What is the “World’s Best Cartridge”?

I believe that a cartridge and a speaker, by far, contribute the most to SQ.

The two transducers in a system.

I bit the bulllet and bought a Lyra Atlas SL for $13K for my Woodsong Garrard 301 with Triplanar SE arm. I use a full function Atma-Sphere MP-1 preamp. My $60K front end. It is certainly, by far, the best I have owned. I read so many comments exclaiming that Lyra as among the best. I had to wait 6 months to get it. But the improvement over my excellent $3K Mayijima Shilabi was spectacular-putting it mildly.

I recently heard a demo of much more pricy system using a $25K cartridge. Seemed to be the most expensive cartridge made. Don’t recall the name.

For sure, the amount of detail was something I never heard. To hear a timpani sound like the real thing was incredible. And so much more! 
This got me thinking of what could be possible with a different kind of cartridge than a moving coil. That is, a moving iron.

I have heard so much about the late Decca London Reference. A MI and a very different take from a MC. Could it be better? The World’s Best? No longer made.

However Grado has been making MI cartridges for decades. Even though they hold the patent for the MC. Recently, Grado came out with their assault on “The World’s Best”. At least their best effort. At $12K the Epoch 3. I bought one and have been using it now for about two weeks replacing my Lyra. There is no question that the Atlas SL is a fabulous cartridge. But the Epoch is even better. Overall, it’s SQ is the closest to real I have heard. To begin, putting the stylus down on the run in grove there is dead silence. As well as the groves between cuts. This silence is indicative of the purity of the music content. Everything I have read about it is true. IME, the comment of one reviewer, “The World’s Best”, may be true.



dAER @mikelavigne  : "" the tubed power supply sounds better than a solid state power supply. and fits the character . ""


I wonder how you know that other way that the manufacturer has both power supply kind of designs and if not then from where came your statement ? ! ? !.

I can't remember if the DST is a field coil cartridge design and never listen it in my system but in other system and is a good carrtridge but not something to " die for ".


Different cartridge kind of designs have its own trade offs and in this thread @mglik 

prefered the Grado over a top LOMC cartridge.


Even that, your statement needs an explanation and certainly been appreciated but we all audiophiles because that is a new cartridge and a new audio experiences with.


Thank's in advance,




I wonder how you know that other way that the manufacturer has both power supply kind of designs and if not then from where came your statement ? ! ? !.


@rauliruegas fair enough, my source is second hand feedback from other users. did not have the solid state PS on hand myself. if the tubed power supply is distorted, i love distortion like that.

no; the Neumann DST is not a field coil design. it has no separate power supply. i’m told ideally you use a special SUT for it.

I really LOVE my Lyra Atlas SL with my P1 and X1 combination. I also like MysonicLabs where I have to bump up the gain a bit. I feel that getting a cartridge that matches the phono stage is important as some low output carts cannot show their true colors without appropriate phono stage, ground control clean power etc...

Heard the MSL Signature Gold at a dealers recently and WOW! Detail, quick and a soundstage to die for. Plus very natural sounding.

I have always loved the koetsu  rosewood  signature  but with a large budget  I would  have a listen  to some of the stone body ones. You get down to decide  a cartridge  or new car for the same money.  I think the top stone body is over 30000 at the present  time.