Questions about a new Ruby 2 cartridge

Just purchased a new Ruby 2 and it sounds lean and somewhat bright out of the box. Currently have it set at 47K, any ideas on break in time and loading. How about those cartridge break in boxes, are they worth the investment? System: VPI Aries,JMW arm, Klyne phono,AR pre,Rowland amp, Vandersteen 5 speakers, Hovland phono cable, other wire all Discovery. Thanks for any help, always a little disconcerting when you spend 3K and the sound is lacking.
You might want to try 100 ohms loading for starters, but also play with the VTA a bit. The Ruby in my experience clearly has a sweet spot in the VTA, and if your VTA is too high it can sound bright. Good luck; it is a nice cartridge, shouldn't sound as you described.
Yeah...definitely play with the loading. I found 100ohms to be a little too compressed and dull. I did some research at it seemed like people recommended ranges from 300 to 29,000. The distributor recommended trying the 900ohm range and it worked for me. I ended up settling on 1000ohm Vishay resistors for my phono pre. VTA and tracking force also have a huge effect on the sound.
I too found that vta made a big difference. It will be bright sounding if the vta is too high.

I bought my table already set up with the new benz 2. It sounded very good as it was. Because it was FREE, I had my table tuned/adjusted by a local turntable god (and good friend). He's set up over 100 tables and spent over an hour on it. This made a HUGE improvement. The cartridge is not bright nor edgy at all.

For the loading, from the reviews I have read they settle on 22K or 47K. I use 47K. I use a basis 2500/gram2.2/qf tonearm/passlabsono.
I used the Ruby, too.
It needs about 50 hours playing time.
First it is like you wrote but it will become better and better. After 100 h it is great.
all new cart. need some playing time, some more, some less.
Your 47 k setting is the right one ( when other
setting - lower- sounds better, then is something wrong in your system ).
In your manual from the Klyne there is the right setting listed.
Definetly, VTA is important, I used it a touch higher in the back.
Thomasheisig, I wonder if you could explain your comment above, about system set-up being incorrect elsewhere if your Benz sounds better at, say, 1k ohm loading than 47k ohm. This is not my experience, not to the best of my knowledge what electrical theory would dictate, and not what B-M recommends.

B-M says to set loading at 400 ohms or below for the Ruby 2, although on my Glider M2 I have found it best to about double their recommendation of 200 or under, so Phil's suggestion above could be right on (allowing for variations due to differing phono cable resistances and overall system balance). The posters advocating 22k or 47k are in reality all recommending one thing: running the cartridge unloaded. In fact, all values above somewhere in the range of about 5-10k ohm will accomplish this, and will all sound alike. Frankly, I think if one's set-up doesn't sound right unless the cart is exhibiting the rising top octave and loose image focus that results from unloading an MC, *that's* when something must be wrong elsewhere.
47 k load

Well, it is a point of view like the opinions about best speakers, best amp and so on.
From my experience with top equipment the last 10 years I went always back to 47 k load for most MC carts, there is the most information, FM Acoustics has a input module for 100k.
I tried a few times with adjustable phono stages, when, the more I went down from 47 k, the less information was heard. Right, as long you use something above 1K it is not that inferior, but below 1K it is easy to find out, when there is a good, open system.
I always wondered about recommendations for whatever, say 45 ohm, or 122,5 ohm or 187 ohm, reviewers like to do that, to show their ' competence '.
The only way I can imagine, that this sounds good, is, when someone owns a very analytic system, which normally is not a joy to listen to. Here the damping and cutting the high frequency information is indeed a argument, that this setting sounds good, it sounds good in their sharp systems.
A 47K load is in these systems not a joy, because most think it is too bright and overanalytic, no analog ' warmth'.
Next is, phonostages which work the way they should ( not dead and lifeless ) with MC and 47 K are extremely rare, they are very difficult to design ( CTC, Klyne, Vendetta ....), so most manufacturers make more 'advertisement', that this ( 47K ) is not useful, theirs- maybe 50-250 ohm - are ok for all systems.
And that is nonsense.
I don't want to start a discussion about that, everyone thinks maybe different, it was just my experience form my systems and from a few others, which sounds really good.
Interesting, Zaikesman. The Benz Lukaschek phono pre is fixed at 22K, which is probably where some of this came from. But if you're right...

