View Full Version : Benz Micro cartridge upgrade deal


Dogman
08-21-2008, 12:19 PM
I have an entry level Benz Micro cart (MC20E II) and am considering taking the upgrade deal from Benz and moving to an Ace or Glider. Any thoughts on these carts vs. moving to another brand?

My table is a Yamaha PF-1000 and I mostly listen to rock from the 60's and 70's.

Thanks!

Dog

Klownschool
08-21-2008, 03:15 PM
I have an Ace and it's a huge upgrade. Much better across the board. You will here improved tightness in the low end. Great smooth highs and the best part of all...the midrange is amazing. Do it today.

rick

niklasthedol
08-21-2008, 03:21 PM
What upgrade deal are you offered in US?

Didn't hear about any upgrade deal here in EU?

"dolph"

chadnliz
08-21-2008, 03:46 PM
Stick with Benz, there are so many others you can buy but guess what? Few have the upgrade program Benz does, my father upgraded his Ace to the Reference 3 a while back and got a great deal.....stay with Benz and grow into better carts as you are able too!

Willischulz
08-21-2008, 04:05 PM
I bought a Benz Micro Gold last month (was a huge upgrade for me from a mid-level entry AT). The Gold is all I can afford right now - but I am thrilled with the sound of this cartridge.
I have been in vinyl heaven for the last 30 days! Didn't know my albums sounded so clear!

markd51
08-21-2008, 05:11 PM
I have an entry level Benz Micro cart (MC20E II) and am considering taking the upgrade deal from Benz and moving to an Ace or Glider. Any thoughts on these carts vs. moving to another brand?

My table is a Yamaha PF-1000 and I mostly listen to rock from the 60's and 70's.

Thanks!

Dog

Dog, I would say it would depend on a couple of things.
One, is what will a Benz Dealer give you for trade-in allowance for your Cartridge? This value "should" be a stardardized value, meaning all Benz Dealers will give you the same amount.

The variance that there can be, is now, how much are they willing to take off the List Price of the new, better Cartridge. Here, there is a difference depending upon who you call, and ask.

I found this out myself.

If, the Cartridge you are trading, is not destroyed, and has lots of life left in it, this could be a tough choice, the difference of what you paid, versus its trade-in value?

OK, then let's move past this part. Let's say you decide you wish to go for the "gold", and go with the Benz Glider. I'm taking an eduacated guess here, but I believe the new S-Class Glider is $1,000 list?
(I understand the new version Glider's now are fitted with the Fritz Gyger Stylus, such as what comes with the Ruby 3, or Flagship LP Cartridge).

In defense of Benz, and let's say the Glider, you can get this Cartridge in 3 different output levels, so this particular Cartridge may hold an advantage for you, in being that you can ideally match the Cartridge to your Phono Stage's Gain, and Loading capabilities, you don't have such freedom with other brands-models of Cartridges.

But, let's take the other side of the coin in a hypothetical scenario. Let's say your Benz is worth $150 in trade for another Benz. This $150 may, or may not be worth its influence over you? At this roughly $1,000 price tag, there are of course other worthy Cartridges in this price arena, let's say an offering from somebody like ZYX?

This is of course a choice you'll have to decided on?
It would be a choice that would be tough for me to make, and the difference of the $150 might not be enough to persuade me to go again with Benz.

I owned the original Hi-Output Benz Glider for a good ten years when they first came out, back around '97. It was a darn fine Cartridge, superb tracker, tracked anything I ever threw at it, gave good sonics, and an enjoyable sound. The new version should be even better sounding.

Benz's are said to be "warm" Cartridges, but I think this is a slight misnomer to say. I think a more accurate term would be to say, in comparison to some other hi-end offerings, the Benz might display a bit more Bass Bloat. And I would assume this also means that most Benz Offerings are not what I would call "analytical" Usually the higher you climb the "Benz Ladder", the better the refinement, in areas of smoother, less grainy sound. Midrage is usually very good, lush, pure, toneful.

I personally noted this change-difference when I moved up to the Ruby 3.

But let's take the Glider, against such a Cartridge as the ZYX Yatra, or Fuji. These Cartridge will more than likely offer quieter play in the groove, be a faster sounding Cartridge, will display less Bass Bloat, but this doesn't at all mean "Bass Lacking". generally what it will mean is tighter, more accurate Bass response, and no over-emphasis of Bass.

Do let us know what sort of offering you are able to get. I'm sure others here would be interested in knowing, and perhaps with a bit more known, you can then be a better judge of what course to take. Best of luck, Mark

Dogman
08-21-2008, 10:25 PM
Thanks all for your thoughts.

I'm in Canada and the upgrade deal would get me $150 off a Glider and $100 off the Ace; so about $850 for the former and $500 for the latter after the rebate.

