I have joined in the ZYX Family

Funny how change comes about. I’ve been intending to get a tube preamp for years 10-12 years. Instead, I got a tube amp which sounds great. . Tube amp with SS preamp sounds GREAT. FWIW, the SS Preamp was a Stereophile Class A Conrad Johnson PFR. So, its not like I was shooting in the dark. The PFR is a really good preamp. And the Bob Latino ST-70 seems to be a great fit along with the Silverline Sonatas. So I set out to get my turntable up to its optimum. I have a Teres 340 which has an Origin Live Illustrious 3 with Benz Ebony L cartridge. I put the OL Illustrious on it as a temporary arm. I figured the Teres deserved much better. But Maybe I am wrong. It sounds great. However, being an audiophile, I can’t leave it alone. So I set out to get a new tonearm worthy of the Teres 340. But then someone reminds me that a cartridge will make more difference than a tonearm upgrade, especially since the tonearm is a pretty good one. . So I consider the idea and come across a ZYX 4D for a good price. Thank you Raulirigueus(sp) for the idea. In the process, I saved some $$$ too. I’ve wanted a ZYX for quite some time. NOW, I see what all the fuss is about. This cartridge is fabulous. Next up is to clean the electric. Oneac seems to be a good way to go. But, who knows. My plans often go sideways. But I’ve really made some big steps forward thanks to some good advice and the good Lord above who over rules my ignorance. FWIW I often pity those who miss the beauty of good music. I love it. Thanks for your help along the way.
I too bought a ZYX 4D recently. I got mine from Sorasound, also for a great price. I am really liking it, it is a match made in heaven for my Triplanar tonearm.
Congrats! The ZYX 4D is terrific cartridge!!!
Congrats as well from my side!

The ZYX 4D is an outstanding cartridge. 

If you use the 9,5" tonearm you should maybe make a test with
some additional weight at the headshell. The ZYX cartridgedes
work best with a total weight (eff. maas tonearm + cartridge +
mounting screws, headshells and weights) of about 25g.

If you use the 12" version you should be close to perfect.

I had the 4D in my system till a DS Audio bettered it. But before
it was hard to find something comparable. In my system it was
more involving than the top Lyras.
This cartridge is addicting. 

Racedoc, I'm probably only 1/2 gr from the 25 now. Thanks for the info.
I’m the renegate of ZYX, my last one was copper coil Premium 4D with SB2 paired with ZYX headamp.

Do you guys are aware that after 2000 hrs you will have to invest 60% more to replace your ZYX (with worn out needle) to the new one officially? Since the original 4D is no longer available you will have to invest even more to upgrade to the newest models which are always more expensive. It’s like paying at least $2500 each time when you reached 2000 hrs of playback with ZYX’s Micro Ridge stylus tip. I think it’s extremely expensive service, are you sure you get more complacency when you pay more? Addicted?

Mehran is a very nice guy, i was always looking for Miyajima cartridges he’s offering along with ZYX. But the official Miyajima service is much more reasonable in Japan, not so expensive.

Chakster. I hear you. Two things I'll point out. There are more ways to replace Zyx than through Mehran I bought mine used (200 hrs) at a ridiculous low price. The owner, another audiophile, bought a Universe at a great price and only had this mounted for 4 months. Then, there in Mr Juki. I'm aware that Zyx has changed from the early days where their cartridges were reasonably priced. I'm also aware that 2k hrs is a lot of hrs.

IE, I kept a close  count on my Benz cart (bought new) by tracking the number of album sides. I figure 20 minutes per side avg. I bought the cartridge in 08 or 09 (I believe) I just counted up the hrs on that cartridge. It was 325-350 hrs. 350 is adding 25 for overage.  I did take a 3 yr hiatus. But I was surprised that the number was so low. But it was. Even if I added 20% (25 minutes per side) to that number, I am only at 425. Thats a long way from 2000. So I'm not concerned
Juki sells gray market products with fake serial numbers, i do not trust seller who manipulate with serial numbers. My first ZYX was purchaced from him, second from Mehran.

ZYX refurbished by well known re-tippers are no longer ZYX cartridges! The cartridge body is sealed as far as i know, the cantilever looks way different from any other manufacturers, the way the diamond is mounted also looks quite unique. Someone can glue the new tip, but this method is different from the original method. Nakatsuka San simply exchange the old broken or worn cartridge to completely new cartridge, he does not touch the old broken or worn carts to fix, because it’s too complicated. Nakatsuka-San will never do that with a cartridge with fake serial number from the gray market, carts must be purchaced from the distributor (and can be upgraded to the next model). The owner of ZYX can do nothing better than follow these rules to keep the sound of ZYX if the stylus is worn (every 2000 hrs max). Buyin’ used ZYX with unknown hrs of use is even more risky to end up like that sooner or later. So this truly High-End cartridge is very expensive for everyday use, especially for those who would like to stay with this ZYX sounds forever. It’s a kabbalah, each time the owner of ZYX must pay more to upgrade to the next model, this is how it works. Let’s just face it.

