Zyx R1000 Airy3 vs Universe


Has anyone heard a head-to-head comparison? What are the differences?
no_slouch
Try this.
http://www.high-endaudio.com/RECENT.html#Aug
Dougdeacon, Cello, Lugnut, and Vetterone did a shootout between these two cartridges if I remember correctly. I thought they had posted the results somewhere.
Read that interesting thread.Hey Doug---Did you really clean 32 lp's in one day.That's patience!!
No slouch,

Read my reviews of both cartridges if you haven't (link by my signature). Short version:

The Airy 3 is a great cartridge. It has the tonal balance, accurate voicing and seamless integration of all ZYXs, but it's faster, more dynamic and more full-bodied than its lesser cousins. It's easily worth the extra vs. the Airy 2 (especially at Mehran's discounted prices).

The UNIverse is on a different plane. It does all the above, better, and has a much lower noise floor and finer resolution. It portrays the most complex musical lines with ease. Imagine Wagner's 'Die Walkure' with all nine sopranos going stong and Wotan thundering in the background. You can point to and name each of them. At the same time you will hear every instrument in the orchestra, and I mean individual instruments in a section playing the same line. Individual cellists and bassists. Individual horns and clarinets. If there's a large chorus you will hear individual singers. Yet none of this comes from any sense of over-hyped detail. The UNIverse simply plays more of what's on the recording. Small ensembles and soloists are so clearly and physically presented they are in the room with you.

If you have the table, arm and system to do it justice (a very important question) a UNIverse will outplay an Airy 3 by a margin that makes comparisons meaningless. It is not only worth the extra cost, in my opinion and that of the others mentioned by SirSpeedy it is a bargain.

Both cartridges come in silver or copper coil versions. The copper is pure, neutral and faster. The silver is decidedly warmer and smoothed a bit. My taste is definitely for pure, neutral and fast, YMMV of course. Depending on your arm you'll probably want the optional weight also. The performance without it will not be nearly so good.

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SirSpeedy,
Yup, that was one exciting afternoon ... evening ... night ... morning ... oy!

30 of those LPs were from the complete Harnoncourt/Bach cantatas I finally found on ebay, after 24 months of searching. Last year I was outbid on another set by some lunatic who paid > $100 PER VOLUME (two LPs per) for 35 volumes! I just got all 35 volumes for just over $10 per.

Of course I got what I paid for. The vinyl's fine but the idiot owner had left that stupid piece of foam which record companies used to put inside boxed sets, for 30 years. As I'm sure you know, that stuff eventually turns to a powdery dust that gets everywhere and sticks like glue. Getting it off the vinyl is possible, but it's not easy and it's not fast.

In addition, the owner was from FL and obviously stored the records in non A/C conditions for a while. Yes, I mean mold and mildew on most of those 60 sides. Buy stock in Buggtussel before the word hits the street!

I still have 14 LPs from that collection to clean. Wanna drive up and watch? ;-)
that totally answers my question. somehow that review slipped my attention. very detailed, great thanks.
We actually were doing a tonearm shootout. We had multiple copper coil UNIverse cartridges and two tables that could accomodate two arms. The only two cartridges we compared were a Lyra Olympos and the UNIverse on identical arms. At least that's how I remember it.

Speaking directly to your question however I think Doug Deacon is the only poster here that has done what you are asking about under controlled circumstances.

Any opinion I may have may not be worth a lot if closely scrutinized because I have a lesser table and arm and own an Airy 3 S SB. I also don't possess an audiophile vocabulary worthy of such a detailed comparrison. I would be basing my opinion using audio memory rather than anything that approaches controlled comparrison. I trust my memory but understand others that would not.

Doug, where are you?
Here are the direct comparisons of these cartridges that I'm aware of:

1. On our Teres 265 and/or 320 + TriPlanar VII:
- Airy 2, copper coils, silver weight
- Airy 3, copper coils, silver weight
- UNIverse, copper coils, silver weight
- UNIverse, silver coils, silver weight
- UNIverse, gold coils, silver weight

Compared by: myself, Paul and two experienced audio friends. One of them owns more stepups than Raul owns cartridges, plus multiple cartridges and several good arms, including a Schroeder and a TriPlanar. The other is the fellow who built our custom amp and will be building our custom preamp. He runs a Verdier/Schroeder/Onyx Platinum. I believe they would both concur with what I wrote above. One of them bought a UNIverse a few weeks after visiting us, even though his stated reason for the visit was to find some reason NOT to buy one. ;-) The other guy would buy one, but he has two young kids to pay for.

