ZYX cartridges

Can someone explain to me the heirarchy of ZYX cartridges? I guess I know that the Universe is top of the line (though the Atmos may be even more expensive). But beyond that there seems to be umpteen different variations of the Airy model, called "2", "3", etc, with silver vs copper windings, etc. Since these are said to work well with my Triplanar tonearm, I am thinking of making a purchase, but I am completely confused regarding their product line. Thanks.
Redtop, I now see your problem. You have been listening to "ZXY" cartridges and comparing them to the Shure V15. Everyone knows that those ZXY products are not so good. Here we are talking about the ZYX product line, any of which should blow away a V15 on any kind of music, as long as the associated electronics are capable of dealing with the lower voltage signal from a ZYX. I'm joshing with you, of course, but herein may lie the reason why "this guy" and/or your brother have gotten the impression that the Shure is better. The ZYX low output moving coil cartridges deserve high quality phono electronics and excelent speakers in order to realize their potential. If we knew the preamp, amp and speakers that were used in that comparison, it might tell the tale.
Redtop might be referring to me, I run a VPI, and have a Denon Table as well.

Well, doing a comparo, my mint 35 year old Shure V-15 III with Jico SAS kicked the pants off of my Benz Ruby 3, and Airy 3, and will give Doug Deacon's ZYX UNIverse a "real run for the money"!

It will outrack any Cartridge on the planet, and since I'm such a nice guy, I "might" let this oustanding Shure go, as a special today, just for you A'goners for the steal price of $4,000. You don't want to pass this "once in a lifetime opportunity" up! I'll even throw in another 35 year warrantee to boot! Mark
well I have had two versions of the ZYX Yatra 100 just below the Fuji100. I have used both with the Jolida JD-9. the lower output was more subtle and the treble was lighter airier, is that even a word? I did like the higher output version for the extra punch, loved the clean bass response. I know Raul would say I was poking smot, but I beleive the Zyx to be a great line.My Ondekoza records were stunning. In comparison to a Shelter 901 which I have heard in my system, I liked the Yatra better. For one thing especially, the true stereo sound. It was noticeably different, better imaging. the Zyx seem to minimize surface noise too, what a plus. I have bought two carts from Mehran and concur with everything that's been said about him, excellent customer service.

The hierarchy of ZYX models (by price) is:

Airy 3
Airy 2
R100 Fuji
A zillion lower priced models you didn't ask about ;-)

All of the above use the same microridge stylus (contrary to Dan_Ed's statement), as do all ZYX models above the entry level Bloom, which uses a less costly elliptical.

All five of the above can be ordered in either Low Output (.24mv/4 ohms) or High Output (.48mv/8 ohms). There's no price difference. As I reported here (and tipped off Arthur Salvatore after I saw his unenthusiastic writeup of the HO UNIverse), the LO models substantially outperform their HO brethren. The superiority of the LO is so great that, on my advice, Mehran does not even stock HO UNIverse or Atmos (not sure about the others). Footnote: ZYX uses a non-standard test record that produces cartridge output specs much lower than what other cartridge brands would report. To get a comparative spec or for phono gain calculaton purposes, you have to multiply a ZYX output spec by 1.42, so .24mv becomes .34mv and .48mv becomes .68.

All five of the above can be ordered with gold (G), silver (S) or copper (X) coils. There's no price difference. Mehran stocks the copper and some silver, gold is special order. For all models, copper is fastest, least bloated, most natural, most revealing. Silver is slower, somewhat smoothed, a bit Koetsu-ish. Gold is slowest, quite smoothed, quite Koetsu-ish.

All five of the above can be ordered with no extra weight (cartridge weighs ~5 oz.), silver weight (SB, cartridge weighs ~9 oz.) or gold weight (GB, cartridge weighs, um, MORE than 9 oz.!). The SB costs extra, the GB costs even more. Mehran stocks the SB, GB and weight-less are both special order. Which is best depends on the tonearm. For a ZYX, the ideal setup is tonearm eff. mass + weight of cartridge + extra weight (if any) = 22-25 grams. A popular and very successful combo is TriPlanar + ZYX with SB, which works out to 11 + 9 = 20g. A bit light in theory but excellent in practice.

BTW, Oscilloscopium's theory that a ZYX likes a lighter arm because it's light itself is incorrect. Not correct in theory and not the best combo in practice. An unweighted (5g) ZYX will perform best on an arm with an eff. mass of 18-20g or so, which is nobody's idea of light.

For sonic comparisons of Airy 2, Airy 3, Atmos and UNIverse, read the reviews beneath my signature.


P.S. For interpretations of Redtop and his comments, see Dan_Ed!
I stand corrected! Thanks Doug. I sure thought that only the UNI had the micro-ridge. That is very good information to have if one ever considers a retip other than from ZYX.