Largest Impact - Arm or Cart?

So, I'd like to upgrade my arm or cart.

If you had an Orgin Live Encounter tonearm and a Benz M2 (.8mv MC) cart and $1,000 burning a hole in your pocket, what would you do and why?
Of my 30 years of experimenting, i think the cartridge.
I agree with Jaybo.
I'm not sure you're going to get a big upgrade from the Origin for $1K. Perhaps a used Graham?

However, you could get a BIG sonic upgrade by moving to a better cartridge. There are plenty of candidates at $1K, but I'd personally buy one new rather than used.
Selling your Origin nets you under $1000. Add your available $1000 and you can't make a significant upgrade.

You're in the same situation with the cartridge.

If it were me, I would save more money and buy a used killer tonearm.

A great tonearm with an average cartridge will outperform an average tonearm with a great cartridge all day long.

IMO of course.
I've got an Incognito-wired Rega RB250 arm with Michell Tecnoweight and Tecno VTA adjuster and it sounds great with the Benz Reference 3. That said, I would trade you for your OL Encounter and Benz M2...
I spent on a killer cartridge. I consider it money well spent. BUT the arm must be of reasonable quality: correct static and inertial mass, very easy motions around pivot(s). It becomes a bit of a black art. Example: I was strongly dissuaded from mounting a Helikon on a Dual. This from a guy who sells Helikons. (Helika?)
cheers apo
Your system doesn't show a Record I would vote for a record cleaner first and then you might consider the magnetic bearing upgrade for your Clearaudio Table.
Normally I would say, the Cartridge but when I really think about it, the Tonearm is the way to go.
I have MUCH more Satisfaction when I listen with a DaVinci tonearm (for example) and a modified Denon 103R (Shibui) than with a -former- Roksan Tabriz and a Lyra Parnassus ....

Yes, I would go for a first class tonearm after all my years ..
A great tonearm with an average cartridge will outperform an average tonearm with a great cartridge all day long.

This is spot-on advice. Listening to a great cartridge on a average arm you may never hear all the cartridge can deliver. And you might be surprised at just how good a mid-price cartridge will sound on a better arm. And yes, you may need a little more money to get there.

I've not lived with an Origin Encounter arm so I don't know how easily it lets you adjust SRA/VTA, azimuth, VTF, and anti-skate. The higher-up the cartridge chain you go the more critical it becomes to optimize cartridge setup in order to get all you're paying for. One criteria of a good tonearm is that it accomodates fine grained adjustment and you are comfortable using it. Do you feel you're getting the most from your Benz M2? If you are not satisfied that it is set up near perfect, try to get it there.

I'd ask other owners of your same table what arms they are using. You might also ask someone (a dealer?) who has a better arm and/or table to install your cartridge in his system to hear the difference that upgrades in those areas can make with the M2. You might be surprised its a better cartridge than you think.

your 'encounter' is an excellent arm, and a bargain given the money it would take just to hear an ever-so-slight improvement. for 1k however, there are lots of cartridges that will shake up your system in a bigger way.....sometimes blowing the money on new music will make the need to change components go away.
I agree with Jaybo. You already have a $2,000 arm, and Origins are generally considered over-achievers anyway. If you have $1K you *must* spend, I'd say get a nice cartridge. You wouldn't be stretching beyond the Encounter's capabilities by any means.

But if you want to make big tonearm improvements, save your money until you can get a Graham Phantom.
Assuming you sell the M2 (retails around $1300) for $500 and add the pocket burning $1000, you're basically back to the cost of the M2.

Contrary to the other recommendations, you'll need to drop over $1500 plus the proceeds of the M2 to make a significant upgrade which would be the likes of a Zyx Airy 2, Zyx Airy 3, Sumiko Celebration, Lyra Helikon, etc.

The Encounter is hardly an overachiever and sells for $1600+ not $2000.
Check out this thread, in support of the validity of following the turntable upgrade hierarchy ('table, then arm, then cartridge):

Palasr, Salectric, and Doug Deacon were commenting on how good the Denon DL 103R is in the context of riding on a good turntable / tonearm. I think this is worth reviewing.

The relevant comments start at post #31:

Thom @ Galibier
The arm + cart form a SYSTEM. The most important aspect is how the arm and the cartridge work together. Price is not necessarily the best way to approach this conundrum, either.
Origin Live are indeed, overachievers and give clear performance gain with upgrade. Moving from the Silver Taper, a predecessor to the Encounter, to Illustrious, was instantly better, no equivicatiuon , for me. What they don't have, is efficient, reproducable, VTA and tracking weight adjustement. I am sure this would drive anyone into optimal setup, quite mad. It gives me an excuse not to try and enjoy the music instead.
As Patrickamory says the 2 form a system. All I would add to that is that after 3 years you need a new cartridge or a rebuid, whislst the arm has years left in it.
Thanx for the wisdom.

I think I'm going with the arm. I really do need the ability to setup the cart more optimally and the Encounter doesn't allow fine tuning. We'll add the new arm and adjust the Benz optimally and see if it sounds better. If not, I'll have to wait until the money pots full again and then upgrade the cart.

Now, which arm in the $2k used range. Hmmm.....
Good move on the tonearm upgrade decision Pawlowski. The Encounter is a serviceable piece but you'll notice a big difference with a serious tonearm, even with the M2

I suggest you look for a used Tri-Planar, SME, or Schroder from a seller with strong feedback. No need to buy new.

Good luck.
Audiofeil - thanx buddy. Have a good weekend.
I'd recommend the used Schroder M2. There was one for sale recently; if its not snapped up yet, that would be my vote.