My current cart is not worn out, maybe just nicely broken in, so it would hurt a bit to trade in a perfectly could cartridge. It's a high ouput moving coil, but as Mark points out, I could get a low output moving coil Ace or Glider that might be a better match for my Bryston preamp.

Mark, is "base bloat" common to all Benz cartridges? In other words, if I like the bass response with my MC20, do you think I would be similarly pleased with the Glider or Ace? How would Dynavector or Grado carts compare with the Benz sound?

Thanks again for your input!
Dog

markd51
08-22-2008, 06:36 AM
Dolph, From what I understand, Benz Distributor here in US accounts for trade in, by inflating the prices.
Not that I'm saying the trade-in program here is a bad thing, I think it is a very good thing.

Benz has had this re-tip/trade in allowance for a long time here. For a re-tip, they give you a brand new cartridge.

Now Dogman, I am unsure what Benz's policies are for outside the US, and whether the Distibutor here in USA, Musical Surroundings considers themselves the USA Distributor, or the "North American Distributor"?

Meaning, I am unsure if this trade-up policy would apply to you? To be certain, I'd either shoot off some emails, or make some phone calls to be sure.

I am quite certain there are Benz Dealers in Canada.

Most Benz Cartridges will possess a Benz "house sound", becoming better refined the more expensive you go. As for bloat, or maybe some call it "bloom" instead, this is perhaps what some people refer to as "warmth" with Benz Cartridges. If you like your Benz, and like it's Bass Response, you will more than likely like the improvement the more costly Benz Cartridges will provide. There will be better clarity, better individuality of instruments-voices, a better soundstage, and bass should be cleaner-tighter, but not necessarily "leaner" sounding. Mids will be much purer, voices will have more coherency.

The Glider, and later the Ruby 3 I still have both provided a sound which does not become tiresome after long listening sessions. Perhaps could be called more "laid back", than some other MC's, but I believe it is better than having a Cartridge which "wows you" for 5 minutes, and an hour later, becomes irritable to listen to, being too strident, or lean.

As for what output choice, I am unfamiliar with your Bryston Pre-Amp, and what Gain-Loading settings it provides? I can say, that my Ruby 3 with an output of .34mv seemed to work at its optimum though my Sutherland PhD Phono Stage at 60db gain, and 1000 ohms loading.

It is generally said, that MC Cartridges with an output greater than 1.5mv work similarly to MM Cartridges, and that 47K Ohms Loading usually provides the best sound. Otherwise, the 25x rule is commonly accepted, multiplying the Cartridge's Internal Impedance by 25x for optimal loading.

There is no "wrong", or "harmful" setting when it comes to loading with any MC Cartridge, you can use (after the Cartridge is fully broken in) the loading setting which best suits your system, and your ears.

As for the Glider, some seem to shy from "Nude" Cartridges, with thier exposed Cantilevers, fearing damage with the Cantilever-Stylus just hanging there in mid-air. Truth is, all of these MC Cartridges are just as prone to careless mishaps.

I only know of a few MC's that have Stylus Guards, and they are usually clip on, not a swing down type like many of the MM Cartridges of yesteryear usually sported.

Advantages may be less coloration-influence from a nude body, and when it comes to protractor alignment, I have found it is much easier to do with a nude body, versus a Cantilever-Stylus hidden-obscured by a Body. Mark

bebopdeluxe
08-22-2008, 07:12 AM
I have a high-output ACE...to be honest, I am happy with it as a great price/value cartridge...but I am curious - will I REALLY be able to tell the difference if I step up to the next level - like the Glider, for example?

markd51
08-22-2008, 08:02 AM
I have a high-output ACE...to be honest, I am happy with it as a great price/value cartridge...but I am curious - will I REALLY be able to tell the difference if I step up to the next level - like the Glider, for example?

One should hear a difference, yes, but the degree of that difference in sound will be influenced by all components downstream from the Cartridge. And of course, lastly, your ears will play a part too. The higher the quality the components are, they won't be a bottleneck to hinder what a better Cartridge can do in a system. Mark

Punker X
08-22-2008, 01:38 PM
I ran a Glider on my PF-1000 was a very good match. Upgraded from a V15xMR, but used a trashed AT as a the non-Benz trade in when I bought it. Later used the totally trashed V15 to get a Silver for less than what a new tip would have cost for the Shure after then discontinued the V15. When I sold the PF-1000 I later gimped the Glider in one of those costly mishaps and desided to use the the trade-in/up program to get a Ebony. Couldn't be happier.

Here's the spec price list, give's the retip price, which used to be the trade-in allowace also. Not sure on that.

http://www.musicalsurroundings.com/cartr.html

Looks like prices have really gone up with the low dollar. Used to be $850 to retip my Ebony was just an exchange. Now it's $1000 get a swiss factory rebuild and $1400 to get an exchange. Doesn't look like they even do the non-Benz trade in thing any more.

