Thursday, February 23, 2012

Benz Micro Ace moving coil cartridge

I've had three cartridges in my Music Hall MMF-5 turntable. The Goldring 1012 moving magnet cartridge that came with it sounded good, but I'd also heard good things about the Shure V15, and the threatened last iteration of said classic was to be the V15VxMR. I bought it. I loved that sucker. An amazing cartridge, warm and rocking.

After a few years, I bought a phono preamp that would handle the lower output of moving coil cartridges. I'd heard things that sounded very interesting about moving-coil pick-ups, and I eventually read good reviews of the Benz Micro Ace series. Available in three output levels, I chose the middle, 0.8 mV output model. More spacious, more minute details within recordings, more air between instruments than the Shure, but without some of the Shure's warmth. I loved that baby.

A few months ago I took the Benz out and put the Shure back in. It took about three days to realize that the love I have for the Shure is a fond love, an old love, but the love I have for the Benz is the real deal. (That sounds like crap to me, too.)

It took me three months to put the Benz Micro Ace cartridge back in the turntable. It is a big project, but I knew I wanted the Benz back. Last weekend I finally got it done. It sounds fantastic. The Shure has it's place, but in my listening room, the Benz is just better. It's got more of what makes vinyl better to begin with. Don't get me wrong, CDs can and do sound good, but the best vinyl beats the best CD. I listened to some of my vinyl favorites, like Jennifer Warnes' Bird On A Wire from Famous Blue Raincoat 1990 and Song Of The Wind from Santana's Caravanserai 1972, and everything was wonderful.

It took me forever to put the Benz back on the tonearm. I gotta stop procrastinating.

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