer. Your analog front end is not the problem. That said, you might hear what you're looking for with a step up in electronics, particularly in the phono stage and pre-amp.

AT least get some different loaner electronics to see if they would make a difference.
"06-03-15: Bpoletti
Infection - There's nothing wrong with the 33EV, the arm and cart are top drawer. Your analog front end is not the problem."

You can't know that. As far as the OP's TT setup goes in reference to it being "top shelf", what are you using for a reference? His current setup is good, but its still at the low end of the spectrum in terms of price and SQ. Just to be clear, I'm not saying the OP's analog front end is bad. I'm saying there are substantial gains to be had with a component upgrade. Since we don't have access to the OP's system, all we can do is give our best guess as to what the problem is.
Properly set up, the OP's analog front end is VERY good. There is not much to be gained.

However, there is a lot that can be gained downstream.

Who cares about price but audio snobs? It's performance that counts.
"Who cares about price but audio snobs?"

How did I know you were going to say that? The minute someone mentions price, they turn into a snob. I realize this is a very unusual concept, but in some extremely rare cases, a step up in quality will raise the price of the item because it costs more to make.

"Properly set up, the OP's analog front end is VERY good. There is not much to be gained."

If you think you can't do much better than what the OP now has, you're absolutely clueless.

Just to save time, your reply to this post will be.

"In many cases, a higher price doesn't always mean better sound. Sometimes a less expensive component will sound better than a more costly one."

My reply: I agree. But I still stand by my statement. If you look at it in context, it makes sense. If you take it out of context just to win an argument, I really don't know what to say other than you're acting like a little kid.
"How did I know you were going to say that? The minute someone mentions price, they turn into a snob. "

Because you made a point of talking about price and being critical of equipment because it didn't cost a lot, cost didn't measure up to your price point.
"Because you made a point of talking about price and being critical of equipment because it didn't cost a lot, cost didn't measure up to your price point."

As usual, wrong again. And this time you have to know you're wrong. If I made the comments you say I did, why not just quote them? Lets look at what I really did say about the OP TT setup, and not what you wish I said so you can be right.

"Your setup seems to be pretty well matched. Nothing really stands out as a weak link."

"His current setup is good, but its still at the low end of the spectrum in terms of price and SQ. Just to be clear, I'm not saying the OP's analog front end is bad. I'm saying there are substantial gains to be had with a component upgrade."

Maybe english isn't your first language. The only thing I'll clarify for you, again, is that my 2nd quote listed was made with the intent to counter your jackass statement that gains won't be made with an equipment upgrade.

Why don't we just leave it alone and move on? You're the only one here that "doesn't understand" my triple clarified statement. If you don't understand it now, you never will.
Wow...I certainly didn't expect to see all this!!

In the guise of Devil's advocate aspects of both views are correct in that it is possible to extract more from the arm & cart with a simple cable upgrade (between stage/pre &/or tonearm). Also gains can certainly be had with a cart or arm upgrade.

If I was loaded this thread wouldn't exist...