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Cartridge and phono stage chit-chat

Discussion in 'audio' started by Blzebub, May 18, 2013.

  1. Blzebub

    Blzebub Banned


    I'm currently running a Benz Micro LP on SME series V tonearm into a Whest PS.20. This is all very well.

    I also have an oldish Transfiguration Spirit III sitting in a drawer. This needs a retip. It's a nice cartridge.

    I'm about to borrow a Moon 310 LP phono preamp from a dealer for evaluation.

    What do?

    1. Send TS III to ES for retip?

    2. Trade-in TS III against something else (what? Koetsu? Other?).

    3. Any views on Moon phono stage? Rather like Naim gear, it's upgradeable with separate power supply (at £1200 if memory serves).
  2. artist

    artist pfm Member

    i would upgrade to whest to another model from whest,

    i tried a few others before i settled on the whest which james can set to work with whatever cart you use.

    i would try northwest for a retip,esco are a bit hit and miss and take a long time to finish
  3. monya

    monya pfm Member

    See how the Moon compares to the Whest + try a few others whils you're about it. Whests seem a bit 'hifi' to me but only a personal feeling.
  4. 73Chaz

    73Chaz pfm Member


    do you find the Benz / SME combination to be sympathetic?

    I am considering SME IV / Benz Ace for a future turntable project so was wondering if the weight of the SME arms suits Benz carts.


  5. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed pfm Member

    I would go along with Artist, Bub, and go for an upmarket Whest used, if you like where you are now. There are soooo many phono stages, both s/s and valved, and each one will be different rather than head and shoulders better.

    Not sure about re-tipping the Transfig., though, but depends on whether you intend to use it in preference to your Benz :( or sell it on). Hardly worth it if it's the latter, and I'm not sure px deals (like Lyra's 25%, e.g.) are available for Transfiguration upgrades.
  6. Gaius

    Gaius Trade: Stiletto by Tangerine

    The Benz LP is a class act, a superb cartridge for sure.

    I have just taken a Transfiguration Spirit III off our Brinkmann Bardo and put back the Clearaudio Concerto which absolutely out guns the Transfiguration, is as good as a Lyra Kleos and has become a favourite cartridge.

    So I'd trade in the Spirit, a Koetsu is always a lovely thing to have.

    As you know, at around £2K we think the Trilogy 907 is a star phono stage.
  7. Blzebub

    Blzebub Banned

    Thanks for advice, all. I'll give the Moon a go, then think.

    Effective mass is 10/11g. Works very well indeed with the Benz LP.

  8. sq225917

    sq225917 situation engineer

    I used to run an LP on my SME V polite to a fault would be my description. It benefits from some sparkle in the phono.

    Bzle try as many phonos as you can, maybe even give Mr Tricker a call and there's always the new vivid LCR from Guy at Pure sound...
  9. Purité Audio

    Purité Audio Trade: Purite Audio

    Phono stages are generally /hopefully :- solid state nice and quiet, accurate RIAA, valve
    noisier background ,RIAA may be not as flat as you would like ,but adds a bit of valve life, it is only a simple amplification stage after all.
    Bub could you run your system completely balanced from phono to speakers?
    Balanced can give you up to 6dB better dynamic range.
  10. pure sound

    pure sound Trade: manufacturer/distributor

    Its the Aurorasound Vida. There'll be a review of it in HiFi News next week. Happy to send one for you to try if interested. (Not a valve in sight!)
  11. thebiglebowski

    thebiglebowski pfm Member

    Naim prefix with a HiCap and replace the DIN plug with RCA's. The prefix is rediculosly great value and sounds like a dream with the HiCap.
  12. sq225917

    sq225917 situation engineer

    Lol, I knew someone would know the name Guy. I'd be interested to take a listen in a few weeks.



    But a view shared by many. If sticking with SS I prefer Tom Evans.
  14. Blzebub

    Blzebub Banned

    Well, the Moon is up and running. Favourably impressed so far, but apparently it takes 300 hours to warm up! Can this be true?

    It's got a blue LED.

    Anyone else heard a Moon 310 LP?


    Yep, it was a two box affair iirc.
  16. Blzebub

    Blzebub Banned

    There's an optional offboard PS. I don't have that, yet.

    What did you think of it?
  17. Purité Audio

    Purité Audio Trade: Purite Audio

    Don't be ridiculous 300 hours is not nearly enough,


    Been through this one before I think Mike. Going to a true highend phono (e.g. mastergroove, ARC 2 SE, H3000, Ypsilon, Dartzeel etc) over a usual suspect (whest rdtSE, Groove+, uphorik, Art Audio vinyl1, naim SL etc.) is an enormous jump. Like going from a k9 to XV1s, nac32 to 552 etc. Like anything else though, you have to experience it yourself to understand.

    I think Badger found exactly the same when he upgraded to a Tron GT. In fact the difference the phono can make is so important IME that its my belief the it should be as expensive as the turntable, maybe even sacrificing some of the front end if necessary. Hearing what the top level phono stages i've listed above can do has fundamentally changed the way i percieve the vinyl replay chain. I tested a urika the other day for example, it was like the musicians were playing in some garage 3 streets away, 20 houses away. To me the idea of feeding a 5, 10 or 20 grand deck into something as lowly as a basic whest, a prefix, slee, dino etc. is just preposterous. Like buying a Continuum Caliburn and putting a AT95 onto it. :)


    Honestly ? See my post above. Your deck deserves something much better.

    If you like that kind of sound ... neutral ,fast, cool, then at least something like the Whest RDT SE or the Tom Evans SRX will give you some proper resolution, microdynamics, width and space around instruments etc. The esoteric is also very good for that type of sound. Very clean which would work well in your system IMO.
  20. monya

    monya pfm Member

    The Esoteric range is now distributed by Onkyo. If this is the start of some pan European hub distribution network, with satellite local distributors, I wouldn't be surprised if the brand vanishes from the UK for a while as the RRP may rise.

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