I just bought this pre used for my L2 cartridge. Don't have it yet. Hope it works out.
i'm using a VPI Aries,JMW arm w/ a ruby 2h, and the pass labs ono phono stage. you have to let the ruby break in before you listen critically, cause until it's played awhile you are not hearing what you will end up with at all. the vta is critical for any cart i think. i've found i do keep it in the low range w/the ruby. you should double check your entire set-up of the cart though, using the vpi tool and a stylus gauge, and checking the azimuth (left/right tilt) very carefully by eye. (sibilance dissappeared for me when i got that level).
47 k is where i landed when i set it up months ago. but just last week i started thinking it was less than perfect, and i spent a long time experimenting, moving up and down from 100 ohm. after a brief flirtation with 120 ohm, during which a japanese "pro use" pressing of abbey road listened to under etymotic research er4s's earphones sounded "smoother, with less brittle highs and more upper mids" (this from my notes) i went back to my speakers and also tried my grado rs1 headphones and something was missing at 120. so i switched all over the place, then to 47k again. 47k sounded spot on.
what this taught me was that the ety's, supposedly the most accurate headphone made, are either revealing a sound quality that's there which i don't like, or are not so accurate and are adding a bit of brightness. when i moved away from 47k loading it cut these highs, thus appealing to me in the moment. but only for some recordings and only under the etymotics. at 47k i hear it all and the imaging is at it's best. with no "rising top octave". no question.
Well, I would tend to agree that a cartridge loading set too low is worse for the sound than one set too high. Some over-exuberence is preferable to constipation. But the question remains interesting, since from a technical point of view, it is well-understood that unloading an MC results in less-flat response, due to undamped resonances being allowed to flourish. That will indeed lead to the presence of "more information" - problem is, it will be spurious.

Maybe the difficulty lies in the relative lack of in-between loading choices offered by most phonostages. I have found it to be critical for fine-tuning to be able to experiment with multiple, fairly closely-spaced loading options in and around the "sweet-spot" range for a particular cartridge, so as to strike the correct balance between taut bass and sharp focus on the one hand, and easy dynamics and airy highs on the other. Sockets for removable resistor installation best facilitate this goal.

I also think it should be an instructive clue that 47k ohms represents a completely arbitrary value so far as MC design is concerned, having been established as a convention for MM applications long before MCs became popular. Any promotion of a 47k ohm standard for MC performance is in all likelihood as much a matter of default convenience dictated by history, as it is a considered choice based soley on sound. As I previously pointed out about the 47k value, not only is it arbitrary, it is well above the range where significant variations, or precision concerning exact values, have already ceased to make appreciable sonic differences. One may just as well advocate 25k ohms or 100k ohms - or 46k ohms - as 47k, since they will all be functionally similar when used with an MC that may have an internal impedance well below 50 ohms.

None of this, of course, is to say that in any particular set-up, 47k or 22k won't sound great, or won't sound better than the other options provided. This could be attributable a number of factors, such as some audiophile-approved speakers having a response that rolls off above 10KHz or so, overly-damped listening environments, or typical progressive hearing loss in older listeners, any of which could be roughly compensated for by MC unloading. There does exist a school of thought which holds that at least part of the reason why audiophiles adopted MCs in the first place, was due to the impressively airy response (overly so) and larger image size (but less physical) that resulted from running their new MCs into their old 47k MM phono preamps.

What this *is* to say however, is that IMHO, if you haven't tried many values beyond either 100 ohms or 47k (or 22k) ohms, then you haven't fully investigated your cartridge's performance potential. Most manufacturer presets or recommendations that offer 100 ohms as the common "loaded-down" setting choice are positioning the bar too low, resulting in sound which is suffocated. If you can, I would suggest getting a bunch of inexpensive 1/4 watt resistors (should cost just spare change each one) to try out in values of about 150, 200, 300, 500, 750, 1,000, 1,500, 2,000, 3,000, and 5,000 ohms as an educational range of options to get started in, and doing substitution comparisions, home in on the value range that provides the most natural-sounding performance. (A wide range of reference recordings should be used for the tests, but it is very helpful to include well-recorded examples of solo voice to aid in determining proper perspective of image focusing and size.)

What you are looking for is a value that represents the upper range for maintaining solidity, specificity, and definition, coinciding with the lower range for maintaining openess, liveliness, and bloom (you can use 100 ohms and 47k ohms as opposite extreme references if you already have them). Below the optimum range the sound will be stuffy and sterile; above, it will be amorphous and sloppy. The extreme high overtones should be neither closed-down, nor unrealistically exagerated (we're not talking about brightness here - the difference occcurs above that range); listen especially for coherent transient articulation to aid in determining this.

Once the right value range has been identified, get more resistors clustered around that value, in increments as small as 10-30 ohms for values below 500, to 100-200 ohms for values in the thousands, and repeat the auditioning process. Once the optimum value for your set-up, music, and preferences has been nailed down, replace the garden-variety resistors with premium ones of the same value to achieve best transparency and neutrality. (Naturally, all of the preceding assumes no step-up transformer is being used.)

