Three output versions of Benz ACE cartridge...


I am purchasing a new analog setup (Basis 1400 w/RB300 arm), and have selected the Benz ACE as the cartridge. The ACE is available in three output versions: 0.4mV, 0.8mV, and 2.5mV.

The phono preamplifier will be the MS Phonomena, which is equipped to handle any one of these cartridges fine.

My question is, which output level version should sound better? Or should they all sound the same, and maybe the three versions are offered to accomodate a variety of phono stages? They are all the same price.
It's a good question and probably most of the surfers here will strongly advice you to take the lowest output version.

On my opinion if you will take the lowest version you'll be forced to use the highest gain of your phono. The highest gain setting of Phonomena means that the signal will go through more stages of amplification(the main disadvantage of variable gain phonos)resulting more and more harmonic distortions.

BTW what preamp do you have?

From my experience the best sounding output setting in Phonomena is somewhat 46dB?(do not remember presice adjustment steps). Having a sencitive preamp(~200mV inut sencitivity) with 16dB gain you can go for medium output version(.8V) and have the best to my knowledge sounding setup.
Sometimes low output is not the best way to go because of increased noise and distortion. I would go for the middle one, if not the high output version. In this particular case of variable gain routing the middle or high output make more sense. Maybe just get a Shure Type V or a Goldring. Just my .02.
you might want to contact garth leerer at and ask for his advice. garth is the sole us distributor for benz and markets the phenomena worldwide. he's a friend of mine and a helluva nice guy. -cfb
Can't go wrong by calling Musical Surroundings for advice, but if your phono section can handle the low output(>60db of gain) then the o.4mv version is the way to go. Assuming constant magnet size, output of the cartridge is increased by increasing the wire turns or size of the coils with the tradeoff being reduced speed and transparency. However, you can only realize the advantages if you have enough gain in your phono section, otherwise dynamics will suffer(muddy sound) and background noise will increase obscuring low level detail.