zyx Airy R-1000 cosmos - vs Benz LP S ?

Hi - I have killed my zyx and am considering a change to Benz - has anyone out there had an opportunity to compare zyx with the current LP ( I have a triplanar arm )

Thanks for any thoughts,

Hi Pjwd,
Is the retiping a possible option ?
I've never compare them in the same set-up, but I'm wondering:
Have you ever heard the LP in your set-up?
There is not a compatibility mismatch with your Triplanar, but I can't imagine how come to like BOTH of these cartridges.
Anyway the LP in my system was flat/boring impossible to move my senses. Just to give you an idea, LP has all the nice qualities of the DV17D3 and more! but something leave me unfullfiled - something allways is missing. I believe it was the involving factor. I can not express it nor I can explain why this happened. But side by side comparison, the (half the price) Dyna was more exciting!
Unfortunatelly my experience with R-1000 Airy is limited to the point that I can only admit that I like it a lot & it is my belief that is more comparable with Lyra than any other brand.

Thanks George,

I have a loan of a Benz Ruby and it sounds great but the cart died when I changed preamp so I have no comparison with the zyx with same pre - however I do detect a sense of lack of excitement compared to the zyx which is in line with your observation - ruby does sound very full bodied and lush though which started me thinking - perhaps it comes down to a choice of styles.


I used a Zyx Airy 3 for 2 years and was ultimately disappointed with it. I found it very neutral, but flat and lifeless, really lacking dynamics.

I changed to a Benz LP, not the LP S and really love it. The same neutrality and transparency, but much faster, more dynamic, with a richer tonal colour. I know the Benz line is much more costly in the US, mine cost me $2100 in the UK. That has to be factored in too. It still shares duty with the Koetsu Onyx I bought second hand and retipped. That is a lovely cartridge too, but quite different.
Thanks David12 - great to have a direct comparison - I must say the loaner ruby is sounding pretty fine - under the "full" sound there seems to be lots of detail - an area where I thought the zyx may be superior - not an easy task to select a new cart


David, I think yours is the first account I ever read, where a ZYX Airy 3 owner said the cartridge was flat, lifeless, and lacking dynamics.

Not that I'm disbelieving, as there may have been some reason such as poor synergy, non-optimal phono stage settings, set up, etc. Or a bad, or sub optimal cartridge?

Was it the X, or S Model?

I have owned the Benz Ruby 3, and now currently, the Airy 3. The Ruby 3 was a very nice cartridge. It did give a very nice pure lush midrage, sound was very good top to bottom. Nothing seemed at all to be missing from the sound.

A cartridge that produced music that one could listen without fatigue for hours.

Then on a whim, I decided to try the Airy 3X SB.

Off came the Ruby 3, on went the Airy 3. Both were aligned with the MintLP Protractor, so no differences as for alignment between the two.

Although the Benz was no slouch, the ZYX just seemed head and shoulders above the Ruby 3 in many ways. More dynamic, lighting fast, more clarity, and a darker background, with much less groove noise. I could go one, and on, but I'll save the lengthy descriptions.

Conclusion was, I had no desire to throw the Ruby 3 back on. Both Cartridges BTW, were both brand new, not used, both running through the Sutherland PhD Phono Stage, which was set at 60db gain, 1000 ohms for the Ruby 3, and 62db gain, and 100 ohms for the Airy 3.

The only issues I noted with the Airy 3 as it was beginning to break in, it did seem a bit mechanical sounding at first, and was also noting sibilance, and slight mistracking on certain transients.

The sibilance-mistracking was caused by me, in that I mistakenly followed some archived audiogon suggestions of optimal tracking force (VTF), and was tracking too light, at 1.86g. Raising VTF to an even 2.00g.

The mechanical "CD like" sound it first seemed to display with the first 0-20 hours began to smooth out as more hours were accumilated on the Cartridge.

As for the Benz LP, vs Airy 3, I cannot comment about how the two would fare in a shootout, and I suspect the Benz LP "should sound as glorious as its price commands".

Still, I would like to believe the Airy 3 would not be "embarassly shamed" by huge "night and day" differences, even in a shootout with the flagship Benz Cartridge.

My Airy 3X won't be going anywhere anytime soon, provided some dumb mishap doesn't harm its life. Mark


In regards to your comment:
"It still shares duty with the Koetsu Onyx I bought second hand and retipped. That is a lovely cartridge too, but quite different."

I would also like to add that the Onyx was my reference point cartridge and the older LP sounded real close in musical attributes on the system I heard it on. Not as rich in tonal flavors compared to the Onyx, but real close. The new LP S which I now own is much better than the normal LP, with more extended highs, wider dynamic range, wider stereo seperation, more punch and nicely etched textures. I am not sure how much closer it will sound to my old reference Onyx, a cartridge I also hope to get someday. This is affixed to an SME V tonearm arm attached to a Transrotor Apollon turntable with 3 motors, magnetic bearing and 80mm platter.

I am a true believer that both the Airy and Benz offer great musical characteristics, however, each one achieves that differently and thus a different flair. Careful component matching to include your ears should be applied here.

Markd51. I normally do qualify my statements to say my experience reflects my experience, in my system. I did'nt in this case.
You are quite right that there may have been a mismatch in my system, though I was uprating my LP playback at the time and the Zyx was mounted in an OL illustrious, Jelco and Ortofon 309D and at least once, was set up professionally. It went through a K&K phono stage. The catridge could have been defective, I believe that does happen with catridges. I was suprised at the performance myself

thanks for the thoughtfull responses - the new pre is a halcro Dm10 and it is a shame the zyx died at the same time I introduced it otherwise I would have a direct comparison to share
I am not convinced about the noton of system mismatch - possibly more an issue of compensating errors ( we all know about these} - you have to believe there is one true path ( well !!!)
I got the zyx cart on the basis of net buzz and it replaced a shelter 901 based on net buzz ( it was better )

leaning torward benz this time


I wonder if anyone ever had a ZYX re-tipped-repaired in recent times?

When you say "died", do you mean issues with the Stylus-Cantilever broken, or some other internal problems?

A shame such a fine Cartridge would just sit worthless.

I have never read much in the way of what ZYX-Sibatech does for a customer? What, if any rebuild-re-tip program, the prices, nada.

I'll at least say with Benz, their trade in/trade up program is a big plus. It at least gives some assurance, that after one spends so much money, that your cartridge if broken, doesn't turn into a shoebox resident.

I know I've been told from a respected acquaintance here (Doug D) that the Stylus quality of the ZYX is responsible for the great sound these Cartridges produce, but with good businesses like Soundsmith, the $350 top of the line re-tip seems an attractive option to me. One I would no doubt seriously investigate should anything ever happen to mine.

Probably without a doubt, a fresh Soundsmith re-tip-rebuild sounds a whole lot better, than a worn out ZYX Stylus, and Suspension. And for sure, a wonderful ZYX that is now relegated to live in its Box broken.

I've never heard of anyone here having a ZYX at Soundsmith for repair, but would sure like to, and what the results were? Mark
Markd51 - I have had a broken cantilever repaired previously but zyx appear only to do a trade up system now. It is still quite generous but more than just a retip cost as per benz.

I had a previous shelter 901 rebuilt by Garrot Bros ( ahem - a broken cantilever again) and I thought they did a very good job