Need MC Step-Up Transformer advice?

I'm thinking of a different approach dealing with my low output Benz MC Cartridge.
What is the feeling and opinion in this forum about Step-Up transformers .vs. active amplification.

Right now I'm using a Audible Illusions M3A (With Gold Phono boards), Levinson Amp and Quads.
I will probably be changing preamps soon - not sure to what.

Anyone have experience with multiple transformers that can guide me towards some and away from others?

Thanks, Steve
Yikes, here we go again.
Keep your head down Rotary914 because I hear... INCOMING!!!

For the record:
- some of us love them
- some of us tolerate them
- one of us hates them with a fiery passion

I believe that covers the entire range of attitudes. Hopefully you will be spared the umpteenth rehash of this topic with all its associated gore.

The most experienced stepup user I know is 'munna' on VA. He owns over twenty different ones. I know which ones work best with my cartridges, but that means nothing to you since my cartridges are not Benz's. I'd suggest asking over there. Perhaps munna's got Benz experience to match his tranny experience.


P.S. I drive a rotary RX-8. What's a rotary 914? An old Porsche with a Wankel?
I use a Benz M2 (0.8mV) and have found the K&K step-up that uses Lundahl transformers to be a good match. These come in kit form but for a nominal fee Kevin Carter will build them for you. You can also have the output cables hardwired (I chose this) and while the step-up ratio and gain is set at the time of order (14db, 20db, or 26db), it can be changed later if you can solder or know someone who else who can as Kevin provides the schematic for each gain level. I have been using this step-up with a Hagerman Trumpet and have been pleased with the sound.

While I do not know if these are compatible with Benz, I have heard very positive things about them: Bent Audio, Steven & Billings, Tribute, Audio Note, and if you can find one used, Cotter. Some of these come ready to use and others require you to build the casings, etc.

As Dougdeacon mentioned you'll be in for a variety of opinions here. Wait, what's that I here, bunker down I think I here Raul coming.
Hi Steve

I have been using step-ups for a number of years, and they are not half as bad as people make them out to be. If fact, I much prefer the gain from a step up to active amplification.

If you are on the cautious side and do not want to spend a boatload of money, I would suggest you give Kevin at K&K a call. You can buy a Lundahl kit step-up or (I have been told) he will sell you an already assembled step-up. Considering their modest price, I give them 11 out of 10 for sonics.

On another thread there is a short discussion on burning in step-ups. This is a procedure that you need to do to get the step-up to sound its best.


Ps. I am not affiliated with K&K in any way. I am simply a (very) satisfied client.
vintage fidelity research transformers are very good; had one and sold it....mistake...thought I would not require one again after I acquired a Modulus 3A with the gold/low output phono board. The modulus is gone due to its inability to accomodate typical NOS tubes (it burns them up or they fail) due to its design.

denon has a couple of transformers available brand new from Audio Cubes; an entry level and a fairly pricey one. I've always had good luck with Denon transformers at all price levels; they are all good...just some are better than others.
Dear Steve, Dear friends: There is a misconception about step-up transformers and that´s why ( like Doug says ) exist differents opinions.

No one in his healthy judgement ( sorry Doug ) can " love " them and if he do that confirm the no know-how about.

The SUT is an old patch for bad SS phonopreamps designs and for the inherent limitations on tube phonopreamps for handle low output MC cartridges. It is a " chip solution to a complex problem ".

Any SUT has many inherent disadvantages like: distortions generated at the core ( it does not matters if is: air core ), heavy phase discharge ( landslide ), high apt to take hum, the wide zone ( band ) can't go down to DC, severe roll-off at high and low frecuencies, the reactive impedance on the SUT is incompatible with the cartridge impedance: this cause that we never could have flat frecuency response when we are using SUT, this mismatch between the impedances promote that the signal that pass through any SUT will be equalized ( yes, exactly like the problems between tube amplifier and loudspeakers because of those impedances ).
Any time with any of you we can make the tests and prove all those disadvantages and others like the additional cables that you have to use, additional connectors, the SUT is an additional ( filter ) link in the analog audio chain: How can you love it? !!!!!!!!!!!

I want to let clear that there is no single advantage, in any way, using SUT's, any of them: it does not matters their design or price.

The SUT always be a : wrong PATCH.

Doug, I don't hate them because I don't have to use them. You like many others peoples have to tolerate them because you choose to handle a low output MC cartridge through a tube technology that preclude ( by design ) the use of low output MC cartridges.

