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.



Hands down the Goldbug is the best we have ever heard period.  So musical and enjoyable.  The Denon cartridge with the wood body is a great deal for the money.

Happy Listening.

What is the 'World's Best Synergy' ?

There is no doubt that very few Individuals, whether a Commercial Retailer or an Enthusiast User, are using the same System Components and Supporting Ancillaries.

Take this further and include the variations in methods used to Support Components and the Unique Environment the System is set up in, it all adds up to each individual making a commentary on value given to a Component, Ancillary, or complete System, all have a very unique interaction with it, which will be interpreted in a way that is with limitations.

The information that is usually offered and most commonly evident, is where the most valued impression made was recollected.

When considering the above, it puts in place, that in general each individual, will have developed preferences based on their Unique Encounters of a HiFi System.

The Presentation that is on offer, will be assessed against the attraction to the ed a Stimulus produced within themselves.

If a person desires to reinforce their findings by investigating the design parameters for a product that has made an impression, that is quite different to the stimulation of the senses that has been pursued through receiving a demonstration. 

The rating of value given to a device, ancillary or overall system, is usually derived from the stimulation created through the listening experience only.  


The following description is supplied by a forum member, who has without their obvious endorsement, have willingly or unwillingly, recently been elevated to an Exalted Level by another, in relation to the idea, they are above the regular contributors in the Technical Expertise for the usage of a HiFi System.

What the following does demonstrate, is that the methods selected and being prompted to be discussed, are not usual selections being made for ancillaries used to connect components to produce a HiFi System.

The choices are seemingly thought of as unusual, especially as there is a selection of choices made, that are veering away from what might be considered a regular thought on such a practice.  


I read the thread on WBF via the URL provided by Mike.  He started the thread in mid-2020, and I read it up to about mid-2021, but posts continue to the present.  As of where I left off, Mike owned two of these expensive LFD cables.  One is a phono cable terminated at one end with a DIN plug.  To quote Mike on WBF, "the LFD phono is from the CS Port turntable to the EMIA silver SUT; the SUT is connected to the MM input on the CS Port phono with 18" special interconnects provided by Dave Slagle..."  Mike is using the second cable, which is a conventional IC as follows: "the LFD RCA interconnects are from the CS Port phono to the dart [DarTZeel] preamp."  As of where I left off, apparently Mike had acquired a second phono cable for his Saskia.  (Mike, sorry to speak of you as if you in the third person. Please correct me if I've got it wrong.)

It would never have occurred to me that the road to cable Nirvana would be found by combining many strands of wire of different gauges and different shapes (ribbon AND round cross-section) and even different compositions (one strand seems to be copper sheathed in silver; the rest of the strands are pure silver). 

"I don't know how to rationalize it, but I don't argue with listening tests". 

I think Mike and others on WBF are just as surprised at the results.


What is the 'World's Best Synergy' ?

The one that any individual, albeit, Professional, Enthusiast or Casually Interested, in any aspect of replaying recorded music decides is best for them.

It is easy to create preconceived perceptions and get surprises when the unusual delivers the goods.

I have been undoing such a limiting outlook for too many years, I certainly am not feeling any constraints, an open mind is present for all that is to be experienced. 



the answer for the ’PC’ meaning Phono Corrector’ is the same as my other answer, but it involves a little more detail to describe my evolution. step one for me was my first ’exotic’ LFD din<->phono cable i used on my CS Port tt and linear tracking arm. next i added an LFD Raptor between my CS Port phono and my darTZeel preamp. and i was using a short set of rca i.c.’s provided by Dave Slagle between the EMIA SUT’s and the CS Port phono. these short (18") interconnects were spec’d by Dave to work in that spot. the tech for this short SUT <-> PHONO cable is unique to that particular place and beyond my understanding.

next i added a second LFD din<->phono for a second arm. everything else the same.