Looking at a Glider at the Needle doctor it looks like they still do a non Benz trade in, with $100 off for non-Benz, $150 off with a Benz trade-in.

Dogman
08-22-2008, 02:03 PM
The Bryston Preamp is model # BP-25MC and has both MM/MC capability. MM has 50k ohms input impedance and 5mV sensitivity while the MC has input impedance of 180 ohms and sensitivity of 350uV (.35mV). The gain on the MC side is internally reconfigurable to 16.5 or 22.5dB.

(Check out Bryston on the web - really well built gear made right here in Canada and offering a 20 year portable warranty on their amps and preamps).

Mark, these numbers seem radically different then the specs on your pre. Would a low output moving coil work with my preamp?

Thanks for the feedback on the Glider and your PF-1000 Punker! Nice to hear from someone with firsthand experience on the table and cartridge I'm looking to pair up!

I did inquire about the Benz upgrade at my local dealer so I know it is offered in Canada. He did not mention trading in any cartridge for a rebate, just an old Benz for a new one. I'll confirm the amounts and whether they are willing to reduce the list price as well and repost if I have more information.

Dog

markd51
08-22-2008, 06:48 PM
Hello Dogman,
Sounds like Bryston uses a different method of rating gain, like they're rating a Step Up Transformer within your Pre-Amp, and this part of the Stage acts as a Step up, then running into another Gain Stage? could be, but I'm not sure?

Best to contact Bryston, I'm sure they can better explain than I could. Ask them what your gain is intended for, what output MC Cartridges would be ideal?

As I said my friend, call around, as you have found, they will give you $150 trade-in allowance for your Benz (Which I'm assuming is only a $100 loss from new, which is not at all bad), now, the bottom line is, how much are they willing to take off of the list price of the Cartridge you want?

In addition what I have already said, you really cannot go wrong with any of the Benz Cartridges.

Every one of them are very good performers for the money spent, I believe they have a 2 year warrantee, and of course, the upgrade path can continue on, until you reach the pinnacle of Benz if you chose, the Benz LP.

Believe me when I tell you, Benz is not at all a "has been" company in any sense of the word. They produce world class Cartridges, which are worthy of being placed on the world's most expensive state of the art Turntables. They do constant research, upgrading, improving on thier already fine Cartridges.

They are very versatile as well, you could place a new Glider on a Technics 1210 Mk-II, or place it on a TOTL VPI HR-X, Rockport, Avid, Galibier, Sota, you name it. On any of them, it will sing very nicely, and it won't seem out of place.

As I said, the better the Table-Arm, and the Better the system (Phono Stage, Cabling, Speakers,etc) will enable you to extract all they have to offer.

As with most really good MC Cartridges, accurate set-up, tweaking, and break in time are critical. And Benz's usually take more than the factory suggested 40 hours. Some more like 100.

On Agon, a fellow friend "Stringreen" had past issues with a used Benz LP he bought, he tried everything under the sun (Loading, VTA, etc). Seems lately, he bought himself a really good Arc protrator (MintLP from Hong Kong), done a re-alignment, and to me, it sounds like he's in analog heaven right now! Mark

Dogman
08-23-2008, 11:11 AM
Thanks for all the advice Mark!

I think you're right about the Bryston rating. It is a step up from the MM phono stage so rated differently. I will inquire of my dealer who sells Benz and Bryston and find out which cart would work best. I'm leaning towards the glider though (in for a penny, in for a pound!!).

Last question, if you haven't run out of patience! I have mostly older vinyl from the 60's to 80's. Many are in excellent shape, but there are others that are less than mint. Do the more expensive Benz cartridges track more quietly or should I expect an Ace or Glider to reveal more artifacts from LP's that are in average condition?

Thanks,
Dog

markd51
08-23-2008, 12:48 PM
Thanks for all the advice Mark!

I think you're right about the Bryston rating. It is a step up from the MM phono stage so rated differently. I will inquire of my dealer who sells Benz and Bryston and find out which cart would work best. I'm leaning towards the glider though (in for a penny, in for a pound!!).

Last question, if you haven't run out of patience! I have mostly older vinyl from the 60's to 80's. Many are in excellent shape, but there are others that are less than mint. Do the more expensive Benz cartridges track more quietly or should I expect an Ace or Glider to reveal more artifacts from LP's that are in average condition?

Thanks,
Dog

Hello Dog, It is generally thought, the smaller the stylus size, and profiles (Micro-Line/Line Contact), the quicker they respond in the groove, the less slop, less bloom-bloat, better definition, and less groove noise. It may be as well, that they run deeper in the groove, thus bypassing previous groove damage.