Steve, till today: active amplification is the right way to go.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Raul & Others,

I am also in the same situation regarding a step -up vs active gain stages. My question is which option would better guard against the cartridge seeing DC offset? I have an Allerts MC1B MkII (0.65mv, 22 ohms coil impedance) with very thin and delicate coil windings that I am told could burn out very easily is exposed to DC offset.

Would a transfornmer block DC offset from a phonostage? What type of phonostage design would produce the least DC offset at its input? Does the rather high 22 ohms coil impedance impact the transformer vs active gain decision?

Have you had any problems with your Allerts MC2? Does it require anything "special" to deal with the high coil impendance and fragile coil windings?

Thanks all for your help.......Joe P
I second Raul's opinion. I have tried well burned-in S&B TX-103 transformers (also briefly Cotter trannies several years ago) in my VPI/Shelter 501/Counterpoint SA-9 in MM/Acoustat servo OTL power amps/Acoustat model 8's. The S&Bs were configured at 20db gain with either 50 or 100 ohms. My modified Music Reference RM-4 or Audio Research MCP-33 is much more musical, dynamic and involving. This could be a system matching issue. Since my experience is limited with my own system, I cann't generalize the results. It's just my experience with my system.
Dear Joe: The best you can do with your Allaerts is through an active gain stage: you don't have to worry about DC offset. Only if the phonopreamp was or has a faulty stage.

Great cartridge: congratulations !!!!!

Regards and enjoy the music.
Here's 30 years of perspective on moving coil step-up transformers vs. active preamplification: Neither approach to scaling up the signal from a low-output moving coil cartridge has conclusively defeated the other. The theoretical shortcomings of transformers are well-known and cited in a post above, but that doesn't mean a transformer might not sound preferable to you. It's true that back in the 70s, when all preamps had mm phono sections, generally transformers were preferable to the solid state pre-preamps of the day. The Levinson JC-1 was the primary transistor contender to take seriously. I'd say the period from about 1975 - 1985 saw transformers rule. This was the era of the excellent Mitch Cotter, Koetsu, Audio Interface, etc. xformers. A Koetsu was $1000 circa 1980 -- real money then.

When CD drove phono stages out of preamps and the market became dominated by linestages, engineering and resources directed into stand-alone phono sections yielded phono preamps that cost more than conventional phono + line preamps of just a few years before. The raw devices and power supply techniques improved to, so we got tighter, quieter tube phone stages, and considerably more musical solid state alternatives. Over the past 30 years, I have gone both ways on this. I've had Cotter, Denon, Ortofon, Koetsu, AI, Quicksilver and EAR step-up transformers. They were all euphonic and had very specific sonic signatures and this crowd did not generally roll off in the frequency extremes in a musically-intrusive manner, but they certainly weren't perfect. I've also used low-output moving coils directly into standard phone sections of preamps that were connected to high-input sensitivity power amps, yielding enough gain to avoid both a transformer and an additional active step-up, and this in many ways yielded the best results. You could do this in the analog days because tuners and tape decks had output level controls for level matching across sources. This worked because most American amps had ~1.5v input sensitivity so American preamps were spec'd at about 2 - 3v output at rated distortion. Most British/Euro power amps (e.g. Quad) had 0.5v input sensitivity and their preamps were rated for less than 1v output at rated distortion. So you could run a MC cart directly into an American preamp feeding a British amp and get adequate volume. Moreover, despite the specs, many MC carts of the day sounded better running directly into a MM input with the standard 47kohm impedance. Of course, you had to find the right pre/power combination to your liking.

Today, both the tube and solid state independent phono stages are better. There are excellent, musical silicon phono stages from Bel Canto, Trichord Research, Graham Slee, Sutherland, and many others, that won't bankrupt you. I've given up my transformer/tube phono setup recently because a move and some system changes made it impossible to get acceptable noise levels in any practical physical placement of the components. So I am using a Bel Canto Phono 1 driven by a Denon DL 103D, 60db total gain from the Bel Canto, and it's excellent. On balance, I have to say at the current state of development, it is better to go without a transformer and shop for a phono stage that can deliver sufficient clean, musical, tonally satisfying gain.

Keep in mind, phono is comprised of nothing but compromises. Low output moving coil cartridges are compromises themselves. A Shure V15 is and long has been measurably much more accurate from a frequency distribution perspective and of course delivering a much more usable signal, is easier to process. But moving coils have a character that belies the specs and once you find the right one, it's hard to go back to the MM sound.

