Moving coil cartridge advice needed

A friend recently acquired a VPI Aries turnable with JMW Memorial arm and asked my advice on a good but not outrageous MC cartridge, say around $1,000.

He has a phono pre that will support the lowest output cartridges. He listens to a broad range of popular music, although I've gotten him sampling some jazz and classical lately. Accuracy in soundstaging and transients, deep well controlled bass and good tracking are important.

Ones which came to my mind - Benz Micro (Ref 2 silver, L2, Glider L2), Clearaudio Sigma Wood, Dynavector Karat 17D2 Mk II, Lyra Lydian Beta and Shelter 501. I've only heard the Dynavector personally (excellant cartridge, IMHO). Read that the Benz's are very "warm", which if true, may not be optimal given his listening tastes. Comments on these or
other recommendations most appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

Doug, the Clearaudio would actually fit your specification IMO. The others I'm not familiar with. Cheers,
Hi Doug. You have some nice cartridges to pick from there. IMO, the Shelter 501 and the Lyra Lydian Beta, are the 2 best carts on your list. Unfortunately, neither of them is suitable for a unipivot tonearm like the JMW. If I were going to pick a cart for the JMW from your list, it would be the Dynavector 17D2. I am not wild about the Clearaudio. The Benz Glider would be my second choice from your list. You should stay in the higher compliance range for a unipivot arm. That is why the 501 and Beta won't work well for him.
TWL what about a Helikon? I know it doesn't fit the budget, does it fit the arm?
If you are considering the Benz line, I'd recomend going at least a step up from the Glider. It's very good in it's price range, but the next step up is significantly better and the table would certainly be able to take full advantage. The top of the Shelter line would also be worth looking in to.

What about Shelter901?
It can fall in your range with a-bit more if you order directly from Japan or Hong-Kong...
Sayas, this is what the Lyra webpage says about the Helikon:

The cantilever compliance has been tuned to 12cu which is a comfortable level for most tone-arms (typically medium mass) available on the market today. Compliance is a measure of the cartridge suspension's stiffness. A stiffer suspension requires a higher mass tone-arm, while a looser suspension (high compliance) require a low-mass tone-arm. The Lyra Helikon can be used in any high-performance, rigid bearing, resonance-free, medium mass radial or linear-tracking type tone-arm with integrated head-shell and adjustable anti-skating force.

I could not find the effective mass data on the JMW 10.5, but I did go the the VPI website. It is a unipivot design, with no anti-skate provisions. It says it doesn't need one.

Now, if you notice, the Lyra specs call for a "rigid bearing" tonearm with "adjustable anti-skating force". The mass of the JMW may or may not be correct(couldn't find data), but the other parameters are not in keeping with the Lyra factory recommendations for the Helikon, or other Lyra carts. This may not preclude use of this cart in the JMW arms, but it is an indicator of mismatch. My experience with lower compliance moving coils, is that they do not match well with unipivots. The rating of the Helikon, at 12cu, is not really low compliance, and leans toward medium. It may be borderline. My advise is based on my experience with slightly(and greatly) lower compliance carts with unipivots. These carts tend to "wag" a unipivot arm around, even if they have fluid damping, or outriggers. The lack of bearings in the horizontal plane allows the cartridge to "rock the baby" and change azimuth angle during play. This is not a problem with the higher compliance cartridges. Also, alot of unipivots are light arms which is also a mismatch with low compliance carts. So, I haven't tried this cartridge with this arm, but the indicators show strong warning signs. I cannot make a recommendation of a combination like that. This is not an indictment of the JMW arms, just that it makes certain types of cartridges better matches for it, than others. The JMW arms are wonderful arms in the right application. I just don't think that the Lyra is the right application, although it may work. I don't like to make borderline recommendations to others. I may try them out myself, at my own risk, but shy away from experimenting with other people's money. I hope this answers your question.