Usually the faster theses tiny Stylus' gunks up too!

The Benz Glider I Had, and my Ruby 3 both do a fine job in this regard, but neither could ever hold a candle to the ZYX Airy 3X I also own.

The ZYX Airy 3X is the best Cartridge I have ever heard in my life as far as quiet play in the groove. There may be better, but I haven't heard it yet, an this was the most startling thing about the Airy 3X, and one immdiately notices the silence. Any clicks, and pops seems to be very far in the background, that even older LPs I have, like you, seem like virtually new LPs. My reference vinyl sounds as quiet as CD, really very low noise floor.
Mark

WopOnTour
08-23-2008, 01:26 PM
I have an ACE (H.O.-Blue into BH Seduction PS) on my TT right now and I love it!
Great value sounding better than many cartridges I've heard that are much more $$
WOT

markd51
08-23-2008, 09:50 PM
Dogman/All,
Re-thinking what I earlier said about the ZYX Airy 3X, and that Cartridges such as the Glider, and Ruby 3 not being able to hold a candle to it, is sort of an "overblown inaccurate comment" by myself.

I'd like saying that both the Glider I owned, and the Ruby 3 I still own were/are two very fine Cartridges indeed.

The differences aren't quite so drastic, but more subtle qualities-characteristics.

One really would not find something missing with either of these two Benz Cartridges I mention. They both produce full sound from top to bottom, both provide excellent-superb bass response, which give a true picture of an instrument being played, voices are real, pure, smooth, things like guitars have the bite that they supposed to have, let's take Carlos Santana's Guitar on a song like "Black Magic Woman", a song I probably have heard 20,000 times over the years. Yet, his instrument doesn't seem to murder you with a false over-emphasis, or shrillness. Yet there s no lack of high frequency response in any way. The top of the frequency response is "not chopped off" with either of these Cartridges.

Yes, the ZYX Airy 3X does provide a bit better groove silence.

One big improvement I had noted with my old first version HO Glider a couple of years ago, was the upgrade of my Phono Stage from the MaCormack Micro Phono Drive, a $750 Stage, to the $3,000 Sutherland PhD Battery Powered Phono Stage, and the 16lb VPI MK-IV Platter on my VPI HW-19 Table. (At that point in time, nothing else was changed in my system)

The background became much blacker, noise floor dropped considerably, instruments had better individuality, and seperation, they seemed to stand apart much better. There was a better realism in sound, soundstaging was much better, as I could then better visualize the people on stage playing, the sound had more air, with better transparency.

It shown me that components like the better Phono Stage, and a better Platter-Bearing permitted the Benz Glider to perfom at a much better level of performance.

With that being said, I think you will find Cartridges such as the Benz Glider, Ace, or any other offering, such as the Wood, Copper Reference, Ruby S, or LP to all be satisfying Cartridges, which will perform very nicely if your other components are up to the task.

I'm sorry for not thinking a bit clearer in an earlier post, and giving the impression that these Benz Cartridges were somehow not highly worthy contenders to be used in a top flight analog system. Mark

Mr. Lin
08-23-2008, 10:38 PM
Lot's of great information from Mark, as usual.

Dog, I also own the MC20E2. It is a very nice cartridge, especially for the price. However, my experience was that it tended to lean slightly on the bright side, with less bass than other cartridges I've used, so you might hear something quite different in that area (and many others) moving up the line. I've rarely heard anything but great reviews of most Benz cartridges, even though some aren't crazy about their sound. For what it's worth I think you should just move right on up to the Glider if that's possible, I find it difficult to imagine that you wouldn't love what you hear.

Of course what Mark notes about phono stage and other components is dead one. To this day, with all the money I've put into my system, the single most dramatic upgrade I've ever made was my current phono pre, the Wright Sound Company 200C tube phono preamp. I'll never forget the first time I listened to a record with the 200C, there was a huge smile on my face. Sorry to get a bit off track there...

Dogman
08-25-2008, 02:10 PM
Mark - I checked out the ZYX on the net great reviews and a $2700 retail price - I guess it should be quieter then the Benz Glider at 1/3 the cost!! A little too rich for me right now.

Mr. Lin - What about that Dynavector in your avatar? I recall that you were very pleased with that cartridge.

Dog

Mr. Lin
08-25-2008, 08:41 PM
Mark - I checked out the ZYX on the net great reviews and a $2700 retail price - I guess it should be quieter then the Benz Glider at 1/3 the cost!! A little too rich for me right now.

Mr. Lin - What about that Dynavector in your avatar? I recall that you were very pleased with that cartridge.

Dog

Oh yes, I love the Dynavector. In that price range I highly recommend it, but frankly if you're talking about getting a Glider, I would expect it to out-perform the Dynavector. At more than twice the cost, it better!