You really have to consider the total amplification / gain chain to make optimal choices. But on balance, good transformers are quite expensive and if you put that money into a better phono section you can end up with less noise, more consistent performance, improved transient impact and generally more convincing fidelity, but some of the euphonic candy that comes with transformers will be missing.

Rather bizarre view that a step-up’s inability to conduct DC should be seen as a negative point. Especially considering that speakers, cartridges and amplifier have the same inability to conduct DC. Maybe we should get rid of them too?

Having recently replaced a stepped attenuator (i.e. discrete resistor) with a transformer-based attenuator in my pre-amp, it is glaringly obvious that a step-up introduces less coloration than even a single high quality resistor.

So how active amplification device, which will contain 1.) many resistors, 2.) many capacitors, 3.) many transistors and/or vacuum tubes, 4.) 30db (or more) of negative feedback (transistor phono), 5.) many different wires (or god forbid, pc boards!), 6.) many solder points, 7) a power supply (!!!!!) 8.) possibly a few regulators, etc, would induce less coloration to a low level signal than a single high quality transformer is simply bizarre.

Having built many amplifiers over a number of years, it has become clear that isolating the very small and fragile MC signal from noise and distortions emanation from the components of within an amplifier is not a trivial task. I have yet to hear a MC phono amplifier that does not raise the noise floor and rob the signal of some low level detail.

Step-ups are not perfect and will impact the signal with some residue. So does each and every component of an amplification device. Do the math.

Dougdeacon- bet you did not see that coming? Raul took a double shot tubes and transformers.
If we're taking double shots, Glenmorangie would hold my attention better!

Very interesting summary, thank you. The only transformers I have long experience with are my S&B's from BentAudio. I don't know whether you'd consider them expensive, but noisy they most definitely are not. Mine have had a dead silent background at all times, both in my system and in every other system where I've tried them.
Doug, I agree. The noise level of my Mu is beyond my listening level. The hiss of the 50s classical reissue recordings are far more pronounced. Besides, those before mentioned issues are all theoretical, which are insignificant. What matters is wether you like the sound or not.
Dear friends: The SUT issue is a extremly critical one and many of you prefer to go " around " like the ostrich that " hide the head " for nobody see it.

If you really cares about music then take a look: any one of us have a special love for music and music reproduction at home. We all prefer analog over digital. I think that all of us are looking for the best quality sound reproduction from a LP's. That's why we invert a lot of money and a lot of time with our analog rig: from a MMF-7 to a Rockport/Walker TT, from a Shure V to an Allaerts or Koetsu cartridges, from Rega RB 300 to Air Tangent tonearms, and the like. We take our time setting our analog rig. VTA on each LP, VTF, overhang, Azymuth, clamps, plataforms, etc, etc.
We do all those things because we want that the signal that goes through our phonopreamp will be the purer one with out or minimal degradation and what happen when that " be loved " signal has to be amplified ? , that that signal from a low output MC cartridge has to pass for a SUT that do a severe/heavy degradation to the original signal: this is unfair to you that invert thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours for that signal goes through a piece of wires ( tha's is what is a SUT ) that you buy it for a couple of coins.
Somebody " take our hair " about SUT's. You and any one deserves in any way the terrible job that the SUT is making with your quality music sound reproduction.
As I already told about, the SUT is a Patch a very bad one. There is no justification for that today any one of you still use any SUT, it does not matters design or price.

There is no synergy between low output MC cartridges and tube phono preamps and less than that there is no synergy between SUT's and quality music sound reproduction.
The problem is not on your phono preamp the problem is in that you buy the wrong cartridge for your phono preamp. Your phono preamp is for high output MC cartridges and MM cartridges. I already told in other thread: the MM cartridges are really great performers that in many ways put on shame many of the big names low output MC cartridges: Grado, Rega, Ortofon, Clearaudio, Linn, Roksan, etc, etc. You have to try because if you insist in the SUT use then you never know what is recorded on the LP.
Now if you want to go for the low output MC cartridges then you have to go for phono preamps that can handle it with out SUT: Boulder, Rowland, Ayre, FM Acoustics, Mark Levinson, Krell, Halcro, Classe, Sutherland, The Groove and the like, there is no other options and this is only if you care about music and cares about the quality music sound reproduction through an audio system at home.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Phil, very educational post.

