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Stein Music

Manufacturer: STEIN MUSIC Ltd.
Price (when reviewed): 18 600 PLN

Contact: Steinmusic Ltd.
Hingbergstr. 103a 45468
Mülheim Germany


Provided for review by: AUDIO SYSTEM

he Aventurin 6 Mk2 cartridge represents a third type of products offered by Stein Music, reviewed by our magazine. Just to remind you we already reviewed Harmonizer System H2 Blue Sun and Blue Diamonds and Amp 2 Stateline Signature Version integrated amplifier. This cartridge is one of this German manufacturer's „core” products despite the fact that, as logic suggests, this particular type of product has fewest elements that Holger Stein, the owner and chief designer, could do his „magic” with.

And yet… Aventurin 6 Mk2 is a Moving Coil pickup designed for tonearms of a medium effective mass. All units are manually assembled and tested (which included listening tests) before they are packed and shipped to distributors. The external look of this cartridge suggests that it is build by a Swiss company Benz-Micro, and it is derived from their top models. But these are than modified according to Mr Stein's directions, and placed inside a body designed by German designer.

The housing is made of a composite material combining natural mahogany timber with carbon fiber. This pairing of materials benefits from the amalgamated properties of the slightly warmer sound of the natural wood with the outstanding clarity of carbon fiber. The body is treated with a special Stein Music Maestro lacquer. The bronze base is made of a special alloy optimized for its acoustic qualities and it is not machined, but cast to get a tension free structure („stress free” – same assumption as used by some Japanese manufacturers like: Oyaide, Acrolink and Acoustic Revive). Holger Stein calls his design a “harmonic construction”.

The pickup delivers 0,36 mV output and the recommended (VTF) lays in the range between 1,8 and 2,2 g. Robert H. Levi in his review (April 2013) claimed 1,8 g to be optimal in his system and he suggested to try a 1000 Ω loading apart from recommended 500 Ω (see HERE).

Since this is our third encounter with Stein Music products it is about time to ask Mr Holger Stein a few questions.

Owner, designer

WOJCIECH PACUŁA: Could you tell us why did you start your own company?
HOLGER STEIN: I have started to experiment with soldering iron and screwdrivers on speakers when I was a child. But very soon I came to realize that I am not looking for coincidences in music, but reasons and solutions. As an audiophile I wanted to enjoy highest quality in sound and at the same time understand the science behind it. Ever since my goal has been to bring across as much as possible of good music in terms of sound, space and emotion.

In order to do so, one has to understand the technology that creates qualitative music, but at the same time you have to understand that the application of technology is merely a tool in achieving the ultimate goal: to enable music to touch hearts.
Stein Music emerged from this idea, it developed along this belief and it is today the philosophy for the entire team. It has actually become a way of life, valid for various situations, not only music, but certainly music is the most important

My company was founded in two tiny rooms I rented, one for working, one for selling. Today I work and live in a spacious historic factory building with a lot of room for creativity the business has grown. However my attitude has not changed for almost three decades now: it is all about science and taste at the same time. They may be very different, but one does not go without the other and good audio quality needs both.

What is your opinion regarding main products in system and so called 'accessories' – Which are more important and why??
Thank you for asking about "accessories", because it is very crucial. I have difficulties with the term accessories, because it sounds like they are less important. I rather call them "small solutions" or even "essentials" because I believe in the importance of every single detail. If any part of a system is not given the attention it needs, it is difficult to up stand the high standards. The adjustment of a minor part can make a huge difference and thus accessories can become substantial products.

I could name several examples where a petty part has eventually brought an entire individual solution. It is important to understand in this context that we cannot improve music playback as such, but it is my mission to eliminate any disturber of music. Only if you eradicate as much disturbance as possible, the music will be able to unfold all its beauty. Thus there is no such thing as "accessories" made at Stein Music. I do not aim to bring new single parts on the market, but understand them as part of the many details, which scientifically contribute to the whole. When developing unique audio solutions it is often the sum of numerous details that creates the end products.

