Brian, the owner of Sound Mind Audio came round today to install a new Benz Wood Body SL on my original VPI Aries w/ JMW 10 arm. I traded up from a Benz Glider that had served its purpose for the last few years and right now am listening to LP after LP, enjoying the extra life and sparkle the new cartridge has brought to the chain. I'm advised to wait 150 hours before making any judgement but seriously, this new cartridge is already showing serious promise.
The beauty of LPs is partly the physical engagement with music: large sleeves, tangible sources,a real mechanically engineered device for spinning the record, a surface of grooves which a stylus intimately mates, the resulting magic of tiny vibration converted to electricity and amplified. It's a very human process.
All this would count for naught if the resulting sound was not good. With this cartridge I feel I have the kind of upper air extension only previously found on CD but with a smoothness lacking in most digital reproduction. Sure there is background noise, but as legendary English DJ John Peel memorably put it, life has background noise too. With good vinyl this background really is deep in the background. Now I just need to worry about getting a better platform for the table, my Lovan rack with self-made top shelf is just not cutting it (and it seems on A'gon there really are only a handful of platform makers out there, none of them very affrodable). But for now, am grooving.