Pauly: +++++ " So how active amplification device, which will contain 1.) many resistors, 2.) many capacitors, 3.) many transistors and/or vacuum tubes, 4.) 30db (or more) of negative feedback (transistor phono), 5.) many different wires (or god forbid, pc boards!), 6.) many solder points, 7) a power supply (!!!!!) 8.) " +++++

You really don't know nothing about the design of a phono preamp: all phono stages ( with or with out SUT's ) already have the gain stages, the SUT is an additional stage !!!!.

+++++ " Having recently replaced a stepped attenuator (i.e. discrete resistor) with a transformer-based attenuator in my pre-amp, it is glaringly obvious that a step-up introduces less coloration than even a single high quality resistor. " +++++

You are really ignorant about. I can't lost my time with people like you that " open the mouth " only because you have it. Sorry, no bad feelings.

Styx: +++++ " . Besides, those before mentioned issues are all theoretical, which are insignificant. What matters is wether you like the sound or not. +++++ "

First those issues are not theoretical: are facts. Second : are not insinificants, are really a danger for the music signal.

If you think that what matters is wether you like or not, then we are talking about different things: I'm talking about quality music sound reproduction, can you understand this statement?

Regards and enjoy the music.
I posted this tid bit in another thread and thought it might be appropriate here as well. Here goes:

IMO the only response to Raul's posts is no response. He is entitled to his opinions, as misguided as most of them are, like everybody else here. The record is replete with his omniscient and combative ideas so why not let him go? I for one take no stock in anything he says and read them for the entertainment content. Roll with them and grab a few laughs.
No bad feeling Raul. I have absolutely no idea what you are saying. Could you repost in proper English?
Pauly. Don't get him going. Ignore and move on. Unfortunately the more things change the more they stay the same with Raul.

I have experience with S&B transformers in the form of a TVC. I know the S&B TX103 transformers that Bent uses in their mu-metal cans for MC step-up are quiet, and I do think the price is moderate. If I do return to a MC transformer, it will be the Bent/S&B next. For anyone who elects the transformer route, they are an excellent choice and more neutral than most, irrespective of price.

Pauly, what Raul means is that as SUTs are to OTLs, so LO MCs are to the MoJ.

Proper English; irrefutable logic.

MoJ obviously referring to the mass of Jupiter.

Dear friends: I'm not against the SUT " per se ", I'm against what the SUT makes to the cartridge signal: heavy degradation.

I like many of you used the SUT for many years till I discovery that the best SUT is NO SUT. I already try severals SUT's and all of them do a severe degradation to the cartridge signal.

Maybe some of you can think that an Audio NOte Kondo or Expressive Technologies SUT's don't have any problem: wrong, all SUT's have the same problems and all of them degraded the cartridge signal.

We have to understand that the low output MC cartridges was not build " thinking " in a low gain phonopreamps ( tube or SS ). The low gain phonopreamps like yours is only for CD, high output MC and MM cartridges ( btw: Music Maker, Sumiko and Audio Technica have great cartridges too ).
Tha's why I can tell you that if you have a low gain phono stage with a low output MC cartridge: you choose the wrong cartridge to go. For any one can enjoy and discover ( really enjoy ) the " magic " quality sound reproduction of a low output MC cartridge any one needs a high-gain phono preamp, with out any PATCH ( external/internal SUT/Autoformer. With out any mis-match between cartridge impedance and SUT that equalized the cartridge signal, always. ) ) no question about, period. There are many options of high gain phono preamps out there including the CTC one.

When you are using a low output MC cartridge with a low gain phono preamp it is like if you want to scale the Everest in a Ferrari Testa Rosa or like you want to swim in the sea dressed with a Tuxedo instead of a swimwear. Sure you can to swim dressed on a Tuxedo but: Imagine that!!! That's what you have on your audio system, it does not matters if your audio systems cost 10K or 500K.

All things in the music/audio world have their specific place. Some body tell us that can change it with a terrible TWO COINS PATCH, that's is unfair for you for us and for your and us whole investment.
Of course if you really don't care about the music you can swim with a Tuxedo. No problem at all.

Styx, Phil and Doug: I think that you have a misconception about audio noise generated on a SUT or any other audio device. There a re audible and non-audible noises, this ones are the must critical because these noises modulated the signal and put heavy colorations on it. The SUT is terrible in this kind of problem. You don't hear the noise as a noise you hear it as an additional colorations in the cartridge signal. Stay away.

