If I had a Benz cartridge, I'd sell it considering all of the better products on the market.
30 responses Add your response
'Some Benz' to be retiped by 'someone'? You probably expect that 'someone' among the members will give you the name and address of some repair service. However some Benz carts are not the other.The LP s is about $5000 some other $300. I would not pay retip of, say, $500 for the last mentioned one. But for the Ruby 3(S?) and LP S I would gladly wait for a retip by Benz.
About 14 years ago I had my ruby re-tipped by Van Den Hul. I had this done because I liked the sound of Van Den Hul stylii. The results were as I hoped, and I have never regretted my decision. The cartridge does sound different since the re-tip, but that is what I wanted. At that time Van Den Hul wanted 600 dollars for a re-tip, I think. It was about half of what Benz charged. The turnaround time was not too bad, about 6 weeks, but that was then.
I sent my Benz LP to Soundsmith for a retip only, i.e. on the existing cantilever. SS did N excellent job and the Benz sounds like new again. I plan on sending back for another retip when the time comes.
It really is unfortunate that Benz has just abandoned the US market. Very strange business strategy.
I did not lightly make my decision to not use the Benz factory to refurb my cartridge. I would have preferred to have done what I always did in the past, simply exchange my cartridge for a current Ruby. The two previous times I did this the cost was $1,000 and a one week turnaround. The exchange program now costs $2,400 and my authorized Benz dealer cannot give me a delivery time. The amount of time stated for a factory retip is absurd. Soundsmith has a very solid reputation. That coupled with their reasonable cost and okay turnaround time convinced me. I also did not just send it to them. I took the time to personally deliver the cartridge to their facility, inspect the place and talk directly to the people involved. I drove away with the impression that my cartridge was in caring and expert hands.
At present Benz uses MR (micro ridge) styli but in the
past the Gyger S. Well Van den Hul designed 3 styli for
Gyger: Gyger 1, II and S. What is called 'Van den Hul'
styli are actually Gyger styli. He probably made such an
agreement with Gyger as he deed with Benz (for parts).
The styli are sold with the cantilever as a combo. So no
wonder Bill was satisfied with Van den Hul retip.
Tony, I am not sure I understand your question. My Benz received a new tip at Soundsmith. The tip was supposed to be as close as possible to the one it came with. Since I had used the cartridge for 3 years prior to the retipping, I can't be totally sure but it seemed to me the retipped Benz sounded the same as when it was new.
Tony&Selectric, What we call 'retip' is usually exchange of the whole cantilever/ stylus combo. The old one is pulled out the new one glued instead. That is btw how supplier provide manufacturer and reapair services: cantilever with stylus already fitted. To glue a new stylus in the original cantilever seems to be much more difficult job. So this 'real' retip should be also more expensive. But for Soundsmith in Salectric case would be necessary to have Gyger S styli for the retip. Otherwise 'the same sound' is not probable.
Nandric, from what I understand SS offers either a new stylus and cantilever, or really a new "retip" - replacing the stylus on the existing cantilever. And yes it is more expensive than the first option. I think they recommend this as an option for carts that are already outfitted with boron or similar cantilevers.
Salectric, you answered my question exactly as it was intended. Thanks.
As I said earlier, my Benz received a "real" retipping from SS meaning they removed the original tip from the cantilever and attached a new one. This costs more than getting a replacement cantilever and tip since there is more work required. As to whether the stylus is identical to the original, I don't know. I suspect it isn't but it is evidently close enough judging from the sound quality. In any event, the way I looked at was the SS price was low enough compared to getting a whole new cartridge that I was willing to take the risk. I have no regrets about doing so.
Back to the original post - The original poster didnt indicate if the cantilever was still intact. I think that makes a difference as I prefer boron to ruby. I was in a similar situation but it was only my stylus that was worn with an intact cantilever. I sent it to Andy at the Needle Clinic and had a micro ridge stylus + a new suspension damper installed. Turn around was about two weeks and its now breaking in. I like what Im hearing and would do it again.
Sbrown ... that's an interesting bit of info. I've been reading a lot of good comments about Andy.
My primary cartridge is the Lyra Kleos. Not sure, but it may have a micro ridge stylus. I'll check. I seem to recall that Jonathan Carr, Lyra's designer, posted a comment some time ago that said changing cantilever's on the Delos and Kleos is NOT a good idea because the damping system is configured with a boron cantilever in mind.
Seems to me that if Andy can closely match a replacement stylus with the original, it might bring a worn Lyra back to life.
Sorry to talk about Lyra cartridges when this post is about Benz cartridges. But I think the retip quandary is very similar.
Soundsmith also has a Benz trade in program. Depending on your cartridge you might want to trade in for a Soundsmith cart. I traded in my Benz for a Paua - really liking the change. Long run, it will be less expensive to keep (full rebuilds, if needed, are relatively inexpensive) and the sound will not change with re-tips. The customer service is great.
I traded a Benz Wood SM for a Sussurro Paua. I might have gotten more for the Benz through an outright sale but the trade in, given how Benz has left the US market, was not too bad. The Paua is much more dynamic to my ears. It does not have as deep of midrange but that is OK. The Benz was sometimes too rich and not enough detail. I am hearing a heck of a lot more background instruments and background singers than before. Sometimes I have turned off the volume thinking my wife was calling me from upstairs - I heard a distinct female voice. Turns out it was a background singer I never knew existed. Peter gave great customer service. He followed up several times to make sure I was happy with the cartridge. I can get a full rebuild for a lot less than some other cartridges' factory retips. I am very happy with the trade.
Wow, I've heard good things about the Paua. Glad to hear you're enjoying it. I sent my old L2 off the SS because it just couldn't track anymore. Went for the Evaluation; after I hear the verdict I may consider going beyond a repair. The Paua is too rich for my blood, unfortunately, but if he's got something in a lower price bracket with mid compliance and less than 1mv output it might be worth considering.