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.



@dover , I auditioned the strain gauge at Peter's listening room. He spent two hours with me. I really wanted to like the strain gauge but it was just too sharp on female voices and violins for my taste. The Hyperion is more to my liking. From the Voice upwards Peter makes a great cartridges. You can't go wrong with any of them. The Strain gauge is a unique outlier but it is not an easy nut to crack. My sense is that Peter like's the challenge. He also admits and will tell you that the Hyperion can handle over twice the velocity the strain gauge can tolerate. 

I listen at 95 dB to material that warrants it. That is quite a bit softer than 100 dB.

My hearing, like anyone my age is slightly rolled off on top. I compensate by boosting the treble from 12 kHz up at 6 dB/oct.  

Well, then that should make the Dava, with its purported 6db HF rise, the perfect cartridge for you 😊.

((Sorry, couldn’t resist.)



Ortofon Anna Diamond = Ortofon MC Diamond

Anna Netrebko became persona non grata....

Russian Ukraine Politics required renaming......to side-step conflict.

Hi Mike, I afraid that you are wrong, the spec. of the Mc Diamond is slightly different from the Anna Diamond! If we only go by the measurements, the Anna Diamond is actually the better of the two  😄

@mikelavigne , The MC Diamond has incorporated several improvements from the Verismo the Anna Diamond did not have. It is not the same cartridge. Yes, they did change the name because of Russian aggression as if that has anything to do with an opera singer. The Russians are wonderful people with a unique culture. It is the remaining Soviets that are Fed up. I could understand if the cartridge was named The Stalin.