Need help deciding which Soundsmith cartridge

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by TakiJones, Apr 30, 2019.

  1. TakiJones

    TakiJones Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Fort Lee, N.J.
    Currently have a vintage 1980's Rega Planar 2 turntable with an older model RB250 tonearm.
    And a Gram Slee SE2 Phono Preamp.

    Trying to decide between the Carmen or the Zephyr.

    My friend who will be installing cartridge has a concern about the heavier weight of these cartridges.
    Am upgrading from an Audio Technica AT95E.

    Does anyone have any experience with these carts?
     
  2. macster

    macster Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Diego, Ca. USA
    You didn't ask, but I'd upgrade the table, if I was spending that kind of money.

    M~
     
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  3. TakiJones

    TakiJones Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Fort Lee, N.J.
    Yes, I was thinking about upgrading the table too, eventually.

    Wanted to pick up the cartridges now because they are on sale.

    Table recommendations are welcome too.
     
  4. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Is there a heavier counterweight you can get for the Rega arm? Also, these cartridges seem to be quite different in compliance IIRC, so that might guide your decision.
     
  5. Shawn

    Shawn Forum Resident

    I have a Technics 1200G with a Graham Slee Accession phono pre and a Soundsmith Zephyr III and couldn't be happier. Soundsmith has a great replacement program so I can understand wanting to get in at a good sale price.

    That said, I too have an older Rega Planar 2 from the mid 90's with an AT440MLa and I doubt I'd ever put anything 'higher' price-wise on it.
     
    Drewan77, macster and patient_ot like this.
  6. wheatthin

    wheatthin Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maumee, OH
    I put a Zephyr Star on my RB-700 tonearm and needed to purchase the heavy tungsten counterweight in order to balance the arm properly. With the stock weight I had to have it half off the back of the stub to balance it correctly. Other than having to spend an additional chunk of change for the weight I love the Rega/Zephyr Star combo.
     
    patient_ot likes this.
  7. macster

    macster Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Diego, Ca. USA

    The better the table, the less you have to spend on a cartridge, to get good-great sound.

    Let us know your decision the SS cartridges that you selected are nice though.

    M~
     
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  8. TakiJones

    TakiJones Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Fort Lee, N.J.
    Yes, I have been researching tables. So many different products, combinations etc.
    Can get very dizzying.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2019
  9. MattG

    MattG Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    There are still Rega RP8 closelut deals to be had, one of those with a closeout SS cart would be a formidable combo for not too much denero. Make sure your phono pre can handle the loading though, from what I’ve read on the Zephyrs they like to be around 1,000 ohms.

    The Aidas are also on closeout and work with MM phone settings.
     
  10. TakiJones

    TakiJones Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Fort Lee, N.J.
    Any recommendations for best table and tonearm for the Zephyr? Am looking at $4000 budget.
     
  11. mkane

    mkane Musics a Passion

    Location:
    Cloverdale,CA
    Doors wide Open. Sota?
     
  12. Shawn

    Shawn Forum Resident

    Technics 1200G is right in your budget. Several good threads about it on the Forum for research.
     
  13. dolsey01

    dolsey01 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Why not get a VPI which the Zephyr was designed for. I'd be willing to bet you could get the Zephyr and a VPI Prime for your budget if you called one of the dealers that offer both. The discounted Zephyrs are almost gone so I would act fast!

    Edit: Forgot to mention I owned this combo and it's like Peanut Butter and Jelly. It just works great together. You could spend allot more and get allot less as they say.
     
    500Homeruns likes this.
  14. mkane

    mkane Musics a Passion

    Location:
    Cloverdale,CA
    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
     
  15. TakiJones

    TakiJones Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Fort Lee, N.J.
    Deciding between VPI, Sota or Clearaudio
    Those are the 3 I am researching
     
  16. mkane

    mkane Musics a Passion

    Location:
    Cloverdale,CA
    Sota,end game deck.
     
  17. TakiJones

    TakiJones Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Fort Lee, N.J.
    Decided to purchase the Zephyr MKIII from Elusive disc. Could not pass up that discount.
     
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  18. HiFi Guy

    HiFi Guy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    VPI- owned a SOTA in the past. Not impressed.
     
  19. TakiJones

    TakiJones Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Fort Lee, N.J.
    Yes. Am down to either VPI or Clearaudio.
     
    HiFi Guy likes this.
  20. Cliff

    Cliff Magic Carpet Man

    Location:
    Northern CA
    I just installed a Zephyr MIMC Star yesterday on my VPI Classic w/ 10" 3D Arm and it seems like a very good combination. To mirror the comment above, you will want a heavier counter weight (these carts weigh a hefty 10.25g). Luckily, I had a 160g counter weight already as the 140g that came with the Classic would have been too light.
     
    HiFi Guy likes this.
  21. TakiJones

    TakiJones Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Fort Lee, N.J.
    Im looking at the VPI Prime turntable, Soundsmith Zephyr MkIII Cart,Belles Aria integrated amp, and Proac Response 2 monitors.
    Is that too much money loaded into turntable and cart?
     
  22. dolsey01

    dolsey01 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boston, MA
    If you are buying new, the Super Prime Scout Upcale Audio is offering would be a good opportunity to save a bit. The difference between the Super Prime Scout and Prime with the Zephyr will be pretty marginal in that setup.
     
    Sugar Man likes this.
  23. TakiJones

    TakiJones Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Fort Lee, N.J.
    Thanks for the info. Super Prime Scout has a unipivot arm. I am pretty sure the Prime has the gimble. Will look into both.
     
  24. dolsey01

    dolsey01 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boston, MA
    The Prime has the uni-pivot by default but can also be ordered with the gimbled arm as an option. Some of the bigger dealers stock both.

    Also, there's really no reason a local dealer can't order a configuration similar to the Super Prime Scout if they wanted to, I mean you are only 40 miles from VPI. You could probably even arrange to pickup at the factory and get a tour if you contact Mat.
     
    patient_ot likes this.
  25. gov

    gov Forum Resident

    Location:
    NYC
    I'm guessing given your choices you are dealing with John and Nick at Audio Connection? If so, you're in good hands in my experience.
     

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