Is there a "World's Best Cartridge?"

mglik

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I believe that a cartridge and a speaker, by far, contribute the most to SQ.


The two transducers in a system.


I bit the bullet and bought a Lyra Atlas SL for $13K for my Woodsong Garrard 301 with Triplanar SE arm. I use a full function Atma-Sphere MP-1 preamp. My $60K front end. It is certainly, by far, the best I have owned. I read so many comments exclaiming that that Lyra was among the best. I had to wait 6 months to get it. But the improvement over my excellent $3K Mayijima Shilabi was spectacular-putting it mildly.


I recently heard a demo of much more pricey system using a Etsuro Gold $25K cartridge. Seemed to be the most expensive cartridge made.


For sure, the amount of detail was something I never heard. To hear a timpani sound like the real thing was incredible. And so much more!
This got me thinking of what could be possible with a different kind of cartridge than a moving coil. That is, a moving iron.


I have heard so much about the late Decca London Reference. A MI and a very different take from a MC. Could it be better? The World’s Best? No longer made.


However Grado has been making MI cartridges for decades. Even though they hold the patent for the MC. Recently, Grado came out with their assault on “The World’s Best”. At $12K the Epoch 3. I bought one and have been using it now for about two weeks replacing my Lyra. There is no question that the Atlas SL is a fabulous cartridge. But the Epoch is even better. Overall, it’s SQ is the closest to real I have heard. To begin, putting the stylus down on the run in grove there is dead silence. As well as the groves between cuts. This silence is indicative of the purity of the music content. Everything I have read about it is true. IME, the comment of one reviewer, “The World’s Best”, may be true.

https://positive-feedback.com/revie...es-the-flagship-grado-epoch3-phono-cartridge/
 

Ron Resnick

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Hello mglik,

Of course there is no “world’s best cartridge,” as this is a subjective hobby. It is not even theoretically possible to hold such an opinion, unless someone has compared directly in his/her system every cartridge available in the world today.

The broadest statement one could possibly assert is “the best cartridge I personally have heard,” but even this statement makes not a lot of sense because it is extremely difficult to attribute sonic attributes to a particular component in a system built of numerous components.

So the most intellectually honest thing one can say is something like “the best cartridge I personally have heard compared to numerous other cartridges all in a system with which I am very familiar and according to my personal, subjective, sonic preferences.”

Sorry to belabor the title of your thread, but it did strike me as “click-baity.”

Now, with all of those personal, subjective caveats fully applied to me, I personally have never cottoned to the Lyra Atlas cartridges, but the Grado Epoch3 is a cartridge I totally fell in love with. See https://www.monoandstereo.com/2020/09/grado-labs-epoch3-review.html?m=1

I am truly happy for you that you are enjoying the Epoch3 so much! Congratulations!
 
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Tango

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There is definitely " the World's Best Cart." Keep moving up the ladder and find it. It is not about preference. Once you hear it you know it is better and not just different.
 

Audire

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Well I really enjoy the Air Tight Opus 1. It’s my favorite cart to date. But I still have many others to try, like the Gold Finger, Blue Lace, etc. I haven’t tried every cart in the world, so I don’t even know if a World’s Best exists!

Besides different tables, arms, cables, etc. influence what you hear thru the cart. The whole chain influences the sound. Some music we play sounds better on one cart then another: for instance, I use my MSL Signature Premium for mostly rock and the Opus 1 for female vocals.

So World’s Best, no, my favorites, yes.
 
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DasguteOhr

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I don't call it the best, but my alltime favorites
decca mk III, Kiseki agaat, ortofon vero sota, zyx universe II
vpi zephyr.
Love all of them could listen to music very well with everyone and wouldn't miss anything
 
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Tango

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I'll qualify to satisfy the sophists: the Neumann DST asymptotically approaches world's best cartridge in a system where it sounds like the world's best cartridge. :p
The problem is there is so very little availability. So when the impression of this cart is given it is often viewed as irrelevant or non-verifiable or some urban myth.
You always make me reach out for dictionary Tima. I have been learning more English from you. :)
 

microstrip

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(...) Once you hear it you know it is better and not just different.