What kind of sound you are looking for? What kind of music are you listen to?
When I listen to music I want to experience emotional involvement. I want to sense what happened during the recording session and feel the emotions the artist felt. That is what I personally seek in music, it is not mere listening, it is about a feeling that is communicated on different levels. My systems are here "only" means for a purpose, namely to let music touch my heart.

Many factors contribute to enjoyable music and there is no specific genre that entertains me. However, to name just one example I have very much enjoyed the Salzburg Festival in 2012. Listening to a recording of that concert on one of my systems instantly brings me back to that amazing event in Austria. If I was to name one kind of music I frequently listen to, it is Jazz but certainly not exclusively

Tell us something about Maestro lacquer.
Maestro Lacquer is a unique lacquer made out of entirely natural resins to improve resonance pattern of everything treated with it. The initial idea was to create something that does not muffle or even partly mute the music. Damping literally means loss of energy, energy that should be used for the music and nothing else. Thus we developed the lacquer and it contributes, like to many other items, to perfection in sound. It is also a typical example of my philosophy. There is scientific reason behind this lacquer and explanation why it functions and how. But at the end of the idea it is just another individual solution I developed because I saw the limitation of energy and wanted to come up with something where this energy was used for the music and not lost.

What turntable do you have for your own pleasure?
Presently I am using a Pyon Ultima with a self-designed tone arm.

STEIN MUSIC in “High Fidelity”
TEST: Stein Music AMP 2 STATELINE SIGNATURE VERSION – integrated amplifier, see HERE
TEST: Stein Music HARMONIZER SYSTEM H2 BLUE SUN | BLUE DIAMONDS – audio enhancement accessories, see HERE

Recordings used for this test (a selection):

  • Sonda. Muzyka z programu relewizyjnego, GAD Records GAD LP 005, „Limited Edition Blue Dream Wax”, 180 g LP (2015).
  • Brendan Perry, Ark, Cooking Vinyl/Vinyl 180 VIN180LP040, 2 x 180 g (2011).
  • Brian Eno, Craft On A Milk Sea, Warp Records WARPCDD207, 2 x 180 g LP + 2 x CD + 24/44,1 WAV;
  • John Coltrane, Giant Steps, Atlantic/Rhino R1 512581, "Atlantic 45 RPM Master Series", 45 RPM, 2 x 180 g LP (1960/2008).
  • Johnny Hartman, I Just Dropped By To Say Hello, Impulse!/Original Recording Group ORG 027, 45 RPM, 2 x 180 g LP (1963/2013).

  • Josef Hoffman, Piano, Miełodia M10-43479-80, „The World’s Leading Interpreters of Music, Part II. Piano, Harpsichord, Organ”, LP (1982).
  • Julie London, Julie is her name. Vol. 1, Liberty Records LPR 3006, LP (1955).
  • Rasmentalism, Za młodzi na Heroda, Asfalt Records ARW-112, “Limited Edition Gold Wax”, 2 x 180 g LP + 7” 45 RPM (2014).
  • Wes Montgomery & Wynton Kelly Trio, Smokin’ At The Half Note, Verve/Universal Music K.K. [Japan] UCJU-9083, 200 g LP (1965/2007).
Japanese CD editions are available from

Robert H. Levi in his „Positive-Feedback Online” review wrote that Aventurin sounded completely different from any Benz-Micro cartridges despite the fact that they use the same part, very similar generator. It was a review of the first version of this pickup, and we have version II under review but I assume there is not that much of a difference between the two – concept must have remained the same and some improvement implemented. I do agree with Robert's opinion about significant difference but unlike him, who credited this difference mainly to much more impressive dynamics of Stein's cart, I believe that the key difference is the tonal balance set lower, deeper with Aventurin.

This cartridge, made by Holger Stein seems to be en element that introduces a high level of refinement to a system. It delivers highly enjoyable, immersive performance. One gets everything that is expected from an expensive pickup and even more. It's about the way it creates sound in a particularly effortless way. It seems like it really takes no effort to produce such a fabulous performance while even the top models from Miyajima Labs and ZYX sometimes seem to “work” very hard to deliver. The most expensive models from these brands, namely: Madake and Q Premium Diamond) deliver larger, better defined instruments' bodies, are more resolving, but when it come to richness of the sound and tonality – Stein is a worthy opponent.

