seems nobody has tried one of these around here, but there are some tests, one by M. Fremmer no less. It's a South African hand-made cart it seems VERY well made, as such.
You my find your answer in the 'sound' you prefer. One look at the construction tells me an ALU-tube cantilever for that kind of money ~ 5k USD is not for very one. You normally get Boron or at least Ruby (Allaert) for this kind of money.
An ALU-cantilever IME is more forgiving, when the going gets rough, (tough?) i.e. it will be somewhat, and surely by intend, rolled-off in the treble. In other words a bit 'tubsy' sounding, and this can be a truely nice feature -if you like it.
The reviews out there (read between the lines) seem to support this assessment. It is a pretty sexy looking and well build item, in particular the ones that sport some exotic African hard woods like pink-ivory etc. --- one could lust for that alone :-)
Member 'mosin' is very experienced with these carts, and thinks highly of them. You might look him up in 'members' and shoot him an email. Friendly guy-plus you can talk about the *very* high end idler tt he manufactures.
Also, he posts on VA and Oswalds Mill, so you might do a search at those-I know he's discussed the Blue Angel at one or both.
On misconception I feel I must clear up here. I have recently ordered a Blue Angel with an aluminium cantilever. It is not even close to $US5k. I got the price from Blue Angel last year and he has stuck to it even though his costs have risen, but I am paying well less than $US2k, although, as I said, he has said costs have risen and they are going to be more expensive in the future. Can't see the aluminium cantilever, or the ruby cantilever, versions going anywhere near $US5k though.
Congrats on the new cartridge David. Sounds like you got a bargain.
This pricing discrepancy is confusing though. Big,big difference between US$5k and less than $2k.
So much for 'misconceptions'.
It did bug me, so I went to the source, ah lookie here, 5k USD as I'd recalled. Now don't hold it against me if I had recalled a web-quoted price and not some 'special deal'. Just for the record, and THAT when the USD was A LOT stronger!
Category: Phono Cartridge
Suggested Retail Price: $5000.00
Description: Moving Coil
Manufacturer URL: Blue Angel Analogue Audio SA
Model Picture: View
Review by mosin on January 01, 2008 at 16:41:04
IP Address: 126.96.36.199 Add Your Review
for the Mantis
I had some contact with the maker, and found him reasonably approachable, OK --- but in NO WAY would he even consider re-tip a cart (not his own to be fair).
Go speak to Jan Allaerts (in Beligium) and he seems to go out of his way to be helpful, just for the record too!
I live in SA, just for the record also :-)
So our Mantis maker was just fine, for me to go the long way to Belgium, or Italy (some other re-tipping works) rather then me sending a cart from Johannesburg to Cape town for a re-tip, just for the record. I don't consider that exactly too helpful, sorry.
His cart will sound fine, as we have heard, and I will not say it doesn't ---- but 5000 USD in Jan. 2008 for a Alu cantilevered Fritz Gyger or not... (Allaert uses these too, but no way with an Alu-tube canti) that is asking too much, I say.
Since he seemed to have adjusted his price to less than 1/2 !! That's a story different entirely.
Funny thing is, living kind of next door, I'm not even sure he'd consider this kind of discount around here --- he obviously likes his US business, good for him.
Axelwahl-I'm having trouble understanding your...dismay...at the manufacturer of the Blue Angel being unwilling to repair your cartridge. Maybe he's too busy with his own brand to do repair jobs on other makes, maybe he doesn't feel qualified, maybe it's not part of his business model-or maybe, even, he *just doesn't want to*. Any of these reasons, or frankly no reason, should be fine. I don't expect Denon to repair my Dynavector-how is this any different? Or do you expect him to give you special service because you happen to live in the same country?
There are many places around the world to have a cart repaired-your criticism of one manufacturer to not meet your repair demands is, at best, odd.
OK, maybe you got a more 'intercontinental' way of thinking here.
In Africa (that's were this here places are) we're marching to a slightly different tune. Send your cart oversees be lucky to get it back at all, see.
That makes for a slightly different attitude. In any way the main point was, that I'd not been having a funny dream when 5 grand USD was mentioned. That added some more flavour to it all.
And lastly what makes Jan Allaerts, who sits on the other side of the globe be so helpful?
He dang well has his hands full building his own stuff also, right?
If you are fine with 'couldnt care less' customer service, I'm not.
--- as much as I'd give my last shirt for somebody that does.
Let me tell you, people like Jan Allaerts aught to be mentioned for just that a lot more, that's all.
Some one that can, but won't fix my stuff don't rank THAT high on my list a favoured suppliers.
I think that's only natural, or?
Axelwhal-I don't know what to say. I've sent carts to VdH-a long, long distance away from Central Oregon, USA-and had them returned in perfect condition, in a reasonable period of time. I'm relatively sure VdH would be happy to repair your non-VdH cart also. Granted, I'm not familiar with the package delivery situation in SA, but from my perspective we're living in a time of access to any point on the globe, so I, for one, take advantage of that. Perhaps you should consider the same, and not call out your fellow countryman for "couldn't care less customer service" because he won't repair a cartridge from a different manufacturer. Frankly, your argument seems illogical to the extreme.
vaya con dios
OK, maybe I should be more accommodating to a country man. What you do NOT know, because I didn't mention it, is that I had some email discourse with the man. I didn't find him too accommodating, see.
But what the heck, I usually try to help were ever I can, it maybe this mistaken attitude that makes me take note if some other folks are more in the NO, CAN'T DO mode.
I still think it is strange, that a vd Hull, J. Allaerts, et al, and all making their own stuff, will help and my 'country man' will not.
