There is nothing like a direct A/B comparison. And the Aesthetix RHEA phono preamp is perfect for this purpose. You can switch from one cartridge to the other by pressing a button.
Playing Mr. Wang’s favorite pressings, the similarities and differences between the two cartridges appeared clearly.
Where both cartridges excel at is being easy on your ears. They both deliver an extremely pleasing sound without any listening fatigue.
The SPU delivers a beautiful and relaxed presentation, listening to this cartridge is like entering in a fairy world. The sound feels round, generous, and easy going.
The LS10 delivers a less lush sound than the SPU, and instead provides more micro-details and dynamics. The sound feels more involving and less mellow.
Regarding tonearms, the tracking error towards the end of the records was more present with the 9-inch Sorane tonearm than the 12-inch Ortofon one.
Both cartridges provide a superb sound, exempt of any listening fatigue.
If you like lush and mellow sound, the Ortofon SPU Royal GM MKII is for you. The cartridge delivers a beautifully colored sound that suspends time. The drawback is less details and dynamics. If it was a car, the SPU would be a Limousine.
If you prefer a transparent sound, providing more details and dynamics, the LS10 will deliver just that. The sound of this system with this cartridge was simply compelling. If it was a car, the LS10 would be a Grand Turismo.
Meanwhile, Mr. Wang has a new reference cartridge.