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Expriences with upper-range Ortofon and/or Benz Micro carts? - Page 2

post #16 of 30
Mulveling, I briefly owned a Glider - it was an brief intermediate step for me between the ACE and the L2 wood. I have to be honest, and please do not take any offense - but I did not care for the Glider. I actually liked the ACE better. The Glider was too aggressive I thought. So I sent it back to the dealer and went for the Wood.

I don;t think you'd have that issue with the Wood at all.
post #17 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazza View Post
Funny, I own the Kontrapunkt C and is simply a mind-blowingly good cartridge. Not romantic in the least and it won't give you that warm vinyl sound but if you want detail and an iron-fisted control of the music then the Kontra C is the best anywhere near its price.

Keep in mind I listen to Heavy Metal 90-95% of the time and prefer a fast, heavy-hitting sound.
Excellent, thanks for sharing your experience. With the little bit I've browsed through audio asylum, I've seen the "Kontrapunkt series is for classical" mantra thrown about. I don't like gear that doesn't handle all genres extremely well - it's good to hear you find the C superb with metal, which is of importance to me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skylab View Post
Mulveling, I briefly owned a Glider - it was an brief intermediate step for me between the ACE and the L2 wood. I have to be honest, and please do not take any offense - but I did not care for the Glider. I actually liked the ACE better. The Glider was too aggressive I thought. So I sent it back to the dealer and went for the Wood.

I don;t think you'd have that issue with the Wood at all.
Skylab, no offense taken! Your experience and continued thoughts are very appreciated here. Just don't knock the Kensingtons - all the rest of my gear, and myself, are open to criticism
As superb as my previous speakers (Tannoy Dimension TD10) were, the Kensington SE has opened things up to the next level. That means not only am I hearing true life-like dynamics and better bass impact & extension, but I've also begun to experience - for the first time, and only thanks to comparison to the Reel tapes - the "aggressiveness" you've mentioned about the Glider (which I think is the same as my complaints about a slightly splashy/harsh top-end).

That all said, today I packed up a reference I'm very familiar with - Gilmore V2 with Sennheiser HD650, along with a few of my records - and went to go listen to the new Kontrapunkt "a" my dealer's got setup on a Scoutmaster. I was very pleasantly surprised by the "a" (the lowerst cart in the lineup). The sound was clean, clean clean. Very smooth, great resolution, superb bass impact, and it picks up substantially less surface noise (with "hairy" records) than my Glider setup. It played superbly with rock. I absolutely consider it superior to my Glider setup. Add to that: the Glider and the "a" lie at about the same retail price (so it's a reasonable comparison), and the Kontrapunkt line is a better compliance match for my heavy-ish arm than the Benz wood line.

The phono stage hooked up was a Rogue stealth. I'm familiar with this unit and I consider it good, but it's not my favorite. So, I'm sold on the Kontrapunkt line. I would be happy enough with just the "a" as an upgrade to my Glider, but I'm going to go for the top "c" model. A little down the line I might even pick up an "a" or "h" for my second table. I'm going in to the shop again, very soon, to place my order for a Kontrapunkt c
post #18 of 30
Congrats on your cartridge decision! I've been following this thread with interest. I am also considering a Kontrapunkt, but in my case a "B". I've read that the "B" is the most detailed/articulate, least warm of the Kontrapunkt lineup, and that's my desire, tonally. Another cartridge that I am now considering is the Lyra Argo i. Either of these would match well, I think, with my SOTA Nova and Encounter Mk. III turntable/tonearm combination. Anyone here have experience with the Lyra Argo i? Thanks...
post #19 of 30
Cool Mulveling - will look forward to reading your thoughts! New cartridge - what fun. Been a while for me - you've got me itching
post #20 of 30
Well, I just pulled the trigger on a new Kontrapunkt B!!! Based on dealer recommendations and Ortofon's own product descriptions/specs, I think this one will suit me the best of the four cartridges in the Kontrapunkt lineup. I'm confident that they are all really fine cartridges, though, and it probably just comes down to personal preference at this point. I ended up with a great discount from retail, so that pushed me over the edge versus other cartridges I was considering (17D3, Argo-i, etc.).
post #21 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by robinje View Post
Well, I just pulled the trigger on a new Kontrapunkt B!!! Based on dealer recommendations and Ortofon's own product descriptions/specs, I think this one will suit me the best of the four cartridges in the Kontrapunkt lineup. I'm confident that they are all really fine cartridges, though, and it probably just comes down to personal preference at this point. I ended up with a great discount from retail, so that pushed me over the edge versus other cartridges I was considering (17D3, Argo-i, etc.).
Congrats! I don't think you can go wrong there - the "b" looks like one hell of a cart, with the top FG80 stylus and most exotic cantilever in the line. I was so happy with what I heard in the Kontrapunkt entry-level "a", that I started to wonder: why should I even spend more for the upgrade to the "c"? But then I'd always be left wondering - that's the way it works for me...I suppose it's that "itch" Skylab referred to
post #22 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazza View Post
Funny, I own the Kontrapunkt C and is simply a mind-blowingly good cartridge. Not romantic in the least and it won't give you that warm vinyl sound but if you want detail and an iron-fisted control of the music then the Kontra C is the best anywhere near its price.

