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  • Seeking Cartridge Advice

    Looking for experience, thoughts, comparisons. I've never ventured into the upper echelech of phono cartridges before. Currently using Miyajima Kansui primarily and also on occasion a couple vintage Fidelity Research which I find pleasing. Arm is 12" VPI Fatboy Gimbal.

    If I decide to upgrade I have narrowed search to the following: Don't want to go much above this price range. Happy to go lower. Suggestions, thoughts, omissions? Thanks.

    Etsuro Urushi Bordeaux
    Van Den Hul Crimson XGW Stradavarious Sig
    Soundsmith New Version Hyperion
    Soundsmith New Version Sassuro
    Maybe a low use used Lyra Etna

    Truly appreciate thoughts and reccomendations. Can you ever trust a used cartridge purchase? How likely is it to find a dealer that will work with you on pricing?

    Thanks in advance
    Last edited by Letsmakeadeal; 09-15-2019, 03:09 PM.
    Primary 2 channel stuff: Atma-Sphere MP-1 Mk 3.3, Pass Labs X600.5 amps, Aerial SW 12 subs, True Sound Works Ultimate Apogee Divas, Dunlavy SC4s, VPI HRX Reference w Avenger mag drive and Reference footers, Gimbal Fatboy, Yamaha GT2000 for Mono, Miyajima Kansui, Miyajima ZERO, Fidelity Research MC-201 & 202, VPI ADS, Vendetta Research SCP-1, Audio Note UK- 3.1X II balanced DAC, Meridian Sooloos, Western Electric Speaker wire, mostly diy balanced interconnects, Furutech Power Cords

  • #2
    While I can't suggest a specific cartridge for you for many reasons (including not knowing what you are looking for), I can give you a general accounting of two of the cartridges from your list above that I would not have a problem owning:

    The vdH Crimson swings big dynamically if arm and phonostage are capable. Excellent pacing and drive with big soundstage. all possible when setup correctly/optimally. (I'd recommend the Crimson before the Colibri because it is more linear).

    The Lyra Etna is a model of stylus to groove tractability with a knack to capture pure tones out of musical instruments, including voice. Etna has good pacing and excellent soundstaging. (It's a very good cartridge and deserves it's earned reputation: again, when properly/optimally setup)

    Dre
    **************************************************
    Every day is a good day to play analog.
    - 12" 33-1/3 RPM or 45 RPM vinyl
    - 10.5" 15ips or 30ips tape
    **************************************************
    Every day is a good day for live music.
    **************************************************

    Comment


    • Dre_J
      Dre_J commented
      Editing a comment
      That's good to read. I'm delighted to know my vdH review in TAS was instrumental in helping you make a buying decision. More importantly, the basic character of the Crimson was described well enough, and transferred to your observations, that everything carried over.

      Congratulations on getting a fine cartridge.

      Dre

    • Letsmakeadeal
      Letsmakeadeal commented
      Editing a comment
      Dre's review is why the Crimson is on my list. Actually it is my primary choice right now. I wish I could hear one first though.

    • Hawk
      Hawk commented
      Editing a comment
      If you are ever in the Minneapolis area, you are very welcome to visit. Good luck with search. You have some nice cartridges in your prospective list.

  • #3
    I'm only familiar with the Lyra from your list, but I highly recommend it. Lyra's have a good trade-in plan. If you can find an old trashed Lyra at little or no cost, it can be trade-in on a new cartridge, approaching total cost of a used cartridge. The other cartridges may have a similar trade-in program.

    Comment


  • #4
    You have a very nice system. I do not have personal experience with all of your cartridge potentials except that I have friends with a couple of them so I have heard those extensively albeit in their systems. Always important to remember that impressions are made from a whole system perspective. I have a close friend with the latest version of the Hyperion. Very detailed and dynamic airy etc. I have a little experience with the VDH Strad Crimson. Extremely beautiful sounding with adequate detail and dynamics. The Etna is a very solid sounding performer very detailed exceptional separation characteristics. I have been told that the Susurro is exceptional and at its price very competitive with the Hyperion. HOWEVER, my experience with these cartridges is in context with many different systems ranging from Lloyd Walkers current TT, The Beat TT too. CH Precision electronics, custom made electronics as well. Tube and SS. Set up is so important to the sound also. In the end I would say you have to hear things in your own system to make an adequate evaluation.
    TW Acustic TT with Ref motor & controller; Tri-Planar Arm; Transfiguration Proteus Cart; Arcam R Phono Preamp; Bluesound Vault-2 Music Server & Streamer; VTL 6.5 preamp, Pass Labs 150.8 Amp; Piega C711 Loudspeakers; Symposium Osiris Rack; Symposium Platforms and Roller Blocks plus grade 2.5 Balls; Shunyata Hydra 8; Shunyata AC Cords; Synergistic Research Atmosphere Excite Level 2X AC Cords, Audio Art Ref balanced ICs, MIT Oracle IC and Magnum Speaker Cables; Schiitt Headphone Amp; Sennheiser HD700 Headphones; KLAudio Ultrasonic Record Cleaner

    Comment


    • Letsmakeadeal
      Letsmakeadeal commented
      Editing a comment
      If only it were possible to do in home auditions. Not possible to my knowledge. Do you know dealers that support this? Buying a cartridge at this level is risky. That's why I try to gather as much info as I can before committing. Thanks

    • 1morerecord2clean
      1morerecord2clean commented
      Editing a comment
      I empathize completely. No I’m not aware of a way to do in home trial unless you have a friend who will loan you a cartridge. I just bought new speakers after hearing them at a show and then with a local dealer arranged audition who had similar electronics but then once I had them home and money had been spent I wasn’t immediately happy. Like so much in this pursuit tweaking anything newly introduced into your system is a part of achieving contentment not to mention getting used to a different sound which is also a part of it. I’m sure you are aware of this but I’ll mention that in terms of after purchase support and repair Soundsmith is an easy recommendation. But of course, you have to like the product.