Khrys: You have a great and very serious audio system: a " gold " system ". Don't show the " cooper " on you, I think that you are better much better person that your post.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Hi Mustang. Agreed. Some people post simply because they are infatuated by their own flawed opinions. Said individual goes a long way to validate that statement.

Pauly: +++++ " flawed opinions " +++++

Which ones and why, where or how are flawed?

Regards and enjoy the music.
We need to speak from our own expreiences, not from "it must be....", especially when it comes to audio. I think it is really worthwhile at least to try some decently built pre-preamps a listen. From my exprience pre-preamps sound very good. In fact I transformers sounded uninvolving and lacked dynamics (though quiter) compared to pre-preamps in my system.

Dear Doug: Now, I think that you can understand the why's of our ZYX differences in opinions: you like many other " likes to swim full dress on Tuxedo ". Doug this statement is in good shape: please no bad feelings. I think Larry too and the transformer coupled phonopreamp of Patrick is the same. Unfortunatelly all of you never know for sure which is the real performance of the ZYX cartridges till you have the right phonopreamp.

regards and enjoy the music.
Hey Raul, I'm a 6 nines cupric kind of guy.
I kid you Raul.
If I could converse half as cogently in your native language as you do in mine I'd take my own posts way more seriously.
Hi Sojs. Agreed, only personal experience counts.

You compare a step-up + SA-9 to MCP-33, yet you think the problem was the step-up only? The comparison is not valid.

I have compared high and low output carts on the same phono pre amp; the low output carts with a step-up. The low output cart with step-up was always a little bit better - more speed, more detail, more sparkle.

Having used (and liked) tx103s I find it strange that you consider them un-involving and lacking in dynamics. Apart from an issue with your phono, it is possible the step-up where not burned in as you think. Unless you drive them many hundred hours with about 2.0-5.0 mV they will never burn in. No amount of time behind a low output MC will ever run them in; in fact they slowly go green again.

As a rule I give my step-ups long burn in times with approx. 2.0-3.0 mV input every couple of months (when I can remember).

Agreed that step-ups are quieter. For signals lower than approx. 1.0 mV active amplification is simply too noisy.

I use vacuum tube phono only once the signal exceeds 2.0mV, and never ever use transistor phono or pre-amplification. Transistors make my Koetsu and Benz Ref sound like a $100 CD player. Some people like that sound so they can run MC transistor phonos.

My preference is step-ups plus a vacuum tube MM phono stage rather than active MC phono.

Hi Paul, the TX-103 that I was using was burned-in from Bent audio. I have asked for 100% burn-in, and John did it for me. I don't have any idea about how many hours is actually needed for a complete burn-in. I have assumed that Bent audio would have known what is optimal burn-in period. Maybe I need to try after more burn-in, but I doubt that I have that much patience and time since I am currently very much satisfied with my current systm.

Here is a little more description about my feelings with
Acoustat model 8 speakers

Modified (by Mike Savuto of Analogue Associates) Acoustat Servo OTL mono power amps

Modified (Dynamicaps, removed transistor buffer stages, circuit board damping, naked vishay output volume registers, Blackgate 'lytic caps throughout except for low voltage apps, etc) Counterpoint SA-9 phono preamp with Amperex Buggle Boy 6DJ8s

Modified (Vishay registers, Blackgate caps, Dynamicaps, etc) Music Reference RM-4 pre-preamp with Amperex white PQ 6922s

Stock Audio Research MCP-33 pre-preamp with Amperex Buggle Boy 6DJ8s

Shelter 501 II or ZYX Airy II Copper cartridge

Despite the fact that both the phono stage and the prepreamp are tube units, the RM-4/Counterpoint SA-9/Shelter 501 (0.4mv) combo sounds extremely quite and I cannot hear any noise at all at the listening position. I need to get close to about 1 or 2' to the speakers to hear any tube noise. When I substitute RM-4 with MCP-33 I get very faint tube noise from my listening position. So, the RM-4 is quiter than the MCP-33. The RM-4 got considerably quiter after mod with premium parts. The RM-4 with ZYX (0.24mv) is more noisy but I am not distracted by the noise. In fact I can live with it since it sounded very very real and live. Noray Jones's voice is extremely real and alive with the ZYX.

TX-103: The most problem I had with it is that it's dynamically compressed. Could be burn-in or system matching issue, but that's the feeling I and my audiophile (classical guitar professor) friend have concluded.

