Moving on from Benz LP

Hi Guys,

I currently have a Benz LP. I'm happy enough with its performance but it has a lot of hours on the clock. Given its age, I was thinking about either re-tipping or changing it.

Any thoughts on how it would compare to the current crop of new carts at a similar or lesser price point?
I had a couple of Benz LP carts. I changed to an airtight PC 3 also a shelter harmony. Both considerable improvements on LP.
Thanks for suggestions, unfortuately both are outside my budget.
I too decided to move on from a Benz LPS (a very fine cartridge). I was mulling over the top Lyras, Koetsu, et al. I was speaking to Harry Weisfield about that and he suggested an Ortofon Windfield. The price was well below those top notchers, but the performance is right up with them. It tracks at least as well the Benz...its tonality is a tiny bit cooler, but I though the Benz a bit warm. The dynamics are even a bit better, the depth, air...all the good stuff is there. I tried many, many loadings but 1000 ohms really does the trick in my system. It takes a LONG time to break in, and to get the best from it, be careful with the'll love it...guranteed
I have had a lot of good MC cartridges in my system and my all time favourite is the Benz LP. Others include a Koetsu Rosewood signature and Onyx, Ortofon SPU synergy and Zyx Airy 3. With my heart, I would say my favourite was the Koetsu Rosewood, but the LP was faster and more neutral. The most disappointing was the Zyx, a surprise to me, with it's avid following. It sounded flat and lifeless to me.

This is going to be controversial, but if you don't want to just re tip the LP, which is what I would do, consider second hand. Yes I know how fragile cartridges are and the resulting risks, but that is reflected in often very low prices. I bought the Rosewood about 10 years ago for $1000, with 50 hours on the clock. I used it for 4 years, had it retipped and sold it for the same price I bought it for. My best ever purchase, I think.
I note that the Airy 3 on your system page is the high output, silver-coil version. If anyone asked me what to expect from a HO, silver-coil ZYX, "flat and lifeless" would be what I'd predict (and have actually reported, many times). The low output, copper coil versions are altogether different. They're what I've always recommended, what most people own and are the basis for that avid following. As usual in audio, the devil's in the details. :-)
As my phono pre has limited gain, let me ask if it is the copper or the low output that rules. In other words, what is your assessment of a high output copper coil version? Actually ZYX high output is not very high, 0.48mV, compared to others called high.
The best system I ever heard had a 7 year old Benz LP running. AR D-250 amp, Infinity Beta speakers,AR sp 10 pre, and all sitting on stillpoint sp 5's.
The detail and soundstage was unreal. The last time I listened to the system he played some big band music and I could pics out the entire band from left to right behind the speakers.


The output of the copper, silver and gold coil ZYX's is identical. For the purpose of matching a phono stage's gain, the wire type is not a consideration. The output voltage rules.

Before proceeding, it's useful to understand that ZYX's output specs are not based on the industry-typical stylus velocity of 5.00 cm/second. ZYX measures cartridge output at 3.54cm/second. To compare with other cartridge brands or for matching cartridge output to phono stage gain, it's helpful to multiply ZYX's specified .24 or .48mv by 5.00/3.54, or 1.41. When you do this, you find that a ZYX actually outputs around .34mv (LO) or .68mv (HO).

Reviewers who don't know this often remark that the ZYX they're reviewing sounded louder than they expected for its rated output. This is because they ARE louder, for the reason noted above.

Thus informed, it should be easy to choose between a LO or HO ZYX. Look up the gain (or input sensitivity) of your phono stage. If it can handle a .34mv cartridge, choose the LO. If you don't need the higher output, there's no advantage to choosing a HO ZYX and sonically there's a major disadvantage, as the HO output models (like the HO version of any MC cartridge) are less dynamic.

Apologies to the OP for this digression, but hope it's helpful.