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Cartridge Reviews: 2011

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Benz Micro Ebony Reviews

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Benz Micro Ebony

Benz Micro Ebony

10/10 by Agrippa

I've always liked Benz Micro cartridges. Their slightly warm tonality and ever so slightly laid-back character has always suited me to a tee. Over the years I've owned two or three of their cheaper MC offerings, a Glider and a small handful of their wood bodies, and it is with the latter that Benz Micro really starts to shine.

Hence, when I decided to invest a bit more in a cartridge a few years back, that's where I decided to look. I listened to the Ebony line, the SLR Gullwing, the LP-S, the Ruby Z and came away with an Ebony TR which I found to be noticeably better than the rest.

The qualities which set it apart from the other contenders, including the LP-S, was its incredibly impressive ability to dig up and present even the tiniest low-level details and a superb ability to keep musicians and instruments delineated even during very complex passages where other cartridges would begin to smear them together.

The TR is otherwise a very dynamic cartridge and presents micro- and macro-dynamics with equal control and finesse. The treble is sweet and extended, the bass is deep, agile and well controlled and the midrange has the same scrumptious tonality found in all Benz's better cartridges. The LP-S may beat it in this particular aspect, but in everything else I found the TR to surpass it.

Personally I find the Benz Ebony TR to be about as good as a cartridge currently gets. While one may like a Koetsu, a Lyra, an EMT or a Miyajima better, that's frankly more about subjective preferences and/or price, prestige and bragging rights than any objective parameters. I'm in the fortunate position of being able to borrow the odd top-of-the-range cartridge now and again, for evaluation at home, and so far at least I've yet to find one which betters the TR in any significant way.

Hence the Ebony TR comes very highly recommended.

10/10 by vynileric

It has the most natural, detailed and powerful sound characteristics which I've ever heard. It has now about 50 hrs of playing time. My set up is with TD 124/I (with Schopper updates), SME 3012 (adjusted for heavy weight cartridges), fidelity research XF-1 low and EAR 834P. I hardly change to other carts (Stanton, GE VR, Tannoy VR, B&O SP, SPU, FR, a. o.) since I have it. Even mono recordings are very nice to listen to with it, compared with the Pierre Clement EB. The sound of the Ebony TR is perfect in my ears. There are significants points such as very good reproduction of low level details (never heard before), a very wide dynamic range, a superb reproduction of the lowest frequencies and wonderful tonality in mid and highband and best trackability with 1.8 gr on most critical records.

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