ZYX R-100 Yatra & SME 3009 MKII Non-Improved

Hi all,

Is the ZYX R-100 Yatra a good match for SME 3009 MK II Non-Improved ? Anyone has any experience with the Yatra could please comment on its trackability?

Thanks a lot in advance.
I got that same cartridge in a package deal with a vpi-scout and the first thing I noticed after setting it up was tracking issues.

I added headshell weight of 6gm which should have brought my combination into a reasonable region resonance wise but tracking was still not the best. It could track only the first(12db) bias test track (side 1 track 6) on the Hi-Fi News test record. And to do that took a higher VTF that spec'd by zyx. I also tried it on a Rega P2 and got similar results.

My plan is to set it up again someday and try listening to it more before deciding whether to keep it or not. For now I'm sticking with my Ortofon Jubilee which has excellent tracking and sound.

Bottom line is this cart can have tracking issues for some. I have found other threads about it here on Audiogon. I'm not saying it's not a good cart, that's why I still plan to give it another chance someday. It's very likely I just didn't find the right combination of things to set it up properly. Although I haven't encountered any other carts that required this much effort.

Maybe others will chime in with good experience of it's tracking. I would like to hear what setups have worked well. It might give me a clue for what to try next with it.
Before I get chastised for using test records I just want to mention that I have read the advice here to not pay too much attention to their results. I am willing to take this advice and that is why I am planning to give another try with this cart, this time by listening to music instead.

Unless I'm mistaken, your SME is a lower mass arm, around 9.5 grams. ZYX's are not well suited to such arms. While it's not the only factor, the arm/cart resonance frequency may be above the normally recommended 8-12Hz range. You could check that with the HFN&RR test record if you like. Resonance frequencies above this range may result in interference from lower pitched notes on the LP.

More generally, the ZYX suspension is simply too stiff for a light arm, which leads to a bit of the tail wagging the dog during dynamic passages. Even if you get it tracking cleanly, speed, dynamics and bass response will be sub-par.

Try adding some headshell mass, like Willamp did. I'd go as much as 8-9g heavier. That may help. An arm that's inherently more massive would help more however. Your listed system includes a Graham Phantom and a Moerch DP-6. The Yatra should perform well on either of those arms (assuming the heaviest armwand for the DP-6).


Whoever packaged a ZYX with a JMW-9 did you a disservice. Would you trust a car dealer who packaged Z-rated racing tires with an off-road SUV or pickup truck? Run, don't walk, to another dealer.

FWIW, the instructions for those four anti-bias tracks are poorly worded but it's worth noting that no one (knowledgeable) has ever suggested that they are "tests" to be "passed". Such an interpretation is not meaningful and adjusting one's setup based on that would be a serious error, as your experiment demonstrated. This common misinterpretation is one reason (among several) that some discourage the use of test records.

Properly set up on a suitable tonearm, the Yatra (or any other ZYX) cleanly tracks the most torturous passages on the most impossible LPs in my collection. On the wrong tonearm, it won't. Put a Koetsu or Shelter on a light weight arm and you'll probably get even worse results.
Yes I agree about the zyx/jmw-9 mismatch. It was a used package from another Audiogoner and all I really wanted was the scout, but accepted the cart as part of the deal just to give it a try. I agree that even more than the 6gm I added would likely improve things. Thanks for the input.
Thanks Dug & Willamp.
Hi Hoa.
the SME3009 non improved should be fine with your ZYX.

@ Dougdeacon .
the SME 3009 non improved version is 12.5g effective mass. the improved version is 9.5g.

Thanks, Peter. I'm no SME expert. I just pulled the first number I spotted off the internet...

An arm of 12.5g eff mass should be a match with a ZYX, providing that the ZYX has the manufacturer's optional SB headshell weight installed.
I have some confusions with SME 3009 MKII Non-Improved and Improved versions' effective mass before. Some listed it 12.9g and some listed 9.5g for the Non-improved version and 6.5g for the 3009 MKII Improved.

Let's just, for experiment, say that 9.5gr for the Non improved. ZYX Yatra's mass is 5gr, plus the Zinc (?) head shell installed and mounting hardware, the approximate total mass of arm & cart would be around 15.5gr.

According to Resonance Frequency calculator, with ZYX Yatra 's 15cu and 12 cu horizontal and vertical compliance, the arm & cartridge's resonance frequency should be 10.6 and 11.8 Hz, still in the recommended range of 8-15hz.

So this combo is compatible. I am interested in real life result of how well this combo track.
I have a Yatra and I have had issues with it. I never could get it to sound good all the time until recently. I have an Origin Live Aurora mk1 with Encounter mk2 arm. I recently got a good price on a used Aurora mk2 with Encounter mk2. The Encounter mk2 is the later version with the dual pivot design that essentially makes it a unipivot. I believe the unipivot design is a big step up and works much better with my Yatra. This combo sounds really good to me right now. Very transperant and dynamic. I also used the VPI headshell weight. But I used it before and beleive the unipivot is the key. The Yatra is still not the greatest tracker. I set the VTF to 1.82g. Any less I get miss tracking. Any more and it strarts to sound heavy. It does pretty well but will not track a hot cut record. It does not misstrack much otherwise but once in awhile. This cart excelles at conveying emotion with vocals and piano. Also seperates instruments well when a lot is going on in the midrange.
Thanks guys! I decided to go with the Ortofon Rondo Bronze since the specs are more compatible with the SME 3009 II non improved.