And if you do not find it it is because you are not listening to it properly ... ;)
 

Tango

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And if you do not find it it is because you are not listening to it properly ... ;)
Many sound aspects canbe subjective and I enjoy your pleasant tease. :) But if you talk realism I believe everyone is on the same ground. My wife my mother my secretary can tell which sounds closer real. You cannot escape telling which one has greater realism a or b even if you have old ears. So keep on hunting. The best is still out there.
 

tima

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The problem is there is so very little availability. So when the impression of this cart is given it is often viewed as irrelevant or non-verifiable or some urban myth.

Yes, it is somewhat mythical even with words on a screen, pictues on a page. Once heard the recognition is not a matter of analysis. I don't need to hear all the cartridges in the world to know this.

Detractors may say their but...but...but. I say: prove me wrong. ;)
 
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kodomo

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As an original Neumann DST in perfect condition can be considered unobtanium, can the Dava reference be the answer?
 
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Audiophile Bill

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As an original Neumann DST in perfect condition can be considered unobtanium, can the Dava reference be the answer?
The only person who can answer that that I know of is Stefano Bertoncello. He has original Neumann and the rebuilds as well as DaVa reference. I think he prefers Neumann.
 
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kodomo

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The only person who can answer that that I know of is Stefano Bertoncello. He has original Neumann and the rebuilds as well as DaVa reference. I think he prefers Neumann.
If it is the next best thing to something unobtainable, I would assume that would make it the right choice (for dst type sound)
 

bonzo75

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The only person who can answer that that I know of is Stefano Bertoncello. He has original Neumann and the rebuilds as well as DaVa reference. I think he prefers Neumann.

Yes he loves DaVa and prefers the Neumann, says DMT is as good for him
 

ddk

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As an original Neumann DST in perfect condition can be considered unobtanium, can the Dava reference be the answer?

If it is the next best thing to something unobtainable, I would assume that would make it the right choice (for dst type sound)
It’s certainly not the DST, not even the DST62 is the same. There’s really not much in common between the Dava and the DST nor any of the other tributes, wanna be’s or whatever you want to call them. This doesn’t make them all bad just they’re what they claim to emulate; unfortunately.

david
 

Tango

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Yes he loves DaVa and prefers the Neumann, says DMT is as good for him
What is DMT? Is it from Analog Technik? Analog Technik has DST15. Then he makes another better model called LaScala using meteorite iron. And now he is developing latest one with elephant ivory. His cart is evolving.
 

Audiophile Bill

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What is DMT? Is it from Analog Technik? Analog Technik has DST15. Then he makes another better model called LaScala using meteorite iron. And now he is developing latest one with elephant ivory. His cart is evolving.
DMT is the mono Neumann I think.

I am surprised about ivory - thought that was mainly illegal
 
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Audiophile Bill

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Seems the DMT thing is more complex - apparently loads of fakes circulating and it isn’t mono but preceded the DST


Look in the comments bit.
 

bonzo75

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What is DMT? Is it from Analog Technik? Analog Technik has DST15. Then he makes another better model called LaScala using meteorite iron. And now he is developing latest one with elephant ivory. His cart is evolving.

his message to me was “… but believe me: Analogtechnik DMT25 is just as good as Neumann DST”
 

ddk

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Seems the DMT thing is more complex - apparently loads of fakes circulating and it isn’t mono but preceded the DST


Look in the comments bit.
What is DMT? Is it from Analog Technik? Analog Technik has DST15. Then he makes another better model called LaScala using meteorite iron. And now he is developing latest one with elephant ivory. His cart is evolving.
Fake Neumann that briefly popped on the market a few years ago. I posted a thread warning people about it and contacted Bertoncello about his misleading blog post. He said he doesn’t know anything about it just reporting what he was told.


david
 
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