What is the “World’s Best Cartridge”?

I believe that a cartridge and a speaker, by far, contribute the most to SQ.

The two transducers in a system.

I bit the bulllet and bought a Lyra Atlas SL for $13K for my Woodsong Garrard 301 with Triplanar SE arm. I use a full function Atma-Sphere MP-1 preamp. My $60K front end. It is certainly, by far, the best I have owned. I read so many comments exclaiming that Lyra as among the best. I had to wait 6 months to get it. But the improvement over my excellent $3K Mayijima Shilabi was spectacular-putting it mildly.

I recently heard a demo of much more pricy system using a $25K cartridge. Seemed to be the most expensive cartridge made. Don’t recall the name.

For sure, the amount of detail was something I never heard. To hear a timpani sound like the real thing was incredible. And so much more! 
This got me thinking of what could be possible with a different kind of cartridge than a moving coil. That is, a moving iron.

I have heard so much about the late Decca London Reference. A MI and a very different take from a MC. Could it be better? The World’s Best? No longer made.

However Grado has been making MI cartridges for decades. Even though they hold the patent for the MC. Recently, Grado came out with their assault on “The World’s Best”. At least their best effort. At $12K the Epoch 3. I bought one and have been using it now for about two weeks replacing my Lyra. There is no question that the Atlas SL is a fabulous cartridge. But the Epoch is even better. Overall, it’s SQ is the closest to real I have heard. To begin, putting the stylus down on the run in grove there is dead silence. As well as the groves between cuts. This silence is indicative of the purity of the music content. Everything I have read about it is true. IME, the comment of one reviewer, “The World’s Best”, may be true.



any illusions about digital transfers and analog gets dispelled here by Bernie Grundman, listen to 1:17--1:25.


Dear @mijostyn : " Incomplete? Are you kidding me? "

No, it’s not kidding you and this kind of " mix-up " comes when we have an objective " opinion " in front of a subjective " opinion ". It can’t " married " /blended in good " shape " .

Almost all audiophiles are " biased " ( for whatever reasons ) in different levels to some kind of " path ". Normally are biased with what we are accustomed to listen almost just from when we born and several of us over our life , some way or the other, were listening to analog sources/live Music not digital.


Digital is an " intruder " in our analog audio world. Is something that in some ways even " disturbs " us at different levels and here in this thread we are confirming some of all those.

Why an "intruse " or better yet. Why we don’t accept in full digital? Well I think that this is the result of all what we read just when CD begans through the magazines as Stereoppphile, TAS and the like where reviewers as M.Fremer, J.Atkinson, R,Harley, J.valin, REG, etc, etc , " satanize " the digital alternative all over the last 40 years and when a human been is reading/looking/be spoke trhough magazines/forums/recording manufacturers/audio item manufacturers too and the like that digital is way WRONG and we " listen " that 24 hours a day for 40 years that " simple " FACT is part of our audio life and it’s " sticked " deep in our brain conscious or inconscious. Remember you the Athena label LP recordings? well all those very good recordings ( I own it. ) came with a red rounded seal with a cross line in the back cover where we can read: digital. So digital was " forbidden " .

Existed a very well " orchestrate " paid campaingn against digital. Nothing comes by free.


All those people that made it that way" dirty " job about and that still are doing it today, maybe thinking were doing a favor for the audiophiles, the only real fact is that all them are the culprit that the true high end could not growing-up faster in quality and quantity.

The pity issue in all those is that almost all of us were and are followers of them and were satisfied with that " status quo " doing nothing for the audio/MUSIC world.


You posted too:


" Nothing at this date is more accurate than a 24/192 file in a home system. Why not DSD? None of the modern four channel digital processors I know of operate in DSD, always PCM. The digital program I use to play files converts DSD to PCM for playback and storage.

No analog tape machine can compete for accuracy with a 24/192 file. This says nothing about perceived sound quality. I intentionally juggle the frequency response curve to suit my own taste, intentionally inaccurate.

What Mike’s Studers are, are very cool machines, mechanical artwork. They are antiques ""


Well don’t say that to Fremer and all those gentlemans including atmasphe that always has " something " to tell why " why not digital or why is not so good ".

Complete and incomplete? that’s the @mikelavigne road " bifurcation " but from his point of view it not only yet tell us what’s " compldete " and what’s " incomplete ", I mean what really means both words: what is he trying to says or explain with? and I think that Mike is not really sure about because trhough his statements he said digital is incomplete but at the same time he posted that digital " completeness " characteristic : his words not mines.

He said that listen daily more or less 70% of digital recordings and is curious because I listen daily 70% to LPs/analog.

Big difference and I think that when he has a dialogue on a digita vs analog with other persons he can’t try to be " unbiased " one way or the other. In his case through analog heavy bias.


I told several times: I like to listen MUSIC through my LPs but this fact does not impedes to talk with a non-biased analog " instint ".

MUSIC develops always some kind of " emotions " in all of us but here I’m not talking about " those emotions " or what we like it but which is the " complete " alternative and which the " incomplete " alternative and WHY.

What B.Grundman said is something we all know and knew by several years but solves nothing on the matters.

Almost always we audiophiles are biased for " what we like " because that’s what the AHEE teached to us. That’s why today still exist tube electronics, SUTs, , etc, and the like and the audiophiles that still do not learned follow sticked " there ". Nothing wrong with me, any one of us makes our self choices but again that kind of market behavior makes more damage that good thing to our audio world.



honestly; this stuff is not that complicated. but it does require commitment and effort.

acquire great digital and analog sources, and great original/native media, then a great room and system to listen.

listen and see what you prefer.

don’t tell me about opinions other than you listened and this is what you heard. the other stuff matters to try and explain it. but the other stuff does not make the case. listening makes the case.

we don't all have to agree on what we hear. but it's about that.

“acquire great digital and analog sources, and great original/native media, then a great room and system to listen.”

Exactly! Thank you @mikelavigne for keeping it short and to the point. 

Dear @mikelavigne   : "" 

this stuff is not that complicated. but it does require commitment and effort.

acquire great digital and analog sources, and great original/native media, then a great room and system to listen.

listen and see what you prefer.  ""


Sure is not complicated and agree that require commitment and effort and I can't tell you that I did and still doing just that.

I don't give you other opinions but mine just from the dialogue began. My post to mijo was only to make an explanation about that " kidding " and all the other statements came from me and that's my opinion and the issue here is not about preferences because my preference is MUSIC always.

Yes, we don't have all to agree an especially on what we hear. Mike it's really hard to be un-biased with this kind of discussions and that's why I try to understand you and that's why I poste what I posted twice to mijos.


Btw, rigth now that I mentioned I will listen to those Athena LP recordings that I do not in the last 4-5 years or maybe more.


Nothing like the MUSIC enjoyment. So enjoy it.