I’m no more user of ZYX premium cartridges, but i do not regret it.
This cartridge is not for everyone, they are good, but practically those premium models are for reach guys and the prices go up every year with the new models, now they call them the ultimate. 
Chakster, 2000 hours is a long time. Even if you do pay $2500 for a re-tip after 2000 hours, think of it as about a dollar per hour of enjoyment.  That's cheap fun, compared to theater, movies, live music performances.  My ZYX UNI has about 40 hours on it now, so I have a long way to go.  I don't know what other similarly excellent MC cartridge would cost much less to use, if you assume you will eventually get a factory re-tip.

I don't know how racedoc figures 25g as being ideal, but if it is, then there is plenty of leeway up or down from that number where the resonant frequency would not be appreciably affected. The math tells us this.

At the risk of being pedantic, which this is, the effective mass of the moving parts is equal to the net effective mass of the tonearm, headshell, screws, and cartridge, plus the effect of the counter-weight on the net effective mass, taken together.  The math for that is tricky (I know that I don't know how to solve it, anyway), so most of the time we are just approximating a value based on the given effective mass of the tonearm, if the manufacturer is kind enough to give us that piece of information.
Buying anything without a warranty has risks. Some aren't willing. Some are. Thats why used equipment is sold daily. But not all buy used. My budget required me to buy used. Or owe a lot on credit card, LOC, etc. Everyone has their own set of priorities. I don't take undue risks. But everything in life has its risks. 
Lew. I was shocked at the lack of hours on my Benz. My post above shows how I tracked the time. So, yes, 2000 hrs is quite a long time. I don't play for hours every day. But I listen to my fair share of vinyl and yet my cartridge has at the most 350 -400 hrs in about 6 years. 
Even if you do pay $2500 for a re-tip after 2000 hours, think of it as about a dollar per hour of enjoyment.  That's cheap fun, compared to theater, movies, live music performances.  

maybe,if it's not accidentally bent earlier, and then the fun is over

Nobody mentioned the problem with suspension. According to

Axel the suspension is as bad as by EMT. Because the body is

glued together acrylic the retipper need to cut the cart to reach

the generator. Axel was willing to do this for me  as friend but I

 am not sure if other retippers will do such job. So the worry

about stylus is not sufficient...

I had the same problem with my Sony XL 88 D. Nobody was

willing to mess with this cart because the body was also glued

together plastic. Aka no access to the generator . BTW Axel

also retipped my ZYX  with new (boron) cantilver and ''nude Shibata''.

According to chakster new models can't be retipped dismissing

my cart (Airy 3) as ''old iron'' but to me this cart sounds very good.

I hope Axel's suspension is better than the original .

Chakster, You gotta be more optimistic than that.  Otherwise, why get out of bed?  Anyway, you've changed your argument from wear to tear.  Privately, I was thinking that 2000 hours is a long time for an MC stylus to last, even under the best conditions.  But even if it ends up costing two or three (US) dollars per hour to run a ZYX, it's still cheap fun.  

My wife and I went out to hear live music this weekend, two nights in a row, one night at the Kennedy Center for a Thelonius Monk Centennial tribute.  Total expenditure was about $250.
Lew, i was not so lucky with my second ZYX, it was purchased new, but accidentally i ended with broken cantilever, i avoided the very kind offer to pay again the price that is very close to the new ZYX cartridge. This is definitely not my price category to pay to listen to my records. But it motivated me to start searching for a better or close cartridges for lower price to enjoy my music on another level or joy. My rare Glanz MF-61 is better than ZYX Premium 4D (to my ears) for 1/10 of the ZYX price and this is only one example. The most expensive cartridges is not panacea.

My "cheap fun" was in St.Petersburg Philharmonia when i used to works there long time ago. There was a short distance from my cabinet to the balcony of the concert hall throught the secret door any time i want to listen how they are performing Stravinsky or Shostakovich. Good times. 

I wish i could check Thelonius Monk tribute, but for $250 i would buy plane ticket to a warmer place. 

Lew, i was not so lucky with my second ZYX, it was purchased new, but accidentally i ended with broken cantilever, i avoided the very kind offer to pay again the price that is very close to the new ZYX cartridge.
In my UNIverse the cantilever let go of the stylus due to a crack that formed in the cantilever, which was otherwise undamaged. Despite being a materials issue and Mehran batting for us, it was not covered by ZYX so it was going to cost about the same to repair as replacement. Too bad- it was a very nice sounding cartridge and its tracking was meticulous.
@atmasphere not covered by zyx even if it was materials issue? not under warranty? Too bad. 
Chakster, I fully agree that price is not necessarily proportionate to excellence in audio equipment. That's exactly why I like the ZYX UNIverse cartridges so much; they do (or did, until the price of the UNI was doubled) give good value for the dollar in the realm of the LOMC, where the dollars per unit of pleasure ratio is very high.  I would not argue with you that the dollars per unit of pleasure ratio is much lower in the MM and MI types of cartridges, by comparison.  And some MMs give any MC a run for the money.

