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Manufacturer: Benz Micro
Available in 0.4mV, 2.6mV and 0.8mV versions
The Benz ACE is one of our favorite budget phono cartridges. Based on the generator system and stylus assembly of the Benz Glider with a protective acrylic body, the ACE is a handmade cartridge, one of the only hand-built cartridges at this price point! This is a true music lover's cartridge, warm and natural through the mid-range, with great bottom-end extension and silky smooth high frequencies. If you just want to play record after record with a big smile on your face...the ACE is the cartridge for you! The Benz ACE is simple to install and is available in three different outputs to match any phono-stage.
Output Voltage (3.54cm/sec) - 2.5 (ACE SH), .8 (ACE SM), .4 (ACE SL)Stylus shape: Micro RidgeInternal ohms: 90 (ACE SH), >240 (ACE SM), >120 (ACE SL)Loading range: >1,000 (ACE SH), >240 (ACE SM), > 120 (ACE SL)Weight: 8.8 gramsCompliance: 14 (ACE SH), 14 (ACE SM), 15 (ACE SL)Tracking: 1.6-1.9 grams
Red = Low Output
Clear = Medium Output
Blue = High Output
This review is for the high output (blue) version of the Benz Micro Ace Cartridge. It has been mounted on both a VPI Scout and on a Funk Firm Little Super Deck. When mounted, the turntable has been pugged into a Luxman E-200 phono stage using its HOMC section. The cartridge has around 100 - 120 hours on it. To describe it as both warm and neutral might sound contradictory but that’s exactly what it is. There is never a sense of “character” like you might encounter with, say, a Nagaoka (fat, spongy) or a Dynavector (lean, aggressive). The Benz micro is a pure musical tool; it delivers exactly what the record intends, whether it is life and propulsion or calm and introspection and without even a hint of harshness. It also seems to tame the “lively” character of a fast turntable like the Funk Firm. Instruments are portrayed realistically and with occasional surprise; sounds sometimes leap out that you wouldn’t expect, never to be repeated. It is very orderly in terms of behaviour as well. Much as I love Nagaokas there were often cringeworthy moments when treble-driven excitement came into play yet non of this is apparent with the Benz Micro. I do however stress the importance of having a phono stage with an HOMC option. When played via the MM channel or through an MM-only phono stage, the sound is dull and muddy. Since phonos with this option seem to be somewhat rare, I would recommend the low output version of this cartridge instead. But if you do choose the high output version be warned that it won’t sound good through an MM channel.Another warning regards cleaning. I have used cleaning fluid on the stylus and now find it very difficult to remove deposit that has become embedded on it. Sometimes I still get a good sound, sometimes not (fuzzy distortion). I don’t know why this should be the case; I can only assume that liquid on this stylus results in dirt being permanently attracted so you really need to watch out for that (I don’t have this problem with other carts)The above two criticisms aside, I feel that the Benz Micro Ace can be recommended unreservedly and can bring tremendous sophistication to any vinyl setup.
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1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
The Ace sl should be mounted to play along on the drive with 9"-tonearm.The Adjustment almost impossible.The cartridge mounted so on the great drive with12" -tonearm.Here he plays better than the Ortofon Quintet Bronze after 2hours.A graet pleasure for the ears.5 stars in the class up to €1000.
0 of 4 people found this review helpful.
12 years ago I purchased a new turntable with a Benz Micro ACE L cartridge. unfornutualy, our cat tried to play a record and damaged my cartridge. So, I am familiar with this product and wanted the same one back. Here in Holland I checked the net and saw that there was an upgrade marked with a S. The item was not in stock so i had to wait about a week and when it was available,it arrived in no time. So, the delivery is top. The price is top and the sound is awesome.
1 of 4 people found this review helpful.
I bought this on great reviews but was a little worried I played safe with the sound and didn't know how it would match my unipivot arm. I needn't have as it is so good. Easy to set up and sweet from the off. The run in period is just done and the sound is lovely. Now I just want more records to play!
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
I don't often feel so compelled to leave reviews for products as I do for this one. I'm a year in to owning this cartridge and straight out of the box I knew I'd made a leap forward in quality even from similar priced carts.After approx 10 hours of playing time the cartridge opened out, and although I wasn't expecting it to get much better, it did. Dynamically impressive, a soundstage to worry cartridges three times the price and an ability to extract natural detail from anything I have asked it to play. Jazz, classical, rock even ambient and electronic music are handled in a controlled but expressive manner. It is also amongst the quietest carts I have ever (not) heard, and also one of the best tracking. As a result can be a touch unforgiving and it will show up any imperfections in recordings or the records themselves but this encourages me to buy and play quality vinyl, hardly something you can hold against it anyway, its doing its job perfectly.In summery, all I hoped it would be and a little bit more.(Through a Clearaudio Basic phono-stage and a tube based amp to Ruark paper-coned speakers).
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
The best cartridge ever .. i listen to pop rock and the sound is bright and the bass is tight and pumping where needed. the mid range is also just right .. very balanced sound whichever genre it is ...The cartridge does not pick up any background or environment noise ... very quiet and focus in delivering the music sounds ... strongly recommended!!!
0 of 1 people found this review helpful.
This is my second Benz cartridge. This just replaced the "Gold" mc low output cart. Night and Day difference in the two carts. The gold was a ok upgrade from Denon 103, but it can't compare to the Ace. Shipping was really fast!
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
I purchased this Benz Ace SL as a backup to the Ace I am already in love with that I have been running about eight months or so. I got great sound out of the box and think the quoted 40 hr. break in is a little overstated. to my ears it settled into fantastic sound at around 15- 20 hrs. but that's my system and ears. maybe you can drag more out of it.certainly a bargain as the reviews have all said. and Gary was a pleasure to deal with...
Exchanging the very competent Rega Exact MM on my Rega RP6 for the Benz Micro ACE SL opened a new world of depth, detail and dynamics.
14 of 15 people found this review helpful.
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