This past weekend I upgraded my Rega RP6 cartridge from a Rega Exact II to a Soundsmith Aida High Output Moving Magnet. It should be no surprise that the Aida is a better cartridge than the Exact II, and we all know that a new cartridge needs some break in time before it can show its real potential. But Holy Analog Bomb Batman, right out of the box this thing is an order of magnitude better in every respect. It's like I got a new stereo. The soundstage got deeper AND wider. I jerked my head once because something jumped on the WAY outside of the old width boundary. I had no idea how rolled off the top end was, yet now it's not overly bright, just right. Rock solid bottom end just slammin' those kick drums. Amazing separation of instruments. Exquisite detail and dynamics. This is gonna be FUN! The stock installation (without shims). I had to use shims to maintain VTA due to the Soundsmith being taller. I opted for the Acoustic Signature Stainless Steel versions for their elegance and ease of installation. I chose them because of their elegance and ease of installation. They come in two halves so all you have to do is loosen the screws hold the arm assembly in place and slide the spacers under, not having to remove to the entire arm assembly. Another advantage of the Acoustic Signature shims is that they come with a 2mm, 1mm and 0,5mm for fine adjustments. I had to use all of the supplied 3.5mm to maintain the correct VTA of the Aida. It was a much taller cartridge than the Exact II. I had every intention of taking a photo of them before installing them but in my excitement I got carried away and didn't get the photo. But to see them you can go here. Here is after the shims were installed. I used a Feickert Setup Protractor utilizing Baerwald Geometry for alignment. A really gorgeous sounding cartridge. I'm excited. I also have to give a shout out for the Soundsmith thumbscrews for ease in mounting a cartridge! The come in various materials depending on the weight needed for setting proper VTF. We talk a lot about "the law of diminishing returns" around here. I have two systems, a Reference system in Houston and a second system in Brasil (an all Rega system), and I live with them alternating two months at a time. In Houston I have a VPI Classic 3 with SDS, a Miyajima Shilabe cartridge and a Sutherland Eng. Hubble phono stage. I don't have to say what the $ value of all that is, it's easy enough to figure it out. In Brasil I have an RP6, with this new cartridge, all of the available Groovetracer mods, the Michael Lim double pulley and silicone belts, all sitting atop a Gingko Cloud suspension system. Obviously given the disparate 4 value of each system I would not expect them to perform the same. But I have to tell you, IMHO for my experience and my ears this little Rega rig gets 85% of the way there in terms of sound quality and satisfying listening experience.