New cart, step-up or ???

Just got a Hagerman Trumpet to go with a Joule LA-100MKIII I recently acquired. Analog front end is Benz Glider L2 (0.25mv)/OL Silver/SOTA Star Saphirre. The Trumpet has 44 dB gain, the Joule 11 dB. I have run it as is, and the volume is fine at about 11:30-12:30 rotation on the Joule. Hagerman recommends his 20 dB step-up instead of his additional gain stage; or I could stand pat, or I could go to a new, mid output MC. Recommendations?? If a new cart is in the offing, what is a good match. Price of the step up is $850, addntl gain stage $500 plus 2 way shipping, cart would be less salvage value of near new Benz ($300 +/-?) What say you, analog gurus? TIA
IF the cartridge loading is OK and you don't sense any loss of energy (check this against a line source), don't do anything.

ALternatively, see if anyone around you has cheepo step-ups, of the rca plug-in variety (PE used to sell these). If you can borrow any, try to see if there is significant change in energy transfer.
I don't think there will be, or you'd be complaining about the sound in yr post:)

BTW, in the above, I'm not suggesting you gauge the sound *quality* (which would be more a matter of cartridge & phono).
With the volume control at "11:30-12:30 rotation" you have more gain available in your preamp. Why add more gain so that you can waste more in your preamp?
There is a Black Head step-up transformer that is currently on Audiogon for, I think, $265.00. It is a good piece. I have no association with the seller.
Today there is another Black Head on the 'gon for $125.00.
Missed it. Thanks, tho.
well if your Benz Glider L2 0.25mv works,
then why not get a Shelter 501 at .4mv this should be a great combo with your silver arm by the way, do you use the TLW mod on your silver?
Personally, I think you have too little gain for that cartridge presently.

55db in the front end, for a 0.25mv output cartridge is at least 20db too low.

I'd suggest the step-up.

In my experiences, I found that the sound from the TT had more "life and dynamics" to it when the phono gain is high enough to not have to depend so much on the linestage gain. Not entirely sure why that is, but in my experience it has been so.
Dear Swampwalker: Stay away of step-up transformers, always do a heavy degratdation to the music/sound reproduction.

++++ "and the volume is fine at about 11:30-12:30 .."++++

If you don't have any compliant about and you don't have residual hum/noise, then you do nothing.

Now, you can up-grade the quality sound reproduction of your system, change your cartridge for a Sumiko Celebration ( output: 0.5mv ), this one will be great in you analog rig and the whole system, better than any Shelther ( but the 90X ). Btw, the Celebration is the century bargain: great performer.

Regards and enjoy the music.
funny the same questions recur, I have a thread running now on the same subject, with the same mixed response. Some say having the dial at 12 does'nt matter and adding a step up will degrade the sound, others that the phono stage gain is inadequate and a step up will improve "life" and dynamics. it's a pity most questions are'nt staightforward, then if they were we would'nt need to ask them I suppose
I think that the answers are really system and listener dependent. Some can put up with a bit of noise, some can't. Some will trade a bit of transparency for enhanced dynamic contrasts, some won't. Some gear works better with transformers and certain cartridges, some don't. Like a warped record, round 'n round, and up 'n down we go.
the variable responses I have read made me ask this question with a third option- which I am now getting some support for- getting a higher output MC cart. The Glider is pretty new, not more than 100 hrs since it was re-tipped. Anyone got any idea on the re-sale value? Then if you add in the $500 that it would cost to have Hagerman mod the Trumpet phono to provide proper gain for an MC stage or the cost of a good transformer, give me some suggestions for a cart. Pretty please? If I go to NYC, maybe I can listen to some of them.
Also just saw a Denon 500 something or other head amp with 26 & 33 dB voltage gain for $215. any thoughts?
Hi Swamp: Like the SUT the head amp do a degradation to the signal, too.
Please read to my last post to you, maybe there you can find the answer to your " problem " ( I don't know if you really have a problem ).

