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Thread: Dilemma

  1. #1
    Senior Member Pascal Hibon's Avatar
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    Dilemma

    Last week I was at a friendís house and while I was there he played a few vinyl records. While we were chatting, I mentioned that would love to compare an MC cart to my current MM cart, which is a Shure M97xE. I like the Shure but my only complaint is that it lacks a bit of resolution in the high frequency range. Apart from that I always wondered about the differences between MM and MC carts in general. Do they sound really that much different / better?
    My friend had an MC cart which he wasnít using anymore and he lent it to me for comparison. This is a Benz Ace high output cart so it would work with my MM phono pre-amp.

    Boy oh boy, what a difference! The Ace is brighter than the Shure and the high frequencies sound very nice and clean. Okay I know the Shure costs about 100 Euro while the Benz costs about 1000 Euro. That is about 900 Euro difference; the difference in sound between the two is not 900 Euro (I kept telling myself). But Since then Iíve listening to a lot of my vinyl records again. Iím getting more and more comfortable with the heavy price tag of the Benz. I donít know if that is a good thingÖ
    It is still a lot of money to slam on a turntable and in the end it is just a cartridge. Iím wondering if anyone here is having or had the same experience on the topic? If I would get an MC cart and a cheaper one than the Ace would I still love the sound so much? One thing is for sure, the Shure wonít cut it anymoreÖ
    Love to hear your experiences.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Mnyb's Avatar
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    When I remeber my LP days it thought the low level MC cart sounded even better , bu then you need a separate MC amp before the MM input or a phone stage that handles MC directly , something that you select both gain and I put impedance .
    Cart also needs matching to the tonearm I mostly used Ortofon and Xyz carts back then .

    Problem is that that they all are are expensive and a wear out and need replacement often :/

    Maybe you rip the vinyl while having the Benz in your rig it will preserve the sound perfectly ( or slightly better as there will be no acoustical feedback )
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Pascal Hibon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mnyb View Post
    When I remeber my LP days it thought the low level MC cart sounded even better , bu then you need a separate MC amp before the MM input or a phone stage that handles MC directly , something that you select both gain and I put impedance .
    Yes, I've read about that topic as well. While many claim that the low output is even better I have some doubts about it because there are a few other things that come into play. A low output MC cart needs a lot higher amplification. Higher amplification means more noise; one noise component coming from the higher gain of the amplifier; but also a second component coming from the cart combined with the high gain (it picks up unwanted things who get amplified as well).

    I had a project on the stack to built my own phono stage. That stage has an MC and MM input.
    I guess I need to move up this project and start it now.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mnyb View Post
    Problem is that that they all are are expensive and a wear out and need replacement often :/
    Yes, that's another thing that holds me back with these expensive MC carts.
    On the other hand, companies such as Benz Micro and Ortofon (and a few other) offer a replacement program, usually around 20% of the purchase price, to replace the cart with a refurbished one (new tip and cantilever).
    The only down side about that is that you buy into a brand.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mnyb View Post
    Maybe you rip the vinyl while having the Benz in your rig it will preserve the sound perfectly ( or slightly better as there will be no acoustical feedback )
    I've though about that too.
    Now that I still have my friend's cart I think I'll rip one of my albums to see how that works out.

    I must honestly say that I was surprised by the fact that vinyl could sound this good. It still is not CD quality but it is very good.
    And it adds something to the sound and the experience that CD doesn't have. I can't put it into words but there is certainly something to say for vinyl.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Mnyb's Avatar
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    I think thats the actual ritual about spining those discs, Iím little sadened that i sold all my vinyls 20 years ago :-/

    It sometimes think about. create a retro hifi system of some kind, just for pure nostalgia .
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    Main hifi: Touch + CIA PS +MeridianG68J MeridianHD621 MeridianG98DH 2 x MeridianDSP5200 MeridianDSP5200HC 2 xMeridianDSP3100 +Rel Stadium 3 sub.
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  5. #5
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    Just have an old LP next to the deck, get it out the sleeve and drop the needle on it. While having the deck wired to start playing the flac files on your squeezebox in the background...