2. On Cello's Teres 340 + Graham 2.2
- Airy 2, copper coils, silver weight
- Airy 3, copper coils, silver weight
- UNIverse, copper coils, silver weight
- UNIverse, silver coils, silver weight

Compared by: Cello, an experienced friend of his, Paul and myself (except Paul and I didn't hear the silver coil UNIverse in his system, only in ours). In Cello's system the Airy 2 was slightly preferable to the Airy 3, as discussed in the review. There was no debate about the UNIverse however. Cello called Mehran and ordered one while we were sitting there.
Well Doug,Hopefully,if the friggin' hurricane does not hit south Florida,I'll be more versed in the supposed "magic" of the Univ.,and from what I hear(though I've no doubt,you know this already,assuming your audio grapevine is "yenta'd up",like mine)a Schroeder Ref,how the heck do you actually spell Schroeder?I've seen at least three spellings already!

As far as my own LP collecting goes,I've been lucky to find a huge quantity of records,I myself was able to look over,at Princeton,before the quality stuff got really hard to find.I'm on a couple of mail lists,but have amassed a large enough collection that I'm not buying too much these days.Poor me!My pal Sid keeps me in new supply of stuff,every time he decides to get rid of his "triples".He has ALOT of these,so I'm always getting great stuff,without the dissolved foam.Ha,Ha!!Best regards,and PRAY the hurricane moves way south!!
Hi sirspeedy,
My name is spelled Schröder, but I won't hold it against you if you use a spelling that, when read, sounds close to how my name is pronounced in german... ;-)

Cheerio,

Frank
Herr Schroeder unfortunately most of us don't know how to get an umlaut on our keyboard.
Nate, try ALT+0246 from you numeric keypad. ö <- I get that when I hold down the ALT key then type 0246 from my numeric keypad (one must use the numeric keypad, the top row of numbers will not work under most instances). This isn't O/S nor driver specific. It works the same on my new Penium-M machine as it did on my 386 for French class. Do a google search for an ASCII table, and you'll find the rest of the "funny" characters. éêëìíîïðñòóôõö÷øù . No special keyboard is needed (although it would make it easier). Macintosh and Unix workstations might be a little different. I don't know. But this will work from an IBM compatible. Windows also has a fun program called charmap.exe that you could play with.

I hope that helps.

Aaron
Aaron - that's pretty cool. Where can I get the rest of the awfulbet?
Here's one link:

http://www.forlang.wsu.edu/help/keyboards.asp

Just Google on the following phrase:

"typing umlaut us keyboard"

Cheers,
Thom @ Galibier
Hey Frank,I'm bummed out.My trip to Fla.,to visit with Cello,and compare your arm with the 2.2 will have to wait until Thanks Giving.I had to cancel my flight,due to hurricane "Katrina".I DID but the two new tennis rackets though.Got a discount on them.Great rackethead speed.Hope you don't mind the break in price GMORRIS(just kidding)!

BTW--Cello seems to be an incredibley nice human being.WAY nicer than me.Maybe you can do him a favor,and have the arm to him before Thanks Giving.I'd love that one!!

Best regards to all!!
Hi sirspeedy,
Cello is indeed one of the kindest and generous people I ever had the pleasure meeting. I`ll see what can be done to enhance your Thanksgiving visit...
Sorry you had to cancel your trip, but much better to remain grounded than falling victim to nature's wrath.
You ought to come to Denver for the RMAF, I'm certain you'll get to enjoy the show even more than your new rackets :-)

Cheerio,

Frank
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Ehhhh...Errr.....Thank you Frank, Thank you Sirspeedy.
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Best Regards,
Larry
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You guys are going to give the mild-mannered gentleman, Cello an ego crisis
To Sirspeedy ...

If you get to the RMAF, forget any thoughts of a vicious loop on any of your topspin shots. At 5,000 feet, the ball flies out of control :-((

OTOH, the high country is gorgeous at the end of September / early October - different from a Northeast foliage season, but dramatic in its own way.

People heading to the show should absolutely book an extra couple of days to get up to either Rocky Mountain National Park or the recreation areas near the Continental divide - both about 90 minutes from the hotel.

Cheers,
Thom @ Galibier
I must say that you guys are the typical Audio Centered folks that are fervent in this hobby.I am one myself,and I do love it,BUT----DO YOU ACTUALLY BELIEVE THAT I CAN SUCCESSFULLY TALK MY WIFE INTO ANYTHING AUDIO RELATED,when her current vacation was washed out,and we already(due to family obligations)rescheduled a Florida trip.Ha.Ha.Ha.I really DO appreciate the touching,and friendly gestures,but I have to assume you are ALL bachelors!!!

PS---Larry,after I clean up everything,after my first day back,I'll give you a ring(at about 900hz)!

