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ZYX Cartridges: Anyone Have Experience With These? The Fuji?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by dgsinner, Oct 14, 2006.

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  1. dgsinner

    dgsinner New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Far East
  2. LeeS

    LeeS Having Fun!

    Location:
    Atlanta
    ZYX is well respected. My friend Bob Levi gave them a rave review at the online mag Positive Feedback.
     
  3. dgsinner

    dgsinner New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Far East
    Thanks Lee. Did he offer any comparisons with similarly priced carts? A guess with a rave review ZYX would have beat the competition...

    Dale
     
  4. dgsinner

    dgsinner New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Far East
    Found it! Thanks again Lee. For those interested, here's the review:

    http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue15/zyx.htm

    Dale
     
  5. dgsinner

    dgsinner New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Far East
    Wow. You were right about the rave. I think others in the market for carts need to read your friend's conclusion about the cart he reviewed (R100H) in particular (italics mine):

    (...)

    "The ZYX will not mistrack. It clearly out tracks any cartridge I've ever tried, owned, or auditioned. It is at home on difficult vintage Mercuries and on Classic Records' newest LP reissues. Definition and texturing are excellent. The ZYX is 90% as defined and textured as the best there is, at any price. You give up a tiny amount of the inner definition of $4000 cartridges, but get more than my Benz Ruby 2 had at $3000.

    Backgrounds are black and quiet. The ZYX appears to reduce surface noise without taking away air or ambience. It has amazing depth perspective and 3D sound. The stage width is staggering, amazing, wonderful. Stage height is top notch. Imaging is precise and excellent—solid and secure, and close to the best to be had at any price."

    (...)

    "With respect to dynamics, the ZYX is in a league of its own. It is absolutely wonderful. It renders subtlety with great energy, and the big and bold with great authority. Contrasts between soft and loud sounds are dramatic and realistic. The ZYX reminds me of the London Decca of yore in this respect. Couple excellent dynamics with flawless tracking, and you have a wonder! It's hard to believe we are discussing a $995 cartridge, not one that sells for $3000 to $4000. The ZYX eclipses other $1000 cartridges by a gargantuan amount. I can't recommend anything that even remotely imitates it. You'd pay $1000 for a cartridge that tracks perfectly, but was flawed in other ways, wouldn't you? What would you pay for a cartridge that was a perfect tracker, and 90% as good as the best? $995 is looking pretty good!! Toss it in a VPI Scout for $1600, and you've got a fantastic front-end value!

    Great things can come in small packages, but never great things in ugly packages. The ZYX R100H is great. It is everyman's phono cartridge. At $995, it is a bargain times four. It is either excellent or state-of-the-art in all performance parameters. It sets the standard in tracking and is almost as neutral as cost-no-object performers. The ZYX R100H is a true reference transducer. Buy it before the price is jacked up by adding a wood or ivory body. Actually, I'm growing quite fond of black plastic.

    Robert H. Levi"

    I've not read any review of a cartridge in this price range that sounds anything like that. I think I'm going to have to check out ZYX a lot more closely.

    Thanks again Lee. I was just about to set out today to spend some money on something else that hasn't been reviewed in anywhere near as glowing terms as this very affordable ZYX...wish my local shop carried these...

    Dale

    PS: Sorasound currently lists the R100 at $1,100 -- which is about $300 or $400 less than US prices for a Shelter 901 and $650 less than the Dynavector DV-XX-2 I had been using...
     
  6. LeeS

    LeeS Having Fun!

    Location:
    Atlanta
    And only a bit more than the Shelter 501 Mark 2 ($850) which is superb if you want to save some money.
     
  7. dgsinner

    dgsinner New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Far East
    Have you heard the 501? I take it you have since you write that it's superb. I can get a new one here for significantly less than $850 AND I can get it today, in about an hour if I'm in a mind to...might be a good bridge till I get something better sorted out...I'm pretty impatient and the Shure I've got plugged in is nice for what it is, but it's really not cutting it after the sweet, detailed mids I had on the Dynavector...

    Dale
     
  8. mtodde

    mtodde New Member

    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    A lot of folks on Audio Asylum seem to prefer the ZYX carts to the Shelters but I've been very, very happy with my Shelter 501 Mk. II. If you can get it that cheaply I'd go for it.
     
  9. dgsinner

    dgsinner New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Far East
    Man, this is getting tough. :help:
    LeeS says its superb, you've been very, very happy, I can get it today, I'm feeling a push...

    Dale

    PS: What kind of break-in is there on the 501?
     
  10. mtodde

    mtodde New Member

    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Lee has heard my set up a number of times.

    The 501 sounded great new but my previous table was a Music Hall MMF 5 so that cartridge comparison isn't exactly fair...I'd say it got better LP by LP for the first 20 hours and by 50 hours it was pure magic.
     
  11. michael w

    michael w New Member

    Location:
    aotearoa
    No experience with ZYX, aside from their earlier Monster OEM efforts.

    I third the Shelter 501 MkII.

    A great cartridge at full price, so even more of a baragin if you can get it for well under list.

    :D
     
  12. LeeS

    LeeS Having Fun!

    Location:
    Atlanta
    I can say this: Todd's vinyl rig sounds great and soon it will sound better. :)
     
  13. dogpile

    dogpile Generation X record spinner.

    Location:
    YYZ - Canada
    Love them...a lot!!

    No experience with the Fuji, however. I've used the Airy 2, Airy 3
    and UNIverse. As one goes up the ZYX ladder the performance of
    each cartridge will totally blow your mind...no joke.

