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A trip to the darkside

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    Posted: 24 Sep 2013 at 2:04pm
 . . no, not "of the moon" but into moving coil territory.

For the past 45 years or so I've been a resolutely moving magnet kind of guy, running Goldring 800s, Shure M75s and later V15s, and within the past year or so a plethora of various p-mounts from Technics, Ortofon, Grado, ADC, Empire, Stanton, Sony, AT et al. The purchase of a pivot-arm TT, a Sony with a magic-motor biotracer arm opened up a whole new world of cartridge possibilities, and a few have already been and gone - AT440mls, Grado Gold, and Pickering XV15-625E (actually this is still for sale - any takers, low hours, spare (new) stylus - PM me!). All in the search for the holy grail.

I have a p-mount Ortofon X1-MCP high output moving coil, which I like, and reading great things about the SAE1000E HOMC I got one for the Sony. Job done! Detailed and dynamic, plenty of weight, nice treble what more could you want? Just when I thought I was sorted there was that cartridge shoot out using the Era Gold V, and then an Ortofon Anna for comparison. This was a disaster (for those who haven't read the thread) for the Anna MC as it sounded no better than the vastly cheaper MMs. However I found a source of comparison rips of high end MCs on a German magazine site, and TBH these were the real deal. So the search was back on!

Now, the thought of spending £2k+ on a needle sends a shiver down my spine, and sets numerous alarm bells ringing - most notably one labelled "diminishing returns". Rather than climb the whole way up to the high end I settled on the foothills and looked at the lower models in those esoteric ranges. For a long while I had a Benz-Micro Glider SH on order, but I got fed up with waiting and looked at the Zyx range. The R100-H2 was almost the equivalent model to the Gilder (without the sexy nude look, and oh-so-exposed cantilever), and one came by return of post, nicely packed in a wooden crate protected by a draw-string fabric bag.

With the loan Elevator (thank you Jon!), I've put 50 hours on the Zyx now, and my own Elevator turned up yesterday (thank you GSP's John!).

Was it worth the expense? Is the Zyx any better than the SAE? I would say so, of course, but definitely yes! The presence and detail of the R100 makes the sound tangible. It's deeper, higher and wider, and more dynamic. Treble detail is refined and not at all harsh. Like any good piece of hi-fidelity kit it takes on the nature of the music playing through it. Smooth and velvety with Paul Desmond, edgy and dynamic with Weather Report, expansive and detailed with good orchestral recordings like Bax's 5th on Lyrita. Obviously the sound is the sum of it's parts, and the Reflex/Elevator combo is definitely doing its job well.

I certainly haven't heard  a better MM, and I know that Graham thinks MCs are the spawn of the devil, so I hope he'll forgive me this foray off-piste. At least that was another Elevator sold!

Visually the Zyx is a boring little black blob, but here's a picture anyway . . .



Edit: added links




Edited by morris_minor - 24 Sep 2013 at 2:12pm
Bob

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Fatmangolf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Sep 2013 at 8:26pm
I am with Bob on this. The Zyx R100-02 is a fine cartridge and I am rediscovering my record collection.

It's the engineering genius of the GSP Elevator EXP that allows the Zyx cart to do a great job.


Edited by Fatmangolf - 24 Sep 2013 at 10:56pm
Jon

Open mind and ears, whilst owning GSP Genera, Accession, Elevator EXP, Solo ULDE, Proprius amps, Cusat50 cables, Lautus digital cable, Spatia cables and links, and a Majestic DAC.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote morris_minor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Sep 2013 at 9:32am
Originally posted by Fatmangolf Fatmangolf wrote:

I am with Bob on this. The Zyx R100-02 is a fine cartridge and I am rediscovering my record collection.

It's the engineering genius of the GSP Elevator EXP that allows the Zyx cart to do a great job.
This is what's so great about our hobby - finding new bits of kit that draw you more and more into the music. I never knew, especially when I started out in hifi all those years ago, that record grooves could hold so much quality sound. I am SO glad that I didn't ditch my vinyl when CD came out promising "perfect sound forever" . . . <insert emoticon for 'smug, satisfied smile' here>
Bob

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote RichW Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Sep 2013 at 12:48pm
I did ditch my record collection a couple of years after CD was introduced & also sold
my deck to a mate. Fool!
Fool for getting rid of several years worth of LP collecting & fool for believing the marketing.
I returned to vinyl many years ago & have bought many of those lost LPs but it's not
quite the same as owning the originals.
 
Thanks for the very interesting Zyx review.This cart is now on the list when a new one
is due!
 
Elevator, Accession, Majestic, Reflex M, Solo ULDE, CuSat & Lautus.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote morris_minor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Sep 2013 at 4:08pm
Recent listening has included some old Columbia Studio 2 records. [For the youngsters around, this was EMIs label that allowed producers to exploit stereo with multitracking and positioning effects, much like Decca's Phase4 . . . ]

One of these, which I bought back in the 70s, was of the typical "easy listening" fayre of the day - the Franck Pourcel Orchestra playing arrangements of Beatles songs. Obviously naff! Embarrassed Or was it? The arrangements were mostly effective, and the quality of the sound from the Zyx/EXP/Reflex combo was stunning.

Somehow the sound managed to be both forensic and lush at the same time. Instrumental lines were easy to follow, instrumental doubling easy to separate, different acoustics for different instruments only too apparent (this not so much of a plus), and string sound as smooth as velvet with harmonics extending well into the stratosphere.

I've played this many times and never noticed a lot of these details, now newly revealed, which just suck you into the music.

it just keeps getting better (and my Elevator's far from run in). Those glowing reviews quoted on the Elevator product page are bang on!
Bob

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Accession MC/Enigma, Accession MM, Reflex M, Elevator EXP, Era Gold V
Solo ULDE, Novo, Lautus USB and digital, Libran balanced, CuSat50
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Fatmangolf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Sep 2013 at 6:30pm
I am loving the sound of my LP's through the Zyx and same GSP stages as Bob, who I will publicly thank for his tip about this fine MC cartridge. It opens up the music without being clinical.
Jon

Open mind and ears, whilst owning GSP Genera, Accession, Elevator EXP, Solo ULDE, Proprius amps, Cusat50 cables, Lautus digital cable, Spatia cables and links, and a Majestic DAC.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote morris_minor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Sep 2013 at 7:39pm
I'm very happy you're enjoying the Zyx too, Jon! It's a fine partner to Graham's electronics . . .
Bob

Majestic DAC/pre-amp
Accession MC/Enigma, Accession MM, Reflex M, Elevator EXP, Era Gold V
Solo ULDE, Novo, Lautus USB and digital, Libran balanced, CuSat50
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