I am surprised at Ralph's experience and its outcome.  I bought a new Koetsu Urushi in Tokyo and then noticed that the cantilever was bent. Via the auspices of the Tokyo dealer who sold it to me, Koetsu replaced the cartridge for no cost.  This was 2-3 months at least after I had returned home to the US.  On the other hand, we know a priori that re-tipping of MC cartridges by their makers is going to be expensive.
I have mentioned Miyajima cartridge for that reason, the retipping of those cart are very reasonably priced by the manufacturer. However, i don’t have Miyajima cartridges.

But i had a great experience with Japanese shop where i bought my new SPU Spirit Ltd model, the sound was nice, but when i noticed misstracking on some records i just decided to return it back to Japan. I got full refund including return shipping, because it was factory deffect. In case with an expensive cartridges full support by the distributor and manufacturer is very important, otherwice we could buy them used for half price at least.
Re tipping from other than the original manufactuer results in a different sound.

I give the old cartridge to person that does not need perfect sound and then buy new. I do not trust rebuilt no matter who does it.

With clean Lps I get 5 to 6 years of great sound. I play 3 to 4 hours each day. Use Last Stylist on each side.

I fear there are too many cheapskates using cartridges. But cartridges are very high markup products and why overpay! You can find them for 50 to 60% off if you know were to buy. They even show up on Audiogon by dealers other than SoraSound.

I have bought from 2Juki many times, and never been let down. The S/N on the cartridge body is NOT altered, only the sales region on the box, to protect his sources from getting cut off by ZYX.

I have never used a warranty on a cartridge in 40 years!

SoraSound let Ralph down IMO.

don_c55, Your reasoning is based on guesses which are different

than assertions. Assertions should be based on arguments which

should not contradic each other. You are against retipps but you

buy second hand carts by which one can't know if the previous

owner retipped his cart. In additon you presupose that only the

manufacturer can do this job (retip) correctly such that the cart

will sound ''as before''. From this guess it follows that you have

no idea how moving parts in an MC carts look like and how they

are connted with each other. First of all all manufacturer get their

cantilever/styli combos ready made by their supplier. Styli are

produced by big ''jewel companies'' and not by cart manufacturer.

The 'nose'' of an MC cart consist of stylus, cantilever, coils and

the part on which coils and cantilever are fastened (glued). This

''nose'' is connected with the rest of the geneartor colled ''joint

pipe''. Usualy there is a small aluminum pipe in fron of the ''nose''.

In this pipe the cantilever is glued. Why do you think that this

work can only be done in the ''right way'' by the manufacturer?

To put this otherwise: why do you think that an retipper is not

capable to do this work ''as good''? The retip with the whole

cantilever/stylus combo is much more easy then gluing an new

stylus in place of the old one. Why is that so? For a manufacturer

to replace the stylus only means that one expert extra would be

needed for this job. If you are well informed you should know

that no manufacturer is willing to retip his own carts. They prefer

to offer new carts instead . The exception are cart producers

who also own an retips service. Van den Hul and Peter Ledermann

are examples.

This myth is also assumed by our ''cart expert'' from Mexico who

obviously has no idea how an MC cart is constructed.

When one look at the generator on can see those 3 screws.

Those are meant to fasten, tighten and center the tension wire

which connect the ''nose'' (moving parts) with the rest of the

generator or the  ''joint pipe''.

If one need a new suspension because the old one become to

soft causing ''low rider'' or to hard because the suspension dry

out causes limitation of the cantilever movement such that

the cart's tracking ability is so reduced that the cart can't be

used at all.

Well in order to put a new ''ribber ring'' instead of the old this

tension wire need to be removed first because the suspension

is behind the coils and does not belong to the moving parts.

This presuposes that the menitioned 3 screws must be reachable

from outside. In case of any ZYX this means that the body of

the cart must be cut or drilleed in order to get access to those

screws. That is because the body by all ZYX is glued together

acrylic without any access to those screws or inside of the cart .

That is why I stated in my former post that stylus worry is not

sufficient. Obviously no member of ZYX club has ever got

suspension problem. But if one would like to anticipate possible

problems one need to be well informed.

Addition. I ever started a new thread about ''irreparable carts''

because of  my experience with Sony XL series and my ZYX

sample both with glued together bodies with no access to

the inside parts of the cart. To my surprise nobody was

interested. But I was even more surprised to learn from my

comrade Don that the old master Mori who desigend the

XL series for Sony works by Jico styli and has the job to

produce those expensive SAS styli.  The difficulty is to

provide those styli with the mentioned tension wire,etc.