Keep in mind I listen to Heavy Metal 90-95% of the time and prefer a fast, heavy-hitting sound.
You're absolutely right - the "c" is bloody marvelous!
Right from hour 0, it was a very noticeable improvement over the Benz Glider L2 on my SOTA Star. It's got about 8 hours on it now, and the difference over the Glider is seriously substantial. This is WITH the Benz PP-1 T9 phono stage, which should be in favor of the Glider. I did add resistors to load the Kontrapunkt at the recommended 100 ohms, however (the PP-1 is hardwired to 22,000 otherwise).

The upper-range glare/harshness/aggressiveness/fatigue I'd been hearing is GONE. I *thought* it was coming from the recently acquired Tannoy ST200 supertweeters (they handle from 16kHz up to beyond 50kHz +), perhaps due to improper setup on my part. However I got suspicious about the Glider when thinking about how my reel tapes sounded deliciously smooth with the same supertweeters in place. In fact for a time before the Kontrapunkt, I'd taken to hooking the supertweets up for reels and then disconnecting them again for vinyl! No more...

The Kontrapunkt "c" with supertweeters is substantially smoother than the Benz (with or without the supertweeters), with obviously greater resolution and punchier bass impact to boot. As if all that wasn't enough to justify the upgrade, the surface noise rendered by the "c" is very, very noticeably lower than it was with the Glider.

This was my first cartridge upgrade - from an $800 model to a $1900 model of another brand (both low-output MC however). My impression is that the cartridge renders a much greater influence on the sound than electronic components (amps/preamps/digital sources/phono stages, etc). It's right below speakers/headphones in the magnitude of its sonic influence (probably halfway from the electronics, I'd say). Even then - with swapping speakers you get large changes in technical quality AND voicing/flavor. With this cartridge swap, the majority of the change was in technical quality, with a smaller change in voicing. The Kontrapunkts are voiced cleaner in the bass & midrange, but it's a neutral-clean, not at all cold or analytical. Think Kontrapunkt mids & bass -> HP1000, rather than say the Qualia/W5000. THAT is something I can dig!! It doesn't add a touch of honey to the mids like the Sony R10 and my Kensingtons pull off so well, but with the performance at this level that won't be a deal-breaker for me (and perhaps it would be too much of a good thing on the Kensingtons and my wonderfully midrange-y Heathkit W5-M tube amps). Honestly the problems with the splashy highs made the Glider sound like the brighter cartridge to me, if anything.

The overall voicing and other qualities remind me very much of what I heard during my audition of the Kontrapunkt "a" - so that cart seems like a real bargain for the price. I think the "c" is indeed a bit more resolving, but with too many variables changed - and with the "a" having the advantage of > 10 hours break in - I'd have to do a more direct comparison to truly appreciate the differences.

Keep in mind that I still easily prefer the Glider L2 over any of the digital sources I'd owned - which went up to Meridian G08 with redbook, and the Sony SCD-1 with SACD (though SACDs there was very good). All the more reason for me to be dumbfounded by the refinements the Kontrapunkt brings aboard.

To be fair, the Glider is now 2 years old and likely has 700-800 hours on it. For what it's worth, I haven't noticed any sonic degradation in the Glider since it was new (and broken-in). So, while it may not be the fairest of comparisons, I'd have to assume that my Glider is still going strong. For now, I'm sold on the Kontrapunkt series and would like to eventually add an "a" or "h" to my 2nd table. Here are a few shots of the new cartridge on my table:






Yes, I am aware of the nice big thumb-print on the side-face. Adds a "personal" touch
post #23 of 30
Thread Starter 
Here's some additional visual system context for the above review/impressions. Not all of the pictures are exactly current, but they do express the collection of current core components:

The system fairly recently. Speakers show with the ST200 supertweeters sitting atop them. Yes, I have been experimenting with moving that honkin' HD CRT out of the way:

A closeup of a Tannoy Kensington SE speaker:

The SOTA Star III, which has been the 1 constant in my system for the past 2 years, shown here with the Glider L2 when it was new! :

One of the fully restored Heathkit W5-M tube monoblocks. 25 Watts as they were done in the late 1950s, composed of GE 7581A (KT66) outputs driven by RCA 12BH7A, with vintage Peerless output iron:

My Pioneer reel-to-reel deck:
post #24 of 30
Glad you like it. My vinyl rig has been out of commission due to waiting on a spare part so I can't enjoy my lovely records.
post #25 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by mulveling View Post
...

