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Swiss stylus and cartridge manufacturer

 
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Mariogert
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MessagePosté le: Sam 16 Oct - 17:05 (2010)    Sujet du message: Swiss stylus and cartridge manufacturer Répondre en citant

Smile Benz Micro
Swiss maker of pickups and related products, with manufacturing in both Switzerland and Japan. Originally founded by engineer Ernst Benz to make diamonds for mechanical watch movements (and he actually still makes mechanical watches and aviation clockworks), the company bought the intellectual and cartridge manufacturing assets of the Empire Scientific company in the 80's . No homepage but his link to a distributors page. Official homepage.
Distributed in Canada by Tri-Cell, in Austria by Trenner & Friedl, in Sweden by High-Fi Consult, in the UK by Audiofreaks and in the USA by Musical Surroundings.
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MessagePosté le: Sam 16 Oct - 17:05 (2010)    Sujet du message: Publicité

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MessagePosté le: Mar 19 Oct - 01:02 (2010)    Sujet du message: Swiss stylus and cartridge manufacturer Répondre en citant

Hello, Mariogert.

I'm not used to seeing first posts here in English, but of course, I was able to relate immediately. Now, here is a story:

Benz Micro sold Empire approximately 1986 to Trans Atlantic Electronics (TAE), of New York. TAE had been an aftermarket needle manufacturer who had just purchased another aftermarket needle company, Walco, and was in the process of folding Walco's existing products into TAE's inventory. Upon bying Empire, TAE changed their own name to Empire, and began selling all their own inventory under that name.

Most of Empire's sales were via "private label" products, each of which was specially-numbered for individual chains of stereo stores. Their styli were never printed with numbers, and the company lost track of which needle went with which cartridge. When a customer would come to me in need of a stylus for their Empire cartridge, I would give them two choices: pay me per minute to try to research which needle they needed, or I would install a new Stanton cartridge for them. I would then take their Empire cartridge and grind it under my shoe.

After TAE bought Empire, the situation grew even worse. If a customer had an Empire cartridge, an "official" Empire package might contain any of these things:
- An original Empire stylus of original quality.
- An inferior TAE imitation.
- A Walco imitation that contained an excellent Japanese sub-assembly. This could be better than the Empire original.

Empire's product designations could be seriously stupid. I have, for example, an excellent Walco replacement stylus for most, but not all, Empire 999 cartridges. Empire gave that designation to two different cartridge bodies! And these were standard, not private-label models. I'll sell this needle pretty inexpensively.

TAE's catalog (which became Empire's catalog) was never very helpful. But it wasn't as bad as the worst stylus catalog that I have ever seen, which was from the French company, Zafira.

Empire's original products were perfectly fine. And some excellent Benz cartridges were sold here under the Empire name. Meanwhile, The TAE family sold all of their phono products to a liquidator, and re-birthed themselves in the cell phone battery business.

Benz was a supplier of stylus sub-assemblies to other cartridge makers, too, and may still do this. I suspect that there has been one additional stylus maker in Switzerland, a company who usually has made styli for lower-quality cartridges. There are at least two companies in Japan who have made integrated diamond/cantilever assemblies. I have used a few exccellent Walco imitation styli assembled with these parts. I also have two imitation needles made completely in Japan; one of these is superb. These are imitation Stantons and Pickerings The Walcos must be used with "sacrificial" cartridge bodies because their mounting tubes are too big. The finest ones cannot equal the cartridge manufacturer's originals because Stanton's best styli contained important subtle refinements which were protected by patents.
_________________
Richard Steinfeld
Author of The Handbook for Stanton and Pickering Cartridges and Styli
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Mariogert
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MessagePosté le: Mar 19 Oct - 09:20 (2010)    Sujet du message: Re: Swiss stylus and cartridge manufacturer Répondre en citant

Mariogert a écrit:
Smile Benz Micro
Swiss maker of pickups and related products, with manufacturing in both Switzerland and Japan. Originally founded by engineer Ernst Benz to make diamonds for mechanical watch movements (and he actually still makes mechanical watches and aviation clockworks), the company bought the intellectual and cartridge manufacturing assets of the Empire Scientific company in the 80's . No homepage but his link to a distributors page. Official homepage.
Distributed in Canada by Tri-Cell, in Austria by Trenner & Friedl, in Sweden by High-Fi Consult, in the UK by Audiofreaks and in the USA by Musical Surroundings.

Rolling Eyes O, I did forget to mention the name of Fritz Gyger. The man behind the Van den Hul stylus series. One time Aalt Jouk van den Hul rebuilt an AT-1000 MC for me in which the tension wire had to be replaced as this was broken because of the also broken-out needle tip. The cartridge must have made a real smack into something.
This was the first time mr Van den Hul placed a Van den Hul type 1 tip in a cartridge with a diamond cantilever.
This cartridge was just phenomenal after his repair job. It ran in a Koetsu arm on my Oracle Delphi turntable. We write 1982 !
The cartridge found its way to a Japanese gentleman and might still be in use today.

I still own and use a LogBellex LO MC that carries the Van den Hul type 1 tip on a boron VdH cantilever. One of the best trackers ever. In november I will offer the cartridge to Mr. Van den Hul for inspection on one of the "Turntable days" at Ketelaar HiFi in 't Harde, the Netherland. In case one is interested in meeting analog fans:
http://www.hifi.nl/nieuws/42232/Nationale-Pick-up-dagen-Ketelaar-Hifi.html
Mario
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MessagePosté le: Mer 20 Oct - 08:02 (2010)    Sujet du message: Swiss stylus and cartridge manufacturer Répondre en citant

Hi Mario,

Welcome to Lenco Référence :fleur: :fleur: :fleur: and good to see a dutch member Smile . Having visited your homepage I saw you are a passionate fisher and you have been in Bourscheid (Luxembourg) too Smile . Maybe you can add a small presentation of yourself in the Bienvenue! section Wink .

All the best !
hats off
_________________
Mario
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