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  6. #6
    Senior Member ralphpnj's Avatar
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    Why not compare the sound of an LP played using the Benz to the sound of flac files (both standard resolution and high resolution - if available) of the same recording streamed via your Touch. The flac files should be sourced from either a CD rip or a digital download, in other words not from a vinyl rip.

    That is really the true comparison because if the analog LP doesn't sound better than digital streaming what's the point of spending money on a cartridge.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Pascal Hibon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mnyb View Post
    I think thats the actual ritual about spining those discs, Iím little sadened that i sold all my vinyls 20 years ago :-/

    It sometimes think about. create a retro hifi system of some kind, just for pure nostalgia .
    I never ditched my vinyl. I don't think I could. It is something I grew up with and still cherish.
    The artwork, the smell of the record, the fact you need to turn the record after about 20 min, etc is all part of the ritual.
    Cambridge Audio 851D-S -> Focal MP1200 -> Focal Electra 1028 Be
    1 x SB Boom, 1 x SB Radio, 1 x SB Touch and 2 x RPI 2B
    1 x SB3 and 1 x SB Touch in storage
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  8. #8
    Senior Member Pascal Hibon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ralphpnj View Post
    Why not compare the sound of an LP played using the Benz to the sound of flac files (both standard resolution and high resolution - if available) of the same recording streamed via your Touch. The flac files should be sourced from either a CD rip or a digital download, in other words not from a vinyl rip.

    That is really the true comparison because if the analog LP doesn't sound better than digital streaming what's the point of spending money on a cartridge.
    Sure but that is not an equal competition. CD has the advantage; it is the better format. And when done right should sound better no matter what cart one uses.
    I'm just amazed how good that cart plays. It is very close to CD quality.

    Playing vinyl once and a while is more than just the SQ alone. Mnyb described it correctly: it's also about the ritual.
    The Benz cart adds a dimension to the experience since it makes my records sound a whole lot better that the Sure does. (oeps, now I start to sound like an audiophile...)
    Cambridge Audio 851D-S -> Focal MP1200 -> Focal Electra 1028 Be
    1 x SB Boom, 1 x SB Radio, 1 x SB Touch and 2 x RPI 2B
    1 x SB3 and 1 x SB Touch in storage
    ReadyNAS NVX running LMS 7.9.0.
    iPeng on iPhone, SqueezePad & iPeng on iPad.
    http://www.last.fm/user/phibon

  9. #9
    Senior Member ralphpnj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pascal Hibon View Post
    Sure but that is not an equal competition. CD has the advantage; it is the better format. And when done right should sound better no matter what cart one uses.
    I'm just amazed how good that cart plays. It is very close to CD quality.

    Playing vinyl once and a while is more than just the SQ alone. Mnyb described it correctly: it's also about the ritual.
    The Benz cart adds a dimension to the experience since it makes my records sound a whole lot better that the Sure does. (oeps, now I start to sound like an audiophile...)
    Do you mean the ritual of having to put all those LPs away after you played them? Or having to clean the LPs before you play them? Of having to listen a track you don't enjoy because you are too lazy to get up and move the tonearm past the track? Or not being able to save that wonderful mix of tracks into a playlist?

    I could go on but what's the point? I lived with vinyl for many years and while I still believe that vinyl can sound very, very good it is just too damn inconvenient. In other words, "ritual" is just another way to say "inconvenient".

    When I listen to music I want ease of playing the music and not rituals. Rituals are for religion and that is something I avoid at all costs.
    Living Rm: Transporter-SimAudio pre/power amps-Vandersteen 3A Sign. & sub
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pascal Hibon View Post
    Sure but that is not an equal competition. CD has the advantage; it is the better format. And when done right should sound better no matter what cart one uses.
    I'm just amazed how good that cart plays. It is very close to CD quality.

    Playing vinyl once and a while is more than just the SQ alone. Mnyb described it correctly: it's also about the ritual.
    The Benz cart adds a dimension to the experience since it makes my records sound a whole lot better that the Sure does. (oeps, now I start to sound like an audiophile...)
    Turntables and cartridges are an area where "audiophile" tweaking definitely can make a difference. Have a look at this cartridge mod.
    https://www.lencoheaven.net/forum/in...?topic=20559.0

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