Tonality is always presented by Aventurin 6 Mk II is a particularly nice way. This pickup is able to deliver good performance from both, not-so-good pressings and the best ones; compressed rock music, and ethereal but also highly dynamic music from most puristic recordings. Both sound good not because this cartridges delivers similar, average performance from both, but because it is able to present focus on the best elements of every recording. What we get is kind of a sound wall – the whole space between speakers is filled with sound. There is a lot of information presented in a very orderly, hence coherent, way. Never, not even with the Jozef Hofmann's recordings from 1936 and 1937 was there any impression of incoherence.

Better, more expensive cartridges offer even better bass extension, are even more resolving, and for example Madake – delivers even bigger instrument's body. The latter paints images with thicker lines, and bass is not so well defined. On the other hand the whole presentation (with Madake) seems more palpable, more solid. The top ZYX cart dives deeper into all elements creating the music one listens to. That's what makes it it such a refined pickup.

Surprisingly enough Stein doesn't really fall too far behind and it offers an amazing soundstage. It's the kind of presentation that makes listener feel like he's participating in a live performance – it takes us to an acoustic environment of the recording instead of bringing it to our room. It distances listener from performance a bit, which comes particularly handy when listening to jazz and classic music. And yet when I played some hip-hop and “heavier” electronic music there was groove, bit, bass, and lot of fun, too.


Despite the fact, that I could clearly hear some advantages of both Japanese pickups mentioned above, that I could hear that a mono cart Zero (Miyajima) offered more “sounds in sound”, each time I returned to Stein I was eager to hear what it would offer from each next record. I used it to listen to the music from a TV show Sonda, produced from a digital master, some hip-hop music by Rasmentalism from a limited edition single, and many other records that waited in a long line for the first listening session like, for example, the new issue of the Tron OST by Daft Punk. In short – this cart offered a very rich, highly enjoyable performance. Sure there are few carts that are even more resolving, offer better definition, but still I liked this lively, soulful performance of Aventurin 6 a lot!

The box this cartridge is packed in already catches the eye. OK, one might say that this is normal – after all packaging is the first thing one sees and only then whatever is inside. And yet, many packagings of even high-end audio products are made only to protect what's inside them and not to make it more attractive for a buyer. The box Stein cartridge come in already communicates to the buyer that the maker not only did think every aspect of the product through but also had a very good taste. The outer shell is a carton box and inside one finds a metal box that brought to my mind a shoe polish box, but a bigger one. There is enough a filling material (paper) in carton box so that metal box stays in place.

One has to unscrew a cover of the metal box to find a cartridge inside. The pickup is fixed to an acrylic ring with screws. After getting cartridge out one gains access to some documents, like measurements results, and a small velour bag. Inside the bag one finds a set of screws and a small level. The body of the pickup is square so the setup is quite simple.
Robert H. Levi suggested a 500 or even 1000 Ω loading. For me 1000 Ω was OK,but a 400 Ω setting offered by RCM Audio phonostage resulted in a better, richer sound. Stein suggested the 1,8 g VTF and in fact I found it best.

Aventurin 6 Mk II is a MC cartridge delivering (measured) 0,36 mV output signal, which is pretty low. Manufacturer indicates that for this cartridge to present its optimal performance phonostage should offer more than 60 dB gain. The body is made of mahogany wood reinforced with carbon fiber. It is coated with a special lacquer called: Maestro, that is also sold separately by Stein Music. The cantilever consists of a lightweight, rigid boron tube with the needle geometry optimized for low distortion and the cleanest tracking

The „heart” of the Aventurin 6, a generator, is build on order by a Swiss company Benz-Micro, so no wonder it is very similar to the one we can find in top models of this brand. It sports neodymium magnets. Cartridge weights 11,5 g.

