Next MC Cartridge Advice/Recommendations


Hello All, 

I'm currently running a Kiseki Purpleheart on a Technics 1200 GAE turntable. I have two separate phono preamp options (Manley Chinook and Doge Clarity).  

The Kiseki is running fine but is arguably racking up the hours.  My system is really pleasing with vinyl so I put some real mileage on the Kiseki Purpleheart during the pandemic!  I lent my backup (Audio Technica ART9) to a friend who broke it.  Needless to say, I want to get my next cart in the house before the Purpleheart gives up on me. :)

I really love the balance of smooth v. detail on the Purpleheart.  At times it reminds me of reel-to-reel.  It is on the warmer side of things and can sound lush. 

Any advice on the following cartridges?  Have you heard any and what have you compared them to?  

  1. Ortofon Windfield TI
  2. Audio Technica 1000
  3. Dynavector XV-1S
  4. Clearaudio Stradivari v2
  5. Lyra Kleos (both regular and super low output)
  6. Hana Umami Red

My system is all tube (pre, power, phono pre(s)) and horn speakers (Cornwall IV). 

128x128jbhiller

I have owned the Purple Heart and currently have an Windfeld Ti.  They are very different presentations and I am not sure how one would replace the other well.  The Windfeld Ti has many excellent attributes and is slightly warmer than some of the other Ortofons, but I personally could not have it as my only option.  I originally had the two simultaneously and the Purple Heart, still performing well in a close friends system, was actually replaced by a Miyajima Madake.  The Miyajima provides the warmth of the Purple Heart along with appropriately increased detail and soundstage depth.  Other Miyajima cartridges may be something to consider in your search.

Used ATOC9/ART9 and heard the 1000.I wouldn't hesitate getting the ART1000. That would be AFTER putting a nicer arm on the proven Technics foundation. Your ART9 would have been in a different league with a Kuzma or whatever.

Have you considered the ART9XA?(Low output) More refined presentation compared the the .5mv . 1000 still has all the AT traits, but yet another level of refinement expected for a "super cart"

Any of the upper level Soundsmith carts should be included inyour final lineup. The Susurro is in the same price point as ART1000. Rebuild is the plus over the rest.

I've repeatedly(like a broken record) mentioned hearing the lineup and keep a $400 entry level Otello as a backup. I hear a midrange presentation unlike others. My reason for suggesting SS.

Presently using Kiseki Blue. 

Flying under the radar, particularly their lower priced offerings, but perhaps consider the My Sonic Lab line . I just bought the Hyper Eminent, and am enjoying it very much. I also heard the Ultra, which is their next model up. That leaned a bit toward the linear/neutral side, with tight (well defined) bass, and more extended highs. The Hyper is just a tad fuller, and gives up the Ultra's bass definition in favor of more bloom. In my setup, and my taste, I preferred the Hyper over the very formidable Ultra. There is also the base model Eminent EX which I have not heard. After the above 3 models, the remaining 2 models are reference level, and much more expensive. But don't forget MSL. I play a lot of pop/rock, vintage pressings. Not so much audiophile fare, which the Ultra certainly did shine with. Both wonderful cartridges for which only personal taste could decide between them. 

@jbhiller 

i have a lyra delos and it is so much better than other cartridges in its price class including ortofon cadenza and soundsmith mimc.  huge dynamics and great timing, huge soundstage, very refined and detailed, smooth tonal balance once it hits 50 to 100 hrs. 

never heard the upper lyra range but if their sound improves from the delos, which is already better than my very good digital sources, they should sound amazing.  

JB: I will only comment on those heard in my system, though I have experience with nearly everyone on your list. To me the Charisma has no shortcomings, draws no attention to itself whatsoever, gives you what is in the groove without any distortion. If there is any sonic signature it would be a very slight warmth that gives texture and body that make strings, voices, and horns sound absolutely real. The closest I’ve had in my system was the ART-9, but that was lightweight and threadbare by comparison. The Soundsmith MIMC Star was slightly less good, having somewhat papery highs that did not extend or shimmer when they should. None of the Dynavectors I ran (XX-2 Mk2 or the DV-20 series were all that impressive by comparison. All I can say is that in my system the Sig One moved the needle toward the best playback available from LPs. Hope this helps.