Don is famiiar with some person who also works by Jico so I

thought: ''heureka''. Would this Don's acqaiutance  be so kind

to ask Mori san if his XL carts are repairable? The answer,

alas,  was not as I hoped for. To be pricise I don't mean that

 a cart is ''theoreticly irreparable'' but in practical sense. That

is if nobody is willing to mess with my Sony XL 88 D. This

cart is regarded by some as ''the best ever'' . I own the cart

but, alas, can't use the precious because of the mentioned

reason: irreparable.

Just a little point to make:  When I was last in Tokyo, I made a fairly exhaustive search for dealers who would sell me a new UNIverse.  There were none.  None of the high end dealers to whom I spoke even knew that ZYX makes a "UNIverse" line of cartridges.  Thus, I conclude that Sorasound is correct; the UNI line, which is ZYX's best sounding by all accounts, can only be purchased in the US via Sorasound.  All other ZYX's, even the Omega line and others that are priced near to the UNI line (which means "high"), can be obtained in Tokyo, but the savings in cost is not worth the effort.
Have had several ZYX Cartridges including the Universe2 and the Diamond - they both were fantastic sounding Cartridges.  

The Diamond suffered a broken cantilever at the hands of my customers Grandchild. Repair at ZYX at the time was almost the price of a new cartridge so we had Andy at Needle Doctor repair it, he did an ok but not great job on that one so I now have it at SoundSmith for a total replacement of the cantilever/stylus. Lets see how that goes.  

I was at a customers house a few days ago to do a complete system setup including installation of a rebuilt Lyra Skala by SoundSmith if any indication of what to expect on the Diamond I'm very reassured Sound Smith had done a fantastic job with the Skala.

Good Listening


Skills and age. We probably assume that the older people get the

more problems with their mental and physical capabilities.

Does this apply for skills? We have Van den Hul who at age

of above 70 keeps his skills in good condition by producing at

least one cart pro week. As is known his customers can order

whatever output they want. This means winding the coil wire

on those very small ''bobins'' differently. We have Axel the retipper

who is above 70 but got so many orders that he was not able

to accept all the work. We have the old master Mori san who

designed XL series MC carts for Sony. He make those SAS styli

for Jico which involve tension wire for MM carts. Those are more

difficult then MC tension wire. Technics 205 series  styli are

irreparable because ot those tension wire. To exchage their

 suspension the tension wire need to be removed but it can't

be put back. We also have Allaerts who make his own coils from

 very thin gold wire. Look at the pictires of his coils to get ''the

picture''.  Everyone who owns an ''open MC cart'' can see how

 thin those coil wire are. Who would dear to touch them? But it is

 impossible to wound those coils without touching  them.  The

 answer is  continious practice in order to keep the involved

skills in good condition. We all have the so called ''motor

 cortex'' in our brain. This part  with further brain connection

govern our muscles. Our fingers in particular. Looking at ''Pieta''

made by Michelangelo from a block of marble with chisels and

hamers. One can hardly believe that this work of art is made

with human hands. This context of skills may explain why we admire

 old masters like Ikeda, Takeda, Sugano, Van den Hul , Lukatschek

(Benz) etc.


First of all all manufacturer get their cantilever/styli combos ready made by their supplier.

I wish someone will show me something similar to this ZYX boron cantilever + micro ridge stylus combo.

It looks uniqie, not like any other stylus/cantilever combos i have ever seen. This is my own picture of Zyx Airy III cantilever/stylus on macro lens illustrate my thoughts very well. The nude diamong is going throught the cantilever from the top to bottom as you can see, there is no glue (at least i can’t see glue around the tip). If someone would like to find correct diamond to fit in the tiny laser hole made for ZYX Micro Ridge i would say "maybe the sound will be close to the original". But if the whole cantilever must be replaced, then i’m pretty sure it will be completely different cart and sound, because no other retipper can get access to this unique stylus/cantilever construction made expecially for Nakatsuka-San (ZYX) exclussively.

I don’t even want to speak about sealed body of all Zyx cartridges that retippers must have to destroy to open up, but the simple fact that ZYX unique cantilevers are not available to anybody else make my statement pretty clear. Nude diamond fixed in the laser hole in Boron cantilever, not glued to the cantilever. Refurbished ZYX is definitely no longer ZYX cartridge, but something different and most likely downscale compared to the original (because of the technology used).   

Dear chakster, I own the same Airy 3 which is retipped by Axel

with his own combo of boron cantilever and nude Shibata.

