Ears I trust say the Transfiguration Orpheus works well with the Triplanar VII. I use one on an SME V. Feel to e-mail me.
Stringreen gets it right ...
Know that the Disovery Cable tonearm wire goes through a break-in process, and I'm not sure how long this takes, as I accelerate this by running a line level signal for 72 hours - through all of the Triplanars passing through me.
Before break-in, you'll hear the slightest bit of top end sizzle. It's very slight, and depending on the bandwidth of the rest of your system, it might not be apparent. If you do hear it however, do not get dissouraged. It will smooth out and have marvelous, extended highs.
If you want to accelerate the process, you can rig something up like what is shown here:
Don't blame the messenger, know that you have a broad range of fine cartridges to choose from (some of which are mentioned above), and know that your turntable will influence the final results.
We all have our favorite cartridges - selected in part due to our matching components, and of course, consistent with our taste. The hierarchy still applies ('table, then arm, then cartridge). IOW, a lesser 'table will compromise your arm and cartridge.
Thanks for your feedback. I am reletively new to Analog and I would like to start with a less expensive cartridge and then upgrade to one of the top ones. I have heard a lot about Shelter Cartridges, for example the 501. Are there any cartridges in the $750-$1500 range that would work well with Triplanar arm? What about Ortofon cartridges?
Stringreen and Thomasheisig did indeed get it right, and Dan's question was appropriate, since different cartridges work well (or at least differently!) for different musical and sonic tastes.
For "all sorts" of music, a neutral cartridge like a ZYX or Transfiguration would avoid imposing too much of itself on any particular type of music. I've had a Shelter 901 and to our ears it wasn't really worthy of this top flight arm, which highlighted some of its flaws. It was impressive at first but became tiring rather quickly. A similarly priced ZYX, Tranny or Lyra would do better for the long haul.
A Benz would provide a little more warmth, though the TP would reveal that warmth as artificial coloration as your ears become more attuned. The TP is utterly revealing of everything about a cartridge, both the good and the not so good. It won't smooth over flaws as some arms do. It's an extraordinary instrument for pulling the maximum amount of information from a cartridge and from the grooves, so congratulations on acquiring one of the finest arms in existence.
One vital question no one has yet asked: what phono stage will you be using? That could have a defining impact on which cartridges would even be viable.
I have read many times regarding the infamous Benz warmth. I have a number of cartridges, and prefer the Benz Ebony LP, and/or Benz Ebony H for their musicality, their terrific tracking ability, their ruggedness, and the Benz liberal trade in policy. These 2 Benzes throw a huge soundstage with great depth, killer lows and airy sweet highs. There are cartridges that under A/B testing sound more detailed, however these 2 Benz cartridges sound most like music to me = I am a professional violinist.
Someone Doug and I know also likes the Benz LP. I've owned a Glider for several years as a backup cartridge (it came with a table I once owned, so I kept it). I've not heard an LP but I sure hope it sounds better than the Glider, which it probably does based on who recommended it to me. Maybe someday I'll get a chance to hear an LP.
However, the LP is well over $4K and way over Mikeaudio's budget. IME and IMO, I would not recommend going to the lower priced Benz's unless someone had an achingly bright system.
The thing about a Triplanar mounted on a good turntable reminds me of the old Fred Astaire movies. Fred didn't need Cid Cherise to create the illusion of working with a great partner, although Cid was one of the best (RIP Cid).
Fred could can dance with a coat rack and make you believe that it took dancing lessons. Similarly, a Triplanar on a good turntable will make an awful lot of otherwise pedestrian cartridges sound good.
1. The venerable Denon DL-103r. Palasr and Salectric have written some provocative comments about this combination. I cataloged some of their comments on Audiogon in this thread:
Yes, it's lacking in the audiophile tricks, but delivers the musical goods. Worst-case, you have a backup (after future upgrades) that shames many $1K cartridges.
2. Soundsmith rebuild of the Denons. Peter Ledderman is quickly gaining a well deserved reputation. I have yet to try one of these rebuilds.
3. Ortofon SPU Royal N - not your grandfather's SPU - a modern cartridge with an extreme line contact stylus profile and vivid tone colors (without robbing the top end in the manner that the vintage, conical stylus SPU's do). This is Frank Schroeder's favorite Ortofon, BTW and I agree.
4. Dynavector 17D3 (disclaimer - I sell these, so take this recommendation with a grain of salt).
5. Artisan - my buddy at Artisan audio is OEM-ing some Swiss-made cartridges in the $400-$600 price range.
About the Benz LP which I realize is out of your price range. Yes, the top line Ebony bodied Benz breaks with the tradition of a bloated mid-bass which draws attention away from unbearably bright systems. It is a cartridge I could live with for a very long time.
Thom @ Galibier
The Jubilee is nice, but the SPU Royal-N is better and less expensive. It doesn't work quite as well with arms on the lower side of average however, and hence the Jubilee's popularity. The SPU Royal-N and Triplanar are a match made in heaven, as is this cartridge with the Micro Seiki MAX-282.
Triplanar used to exhibit with van den Hul, but has switched as of late. I'd be very surprised however to hear that he's switched to the Jubilee, however.
