Zephyr MIMC vs Hana ML

Mounting on a Shure DME 3009 S2 improved with a Thorens TD125 Mk2.

presently using Ortofon 2M black through Musical surroundings Nova III phono stage and linear power supply. This was s major step up from the Grace F7 ruby that came with the TT/TA.

considering a step up and for various reasons I’m leaning towards one of those two cartridges.

Tonearm effective mass, compliance, resonance all check out.

Anyone with enough experience with either/both cartridges to offer sn informed opinion?  I’m all ears.



Funny, I’d started out thinking about saving a few more dollars and looking for a Umami Red. 
Hadn’t given any thought at all to AT.

a brief online search is steering me in that direction. No hurry.  

US made is a factor but most of my system isn’t.


the response to my question has been overwhelming, reassuring is some of the similarities in responses.

my birthday is next month, i start social security in February, VA-disabled at 90% - kinda looking for an upscale upgrade to my system, like one and done, so long as my hearing holds out.

like the chalice selection scene in Indians Jones’ Last crusade, I hope to choose wisely for a lifetime.

Audio-Technica, hmm?

@normb Not sure I'm understanding you correctly, but Umani is nearly $4k, AT $1.3K. AT is the great deal out of all cartridges mentioned here, and simply great deal in comparison with all cartridges based on my research.

I have the MIMC, and really like it. Plus, with the retip cost for Soundsmith carts, even better. Soundsmith will repair most everything necessary at the ‘retip’ cost. I also have the hi Zephyr III as a back-up. Also a great cart for the money, but….The MIMC is more refined, detailed, great separation, airy but also full, and can dig deep. Dynamic. Some say they tend towards the warm side, but I feel the MIMC is pretty neutral. If you can deal with their quirky sales practices, Hi-Fi Heaven has some very good deals on Soundsmith, and other, carts. I got my MIMC (latest model new) for $1,300. Quite a deal, but alas, it wasn’t in stock as was listed following my purchase, so had to wait. I did, as that was a nice discount for a $2,000 Cart.

Im a big Soundsmith fan, so I will always recommend them.

@tomic601 (as one) has experience with the Hana, I do not.

I don't have those two exact cartridges, I have the Hana SL and the Soundsmith Aida II, both of which are close to the two you're considering.  I have heard the ML at Jim's house and found it to be similar to the SL, just a little more refinement.

I found the description of the Hana sound as "lush" by another poster interesting.  I find them to be very neutral "truth tellers" with little embellishment.  

The Aida II has more detail and has a wide soundstage but can sound a little "thin".  It doesn't have that fullness that most MC carts have.  Or maybe I need to work on my setup a little more. 

There are a number of threads in the Steve Hoffman forums about Soundsmith cartridges.

I would listen to @tomic601 and consider standing pat on the cartridge.  You might consider upgrading your phono stage instead of the cartridge.