My impression is that the cartridge renders a much greater influence on the sound than electronic components (amps/preamps/digital sources/phono stages, etc).

...

Keep in mind that I still easily prefer the Glider L2 over any of the digital sources I'd owned - which went up to Meridian G08 with redbook, and the Sony SCD-1 with SACD (though SACDs there was very good). All the more reason for me to be dumbfounded by the refinements the Kontrapunkt brings aboard.

...
Totally agree with you about #1. The Cartridge is KEY to vinyl playback. Yes, the TT itself is important, but the cartridge is the transducer, and as such it has a lot more influence on the sound (but less than speakers or headphones, IMO).

And you bet - your Glider-based rig will still smoke virtually anything playing CD's

Congrats on the new cartridge - you've been making me want to start saving for the Ruby!
post #26 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skylab View Post
Totally agree with you about #1. The Cartridge is KEY to vinyl playback. Yes, the TT itself is important, but the cartridge is the transducer, and as such it has a lot more influence on the sound (but less than speakers or headphones, IMO).

And you bet - your Glider-based rig will still smoke virtually anything playing CD's

Congrats on the new cartridge - you've been making me want to start saving for the Ruby!
Yep! I've moved some amount of gear in the last two years, and in retrospect it's crazy to think that I didn't consider a cartridge upgrade until recently! The changes/upgrades in this time period that have shocked me (if not blown me away) have been:
* The move to a much better room
* The all-out speaker upgrade
* Acquisition of the reel-to-reel deck and tapes
* Cartridge upgrade
So that covers speakers, room acoustics, and analog sources.

All of the electronics components - some of them are very nice, and very I'm glad to own each of the pieces I currently do - but it's all just stuff compared to the big key pieces above

For now I'm now set with the Kontrapunkt series of cartridges, but I still hope to hear one the Benz Wood-body carts, based on your recommendation (and your very accurate description of the Glider as reference), and that of a local audiophile too.
post #27 of 30

Hi all,

I use a Ortophon Jubilee in my Thorenz TD2030 with a SME 309 arm, a Triode trv-eq3se phono preamp, a Conrad Johnson ET-5 preamp, a Luxman M-117 amp, and Leopard Audioquest cables, and I'm very happy with the sound quality of the system.

Will a Benz Micro will deliver a bettrer sound?

Thanks,

Skwitko

post #28 of 30
Thread Starter 

Hard to say...the Jubilee was my least favorite of the upper Ortofon Kontrapunk/Cadenza/Windfeld lines, but then our setups are quite different. I'm not familiar with the newer S class benz, but had a few from the prior line (Glider L2, Wood M2, Ref 3). Any of these Benzes will give you a warmer sound than the Jubilee, which I found to be somewhat bright even within the Ortofon line. On the other hand, any of the upper Ortofon cartridges -- including the Jubilee -- will give you a more smooth & grain-free sound, less harshness in treble, and better bass extension vs. the Benzes I'd had. The Benz bass is punchy and pleasing, but wasn't as (seemingly) accurate nor extended as the Ortofons. Ortofons do great in bass, especially the Windfeld MC, which is just phenomenal there (too bad it was so hot on top).

 

On the other hand, the Benz sound as a whole is quite pleasing; I find myself wanted a little re-listen occasionally. It sort of reminds me of a much more refined version of the classic John Grado (SR225, RS2, RS1) type sound. Note the emphasis here on much more refined -- a Benz certainly won't screech your ears off, unless you've set it up completely wrong!

 

Got to admit I'm at least curious about that 0.1mV Ebony Benz, since I have plenty of gain to spare. Also -- not sure you're aware that purchasing new Benz carts has become almost impossible lately? 

post #29 of 30

Yeah and there is very real concern that Benz may be permanently out of business. I'm not sure it's the case, but that's what I've been told by a Benz dealer.  Pity - I like Benz carts. As for the moment, though, you really can't get them, so not much point in worrying about it - enjoy your nice Ortofon ;)

post #30 of 30

or go old school ortofon sound - get one of the SPU's; i promise you'll play it and not think about hifi. 

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