According to him the Original stylus was mediocre. If you look

at the boron ''nose'' you can see that one additional tube with

stylus is glued above the cantilever. This is an additional tube

becausse one more aluminum kind is in the nose of the moving

parts(aka)  stylus/cantilever, coils and the part on which the coils

are glued. All exotic cantilevers can't be pressure fitted with

whatever stylus so the stylus need to be glued in such cantilevers.

See our cantilever discussion with J. Carr.  Your pretentions by

far exceed your knowledge. We already have had such dispute

about Technics 205 styli suspension failure which you deny but

never provided any proof except your own convinction. But you

own many of those which you want to sell. Mentionig Axel as

argument is very curious. He as my friend was not able to fix my

205 stylus but well for the to him totally unknown chakster.

Before you can teach others you need to learn the trade first.

As novice you, alas, need to have much more patience.

But as I stated before you start to look like  your model Raul.


I do not buy used cartridges - ever! I buy new. I also do not have them retipped or rebuilt.

New ZYX cartridges do show up on Audiogon by dealers other than SoraSound at a big discount.

Ralph’s Universe cantilever was probably viewed by XYZ as abuse IMO.

The boron cantilever is durable under "normal" use, but might break with rough cleaning, or an arm drop onto the Lp.

Ralph’s products are sold by SoraSound, so you would think he would give Ralph a new cartridge as a courtesy. SoraSound screwed Ralph IMO.

All exotic cantilevers can’t be pressure fitted with

whatever stylus so the stylus need to be glued in such cantilevers.

See our cantilever discussion with J. Carr. Your pretentions by

far exceed your knowledge. We already have had such dispute

about Technics 205 styli suspension failure which you deny but

never provided any proof except your own convinction.

I saw Carr’s posts, but it is not what i’m talking about, i have provided the link of very good picture in high resolution https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DMCAEMLWAAA2x8G.jpg:large , on that picture anyone can see the part of the tall nude Micro Ridge diamond on top and on the bottom of the Boron cantilever, which means the diamong go throught the tube. If you know any other manufacturer who use the same construction in modern cartridges plz let me know. My point is that it was patented by ZYX or just an exclussive ZYX design (Nakatsuka-San will not use this method without good reason). As far as i know no one actually use this method or even similar cantilever construction among the modern retippers. Retipper use huge amount of glue arount the tip visible by naked eye, but on ZYX own cantilever i can’t see any glue even on macro lens. Maybe it’s inside the tube, but the effective mass of the tip is very low on ZYX cartridges.

For the second part of your comments i’m surprised that you still don’t believe that some of Technics 205c mk4 (and even 100c mk3) in fact were refurbished by your friend Axel in Germany. I got a few pictures for you below.

here is my original 205c mk4 in perfect condition:

and this is refurbished 205c mk4 with nagaoka boron cantilever and glued elliptical stylus tip, also look at the alluminum collar around the cantilever. https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DMIlZ_OW4AIFaSA.jpg:large

If it’s not enough look at refurbished Technics EPC 100c mk3 https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DMIq61hXUAA_9hF.jpg:large

Suspension repaired on all of them, Axel did the job for Foxtan who supplied him many cartridges. I bought them from Foxtan as the originals, but he cheated me using my lack of knowledge at that time, in fact i bought refurbished 205c mk4 carts for the price if the originals (so never trust the foxtan). The sound was very good, so i was happy about them and never actually looked on them with macro lens. The 100c mk3 was the original but suspension was dead, but foxtan sold it to me as a good one, then i returned the cart to him for repair and it took a half year to get it back refurbished. Later jpjones told me the cart’s cantilever does not looks like the original! But the foxtan told me his master worked only on damper (what a cheater) and how naive i was at that time. you have promoted Exel so much on audiogon that i decided to send him my 100c mk3 for inspection and i was very surprised when he told me it was him who did the job for foxtan with my cartridge back in the day, he recognized his own work! I asked for details and Axel told me he used Nagaoka Boron Catilevers with Elliptical tip on that carts. The refurbished 205c mk4 looks exactly the same (also his old work).

When i managed to get the original 205c mk4 i realized how much better this original cartridge sounded! One of my friend still use the refurbished axel’s version.

I own many cartridges because i like them, and i'm happy to sell doubles, but i do never sell bad cartridges like some other people do, i remember my own experience with dishonest sellers and all the disappointments about it.

Dear don_c 55, I am sorry for my assumption. I thought that all

participants in this thread bought some or other ''cart of the month''

which are (the most) from the 80is. There were few exceptions which

were in NOS state. The most however were used so , I assume,

those should be count as second hand. There are people who

prefer new things but also people who are fond about antiques.

For those who intend to buy whatever ZYX kind your information

is very important. Even for the ''brand new'' samples (grin).

I myself would never buy a cart with defective coils. The reason

is that nobody is willing to mess with coils.