I see from your "virtual system" that you have a TNT and a Helikon. It doesn't say if you have a JMW arm. Do you? If so, maybe you can share some of your experience with us on the viability of the Lyra carts in the JMW. I personally think the Lyra carts are great.
Same problem with low compliance except worse. The Shelters are both around 9cu, which is not borderline. It is a true low-compliance. If you guys want to stick these things in a unipivot, then go right ahead. The Lyra may work. Forget about the Shelter in that arm.
i myself have a helikon cart and i believe that this cart is the closest match to koetsu wood. btw it's possible to get it for a-bit higher than 1k from hong kong but not immedia wil void the warranty(whattahell! there still almost none if you breake it you break it -- that's the bottom line).
Hi all...I am no techno person but I can respond that I have an Aries and 10.5 with a Lyra Helikon and a Benz Micro Med MC. (I have two arm tubes). The Helikon is very comfortable in the are and sounds quite good! When I first got the table and amr and cartridge, I was experiencing some lead-in groove skips...I assume it was the anti skate. After some playing around with the are tube cable....(that controls the anti skate) all was well.

All I can say, it is a marvelous match......super sound, BUT the Helikon does take some time (100 hrs?) to break a mater of fact it still is.
The JMW and VPI tend to be warm, so don't pair with warmer cartridge like Benz. With Lyra, they tend to be neutral. And with Van den hul, you get very good complimentry qualities, being fast and airy.

The Frog, especially the one with gold coil is a very good cartridge, and gives up very little from the Colibri/Beauty series. You can also 'nude' the Frong (voiding the warranty), and it will look like a Colibri/Beauty.
I tried the Lydian Beta with a wilson benech full circle and act.5 unipivot arm. Fiddled with it forever, couldn't figure out the sound. Tried the cart. on a friends Rega p25 with rb600 and wow. I kept the cartrige, got rid of the table.

So, I'll back TWL up on nixing the Lyra on that arm.

BTW, I love my Lyra Lydian B and want to move up to the Helikon or, I'm not ditching Lyra...just a system matching comment from my experience...
Twl, you nailed an issue that I should have mentioned and forgot. I haven't seen my friends VPI/JMW setup yet, and have no experience with either. Thanks for picking up my oversight and your lucid explanation of its implications.

Interestingly, I find the Helikon SL works well in my Graham 2.2 (which has anti-skate) w/Oracle V so perhaps the 12cu treads the margin.

My Koetsu Urushi & Onyx (medium-low compliance) did not mate well with the Graham, and a Shelter 901 was a complete miss-match, supporting Twl's position. All 3 work fine in a SME V.

Thanks for everyone's help - any more ideas?
Hi Doug!

If you live in the Tri-State area (New York) you are most welcomed to come by and listen (see) my Aries/JWM/Helikon set up!

I have not had the luxury of a second cartridge comparison and therefore comments about the sound of the Helikon are moot.

What I do enjoy is the image and soundstage delivered by my system. Is there a better cartridge arm combo out there, I don't know but this one certainly is entertaining. I assume that because there is a focused soundstage that the 12.5/Helikon combo is a good balance. Probably is/are better just don't know about it or willing to spend the dough.

TWL thanks for your response.
Sayas, I do think that due to the length of the 12.5 arm, there is a better match there than with the 10.5 or 9. There is more mass and better angle. Also, I am hearing from others that the Helikon is working for them in JMW arms. So it seems that it falls on the good side of the "borderline". I am sure that your setup sounds great, because you would surely know about a mismatch if you had one. This is good info for me, and others, about this combo. When the indicators are borderline, it is very hard to make a definitive statement about matchup, one way or the other. I just tried to use the manufacturers guidelines, and some previous experience to guide my recommendation.
Twl, does your Teres TT sound as good as it looks - WOW! Rwd, I live in Southampton, NY and my friend is in Easthampton. Where do you hang you hat?
Hi Doug....bit of a trip for you....NYC (Staten Island) but you are most welcomed!!!!

P.S. Any of you in the area are!
Doug, yes, I'm afraid it sounds even better than it looks. With the OL Silver and DL103, it is quite a package. I wish I could afford a Shelter 501 right now, but with the custom 45 amp I've ordered from Berning and all, I have to wait. The DL103 is plenty good enough to hold me over till then. I am living is SE Tennessee. But there are owners in the NY metro area. If you want to know who to call about auditioning one, contact Chris Brady at Teres, and he can put you in touch with the closest owner. You may be quite surprised at just how good these TTs sound. I have heard reports of people comparing them with Walkers and Clearaudio Master Ref, coming VERY close to the Walker, and better than the Master Ref! Unbelievable, huh? There are only a couple hundred of these Teres TTs out there, total. A very small group of very satisfied analog lovers.