Upgrade from a Benz Micro Ace SH

Hey all,

I don't know if this is possible, but what would be a good upgrade - to any degree - from my existing - and very aging - Benz Micro Ace SH cartridge? I'm running it with a VPI HW-19 Mk 4 tt through a Jolida JD 9 Mk 2 phono pre, into an LSA Statement integrated. Speakers and cables are Acoustic Zen.

I listen to a wide range of styles and artists, though focus mainly on singer-songwriter and jazz, with the occasional rock out with Rush or M83 or similar artists.

My budget is $800. Cartridge can be MC or MM; I've never heard an MI cartridge, a la Soundsmith, but am not averse to trying if it fits.

Thank you


Audio Technica ART 7 would be a solid buy at that price point.
Very low output though, at 0.12 mV, so your phono stage has to be up to the task.
Soundsmith retip?

@jb0194  That's what I was considering, too, tho I hate to be away from a vinyl playback during the time they're retipping it.

@jmcgrogan2 I had an AT mx150 and wasn't happy with the sound at all - a bit too thin and clinical, especially compared to the Benz. Any feedback on the ART7's sound?

What about Grados or Clearaudios?

I wish I could afford a Lyra!
What are you looking for?  What kind of music do you enjoy?  Is there any specific shortcoming you want to fix?  You really need to

I wouldn't stereotype AT carts as sounding thing.  Especially if you're interested in a Lyra.

To my ear, Grados sound thick, at least the ones I've heard.

The AT-33EV or 33Sa might be just what you're looking for, but you really have to settle on what you're looking for.
Most cartridges are thin compared to a Benz (very warm). If you like the Benz, you may be best with a retip, another Benz, or a Grado. Both are too warm and slow for me (Koetsu too), but that's why they make so many different flavors.

If you thought the AT sound was thin and clinical, you DON'T wish you could afford a Lyra! You wouldn't like Clearaudio either.
What tonearm are you using with the VPI ?