Stock MCP-33: More dynamic that TX-103 with pleasing instrumental tone.

RM-4: Very dynamic and alive. very musical.

I think we need to keep an open mind when it comes to Audio. There are so many variables and systems that we can never predict the outcome.

Dear Pauly: +++++ " - more speed, more detail, more sparkle. " +++++

I know for sure that that is what you are hearing and you are right in what you are hearing.

Pauly this is a form in what the distortions tell you " I'm here ". That sparkle is not a better quality sound: it is distortion. It is not easy to explain here about because the best way to do it is making some change in our audio system ( where we are sure there will be less distortion ) and hear what happen with that change that is supposed has less distortion.

This is something that I learn many years ago when I change a tonearm interconect cable for something better: what I hear that time?: less sparkle and " less high frecuencies ", even the loudness in the volumen goes down ( at least I percivied like the volumen goes down ). I was very disapointed about and I return to the old cable that give me more " speed, clarity and sparkle ". One week later I return to the better cable and I understand what happen: less distortion. From that day I always know , speaking of distortions, when any change I do was for the better or worse. From that day I don't have to do any meausure to be sure about and if I take the meausure this one confirm what I'm hearing. Of course that's don't mean that if we have a dull sound in our system and after we do some change and with that change the sound is no any more dull but open and shining, that this is because there are more distortions: no, we have to have a lot of experience about to know for sure when what we are hearing are : distortions.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Hi Steve (Sojs). From your description your setup sounds very good and by no means did I infer otherwise. Nor am I inferring (like some other poster continually does) that you are somehow lacking in discerning between 'good' and 'bad' sound. I am sure your ear is good.

My comments pertaining to the tx103s were because your description of its performance (compressed/constrained) is similar to mine but with green step-ups.

Dear Doug: Now, I think that you can understand the why's of our ZYX differences in opinions: ... I think Larry too and the transformer coupled phonopreamp of Patrick is the same.
Heh. I may use stepup transformers but none of Larry's three phono preamps has one. Nor does Patrick's. Better check your facts.

Larry, Patrick and I have different phono stages but we all like ZYX cartridges. Allow me to draw a conclusion: they're pretty good. Perhaps you've never heard one properly set up on a well-matched arm.

Unfortunatelly all of you never know for sure which is the real performance of the ZYX cartridges till you have the right phonopreamp.
Your one-man campaign against ZYX makes it likely that you've only heard them with the WRONG phonopreamp. That is the logical explanation for an attitude which no one else seems to share.

FWIW, I've heard ZYX (and other) cartridges with at least twelve different phono stages. Some were all SS. Some were all tube. Some were SS + tube. Some were stepup transformers + tube. How many do I need to hear before I'll "know for sure" what a cartridge sounds like? Will you send me a diploma? ;-)
Dear Doug: I don't have any campaign against ZYX and it is not true that " no one else seems to share " about ( this is only one thread about: . You were in some other thread were some people talk about the ZYx problems speacially at the low bass: if I can remember one of that threads Larry was extremly angry, in that thread some one gives ( other than me ) an opinion of those problems.

Btw, I never said that the ZYX cartridges are bad cartridges: I said that are good cartridges that have problems at the extreme of the frecuency range ( specially at the bottom end ), that there are not the best out there and that if in their next generation those problems will be fixed then I buy it. That's all. There is no campaign about.
As you know I have a special passion for the music and for the analog sound reproduction of the music. I own what I own on cartridges/tonearms because that passion: do you think that if the ZYX cartridges were up to the task ( my targets/music priorities ) I don't have a single one?. As I told you I'm waiting for a better ZYX performance, till that day I shall give my advise to other people to look other better performer cartridges that do a better job than the ZYX.

I know for sure that what you hear at your system is what you already post about ZYX cartridges. I only differ from your opinion because in your system you can't hear the ZYX bass problems: the SUT put a veil about and the frecuency range on your system can't handle in a clean way that range of frecuency. The problem is not only the phonopreamp, at this´performance cartridge level it is important too the resolution over the frecuency range of the audio system ( yours, mine, or any one ) and only in a similar audio system conditions we really can hear the cartridge performance and talk about in the " same language ". Right now we are talking on a subject with differents audio systems: it is almost imposible to share a specific global agreement.

Regards and enjoy the music.
how do you get in touch with K&K? Mike Cassidy.