  • #5
    Demos are tricky. My approach is usually to have one cart within (in my case Sensitive Sound's) various ranges that I freely send out for demo. From there we triangulate. Not the same as trying every cart but better than no demo. Plus it to some degree vets tonearm cart synergy...not to be underestimated!

    Also when it comes to carts (imho) sometimes 'bad ones' get sold over and over on the used market...providing dubious data points. Here is where a friend or dealer experienced with a certain cart can be useful.
    Regards,

    Erik
    http://solypsa.com
    North American distributor for:
    Sensitive Sound MC Cartridges
    STST Turntables + Tonearms


    Available for in home setup and calibration of fine turntable systems

    Comment


    • #6
      Originally posted by Letsmakeadeal View Post
      Looking for experience, thoughts, comparisons. I've never ventured into the upper echelech of phono cartridges before. Currently using Miyajima Kansui primarily and also on occasion a couple vintage Fidelity Research which I find pleasing. Arm is 12" VPI Fatboy Gimbal.

      If I decide to upgrade I have narrowed search to the following: Don't want to go much above this price range. Happy to go lower. Suggestions, thoughts, omissions? Thanks.

      Etsuro Urushi Bordeaux
      Van Den Hul Crimson XGW Stradavarious Sig
      Soundsmith New Version Hyperion
      Soundsmith New Version Sassuro
      Maybe a low use used Lyra Etna

      Truly appreciate thoughts and reccomendations. Can you ever trust a used cartridge purchase? How likely is it to find a dealer that will work with you on pricing?

      Thanks in advance
      I've been through a similar journey seeking to upgrade my analog front-end having owned primarily Lyra cartridges over the years, the last being a Lyra Kleos. More recently, after trying a Koetsu Vermillion, I thought I had arrived at my final destination. The midrange was magical although the bottom end and "speed", by comparison, were less compelling. Neither the Vermillion or Kleos completely did it for me however. I knew there was better things out there but never wanted to delve into the "crazy money" cartridges, i.e. those over $10K. A good friend of mine has a Lyra Atlas which I thought sounded fantastic on his system which is similar to mine, but it did not seem to have the same magical midrange I had heard on the Koetsu although the Atlas has numerous other virtues (dynamism, density of tone, bottom end punch, etc.). The Lyra Etna, particularly the SL version, was a cartridge I thought might do the trick based on the many positive online reviews with some preferring it to the higher priced Atlas. I was fortunate enough to find a used Etna SL on Audiogon from a seller I trusted (good feedback and frequent contributor on audio forums). To say that the outcome was transformative in my system would be an understatement but only after very careful setup. I have never previously purchased a used cartridge online so it was a leap of faith that fortunately paid off. I cannot comment on the other cartridges listed but wanted to share my experiences with you since you asked about a used Etna.

      Good luck on your search.
      Wilson Audio Sasha 1, Audio Research Ref 250SE, ARC Ref 6, ARC Ref Phono 3, VPI TNT 6 w/rim drive, 12" 3D + 12.7 arms, SDS, Koetsu Vermillion, Lyra Kleos, Lyra Etna SL, ARC Ref CD9, Transparent Audio Reference Gen 5 cables and Hovland phono cable. Shunyata Triton v2, Typhon, Denali D2000/T w/ Zitron Alpha HC and Alpha Digital. Furutech GTX-D NCF outlets with 3 dedicated lines.

      Comment


      • Letsmakeadeal
        Letsmakeadeal commented
        Editing a comment
        Thank You for sharing your experience. Much appreciated.

    • #7
      I have reviewed two of the vdh Colibris for PF and have the Master Signature here now for review. These are perhaps a little fairer comparison given the cartridge’s prices. But vdh cartridges are cut from the same sonic cloth as are the Lyras. As you might expect since each embodies the designer’s basic philosophy.

      https://positive-feedback.com/review...oil-cartridge/

      https://positive-feedback.com/review...oil-cartridge/

      In case you missed this:

      http://www.theabsolutesound.com/arti...-stradivarius/

      I currently have the Master Signature in VPI’s 12-inch dual pivot and will be moving it over to the SAT LM-12 once broken in for a fairer comparison to the Atlas SL.

      Both are great cartridges and can’t go wrong with either. One is more neutral while the other is a little more harmonically complete. One has a little more low end while the other has a little more low level resolution. The Atlas for some reason always seems to make records seem less noisy than any other cartridge I’ve heard. Both are very dynamic with maybe the edge going to the Colibri. Both have exceptional spatial qualities with again maybe the edge going to the Colibri for its wiiiide soundstage. The Atlas SL Weill get the edge when it goes to transient response. Both without saying require careful attention to setup to get the most out of either cartridge.

      Another consideration is arm and phonostage quality. The Master Signature is 1.1 mV output while the standard Atlas is 0.5 mV and Atlas SL 0.25 mV. The Lyra is extremely demanding of arms and you want something rigid, stable and non-resonant. The Atlas definitely fares better in the dual pivot than the VPI unipivot.

      Another cartridge worth considering if looking in this rarified territory is the new Ortofon Anna Diamond. Very different than old Anna and seems closer in character to say the Atlas.
      Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
      Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
      ________________________________________

      -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
      -cj 40th Anniversary ART300 monoblock amplifiers
      -Merrill Audio Elemente 116 monoblock amplifiers
      -cj GAT preamplifier Series 2 preamplifier
      -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
      -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
      -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
      -Lyra Atlas SL, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
      -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
      -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Allnic cables, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, MG Audio, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies Power Cords
      -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

      Comment

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