Raul, I think, introduced the expression ''refurbishing''. Like his

other ''concepts'' inscrutable. He never explained what this

means. Reasoning from the ''concept'' what can be fixed or

improved by a cart we think such things like retip (both kinds),

new suspensin and/or better suspension. I don't believe that

anybody proposed magnets change. The coils are, say, only

theoretical possibility.

Dear chakster,

1. premise : all exotic cantilevers are brittle (boron,saphire and

beryllium). Because of this property  they will shatter if one

would try to pressure fit a stylus in them.

2. premise : the advantage of aluminum as cantilever material is

that a stylus can be pressure fitted such that an better connection

can be reached between both parts. Something to do with ''rigidity''.

To put this otherwise: glue between stylus and cantilever is not

a good idea in the mentioned sense: rigidity.

How difficult is it to deduce conclusion from those two premises?

Is it possible that this genius solution which nobody considered

is a piece of aluminum tube in which the stylus is pressure fitted.

In addition this may explain whay no glue can be seen. However

do you have the right to call your cantilever ''boron'''. There is

an aluminum tube behind the boron part and also in front of

the boron part (aka ''the nose''). Those are two versus one.

Now the Technics 205 styli kinds. I am not sure if I used quantor

''all'' or ''most''. Anyway I said nothing about oher kinds.

I hope I used the expression ''most'' such that your sample or

samples by coincidence have had good suspension.

I owned two 205 mk 3 styli neither of which could be fixed by

Axel nor by the guy from the ''styli clinic''(?). The difference was

that Axel charged nothing but this American charged $100.

BTW my intention was exactly ''the same'' as Don's: to warn

my co-members.

Andy completely fu***ed up jpjones technics 100c mk4 and he's definitely is not the right person to deal with. 

Axel's price for refurbishing was up to 400 euro to replace the whole system aka cantilever/stylus and new suspension. 

Nakatsuka-San patented so many innovations for his ZYX carts, i think the cantilever construction is one of them. 

At the same time Noriyuki Miyajima stated that Boron cantilever does not make his Shilabe or Kansui cartridge any better, but in the latest Madake he use exotic Bamboo cantilever with alluminum collar. Cross Ring was his patent. 
Someone made the point that he has seen UNIverse cartridges for sale on-line, even here on Audiogon, from vendors other than Sorasound and for discount prices.  Please show me those ads.  All ads for sale of UNI cartridges that I have seen here and elsewhere were for second-hand items, sometimes described as "demo" or "traded in by customer after very short home demo" by the very high end dealers (other than Sorasound) who advertise them, and yes, those are discounted.  Is it possible that actually new cartridges are sold as "demo" to justify the discount, when sales are otherwise slow?  It sure is.  But only by Sorasound so far as I know.

Also, Sorasound is US distributor for ZYX, I think.  On that basis, he would be entitled to "distribute" cartridges to other dealers, even new ones.  There are indeed a few others who sell NOS ZYX cartridges but none in my experience that sell the UNI line.

Finally, the UNI II was hailed as a major upgrade over the original UNI, based partly on its more "open" body structure compared to the original.  I wonder could it be that the UNI II design was stimulated by complaints, such as those mentioned above, about the non-repairability of the original UNI, due to its closed body structure?  I've never heard a UNI II, and so I have no idea if it is really superior sonically to the original, except for the testimony of others.  I would be tempted to buy a documented low mileage "demo" UNI II (wink, wink), if the price were palatable.

I used a Universe 2 for a little while - it is an excellent cartridge.  Its surprising how well the ZYX sounds in spite of the cheapie looking plastic casing they are mounted in.  

Good Listening

 Its surprising how well the ZYX sounds in spite of the cheapie looking plastic casing

there is only cheapie digital prints called manual, like those prints people can make on their home laser printer and put the m together using stapler. What is on the cartridge is the same kind of cheapie printing, covered by clear plastic layer. I'm pretty sure it is not important for many and it's a matter of teste, but none of the TOTL cartridges from the 70s and 80s sold for many thousands dollars looks so cheap. I love the oldschool style of packaging with narural wood, jewelry boxes, top quality booklets (offset prints of the highest quality) that just looks real and stylish. For $8000 cartridge it can be a good bonus.  


The cartridge I currently use, the Ortofon MC Anna should be right up your ally then :-) comes with a offset printed Manual, a Solid Oak Case lined with Velour, a tool kit in its own sown bag.  


Probably the best packaging job of any cartridge I have owned

Good Listening

I'm sure any designer will be happy to work with cartridge manufacturer to create something very special (box, prints whatever). My late 80s Ortofon MC-2000 also comes in huge wooden case with nicely printed booklet, one of the best design ever in my opinion. The SPU Royal MG MK2 is also very attractive in original box. It like something ogranic versus cheap plastic. 
Lewm -- here is a new universe II from a US dealer other than SoraSound.

