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 @mijostyn  : The sound that goes inside our ears is an analog signal that we can't listen because is analog and that's why is in the internal ears an ADC. Read again here:


With the hair cells, we come to the end of the audio path inside the ear. Hair cells are neurons, and the purpose of the outer hair cells is to convert the mechanical vibrations that come from their cilia into nerve signals. Such signals are binary (all or nothing), and seem to be completely decorrelated from the analogue signals to which they correspond. In other words, they’re digital signals, and the inner hair cells are analogue‑to‑digital converters. ""

Those hair cells are the transducers, binary transducer and not zeros and ones. As you said our brain has no idea of those numbers but only the binary transduced information.


No one ( even scientific. ) knows for sure and in deep how our organism function. Medical specialist have an idea about founded in all the years in the University and day by day experiences.

The in deep brain whole operation step by step till today is almost unknowed. The scientific say that the human been brain is knowed at no more of the 20% of its whole real operation.

Any kind of live life in our planet but specialy the human been is almost  " miraculous ".

Think for a moment of a small muscle/pump named heart that is running ( as all other organs. ) and can do it for even over 100 years with out stopped not even by 2-3 minutes to rest and is a muscle.

Which machine or item made it by the human beens could do it and with out maintenance services? it function by electricity and we don't have a cable but its wroks in wireless status.   



Actually the brain is an analogue processor, so I would assume that if one were brainless, then indeed digital may be best option. However for most of us, with more than the one brain cell, we find great pleasure in listening to analogue.

Without being able to measure the response, are you sure that you are finding the Lyra better meets the loading of your phono input?  You might want to explore both capacitive and resistance loadings on your cartridges to determine if, for example, you can make your older cartridge sound more like the Lyric.  From my own experience with moving coil  cartridges over the years, getting extended flat frequency response without any/much high frequency peaking below 20-25k seem to be a key to "more realistic" sound, including kettle drums and cymbals.

@rauliruegas , I hope you did not take my Mexican comment seriously. But, to get a French Cab better than Say a Duckhorn or Rombauer you would have to spend a fortune. For most people the above wines are a fortune. The problem for us is much of the best French wines stay in France. We shall see as the wife and I are going to cycle through Provence next Summer. And, buy the way, everything the French know they were taught by the Italians and my absolute favorite wine is the Antenori Tignanello. I do not think you can touch a bottle for less than $125 now.

Digital rules, but analog is fun (if you have the money.)

As for our ears I disagree with that analogy. Yes, the individual hair cells are an on or off proposition. Each one contributes to a voltage. The Voltages are added up to make an analog wave form. They do not trigger a one or a two. If anything it is more similar to pulse width modulation. 

@dover , Speak for yourself. I can listen to a fax tone for hours:-)


nothing personal regarding my dropping out of this discussion.

i simply do not see the value to me in this thread. unfortunately a frequent Audiogon experience. and honestly the Audiogon interface is very frustrating to navigate compared to any other forum. too much noise, not enough signal, to hold my attention.