Which TT cartridge would you choose?

Strain Gauge looks like you need the whole setup to go with it. I already have the Esoteric E-02 Phono preamp that just about blows everything I heard before out of the water! Maybe someday when I get tired of it, I will try this Strain Gauge.

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All excellent options, as are the upper end Clear Audio and Dynavector cartridges. Suggesting carts is easy peasy, system synergy is a horse of a different color. As others have said the EAR phono stage is very nice and well suited to MM carts. Going the MC route for the long haul I’d consider a package upgrade, phono stage and cartridge, thus the dealer suggestion. Having heard the Hana ML and SL MC on a Linn with and Ittok tone arm and a Sim Audio 310 I’d say it is a great combination for the price and well suited to blue Note Jazz LPs and their like if that is your thing. My next cart on my Linn Sondek will be either the Hana ML or a Dynavector XXII.

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It’s especially interesting that even in the upper class you never get everything on highest level.
Using a GF Statement for long now, it’s not possible to go away from it in terms of dynamics, bass definition, 3D imaging, transients and a great overall balance, but the vdH’s I used previously had an even finer treble resolution (there they lead), just the rest not at all on that level. Nothing I miss from the Koetsu Urushi Vermillion though.

If it’s available on Amazon prime you have 30 days to return it. That might give you enough time to get a good idea of what quality’s that cart will have.

If only most of these carts were available on Amazon!

Talk to these people, they’ve been very reasonable and if you see one you want to try do a search for what you see as fair prices. They usually have very fair discounts on cartridges. But this works best if you know how to set up a turntable and cartridge or really want to learn. Some turntables are like setting up houses of cards. You will probably want some special tools made for this work. Maybe again talk to the local dealer and have them talk with you about what and how they set up turntables. Some are great and others not so much. I sold this stuff when I was a kid so I’ve been doing many setups for many years. Seems like you’re looking and shopping and getting respectable advice so far!

I was surprised when I found out Sound Smith Hyperion MKII is available on Amazon, and so is the lower line cartridges, and a couple of the MKII is ready for shipping, then I wouldn’t have to wait months from the Cable Company. CC told me the cartridge has to be hand built when ordered. But I saved about a thousand dollars on frequent flyer and almost another thousand more from no sales tax from CC. Only I’m not sure about their cartridge return policy.

Good point, although I’m constantly surprised what Amazon has in the way of audiophile turntable stuff…

That can’t be right. Clearaudio doesn’t make any high output MCs. The high output pickup looks like a Concept V2 judging from the specs and that’s an MM.

But then neither the Essence nor the Concept cost 3,000 USD, at least not in Europe (well, actually nothing costs in USDs in Europe).

The Concerto, which does cost ca 3,000 USD is a low output MC with an output of 0.5 mV.

Having said this, I’m not a great fan of Clearaudio cartridges. I find the MCs a bit too sharp (used to own a Stradivari) or unable to convey cymbals naturally (my Maestro v2).

But then again, the Essence, that I do not own but have tried in my system for an extended period, was actually quite good, but, like everything Clearaudio I’ve heard, leaning a bit towards the lean.

Yup, second that. Sweet sounding cartridges if not the most dynamic out there.

It’s been over 6 weeks waiting for my Sound Smith cartridge. If you don’t like waiting too long for your cartridge, don’t get a Sound Smith. It takes forever for them to make one.

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I’m driving by sound smith HQ in a couple of days in my way from Tanglewood in the Berkshire mountains to friend’s house in Delaware. Might stop and talk to them.

Ethan from the Cable Company talk to Peter who owns Sound Smith, and also hand built my Hyperion MKII, said that Peter will make an exception and sent the finished product to me directly by the end of this week, so I should have it by next week. Thank you for offering to help.

Next week I will be able to see what this cartridge is all about and how it compares with my excellent Benz LPS MR which is also incredible sounding!

Update: Just now, UPS gave me a tracking number. I will have the cartridge by 4:00pm on Monday! Whoopee!!

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You need to have faith my friend. The longer you wait the better it’s going to be…

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