I have put a lot of thought into this. It might be a load of codswallop but its an honest account of what ive experienced since i fitted the ZYX.
Fitting was a doddle. Set-up was easy too. So far so good.
Dropping the needle
Every time i've put a new (to me) cartridge on a turntable, i have sat back and analyzed the first few notes. "Whats the bass like? The treble, Sound-stage" etc.
This time was different. I was stunned. The first notes blew me away. The first few bars of Voodoo Child on Electric ladyland pulled me into the moment. Atmospheric and punchy, and more importantly, i felt like i was there. I was imagining the room he was recording in and could almost see it ! The buzz from the Marshall he was undoubtedly playing through, to the people clapping as he starts playing felt so near to me.
I'm not saying i have a setup capable of fooling you into believing the musician is in the room.
It was a different feeling. An emotive charge that made me shout "Yeah !!!" This produced a funny look from my wife BTW
I was feeling the notes, i was feeling the music and i don't know if you guys get that but i pick up the emotion in a note. Especially when its the blues. Good guitarists purvey feelings through the notes they play. Doubt that ? Play "guess who" by BB King! As Jimi then ventured off into the song i suddenly remembered "there is a new cartridge on the TT!"
That's when i knew how good this cartridge is. I'd forgotten it was there.
That, for me is how it should be. It shouldn't draw attention to itself. Ask any DL103 owner why they love that cart and they all say the same. "it just has a boogie factor" or "it pulls you in" and that's not far off what is going on here. It just has that special something that makes you want to play every single record in your collection and then dance on your own in the front room !!
SO! what does it do well:
Well everything really. It's bass reproduction is held in an vice like grip. Punchy and solid. It'll go low. REALLY low. Its clear too. There are definite "plectrum hitting the string" noises on bass lines, which i haven't heard on many recordings played on vinyl.
Midrange is clear, precise, fluid and just sounds like there is so much space between instruments. I can hear where every musician is sitting on Eric Clapton Unplugged.
Treble is Fantastic. Its never harsh. Instead, its natural. There is a "splash" symbol on Lynrd Skynyrd – "Gimmie three steps" which literally sounded like it came out of my speakers like a rippling wave.
I just keep sitting here shouting "did you hear THAT !!!" at my wife and i think she is sick of me haha.
SO! whats bad:
Well, the stylus guard sucks ass. Its not easy to get the hang of and it terrifies me that i will knock the cantilever.
And that's it. Seriously, this thing has blown me away. I am completely happy with it and will buy another from the ZYX range when i have worn this one out.
If you a thinking of picking one of these up then you should because its fantastic.