Specifications (according to manufacturer):

  • Output voltage: typical 0,32 mV (3,54 cm/s/45°, 1000 Hz)
  • Frequency range: 10 Hz – 50 kHz
  • Frequency response: 20 Hz – 20 kHz (+/- 1 dB)
  • Output impedance: 12 Ω/1 kHz
  • Channel balance: <0,5 dB
  • Chanel separation: ≥ 35 dB
  • Compliance: 15 x 8th Power of 10/dynes
  • Recommended VTF: 1,8 - 2,2 g
  • Recommended loading: 500 Ω
  • Optimal loading resistance: 300 – 1000 Ω
  • Vertical Tracking Angle: 20-22°
  • Tracking @ 315Hz and 2 g VTF: >80 µm
  • Weight: 11,5 g



- Turntable: AVID HIFI Acutus SP [Custom Version]
- Cartridges: Miyajima Laboratory KANSUI, review HERE | Miyajima Laboratory SHILABE, review HERE | Miyajima Laboratory ZERO (mono) | Denon DL-103SA, review HERE
- Phono stage: RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC, review HERE

- Compact Disc Player: Ancient Audio AIR V-edition, review HERE
- Multiformat Player: Cambridge Audio Azur 752BD
- Line Preamplifier: Polaris III [Custom Version] + AC Regenerator, regular version review (in Polish) HERE
- Power amplifier: Soulution 710
- Integrated Amplifier: Leben CS300XS Custom Version, review HERE

- Stand mount Loudspeakers: Harbeth M40.1 Domestic, review HERE
- Stands for Harbeths: Acoustic Revive Custom Series Loudspeaker Stands
- Real-Sound Processor: SPEC RSP-101/GL
- Integrated Amplifier/Headphone amplifier: Leben CS300XS Custom Version, review HERE
- Headphones: HIFIMAN HE-6, review HERE | HIFIMAN HE-500, review HERE | HIFIMAN HE-300, review HERE | Sennheiser HD800 | AKG K701, review (in Polish) HERE | Ultrasone PROLine 2500, Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro, version 600 - reviews (in Polish): HERE, HERE, HERE
- Headphone Stands: Klutz Design CanCans (x 3), review (in Polish) HERE
- Headphone Cables: Entreq Konstantin 2010/Sennheiser HD800/HIFIMAN HE-500, review HERE

- Portable Player: HIFIMAN HM-801
- USB Cables: Acoustic Revive USB-1.0SP (1 m) | Acoustic Revive USB-5.0PL (5 m), review HERE
- LAN Cables: Acoustic Revive LAN-1.0 PA (kable ) | RLI-1 (filtry), review HERE
- Router: Liksys WAG320N
- NAS: Synology DS410j/8 TB
System I
- Interconnects: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-DA6300, review HERE | preamplifier-power amplifier: Acrolink 8N-A2080III Evo, review HERE
- Loudspeaker Cables: Tara Labs Omega Onyx, review (in Polish) HERE
System II
- Interconnects: Acoustic Revive RCA-1.0PA | XLR-1.0PA II
- Loudspeaker Cables: Acoustic Revive SPC-PA

System I
- Power Cables: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC9300, all system, review HERE
- Power Distributor: Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu Ultimate, review HERE
- Power Line: fuse &#8211; power cable Oyaide Tunami Nigo (6m) &#8211; wall sockets 3 x Furutech FT-SWS (R)
System II
- Power Cables: Harmonix X-DC350M2R Improved-Version, review (in Polish) HERE | Oyaide GPX-R (x 4 ), review HERE
- Power Distributor: Oyaide MTS-4e, review HERE
- Stolik: SolidBase IV Custom, read HERE/all system
- Anti-vibration Platforms: Acoustic Revive RAF-48H, review HERE/digital sources | Pro Audio Bono [Custom Version]/headphone amplifier/integrated amplifier, review HERE | Acoustic Revive RST-38H/loudspeakers under review/stands for loudspeakers under review
- Anti-vibration Feets: Franc Audio Accessories Ceramic Disc/ CD Player/Ayon Polaris II Power Supply /products under review, review HERE | Finite Elemente CeraPuc/ products under review, review HERE | Audio Replas OPT-30HG-SC/PL HR Quartz, review HERE
- Anti-vibration accsories: Audio Replas CNS-7000SZ/power cable, review HERE
- Quartz Isolators: Acoustic Revive RIQ-5010/CP-4

- FM Radio: Tivoli Audio Model One