I realize that what I am recommending here is at best a pain the kiester, at worst totally impractical or even impossible for some. However, I have come to accept that persistance in this area pays crucial dividends in the ultimate truthfulness and believability of phono sound, after having lived for years with 47k ohm loading as my only reference. It actually took undergoing this process to wean me away from the accustomed sound of running my MCs unloaded, and convince me I wasn't really missing anything that was actually supposed to be there - not to mention coming to appreciate what I was gaining. The fact that I could hear the differences and learn from them, given that my phono rig is hardly state of the art, points to even greater importance for optimization of loading in the best systems. To my mind, if you try this and find that unloaded still works best - and if you voiced your system around that unloaded MC sound - you can either go with what's most enjoyable and say to hell with accuracy, or it might be time to reconsider the wisdom of skewing the path toward synergy way back at the source, and maybe try repositioning the speakers or something to bring it all back together *with* the cartridge properly loaded. Just a thought, just my opinion... :-)
Zaikesman, hooray for the clarity of your post, it makes perfect sense and explains to a non technical guy like me why pass labs gave the option for resistors. if i can figure out where to get them i know where my spare time is going over the next few days. i've worked really hard to create a system that does "it" for me, and my ears are old but still hear slight adjustments in vta; so i'm really excited at the prospect of hearing the differences.
my system sounds great to me at 47k, but many major improvements to it came as surprising revelations... maybe my etymotics really are revealing the truth of what's there at the 47k!
my only thought is that i'll also try something between 5 and 10k, and 10k; since earlier you had said that it all becomes the same "somewhere in the range of 5-10". thanks a lot for your post.
aw darn...i just read my pass info on the ono, and it was for mm that they provided room to play. it looks as though for mc i am limited and can only go up from 1000 to 47k. oh well. i am going to spend tonight retrying 500 - 1000 with a variety of lps.
thanks! I have weaned myself off 47k myself over the last months and am reaping enormous benefits. your advise was excellent. especially helpful to me was your paragraph beginning "what you are looking for...".
the extreme highs at 47k were indeed "unrealistically exagerated", which at first was very seductive (in the "openness" that I heard in it). but now when I move too high in my setting I perceive an almost microphonic like echo effect that is extremely unnatural sounding.
it reminded me of what a friend of mine who is a sucessful producer of contempory commercial hip hop/r&b said to me when I explained to him that analog and tubes sound more natural to me, more real to my ear than digital. he said, "sure, I know what you mean. but when I'm in the studio we are actually TRYING to get an unrealistic, even supernatural sound. because it's attractive to the kids - it sells."
47k ohms sells too. I guess because it is so much better then the compression at the other extreme.
I did try it again with different settings and it was always the same: down from 47 k, it will be becoming slower and slower, more dull and lifeless.

But there is another point:

When the gain is set too high for your cartridge, you over-drive the amp stages and clipping and distortion is possible.

I did all with my Miyabi, 0,25mV

( this is low output, but not really low )

When I went too high with gain ( 67 dB and more ) in combination with 47k, then I hear clipping with piano recordings.

Going down to normal 63 dB area,then everything is great with 47k.

I think, most users set their phono stage to the max gain and then they do their ' experiments '.

Wrong way.
I had a Ruby, too, it is designed originally from Benz ( not Lukascheck ) for 47K.
The new Ruby II, which has a higher output, i think, something in the 0.4 mV area ??, when this one is amplified with too much gain ( 64 dB and much more- 68,70,75dB) and a 47K setting, this will be inferior. So I agree, when someone with such a setting is going down to 1k, that the prefers that.

The superiority of a 47K load ( in a phono stage which can handle it without sounding dead ) is only in combination with the right gain for the cartridge.

