ZYX R100 Yatra

I decided to try a ZYX cartridge but rather than jumping right in I sort of just stuck my toe in the water and got a Yatra at a very good price.

I find that it has the following strong points:

1. Ease: it sounds effortless. It sails through loud and complex passages with ease. It always sounds relaxed. . I can’t imagine a better cartridge for classical music or post-rock because it does such a great job of sorting out all the instruments and stopping the presentation from turning into a jumbled mess.

2. Spacious soundscape. Though the soundstage (the stage on which the band stands) is the size I’m used to (or slightly smaller) the ‘soundscape’ or ‘soundfield’ is massive and fills the whole room with sparkling air. I think the ZYX really gets "time" correct. I don't care about 'soundstaging' but an immersive 'soundfield' is, to me, absolutely essential.

3. No groove noise: It is incredibly quiet in the groove and somehow just finds the music there.

4. Action: the music propels forward from the images in a lifelike way that connects you with the music. Though the images are back behind the speaker plane the music fills the space between the listener and the image – there is no sense of an empty ‘gulf’ between the listener and the speaker plane.

5. Pace. It really gets me moving to the music. I always thought my table robbed my system of proper timing but since getting the ZYX I don't think much about replacing the table.

Ideally, what I’d like is to keep all these attributes but have more ‘blood’, ‘flesh’, ‘earthiness’, 'tone', 'texture',
'immediacy',‘juicyness’, ‘sweat’, etc. More SOUL; more humanity.
What I want is a cartridge that packs more of an emotional wallop, something with a ton of immediacy, humanity, and soul (but not warm, cozy, smooth, fuzzy, romantic, boring, and ‘blended’).
The ZYX is great but it never tricks me into thinking there are humans in my room playing music or that I have been transported to the musicians’ space. Instead it presents recorded music in an almost flawless way - but it sounds like recorded music. At its worst it sounds good but I find myself zoning out because I’m not emotionally involved with the performance; my ears are involved but my heart isn't: this was the case last night listening to Pink Floyd – I don’t think I’ve ever heard it sound better but I just wasn’t that interested and my mind would continually wander.

I'm left wondering if I can get everything I want from one of the ZYX cartridges higher up in the line or if I should move on to another brand of cartridge.

As you can see from my system link I'm running and Air Tangent arm and it is suggested that low compliance, low (or medium) mass carts work best with this arm.
(and I'm not looking to spend over 4k)

Showing 6 responses by dnath

I have owned a couple of Zyx cartridges, your findings are similar to mine. I would try a Soundsmith Hyperion or Sussuro (I am not a fan of the strain gauge). They give a very nice fleshed out sound, and do not have the high frequency tilt of some MCs. IMO it is that high frequency tilt that makes some MCs sound less than completely "real". I mostly listen to jazz recorded between 1950-1970.
I've never compared them side by side. I've only heard them in a familiar system at different times.
I think most of the variables are the same, it's that too much time has passed between hearing both that I can't really expand more than that. Both of them do have a nice solid sound, without the whispy-ness of some MC cartridges.