The new Benz Micro Reference “S” Hi-Fi cartridge (the fourth) clearly leans toward performance, musicality and subtlety. It symbolises the culmination of many years of research and studies.
It features new materials and new designs for stylus/cantilever assembly suspension and motor coiling systems.
Benz Micro REFERENCE S: Needle
A Micro Ridge stylus profile is fitted to a new, extremely hard cantilever.
The cantilever of the Benz Micro Reference S cartridge is made out of boron and is 5.5 mm long. This one has been particularly optimised to minimise resonance and improve tracking ability.
The generators have been enhanced with brand new helical coils. They use very pure, “Pure Iron Cross” copper conductors.
Benz Micro REFERENCE S: Output voltage
The magnets produce a very powerful magnetic field, which, in spite of the coils low weight, makes for a sufficient output level. They are very similar to those used in the Benz Micro EBONY L cartridge.
Moreover, this Benz Micro Reference S has an output level of 0.26 mV. This means that it is a match for phono preamplifiers with a gain of 60 dB or higher.
Benz Micro REFERENCE S: Listening and test review
The Benz Micro Reference S phono cartridge is fairly simple to use. Its square looks make it easy to align.
We achieved an excellent tonal balance with a tracking force of 1.8 g and an anti-skating of around 1.5. VTA has to be carefully adjusted, but it remains simple to do so. We recommend a higher load than 250 Ohms. For instance, a 500 Ohms load produces good results and a 1 KOhms was perfect on our system.
The sound quality of this Benz Micro Reference S Hi-Fi cartridge is clear and particularly nuanced.
High frequencies come through with an extraordinary finesse. They show outstanding precision and are completely devoid of distortion or harshness.
The dynamic range is remarkable: the weaker signals come through clearly and ‘Fortes’ are devastating! It’s like hearing a master magnetic tape. There is no compression and no dynamic ‘packing’ to be heard here.
Its wooden body might evoke a more or less marked colouration; but there is none. Mids are surprisingly clean and neutral. Bass is perfectly integrated with the rest and remains full and well articulated.
As with all products from the Swiss manufacturer, musicality comes first! And you can hear the result! A cartridge which will show its true potential when paired with systems or turntables with a slightly dark balance.
Highly recommended! Franck
Type: Low output MC
Cantilever: Solid boron, 0.28 mm
Stylus type: Nude Line contact, 3x60 Um
VTA: 20 degrees
Coils: Pure Iron Cross
Internal impedance: 3.5 ohms
Frequency response: 20-20 kHz
Channel balance: > 0.5db
Channel separation: > 35db à 1kHz
Tracking force: 1.7-2.2 grams
Recommended tracking force: 1.75 g
Weight: 9 grams
Recommended load: > at 100 ohms
Break-in: 40 hours