For those, who own a adjustable phono stage ( gain, impedance ...) and a uncoloured system it is easy to find out.
easy - and fun and time consuming!
Tagyerit: Glad to hear my polemics may have had some practical benefit. I agree with your analogy between what some feel is an attractively exagerated sound in a phono cart and what is done to many pop recordings in terms of studio production - once the ear is educated, the unaturalness of things like a hyped top octave and inflated images becomes repulsive (but then again, so is most of the music recorded that way, my apologies to your friend!). So what loading did you wind up deciding to run your Ruby at?
still on the path actually.
a few months back I felt that 825 ohms was the best I would find. I've had it there most of the time since then, but I was bothered at times by the highs seeming a bit too strident, like a HINT of too much edge. I attributed it to the nature of the Ruby 2H in my system as compared to the previous carts I'd been used to - which were all Grados(mellow mellow mellow). so I thought "give it time" as it may just be unrolled off highs being new to my ears. then it became clear to me that it also still sounded less SOLID then it should. (((just for fun before trying other loads I reached over to my old "audionics of Oregon" David Berning designed ba150 amp and switched it's FEEDBACK on. that did cut the airyness, implying more solidity, but paying for it with unwanted compression. back to zero feedback...))) and sure enough, dropping the load to 475 ohms brought it into focus; with smooth and clear upper mids, a touch of liquidity, sweet tight bass, killer soundstage & imaging, (wonderfully transparent but not unnaturally so) and the highs less biting but still quite present. now I am playing between 475 and 452.06: Abbey Road sounds best at 475 while Beethoven (the 9th - Von Karajan 63), Bach and Albert King just LOVE it at 452. Bill Evans and Louis Armsrong sound great everywhere. so I want an external switch, which I ain't got, so I guess I'm gonna have to compromise somewhere sometime. thank God and Harry W. that I at least have VTA on the fly!
so I'm deciding between 2 perches in heaven - things could be worse...Such sweet torture.
I agree that at some point one just has to conclude that there is a certain setting which represents the most accurate overall response for the cartridge in question, with an 'average' record played back through that system, and any variations in balance beyond that setting must be chalked up to individual recording idiosyncracies and taken in stride for what they're worth (truth in reporting, or something approaching it). I for one feel that screwing around with the phono settings on a record-by-record basis would do more to destroy the enjoyment of my listening sessions than it would enhance. It is interesting that you seem to be winding up in the same loading neighborhood that I have with my Glider M2, but you're really speaking my language when you talk about solidity and focus (and I could also add transient precision/cleanliness) - if going through this process taught me anything, it was that concentrating on the tonal balance alone is only an initial tendancy, one which likely won't get you to the optimum setting taken by itself. Happy listening! :-)
one strange thing: I just read the specs that came with my ruby 2h and it says: load from 1000 to 47k ohms. so in my case i'm halfing their (low) recommendation vs your doubling. awhile back Wayne at Pass Labs told me to completely forget any cart mfg suggestions as it is all so dependent on variables in each particular system. I believe he must be correct.
My Glider's documentation says "200 to 47K Ohms". Such a range is meaningless by definition.
I use a Cardas Heart which is a variation of the Ruby. Cardas(a serious vinyl fanatic) says: "A well seasoned cartridge will perform well at a very high impedance of 47-100k, if the system is quiet. A lower impedence of 1-5k works if the system tends to hum or the cartridge is not broken-in." He also recommends a higher tracking force initially. VTA is obviously very important. Trying to tone control each record, especially the likes of pop records like Abby Road(albeit a favorite) is possible but not of reference relevence. There may be other arm resonance issues contributing to harshness as well.
Hagerman has interesting things to say about loading, recommending 47k. Check it out at He posted something before about this on another thread not long ago.
I'll check out those references, Piedpiper. Everyone's got an opinion, but just because those guys are audio pro's isn't going to change what I hear. To me, the correct tracking force is the one that centers the coil in the gap perpendicular to the magnet, something that I agree might change slightly as the cartridge suspension breaks in. But I can't understand George's point about loading down a new cartridge and unloading as it breaks in - when not yet broken in, the cart will sound uptight, and loading it down will only make it more so. I could see this better in reverse, where attempting to choose your loading value before break in is complete would tend to lead you toward too high a value, which might need to be lowered after more hours. And I can't see any connection between cart loading and how quiet the rest of one's system is. Oh well...
Thanks for everyones input, I went to 1K loading and improved the sound. It is now broken in and I changed it back to 47K and the initial brightess and the somewhat lean sound is gone. It now has a very liquid midrange and extended highs that Rubys are know for.
So do you plan on running it at 47K or 1K? (Not that an audiophile isn't entitled to change his or her mind...)
Yes, it actually sounds better now running at 47Hz. I don't really understand why it does buy my dealer that I purchased the Ruby 2 from states that this is not uncommon.
I experimented around and settled on 47K for mine too. I use a pass labs aleph ono /benz ruby 2/ basis2500/gram2.2. Excellent high resolution sound, but also very relaxing and laid back in presentation. Finding a turntable god to tune your table up make a huge difference.
Well, that was a short day in the sun for yrs trly...
My sonic experience with the Ruby2. I own one for three years and previously owned L-04, Ruby and Glider.

1) Dynamics
2) Inner Detail (sometimes to a fault)
3) Open airy delicate highs
4) Powerful, melodic bass
5) Ambience
6) Warm emotional midrange
7) Excellent tracking
8) A pain in the "A" to set up perfectly or #2 will lead to you selling it off. This cartridge has a VERY narrow window for VTA/VTF parameters. If set-up anywhere outside the optimum it will sound etched, analytical, sibilant and irritating as h*ll. Be certain to routinely clean the stylus and keep it spotless or you will fall prey to #2.