Regards and enjoy the music.
I prefer transformers to head amps. The Denon AU-320 and AU-340 are ok transformers, though they are getting a little long in the tooth. I speak from first hand experience, as I still own a 320, though I don't use it much. They have been eclipsed by newer designs, look into the Lundahl, K&K or Bent Audio.

It's amazing I did not see this thread sooner. I have a Hagerman Trumpet that I am using with a LA-100 mkIII. I also have a SOTA Nova Series V and a Benz M2 cartridge on a Kuzma Stogi tonearm. I just got the K and K Lundahl step-up which now allows you to easily plug in resistor loads. I'm running parallel 47k resistors in a 1:5 step-up ratio giving me 940 ohms. The added gain of the 1:5 step-up is 14db. I had Kevin hardwire the output cable for me which I'd recommend. A great value for the price. Much less than the others you mentioned.
I second Clio09 suggestion of a Lundahl step up. They sound way better than what their modest price suggests.
It's interesting that I once again disagree with Raul. I've been exposed to different cartridges being run direct into very adequate phono stages and through various transformers. In every case I preferred the sound of the trannys in the mix. Each his own I guess.
Dear Lugnut: You disagree because like other peoples here don't understad what happen when a signal goes through a SUT and ( perhaps ) because you don't understand the live music.

Btw, how many hours do you dedicated to hear live music each month?
This question is for every single person that " loves " SUTs, too. Don't be shy ( all of you ) and post your answer.

Regards and enjoy the music.

Before my health began to fail Barb and I only listened to live music a minimum of twice per week. During the last year of feeling well we attended appoximately twenty large concerts on top of the smaller venues we attended twice per week. Even feeling the way I do we recently attended the Boise Philharmoic. When young we attended every concert that we could as long as it didn't interfere with work or family obligations. During our years of parenting we cut back drastically. I spent three years as a tour director for a production company prior to my marriage and listened to live acts twice per night in two different clubs per night, with each tour lasting twenty one days and then one week off. I even attended the practice sessions and the parties during the off hours. I've played acoustic guitar for the last 35 years only giving it up recently. I'd be glad to forward references for what I claim if you don't believe me but nothing seems to penetrate your world. Raul, you sometimes ask why folks are so aggressive. Perhaps you should examine the insulting way you talk down to people. People you don't agree with cannot possibly conduct adequate experiments by your standards and it's obvious you don't believe that we hear as well as you or are as familiar with instruments subtle nuances live, not to mention vocals. Your opinions remind me of when manufacturers of transistor gear focused on a lack of distortion rather than how something sounds. You do not like tubes, insultingly calling them equalizers. You don't like my cartridge and likely have never heard one. Your way of cleaning records is the only way. You don't like step up transformers. I only mentioned your name in my last post because you have made the claim that transformers are degrading the signal in previous threads. Please continue to study your specs while I continue to trust my ears. Now that I've stepped up and provided you with how much live music I've listened to, what's the point? If I've got adequate seat time will you question the types of music I listen to or lament my lack of formal training? Like everything else I've done, certainly your opinion will be that I've done it wrong. I will continue to praise you when I feel you deserve it but defend myself when under insulting attacks such as "don't understand". That Raul is a nasty assumption.
Raul I'm curious, which person(s) here on Audiogon do YOU feel know as much as you about audio? Inquiring minds (me) are fascinated with this question. Thanks in advance.
Dear Lugnut: Tks for your answer. It is incredible that with all your great live music experience you are in love with step up transformers: Do you think that if the signal has to pass for additional stages in a SUT: cables, connectors, transformers, etc, etc, this can be an improvement in the signal against direct path in a high gain phonopreamp?

Any signal that has to pass for additional audio stages suffer a high/heavy degradation and that's what happen with the signal on a SUT. No question about.

+++++ " You do not like tubes, insultingly calling them equalizers " +++++

I'm not insulting. I named for its true name: all them are a very expensive natural assorted equalizers. No question about. You and any one can't change that fact.