50% discount for a brand new UNI II is still profitable for the dealer and under warranty ?

We can imagine margine added to the price of those new cartridges, crazy world.

It never would've occurred to me to gainsay the Zyx packaging.  I think it's cute, well done and very japanese (complete with charmingly mangled English in the manual). And those pretty cloth bags - I fill them with sand and use them for damping. They help to convince my guests that I'm completely nuts, even if they pretend not to notice... 
@jollytinker haha, those bags are the best things in their package design, i miss them. But on the side of the Premium Zyx 4D you will find just a piece of paper with a brand name and model. In fact the quality of prints on that paper is even better on lower model Zyx Airy3. But common, just a digital print on a piece of paper used to add brand name on a pair of cartridges cost nearly $8000 new? The manual made on home laser printer and pages compiled with two clips. My local non profit $2 franzine looks better, but these stuff comes with $8000 cartridges. Can't remember any other cartridges with the brand name added with a piece of paper or sticker, except for Mostrer Cable designed by Nakatsuka-San (ZYX) back in the 80s. Respected manufacturers put their brand name and model number on the carts with mode advanced methods since the early 70s and all manuals printed with offset method. In 21st century someone use a tiny piece of paper and home printer for everything that cost astranomical amount of money. Something wrong with that. At least the sound quality is superb. Ok, maybe it's just me, who cares. 

"I saw Carr’s posts, but it is not what i’m talking about, i have provided the link of very good picture in high resolution https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DMCAEMLWAAA2x8G.jpg:large , on that picture anyone can see the part of the tall nude Micro Ridge diamond on top and on the bottom of the Boron cantilever, which means the diamong go throught the tube. If you know any other manufacturer who use the same construction in modern cartridges plz let me know. My point is that it was patented by ZYX or just an exclussive ZYX design (Nakatsuka-San will not use this method without good reason). As far as i know no one actually use this method or even similar cantilever construction among the modern retippers. Retipper use huge amount of glue arount the tip visible by naked eye, but on ZYX own cantilever i can’t see any glue even on macro lens. Maybe it’s inside the tube, but the effective mass of the tip is very low on ZYX cartridges."   


Both Andy at Phonocartridgeretipping and Soundsmith are currently offering the laser mounted through mounted cantilever construction on sapphire cantilevers. 

I have an Ortofon cartridge that I had Andy do for me earlier this year with a sapphire cantilever and microridge that is definitely through mounted and, as you say, has extremely low tip mass. I've been very happy with it. I think it is more detailed and either just as smooth/refined, or very close to a traditionally mounted microridge on a boron cantilever that he did for me a few years before on the same model of cartridge (Ortofon MC Super) that I still have in use which is currently strapped for mono. 

Soundsmith also seems to have added a line contact through mount on a sapphire cantilever as a retip option on their website recently (maybe in the last year) so they are out there. 

Appears to be much more difficult to find such an option on a boron cantilever through retippers, but boron cantilevers seem to have become more difficult to source in the past few years in general. 

If I had to guess, I would think that the laser mounts that Andy uses are coming from Namiki Stylus but I am not sure of that. 

But that type of construction is out there and currently available from at least those two retippers. 
@hdm Of course i know about modern Sapphire and Ruby cantilevers and the way the stylus tip mounted on them. Every JICO Neo SAS use the same construction from the same two japanese suppliers. And i have to repeat what my friend Nandric said million times, that re-tippers just use what their supplier provided for them. I have owned highly regarded cartridges with Sapphire cantilevers, they’re looks amazing under microscope like one of my ADC Astrion, but it does not mean they are superior to Boron or even Beryllium, if fact it was inferiour cartridge compared to most of my carts. BTW as far as i know Nakatsuka-San designed ADC TRX-1 and TRX-2 with Sapphire cantilever in the 70’s for ADC (but i have not tried those carts yet). Oldschool hollow pipe Boron (like on those Technics mk4) with laser etched hole for the diamond is not available anymore in any modern design, but Nakatsuka-San’s method looks pretty similar on the picture (but in fact combined two different tubes, most likely Boron is rod, but attached front part of the tube must be hollow pipe with diamont sitting there with no glue or minimum amount of glue, not sure about material of that pipe yet, maybe it’s the top secret of his patent). ZYX now offering a top model with Diamond Cantilever. Anyway, correct me if i'm wrong, but the goal of the hollow pipe boron (the old technology) is extremely low mass of the cantilever/stylus combo and high compliance or very high compliance typical for some of the best vintage MM cartridges of the 70s/80s era.  

Dear chakster, ''my friend Nandric said million times...'' As anybody

can see Nandric wrote ''only''  2801 contributions in this forum(grin).