next i switched from the CS Port phono (which had three inputs) to the EMIA Phono Corrector. but this also created a temporary problem since the Phono Corrector only had one input. i was having an MC Trio built with three inputs,


but first i had to determine the SUT values for the Trio, and especially for the DaVa this was a challenge. had to wait for it to arrive then experiment with different SUT’s. we did figure that out and the MC Trio was built arriving in August.

so i had 3 arms, but only two LFD phono cables, and one LFD set of Raptor rca’s. this is when i acquired the LFD dongle. the dongle is a short 11" long contraption that overcomes the limitation of the 5 pin DIN connection which is a limitation of the din<->rca phono cables. the dongle breaks all the rules and actually uses tubes of metal instead of wire, and is very stiff. the last pages of that LFD thread do talk about the dongle and show pictures. to use the dongle i had to add the LFD Raptor interconnects to it. which left me without a LFD cable between the Phono Corrector and the dart pre.

the idea being that the phono cables were orders of magnitude more significant than the interconnect between the phono pre and dart pre. i wanted tip top phono cables first and foremost. so i’m hearing all three cartridges and arms at their best. it did turn out that the dongle + Raptor was the best phono cable. we did some cartridge switching to verify that. more dynamics and space from the dongle/Raptor.

temporarily i used a set of inexpensive but highly regarded interconnects;


meanwhile, i had a friend of mine build me a set of 1.5m ’skunkworks’ rca interconnects which i now have been listening for 10 days which are much better. i’m about to switch the cheap set back in to see the difference.

my reasoning for not replacing the LFD Raptor with another is two fold. first, another Raptor is very expensive, and second, i would need to wait at least a year to get one. hoping my friends handwork will suffice. my impressions are very positive.....but in any case it’s an even playing field for all three tonearms/phono cables.


Is the Kontrapunkt B, the ’World's Best Cartridge’ ?

Was the Kontrapunkt B, in its modified guise, the Best Cartridge heard in an individual’s World on the day of the event, for a proportion of the attendee’s, it is a possibility this was the case, if stimulus produced was the basis for the judgement."

You make me smile. I'd like to know about the modifications involved. I have not heard a 'B' but have a 'C' which was just above it in the Ortofon range in those days. Maybe we are all listening to little differences and there isn't any great difference to be heard once you get beyond a certain point in cartridge build quality?

I imagine we have all had one of those wonderful experiences where you suddenly hear something so much better that it changes the way you do things thereafter? But once you have got there, are there further similar revelations or are we quibbling about the chauvinism of small distinctions?

If ten of us sat listening to the same system with the best Lyra, Ortofon, Soundsmith, DA Audio, DaVa, AT, Dynavector, Clearaudio (add your favourite) carts, would our preference just be individual and not generally reproducible? And if we knew that such results were not to be generalised among all listeners, we would simply be happy with what we liked and not feel the need to impose our preferences on others. That sounds like hi-fi heaven to me!

Dear  @mikelavigne  : Thank's. I already knew all what you posted and I can see you don't have answer about the differences between all that longng travdel of the cartridge signal inside the Phono Corrector + SUT + Dartzeel line preampg agains t what I posted:


"  your Dartzeel is a high gain active phonolinepreamp: CONNECT THE CARTRIDGE SIGNAL USING ONLY ONE IC CABLE nothing added to preserve the cartridge signal integrity at to stays nearer and truer to the recording. "

I don't question what you like beut I'm severely questioning not only those LFD items but those tubes and SUTs vs the great direct exceptional Dartzeel SS linepreamp.

I don't care what the other wbf gentlemans say on all their congrutalations to you and what they are listening through those LFD cables. I care only about you and that severe change you did it from pure SS high gain active unit to separated tubes RIAA + SUT + a line preamp. 

That's what does not makes sense to me: why return to the past instead to follow with the best proved today technology that degrades the less the cartridge signal, no matters what?

Yes, it is what you like and obviously is up to you. But this followed saying something wrong is down there:

"is unique to that particular place and beyond my understanding. " The key word in your statement is that you don't care about and me from the outside just like to understand the whole issues that LFD Mick and EMIA just " dead silence " and is obvious their silence because you are very good customer.

Thank's again for your patience and answers .