+++++ " You don't like my cartridge and likely have never heard one " +++++

I already heard three differents ZYX cartridges and I confirm here that the ZYX are faulty at both extremes of the frecuency range, especially at the bottom end.
In the past I already post opinions of people that does not like the ZYX quality sound reproduction, here it is one more about:

+++++ " to Analog heaven and I must confess.I was very distressed with the sound of any ZYX cartridge I heard including the Universe.The ZYX was colored ,cold sounding ,thin,somewhat brittle.It was like someone turned up an equiliser +6 dbs or more from the midband all the way up to the 20k region.I would say from about 5k to 20 k this cartridge has a steep high freq. rise,But maybe not but it sure sounds like that.
Yes it does sound artificially fast at first,But I heard no acoustic trail following any loud passages.I could hear no ambient information at all on any recordings.The midbass on the catridge is way to lean,and I could not hear any deep low bass power at all.Even the midbass was to light and lean.
The Lyra Titan was much better and accurate then the ZYX " +++++

This person had these experiences at the last Audiofest. I agree with him.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Dear Wc65mustang: Many. I really learn several audio topics in this forum every day.

Regards and enjoy the music.
I give up.

It's likely that the person that wrote negatively about the ZYX cartridge he heard at Audiofest was listening to the same cartridge I heard there as well. My comment to that vendor was that there was something grossly wrong with either setup or component matching and that my exact cartridge sounded way better right out of the box than their's did. Something was wrong, period. I know what that cartridge can do and if I were to have written criticism of the one I heard it would not been nearly as polite as the cut and paste critque you posted. The cartridge cannot be held accountable for improper installation, loading or phono stage settings used. Interestingly, you criticized several of us that auditioned several ZYX cartridges and tonearms in a fairly well organized scientifically controlled comparrison, insulting us in the process BUT you take this incredibly non-scientific display of one ZYX cartridge without any controls and give it absolute credibility. THAT indicates a closed and narrow mind. Do you have any retail affiliation with any cartridge or tonearm manufacturer? Are you a dealer of any audio products?

Regarding step up transformers vs. transistor gain stages. Are you trying to say that transistors do not also act as what you call equalizers? Somehow you are alluding to an unscientific fact that transistors impart no sonic signature. Hogwash. Admitedly, anything in the signal path imparts some type of signature to the sound. Is active gain always better than passive gain? If so, then please explain why some of the most revealing systems in the world use passive preamplifiers.

What three ZYX cartridges have you heard? Where did you hear them? Did you listen to them in solitude as you promote? What associated equipment was used? What loading did you use? How long were these listening sessions? Who else was in attendance?

Every one of these questions were laid out for all to see prior to anyone needing to ask when we did our experiments in Miami and you attacked our methods. Here is your chance to tell us all how it is really done in the world of super sci-fi a la Raul. Please disclose fully your testing procedures. Fair is fair Raul.

If mine, and others, opinions believe that stepup transformers are more faithful to live sound that active gain stages and we base these opinions on live music, then what is your problem with it? You cannot have things both ways Raul. Either we use live music for the comparrison or we do not. I do and have considerable seat time to back up my opinion.

I do not have any affiliation with any manufacturer other than a satisfied (or not) customer. Further, I have never had such a relationship in the past. I hold deep suspicions about your intentions Raul.
I'm sorry I brought this thread back to life. I was just searching the archives for some information and thought it would be a good idea to post a note to see if Swampwalker and I could compare notes since we have similar components.

I guess sometimes threads are better left for dead.
Dear Lugnut. After having previously endured some dialogue with Raul I took the liberty of looking at his system. I noticed his speakers are almost flush against the rear wall; a wall with two large untreated windows. My ears ache just thinking what that must sound like.

So I can imagine a neutral cart like the ZYX would sound cold, thin and horrible in that environment.

I think we should all do the decent thing and get him an iPod. (or a karaoke machine)

Dear Lugnut: This is not the first opinion of other person about sound reproduction quality problems on ZYX cartridges, I already post others ones.

No, I'm not a dealer or have any affiliation with any manufacturer.

About your questions to which ZYX cartridges I already heard, please go to my past posts about, I repeat that information at least three times.

Which are your deep suspicions.

Regards and enjoy the music.