Maybe it's a good thing to wake up this thread again, because just yesterday I visited with the esteemed Mr. Hanekom and found the experience most enjoyable and enlightening to the extreme. He dedicated the entire afternoon to me as he took me through the steps of the finer arts of cartridge construction as well as a trip down memory lane when in the seventies he bought card board boxes from my dad for the company he was then involved with.
He was very willing to take on my Colibri cartridge for a rework, but having heard the Mantis side by side on his test rig, I'm now thinking to ditch the bitch for an angel. The Mantis made his humble test rig speakers vanish in thin air as the music hung suspened in a perfect 3D hologram between the speakers. My Colibri sounded so broken by comparison, I don't think any rework would suffice.
When I get my angel, I will report back on the findings.
I own one, it is the best cartridge I have had.
Anytime we talk about cartridges, things tend to get extremely subjective. I suppose that's because we aren't exposed to everything out there, and also because we hear things differently. I mention it because qualifiers are always needed when discussing audio preferences.
In 2007, I bought my first Blue Angel Mantis cartridge. That's the one that I wrote the review about. In 2012, I got a new one that has improvements over the first. It has a heavier body and a better mount. The sound is also better overall.
I'll go out on a limb to try and make a real world comparison based on my personal experience. The short of that is that the Mantis sounds somewhere between an Ortofon A90 and a Lyra Olympos, with the Lyra being the best of the three, in my opinion. Bear in mind that the Olympos cost $10,000, over twice as much as the Ortofon. The Mantis costs even less than the Ortofon. Budget is a consideration for many who buy high-end cartridges, so that's why I mention it. It is true that the asking price of a Blue Angel Mantis has been reduced, but that is because Andre chose to sell direct, rather than continue selling through distributors. He is simply passing the savings on to the consumer. That should be a welcomed change in this day and age.
The cartridge isn't splashy, nor is it overly romantic. The presentation is tonally correct, and that is its claim to fame. For some, that's a great thing, but others are looking for some attribute that adds to the music. You decide, but I like it. It does have a few quirks, however. Mounting on some arms can be tricky and setting VTA is not in keeping with the standard. Still, I love how it sounds.
An aside: I was mentioned in the same sentence with Oswald's Mill Audio. Be aware that I am not associated with that company in any way, nor have I been for a long time, although my product remains on his website. I won't point it out again because virtually everyone in audio knows the story. I suppose controversy is a good thing, though. ;)
We tried this cartridge in 2007 with an interest towards mporting to the US. It's very much an amateur, DIY product. The angle of the cantilever is so extreme that SRA is impossible without your tonearm being 3 or 4 inches elevated from horizontal. We took a pass, and so should you. Stick to a known cartridge company.
Sometimes things in audio tend to get political. That's unfortunate.
Mosin you are absolutely right.
Sometimes people do not know when to leave well alone or should I say when to STOP.
Like Raul will always say, enjoy the music
To me, manufacturer support of a product is as important as its performance. I would only get involved with companies that are finacially strong and willing to back their product. I have been burned by esoteric brands that cease to exist leaving me with products that are only useful as doorstops.
Point taken, but esoteric brands should be supported for audio to advance. Innovative buyers who take the chances are the guys who turn the little brands into the big brands. Ideas aren't born just at Fortune 500 companies, you know? High-end audio was never a quantity thing. If it was, everything in audio would be mid-fi by its very definition.
Mosin...I will not be a test bed for a garage activity. Innovative buyers of this stuff are often stuck. There are wonderful products made by strong companies...I don't need to put my money into their hobby. There are a lot of cartridge manufacturers of worth...I have a Benz LPS and have received strong support from Musical Surroundings....no question was turned away. I doubt that any cartridge will be more satisfying than the LPS. ..different perhaps but I certainly don't care. Carnegie Hall in New York sounds different than Symphony Hall in Boston. They both please me.
I agree with Mosin but with restriction to those who are
passionate and curious. This 'çombo' make the 'garage activity'
and innovation possible. The economist assume
homo economicus like Stringreen who are 'risk avoiding'
and are obviously the majority. I myself belong to the
majority. That is to say I wait till the garage become
a successful company.
If you had purchased an Air Tight PC1 before the garage door opened you would have paid less than $4000. Now the garage door is open the price is $6800.
The Mantis difference between $5000 and $2000 direct is pretty much the distributor and retail margins.
Dear Stringreen: The audio top high-end is a very small market niche not a massive one so IMHO is very dificult that a " strong companies " ( as you say ) came and suddenly invest big dollars in this market where the probabilities of success is really limited.
In the other side to compete in this market ( a real compettition. ) that strong companies must have a very top knowledge and skills to offer products that can compete and this " scenario " is a very hard task because that " strong companies " needs to learn what quality level performance is what this market asked.
Almost all those " strong companies " came from a " garage activity ", I don't know one strong company that be strong right from the starting time.
IMHO to have susccess in this " exclusive " market the " strong companies " needs to be not only wealthy ones but: audiophiles, music lover's and with the knowledge/skill levels and the attitude/emotion/passion to share their findings to customers like you and me.
I support almost all those " audio adventures " because many times those " adventure " products makes a difference for the better and permit to the whole market ( sooner or later ) to grow-up and this is what we are looking for: growing-up and not to be sticked with products that can't give me a better music home experiences.
How many years has Benz Micro in the market and only today has the LPS?, they are expert and through all those years even today are learning.
I think that in the same way that a company take its risk we have as a customers take our own risk about: obviously a " calculated " risk.
Btw, there are other cartridges that sounds different to your LPS but certainly there are other cartridges that are better too. I don't think that you are saying that that cartridge is " perfect ".
IMHO that Mantis is a good cartridge but IMHO nothing to die for. If the cartridge fulfil your music sound priorities then that Blue Angel is the right cartridge for that person, not for me.
Regards and enjoy the music,