Best to all!
BTW---Frank,you may want to hold up Cello's delivery,to AFTER Thanksgiving.As I have had some spare time (vacation,at home)to begin to do some additional voicing to my pal's system(including his 2.2,and he too is interested in the REF,as well as a Phantom),I have made some very interesting observations/improvements in how accurately I can get the "little" (by comparison to the Phantom)2.2 to reproduce some of my most demanding discs.I,actually,am quite surprised as to how good it can be.The big "BUT" is that I am now more convinced than ever that the average owner/set-up person has probably NOT gotten it's "Absolute" performance.Including me.

Sorry if that seems like an ego inflated statement,but you will have to detirmine as to whether I'm making the claim,to make sure of my being able to make the comparison,when I finally get to Fla.,or am I doing what I love most.Baiting(in a friendly way,of course)!!I do love the potential that the REF may make,but I'm told that I can't dismiss the new Graham,though it doesn't really float my boat,but what do I know?Hopefully alot more on NOV 26!
Larry--I do hope you have gotten the fluid level down to 1/2 a pin head accuracy(if the system is of REAL high resolution,this will make a difference). Or any comparison is not valid.It DOES make a big diff,if your system is up to it!Set downforce to mfgr recommendation,then set vta,finally(leave for last)set the fluid,after you have set downforce to optimum level.Play difficult program material,like upper freq. bells/massed upper freq material.When the EXTREME highs are literally almost sweet sounding,it's right.Can't tell you how long this has taken me.

Best regards!
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Sirspeedy,

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You need to learn to push the boundaries of your relationship with your wife. She privately is only truly concerned with your happiness and not her own. But, because you have subjugated your own needs for what you believe to be her needs, you are now in abject audio poverty.
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See the light and believe. You can go to Denver and your wife will be happy for you (if only in the recesses of her heart). Ignore her outer verbal protestations. She truly wants you to be happy. Go to Denver grasshopper.....

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Rgds,
Larry
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Sirspeedy,
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I think you may have the answer. I can spend the better part of my remaining days tweaking my Graham 2.2 or possibly get a Reference and be happy within a few hours of mounting it. Which do you think might be the better option. I can't decide.
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On the other hand, I could leave you with my table for all of your Thanksgiving vacation to tweak my Graham and then join back up with you the last day to see what you get.
What do you say old buddy, old pal ?
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Rgds,
Larry
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Actually,Larry---In response to your first paragraph:If it were my money spent on an arm like the 2.2,I certainly would want to get the max from it(it does help that I have a few pals who own one,and confirm small improvements,over time.Nothing is absolute).

In response to paragraph #2--I am not really as obnoxious as I may seem,in my posts(I hope),as I have a policy of NEVER touching anyone else's equipment.Unless I want to try someone's tennis racket.As to your set-up,I have to give you the benefit of the doubt!!BTW--I do believe your impressions of the REF.

Warmest regards,and I hope I don't get myself un-invited,by then!!Also,I'm shopping around for some SOTA tape,for my mouth!!Yet,you must know it will never hold.
Sorry to go off orig topic,BUT,---Larry---as per your request,I took a look at the new 360.Certain products,to me,allow for extensive salivation(Like at dentist's office).This is definitely one of them.I think you would be best served to have perspective listeners "rinse" before auditioning,in the future.

Best regards!
Hey guys
Sorry to break in here, but I have been following all the forums about the new cartridges. I have read much of the dialogue about the zyx and the other top perfomers discussed and I got in touch with mehran and talked to hiim about the universe. He had one with about 150 hours on it. Mehran offered me a reduced price on it because it was slightly used. It is a silver with the sb option. I have a colibri and a Karat. I have been without my colibri for almost a year and I guess the new stereo bug bit me and I commited to buy it from him. I am sure that this cartridge belonged to someone on these forums. Does anyone know who this cartridge belonged to? It was exchanged for a copper universe. By the way, I love reading these forums about the zyx and xv1s and others. It's better than reality tv.
regards

Jeff

Larry,after careful pondering of my recent bloviatiating,and a recent conversation with you,who subtley told me to look into The 360/Ref combo,I must sadly state that I am speechless!!Not to mention embarassed,by the quantity of seemingly dumb comments,I've been spewing.While I'm at it,I might add that the overall list price(for arm/table)compared to competition,looks downright "cheap".I will go against my general policy,and state that this combination of table/arm looks to be a giant killer.Actually,with a 66 lb platter it IS a GIANT,and LOOKS killer(as in stunning work of art)too.

As a favor to all Audiogoners,I am humbled into a prolonged state of silence.I will go back to my audio-room and sulk,now!!Hopefully my recent acquisition of Shostakovitch Sym #5 on a white label promo Mercury,for 24.99(my pal offered me 150 for it),at the Princeton Rec Exch. will snap me out of this "nickel plated over solid brass",followed up with battery conditioning funk.Yet,and yet,I doubt it.Your new front end seems to be THAT GOOD!!

Best Regar......No,NO--I hate you.I was happy until Thursday afternoon.
Hi Jeff, that UNIverse SB was most likely mine.