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.



Dear @lewm : " was more interesting than this banter about digital vs analog. ",

obviopusly that that is for you but everything were said/posted on the issue thread with no single doubt to add nothing about.


In the other side your " banter " subject is interesting for some other gentlemans but you when they posted about and that " banter " really started when ML posted on that complete " analog/LP " characteristic vs the incomplete digital version, that was what he stated here and latter on he posted something as " digital at any single step is a reference ". Along all those he posted in other thread that in his system streaming listened experience he touted the " completness " of digital and he named what he was enjoying that time.

Controversial point of views and that’s why I asked to know what means his " complete " against " incomplete " mediums characteristics but he never gaves us an explanation that I think because he does not wanted to does.

For me, everything is clear from 10 years now on that regards, good that for you is not interesting subject. Btw, normally when I talk of analog I’m reffering mainly to the LP alternative.

Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,


who currently makes reel to reel tape? Just wondering.

@goofyfoot see https://www.atrtape.com/

ATR Magnetics makes cassettes as well as reel to reel tape.

Are you " crazy " ( at least ) or what?


"  up is absurd "  if it's then don't following your futile " rummage "?


I already said: who cares but you?

I get accused of being crazy all the time 😉

I don't follow your word salad, the second question.

Do you want a list of names or is that rhetorical?

Again, if no-one cared or analog could not compete this would not be a conversation. We would be doing something else 😁

"To make comments lacking the experience to back them up is absurd"

i used the word silly to express the same thought.

listen to the gear, tell us what you hear. or know you will not be taken seriously. do the work. i acquired the cartridges, listened, and said what i heard about the original question. expressed my listening opinion.

tell us about your opinion about the best cartridge.


tell us about your opinion about the best cartridge.

He cant. He spent over 10 years trying to convince everyone that MM's were as good as the best MC's, but apparently after an epiphany has recently concluded that nothing can touch his favourite LOMC.

I figured out he had no idea after he started making erroneous comments on rare cartidges I actually own. Example being the Dynavector Karat nova 13D - at first he tried to claim a Karat Nova 17D was actually a 13D, then after I explained the difference and serial number nomenclature, he got another ( second hand ) one.

But the apex of lunacy arrived when he advertised a "real" Dynavector Karat Nova 13D here on audiogon with the cartridge mounted in the unique headshell upside down - (1st video below ) Furthermore it appeared to have a non original cantilever - Frankenstein ( 2nd video ). This from someone who claims to be an expert.







Dear @mikelavigne  :  " i used the word silly to express..."

If it's silly then who cares to follows posting? obviously you cared.

" about the original question.  "


Well, in my first post I posted my opini'on and here pasted:


"""  Congratulations for those both new cartridges you own.

Your question could be controversial because any cartridge quality performance levels depends on with what kind of quality analog rig ( inlcuding phono stage. ) is surrounded and depends too of each cartridge owner skills for its accurated overall set up.

Cartridges as yours or coming from VDH or Ortofon or Koetsu or the Etsuro or, or, or,... are the best for its owners but at the top cartridge models in reality I agree with @mattmiller : no best but a little different. Every one of us have our own and very specifics targets and priorities with MUSIC/sound reproduction. 

Btw, maybe both of your cartridge could be best " serv " by a different tonearm and obviously a different better phonolinepreamp. At both sides you will experience better SQ with both cartridges that the one you are experienced rigth now. ""


Contrary to you and even that through your posts exist contradictions I never posted that's that contradiction is " silly " or any other agressive adjective but the other way around because I care of what you say and asked you 3 times to explain your words used for analog/LP and digital: complete and incomplete respectively.

Now and for the four time you are refusing to give us your answer to us. You are still refusing about even that even the gentlemans that like to " applaud "  want to know.


I really hope and wait for your explanation of those words used as characteristic by analog/LP and digital MUSIC reproduction alternatives in a home audio system.


Mike, that is the real issue not any more the thread question.

Now, I appreciated that instead to stay in " dead silent " status quo at least  tell us that you don't want to explain about . That's it.  Remember that Those were your  " words " not mines and from there came almost the next thread posts till now.



You posted something contrary of what you are asking me:

" fair enough, my source is second hand feedback from other users. "  

Another second hand comment:

"  he says the DaVa Reference is looking those level in the eye (at 1/3rd to 1/6th the price) and he is very impressed...."




analog is complete. complete wins hands down. every time.

i listen to digital for access to new music and for ease of use. listen to digital 60-70% of the time. but ultimate performance does not involve digital.....in any step "

but before that you posted that streaming " digital completeness ". How could that happened to you?

 and I'm not telling that that is " silly ". Why should I?