Benz Micro phono cartridges have been in production since the 1980s, earning a reputation throughout the world as one the top brands in the field. Ernst Benz, founder and designer of the original Benz-Micro cartridges, retired in 1994 and sold the cartridge production operation to Albert Lukaschek, his close associate and designer of the Benz-Micro PP-1 phono stage. In 2000, Albert relocated and modernized the factory, employed a highly-skilled workforce, introduced many new models, and expanded OEM cartridge manufacturing.
In the past year, Albert has streamlined the factory, focusing on the most popular high-end Benz models: the LP-S MR, Ruby Z, and Gullwing SLR, among others. With the proliferation of many new high-performance, high-gain phono stages, such as the Musical Surroundings Nova II, these models will be offered primarily in low output versions.
2015 sees the re-introduction of a Benz Micro classic, the S Class models of the Wood Body SL (low), SM (medium) and SH (high), that all incorporate the Benz Micro Ridge stylus coupled to the 4th generation cross-coil-generator based cartridges. Originally introduced in the early 1990s as the LO.4, MO.9 and H2O, these generator designs are also used in the very popular Benz Micro Glider and ACE models, which remain in very limited production.
Hand-building a phono cartridge is a highly developed skill, requiring specially trained technicians working with microscopes and ultra small-scale manufacturing. A competitive global business environment and technically demanding jobs have made finding skilled workers a major concern. Ongoing changes in the Swiss workforce, including the growth of both the high-end watch industry and technology fields, have reduced the pool of these skilled technicians and the potential for new trainees. Benz Micro’s current production team represents the best of the best for producing state-of-the-art phono cartridges. These changes in the labor force, combined with further advances in design and materials, have resulted in Benz-Micro models that surpass all previous versions in music reproduction. These factors have led to the decision to suspend re-building services and upgrade customers’ older worn or damaged Benz models with new cartridges.