I think that enthusiasm and exaggeration go hand in hand. But with

your ''encyclopedic'' knowledge of (carts) names and numbers I

am surprised , first, with you confession to have never heard TRX

2 as well that you don't know that the newest TRX 2 got beryllium

 cantilever. This fact  is mentioned as ''improvement'' against the

 ''old model''. Next to the  ''wrong'' (Raul) JVC X1-mk 2 my best MM

cart. ''Oldschool (young) Nakatsuka san '' used back than better

material for both: the body as well for the  cantilevers(grin).

 What kind of admirer are you? You friend Nandric is ''loaded'' with

 Ikeda's stuff even the new 9 TT included. And, speaking about

admiration. To my big surprise some Chinese party leader stated

the following reg. the question why they still honor Mao: ''We learned

 from  Russian experience. Since they abandoned Stalin they are in

declain''. Your pesimistic opininon regarding Russian future looks

as a kind of affirmation of the Chinese assertion (grin).

BTW would it make sense to glue one additional ''boron tube''

(which are not produced at present) on the boron rod (which is in

limited supply) in the context of the reduction of the moving mass

by the moving parts in an MC cart? Entusiasm may also go hand in

hand with cotradictions (grin).

Don, Thanks for responding to my challenge.  The UNI II was of course discontinued a few years ago in favor of the latest version of the UNI ("Premium"? Or something like that).  Apparently one sample (the ad notes repeatedly that he has only one sample to sell), fell into the hands of this dealer in LA, by some mechanism.  I am betting that he convinced a customer to trade the unused UNI II toward some other very expensive purchase.  The information in total suggests that this is "the exception that proves the rule"; only Sorasound sell new UNIs on a routine basis.  Now, if the asking price for the UNI II were about half of what it is now, I might jump.

Later comments about packaging are of interest.  I also noticed the stark contrast between how Ortofon packages their TOTL cartridges (very fancy and elegant) vs how ZYX packages the UNI, which is no different from how they package their cheapest offerings.  I have a new AT ART7, which retails for under $1000.  It's packaging is far "nicer" than that of my ZYX UNI, which came to me in the original box.  I am unmoved by this fact, however. What does perturb me a little is that in the good old days, when no company would dare to ask $8000 for a phono cartridge, every new cartridge came with its own frequency response read-out which also showed channel separation and voltage output.  I have an NOS vintage B&O with such a package insert.  It would seem that for $8000, or even for $1000, this practice should be revived.  Perhaps it would be too revealing.
@nandric no, you just mixed up different ADC models, your faulty memories, there was trx-1 (titanium cantilever), trx-2 (sapphire cantilever) and trx-3 (beryllium cantilever) designed by Nakatsuka-San. I am sceptical, because only grgaudio call them "the best MM" (in fact they are IM) and people repeat it after him, but grgaudio easily sells one ADC with stylus from another inferior model without even mentioning it in his listings on a'gon. Other people call sapphire cantilever "a diamond cantilever" to ask for a higher price. Welcome to the world of dishonest sellers. 

p.s. Those Chinese are at least the producers, not the consumers. Closest scenario for my country is North Korea until 2024 at least, so i can not be positive about it.   

Dear chakster, I see you as my ''young Slavic brohter''. Also as

a younger forum member. I own, as I stated, this TRX 2 with

beryllium cantilever.  I also own TRX 2 with saphire cantilever

(NOS). In the user manual of the beryllium kind beryllium is

described as ''improvement'' of the saphire kind. Who then mixed

what up? I am in this hobby for more as 40 years . I put some

arguments forward which you usualy avoid to answer. Those who

care to read your and my post should judge about our arguments.

As you know Slavic brothers like to tease each other. More in

particular the younger one. Those are who need to learn and not

pretend to know better. You should follow my example not Raul's


Well, each next model pretend to be an improvement (same with ZYX), if your NOS sample of TRX-2 has Saphire cantilever then nothing wrong with it and it’s hard to argue, but you may have a beryllium cantilever/stylus from TRX-3 on your used TRX-2 cartridge? Good for you, because the difference is in the replacement (stylus/cantilever), not in the generator. The price for TRX-2 was 48000Yen (1986-1989), but for the TRX-3 the price was 60000Yen till 1989. It’s nice to have a replacement stylus from the next and more expensive model than from the previous less expensive model (like in case with gregaudio), but i think someone just replaced the needle on your used TRX-2 to RTRX-3 from TRX-3. Do you like the sound quality?

Your initial post that I quoted made no reference specifically to this type of construction on boron only and seemed to imply (at least to me) it was not available at all on any type of cantilever which is why I responded; simply to point out that it is available, albeit on a material other than boron.  

Probably available on diamond cantilever as well from Namiki. 
@hdm my fault, sorry
we need J.Carr back to explain everything, it’s him and in this video talking about reincarnation of the Miyabi cartridges under Fuuga name: https://youtu.be/NBsvjvhaCbo It was nice to see the personalities behind this project.