Is there a reason why you're limiting yourself to solid state? Getting solid state to sound good takes some doing - as with Raul's Essential. This is the only solid-state phono stage I've heard that I could live with, but that's just me. Unfortunately this comes at a price that is out of your realm (5-figures).
Thom @ Galibier
All of "this" lower priced,but superb,cartridge "talk" only reinforces a thought I had after auditioning some mega expensive digital gear recently...."Analog,at almost any level, IS amazing"!!
The dealer was comparing two different "two box" high five figure CD unit/combos,and then switching to a "superb to the max" Lyra Helikon/Brinkman table combo...The total system cost,was in the mid six figure range.
The electronics were from Vac,VTL and a superb Japanese mfgr,of the highest order.
Well though the other folks attending the session,were inpressed by the "digit" stuff,the analog front end "absolutely" stole the show!!
This "means" something!!
But to the uninitated "digi" lover,it seemed that "they" were not interested,in the least",in furthering the journey!...I actually believe some folks "shut down" to analog,due to the "hunt" for music.It's SO easy to buy CD's!
Hey,I have and "like" my digi stuff,but even a "mid" level analog equip,set up well,is simply in another league!
Hopefully,I can get back to listening to LP again,after my latest "six month" round of troubles go away(i'm not holding my breath,but do alot of praying these days-:)!!...Yeah,I'm worried,as digital is starting to sound pretty good!
Lucky is the man who can spin a disc,in the analog domain!
Responding to Stringreen re: Benz warmth, I was referring to models in the OP's price range, which I've heard and which did indeed sound warm, slow, soft or even bloated. Like Dan, I haven't heard the higher priced models but they're above Mikeaudio's budget. If he had $4K+ to spend we'd all be talking up our favorite world class cartridges, as we've done so many times here, and rightly so of course.
I echo Thom's question. Why a SS phono stage? You won't find many, if any, below $6K that can match comparably priced tube phono stages.
In my experience, the Hagerman Trumpet, Artemis Labs PL-1 and PH-1, along with the Quicksilver full function preamp have all made good sound in my rig.
You need to take with a grain of salt these three recommendations because I have either sold (or sell) two of the three, and know all three designers.
Another great tube phono stage comes from our buddy Ralph Karsten at Atmaspehere.
If you want to drop down in price, the EAR 834P and the Hagerman Coronet immediately come to mind.
Surely there are others ...
Audio Research comes to mind. It's been far too long since I've auditioned their gear (PH-3). Many on this list love their gear. In the context of my experience, I've been wholly underwhelmed by it and consider it to be "hi-fi" in the pejorative sense.
If your Audio Research gear makes magic for you, then ignore my comments. My experience is meaningless in the context of your system and what floats your boat.
Now, qualifying a tube phono stage is fraught with many of the same pitfalls inherent in selecting an ss phono stage (or any other component for that matter).
I've heard 5-figure, vacuum tube phono stages held in high regard by many which made me ask the question if the designer ever listened to real music.
This latter point is critical, especially if you're coming from digital. Many of the same pitfalls apply. You will audition gear that "sounds" good, but over time have you giving up listening to music.
This, to me is the fatal flaw of all digital that I've heard at any price. Many designers of all audio components, I fear have adopted a world-view positioned from this point of reference.
Unfortunately, while we can potentially quantify what's going on by looking at a 'scope (e.g. bandwidth, phase coherence, etc.), you may get distracted during an audition from what constitutes a musically meaningful component to you.
It's very easy to get distracted by "good sound", only to realize months later that this "good sound" is thoroughly uninvolving to the point that you stop powering up your system.
I know of no way to speed the process of culling the wheat from the chaff, which is unfortunately why you see so much gear up for sale.
Perhaps the best advice I can give comes from an old Linn brochure. Ask yourself if the band seems "on" today.
When people are truly captivated, a curious thing happens. They start to talk in the present tense about the performance. They have truly become transported across a space-time continuum. If this is happening to you, then you may well be on to something special.
The big caveat of course is that I could take a fairly pedestrian turntable/arm/cartridge and dial it in to make it sound quite special. Alternatively, I could take an outstanding analog rig, and by spinning a few knobs, make it sound quite pedestrian.
Your only hope is that the fellow demoing gear to you has a clue as to how to set up a turntable. Good luck on this one!
Thom @ Galibier
Yes, please give us some specific insight into your current system, long-term goals, and taste in music.
While I'm still of the opinion that a good rig should do all music perfectly, we live in the real world, and we can consider compromises appropriate to your tastes.
Having said that, the right system could for example, introduce you to opera - creating a transcendant experience you might never have imagined possible.
How could I forget the K&K? It's very nice, and Kevin Carter will build it for you for an additional $400 (last time I checked).
One more piece of advice ... everything you read here is WRONG!
Seriously, at the end of the day, don't let any of us tell you that you don't know what you're hearing. It is all of us who don't know what you're hearing ;-)
Thom @ Galibier
Mikeaudio, Triplanar has used the Transfiguration Orpheus, the ZYX Universe and several Van Den Huls at recent audio shows, all running in balanced mode.
The Ortofon might have been used in a 'loner' arm (keep in mind that while Triplanar does show at THE Show and RMAF, there will be 3-7 other companies that borrow arms and still more that have their own).