    Given the track record of the higher end ZYX, I can only assume that
    the entry level has similar sonic traits.

    The Shelter 501 MkII in my previous system did not impress me but as
    we all know...it's all about synergy.
     
  14. dgsinner

    dgsinner New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Far East
    I pulled the trigger on the Shelter 501 based on the 3 votes here...so far I'm pleased with it. Got it for $633 installed. No, it's not in the same league as the Dynavector it is (for the time being) replacing, but is sounds very nice right out of the box. Nicely detailed, nice sound staging. A little clinical sounding on my system, but very nice overall and a world beyond the Shure I had plugged in after I killed my Dynavector.

    I imagine the Shelter is going to sound nicer after it gets through its break in period (I've only got about two hours on it so far). It does a very nice job in reducing surface noice without sacrificing the highs. I have the tracking force set at 1.6 gms--any of the 501 users have the tracking force set somewhere different?

    Anyway, thanks to those who pointed me in this direction. Definitely a very nice sounding bargain.

    Dale

    I'm listening to a VG+/EX mono UK Decca copy of the Rolling Stones Aftermath at the moment--the Shelter is doing a fantastic job on this...
     

    Attached Files:

  15. michael w

    michael w New Member

    Location:
    aotearoa
    I wouldn't expect it to be a DV XX2 beater at less than half the DV's price.

    Leave that for the 901.

    :D

    Mine's running at 1.85g on a slightly modded Well Tempered Arm, with just a touch of damping.
     
  16. MMM

    MMM Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Lodi, New Jersey
    What's that turntable?
     
  17. mtodde

    mtodde New Member

    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    I vary my VTF from 1.8-2.1 grams depending on the thickness of the record. 180 & 200g seems to sound best around 1.8g and regular LPs seem to sound best between 2 & 2.1 g. If you want a set it & forget it VTF I'd say 1.85 should be very nice.
     
  18. dgsinner

    dgsinner New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Far East
    If you mean mine from the jpgs I posted, it's a MicroSeiki BL-77. Vintage circa 1980 or so, but nice heavy belt drive...also a vintage arm--Saec WE-407/23. Retro, I know, but I think the set up sounds pretty good. I might even bring the tt back with me when I return to the US...

    Dale
     
  19. dogpile

    dogpile Generation X record spinner.

    Location:
    YYZ - Canada
    The record thickness/weight should have no bearing on the VTF, only VTA.
     
  20. dgsinner

    dgsinner New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Far East
    Neither would I and so far I don't think it is (despite its sounding better with each album played). However, I don't think you can always tell by price alone. If you check out some of these discussions on the 501, you'll find that many people concluded that the Crown Jewel SE cart (a Stereophile Class A product which was sold for $2,600+) and the Shelter 501 are the same cartridge.

    Have a look here:

    http://www.10audio.com/Shel_501.htm

    and here under "Class B Lower":

    http://www.high-endaudio.com/RC-Cartridges.html

    I will say this so far: as I noted above, I think the 501 has a more "clinical" sound than the Dynavector, but I'm noticing that some records are sounding much better with the 501 than they did with the Dynavector. I don't really know why yet, but my UK Decca mono copy of the Rolling Stones Aftermath sounds phenomenally better with the 501. The soundstage seems wider with the Shelter, but I'm not sure that's all of it. The Shelter has been reducing surface noise as well, making it a more enjoyable listen. I don't know if that's because it's less sensitive than the Dynavector, of if just by virtue of it being a new stylus it is handling the surface with better dexterity. I do think for the price I got for it, and its US price, it must certainly be a strong contender in its category.

    Dale
     
  21. Plinko

    Plinko Forum Resident

    I have read numerous times that if one is interested in a 501, they should save a lot of money and just get the Denon 103 or 103R. Is this bunk?
     
  22. dgsinner

    dgsinner New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Far East
    I know those Denons have very good reputations, but I don't have any experience with them...except the inexpensive mono cart--102.

    Dale

    PS: Discussion of the 501 and Denons here:

    http://www.tnt-audio.com/sorgenti/shelter_501ii_e.html
     
  23. Plinko

    Plinko Forum Resident

    Thanks for the link. I supposed even a retipped Denon is still cheaper than a new 501. I have the 103R. It doesn't image or do the hifi stuff as well as the more expensive cartridges I have had (Dynavectors). The tonality and full sound are wonderful though. After listening to this Denon, I have become much more interested in the Shelter line given what I have read.

    As far as ZYX is concerned, everyone seems to rave about them although there is one user on Audioasylum with a really nice system who thinks they don't have enough energy. He likes Dynavector cartridges. Let me know what you think if you try one! Wish I could help but I have never heard one either.
     
  24. dgsinner

    dgsinner New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Far East
    Not completely sure what I'm going to do at the moment. The Shelter is getting better with every listen. It seems to be far more neutral than the Dynavector I had...though the Dynavector was much more detailed. When you write,

    "As far as ZYX is concerned, everyone seems to rave about them although there is one user on Audioasylum with a really nice system who thinks they don't have enough energy",

    do you think the writer meant "output" energy, or was he talking about tonality or something?

    Dale
     
  25. mtodde

    mtodde New Member

    Location:
    Atlanta, GA

    You are welcome to come over anytime and I'll demonstrate it. The VTF will affect the tracking angle to a some degree on the Scout. I was amazed at the difference it made...the ears are the ultimate decider.
     
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