Curious Why Benz Micro Slid Into Obscurity

I remember there was a time when Benz Micro was one of the more prominent cartridge manufacturers out there. The Ace and Glider sure were popular cartridges. Then there was a hiatus in production. The company recognition seems to have never recovered. There are still new cartridges for sale on the various sites. But none of ther upper tier cartridges seem to gather the same recognition or praise that the earlier cartridges did. 

Is perception of them changed that much, or is it the fact that the brand has aged out? Are the designs that dated to where people no longer believe quality and value are there?


@mulveling , yes, this is precisely why I stay with the LO Ebony models, because of their suitability for SUTs. I also have an Ebony L that I quite like. The L and TR are certainly cut from the same cloth, with the TR bringing another measure of refinement and clearer sense of unmediated communication. It is wonderful cartridge.

Hello Everyone,

My name is Michael Fajen and I am the president of Sierra Sound. Sierra Sound has been the Benz Micro distributor for the USA since mid-2020. I can tell you that Benz Micro is alive and well, continuing to produce some of the highest quality moving coil cartridges in the world. Albert Lukaschek is still at the helm, auditioning each cartridge that leaves the factory personally as he always has done, and I am in regular contact with him. The SLR Gullwing just received a glowing review in Stereophile last month that I encourage everyone to read.

Benz Micro has never stopped or paused production. They have shifted production towards higher-end models, and there was a period of time between 2018 and 2020 where there was no Benz distribution in the USA. During this time there was a lot of speculation and rumor about the factory closing, the owner dying, retiring, going out of business, etc. None of these rumors were true. Ernst Benz, who was the namesake and founder of the company, died in 2014, but he had no direct involvement with the company at that time, having sold it to Mr. Lukaschek in the 1990s.

As the original poster pointed out, Benz Micro is not aggressively advertised in the USA. Benz Micro is a small factory in which literally everything is hand assembled. There are no automated coil winding machines, no presses spitting out plastic cartridge bodies by the hundreds... It is possibly the last remaining truly handmade cartridge around. This means production can be slow and availability is subject to change. As distributor I try to find a balance between supply and demand, and there is no reason to advertise heavily if we can already easily sell all of what we can get.

The hand-made nature of Benz Micro cartridges is a bit of a mixed blessing- the high quality materials and robust engineering used also make the cartridges fairly easy to repair and refurbish compared to the competition. As such, grey market Benz Micro sellers do exist. Whether these sellers peddle in new, used, refurbished, B-stock, working, or defective items, is unknown. Grey market sellers will often obscure the serial# of the cartridges in order to hide the age and/or history of the cartridge. Proceed at your own risk with such sellers.

I hope this post helps clear things up a bit. I’m not very active on forums, so I will likely not be able to continue posting on this thread to address any follow-up questions you may have, but please feel free to contact me through the website or by email directly at I’m happy to answer any questions you may have about Benz Micro or any of our other analog products.


Best Regards,

Michael Fajen

President, Sierra Sound


I purchased a Zebra L through Osage Audio two years back. I can't recommend it enough. The sound quality is amazing with all the great hyperbole and analogies you could call out. Add to it their trade-in replacement deals, then a Benz becomes a no brainer. Thanks for popping in here to clarify, and keep up the good work.


Hello and welcome to the forum!

Thank you for participating in this thread.

I'm the proud owner of the Ruby ZH and absolutely love it.  I'm curious, what is the current policy for trade-in and/or rebuilding this cartridge?

Best wishes,


@mulveling   You had mentioned above "...For Ruby, Gullwing, and LP/S models you have a ruby plate. Magnetically, this is not nearly as efficient. These models do NOT work well with a SUT..."

I was hoping that you could help me better understand why you feel that because the higher end Benz cartridges that use the ruby square plate do NOT work well with an SUT?

Thanks much and best wishes,