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  • Moving Magnet and Moving Iron cartridges

    After a very long stint with LOMC cartridges and the unintended consequences that can arise by solving one problem and creating two new ones; I'm taking the plunge on a Grado Ref 2, if only to hear their latest efforts. It goes without saying high output carts like most MM and MI types solve a lot of issues with phono stage gain/compatibility. By extension higher S/N is achievable which potentially means much lower electronic 'hash' and unwanted distortion.

    Who still uses a MM or MI regularly and which ones have come close to - or equaled - your favorite MC carts?
    Simon Yorke S10 | My Sonic Lab Eminent GL | AcousticPlan PhonoMaster | Wadia X32 | Innuous ZEN Mini Mk II | Valvet Soulshine2 | Linear Tube Audio ZOTL10 MkII | Avantgarde Uno Fino XD

    "One of the great challenges of this world: Knowing enough about a subject to think you are right, but not enough about the subject to know you're wrong" - Neil deGrasse Tyson

  • #2
    Unlike the vast majority of audiophiles I much prefer the sound of MM/MI cartridges and especially every single Grado wood body I've heard. It really irks me at times still, to have discovered that they aren't compatible with my Oracle. I love my TT, but had I known of this incompatibility I likely would not have purchased it. And although the Dynavector DV20x2L is a lovely cartridge and I get a tremendous amount of joy from it, I long for that Grado midrange!
    Dynavector DV20x2L MC cartridge - Genesis G7.1f speakers - Marantz Reference PM-KI-Pearl Int. Amp. - Oracle Audio Paris MkV turntable - Various Morrow & Valab/King cables

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Johnny Vinyl View Post
      Unlike the vast majority of audiophiles I much prefer the sound of MM/MI cartridges and especially every single Grado wood body I've heard. It really irks me at times still, to have discovered that they aren't compatible with my Oracle. I love my TT, but had I known of this incompatibility I likely would not have purchased it. And although the Dynavector DV20x2L is a lovely cartridge and I get a tremendous amount of joy from it, I long for that Grado midrange!
      What makes them incompatible?
      Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (St) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (St) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (St) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (M) , Luxman Tonearm (M) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (M) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-300 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

      Comment


      • Johnny Vinyl
        Johnny Vinyl commented
        Editing a comment
        Shielding or lack thereof. There is a noticeable hum.

      • JCOConnell
        JCOConnell commented
        Editing a comment
        is the design problem with the TT or the cart?

      • Johnny Vinyl
        Johnny Vinyl commented
        Editing a comment
        It's a Grado issue as far as I know since other TT's, most notably Rega, suffer through the same issue.

    • #4
      To the original poster, maybe you should investigate extreme high output MC carts? I use a denon mono mc that puts out 3.0 mV and runs in a standard MM phono preamp and it sounds excellent. Maybe they make something similar in stereo?
      Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (St) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (St) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (St) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (M) , Luxman Tonearm (M) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (M) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-300 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

      Comment


      • #5
        Though I haven't tried one in my system, the times I've heard various SoundSmith MI cartridges in ohter systems makes me think I might look at one next time I need a new cartridge.
        Steve Lefkowicz
        Senior Associate Editor at Positive Feedback
        -
        Analog: Linn LP12 (MOSE/Hercules II), Ittok, Dynavector 19a, iPhono2; Pro-Ject RPM-1 Carbon, Sumiko Pearl, iFi iPhono.
        Digital: Samsung 300E5C notebook, JRiver Media Center 26, Tidal HiFi and Qobuz Studio), iFi iDAC2, iFi iUSB3, iPurifier2.
        Electronics: Burson Conductor Virtuoso, DIY switch-box with TKD 10K pot, Antique Sound Labs MG-SI15DT-S, Burson Timekeeper Virtuoso, Jolida JD1000P, B&K ST140.
        Speakers: Tekton Double Impact, Tekton Lore, Magneplaner .7, ELAC Debut2 B6.2, Debut F5 and Debut B6, Emotiva Airmotiv B1, Sound Dynamics 300ti.
        Interconnects: Morrow Audio MA1, Vermouth Audio Black Pearl, Nordost Solar Wind, Audioquest Evergreen
        Speaker cables: Morrow Audio SP4, Vermouth Audio Red Velvet, Nordost Solar Wind, Nordost Flatline, Audioquest Q2.
        Digital cables: Straightwire USB Link, Aural Symphonics Digital Standard xxv USB, Belkin PureAV.
        Accessories: Sound Organization turntable shelf, Mondo racks, Pangea Audio Vulcan racks, Pi Audio Group Über BUSS, Monster HTS2000 power conditioner, Sound Organization speaker stands, Pangea Audio speaker stands, Kinetronics anti-static brush, Pro-Ject VC-S record cleaner, Spin Clean record cleaner.
        Headphones: Schiit Valhalla amp, Meze Audio 99 Classic and 99 Neo, Beyerdynamic DT770Pro, 1More Triple Driver Over Ear, 1More MK801, 1More Triple Driver IEM

        http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/ti...ounding-system

        Comment


        • timztunz
          timztunz commented
          Editing a comment
          I put an Aida on Rega RP6 in a second system in Brasil which produced what I consider to be stunning results.

      • #6
        Originally posted by Rob View Post
        After a very long stint with LOMC cartridges and the unintended consequences that can arise by solving one problem and creating two new ones; I'm taking the plunge on a Grado Ref 2, if only to hear their latest efforts. It goes without saying high output carts like most MM and MI types solve a lot of issues with phono stage gain/compatibility. By extension higher S/N is achievable which potentially means much lower electronic 'hash' and unwanted distortion.

        Who still uses a MM or MI regularly and which ones have come close to - or equaled - your favorite MC carts?
        I use vintage SHURE V15 type, Technics and AT MMs in my system, the other alternatives are high output MC, MC cartridge with built in transformer or just buy a quality SUT.

        david
        Manufacturer: American Sound Turntables and The Nothing Rack
        Distribution: NEODIO

        Special Sales: van den Hul
        Industry Representation: Lamm, Kharma OLS Speakers, Ortofon, ZYX, Keith Monks, Audio Desk, Jensen Transformer, Venta Airwasher

        Unique Items: Vintage Horn Speakers
        http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/ti...stening-room-1
        http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/ti...earfield-setup

        Comment


        • #7
          I love my Shure too, I haven't played it in a while. DK do have any experience with the Nagaoka MP500 moving magnet, the one with the boron cantilever/line contact styli?
          Simon Yorke S10 | My Sonic Lab Eminent GL | AcousticPlan PhonoMaster | Wadia X32 | Innuous ZEN Mini Mk II | Valvet Soulshine2 | Linear Tube Audio ZOTL10 MkII | Avantgarde Uno Fino XD

          "One of the great challenges of this world: Knowing enough about a subject to think you are right, but not enough about the subject to know you're wrong" - Neil deGrasse Tyson

          Comment


          • david k
            david k commented
            Editing a comment
            No Rob, never had a Nagaoka.

            david

        • #8
          Originally posted by david k View Post

          I use vintage SHURE V15 type, Technics and AT MMs in my system, the other alternatives are high output MC, MC cartridge with built in transformer or just buy a quality SUT.

          david
          Which MM/MI cartridges IYO offer the best midrange? I had a V15 III decades ago and remember liking it very much, but then I got hooked on the Grado offerings.
          Dynavector DV20x2L MC cartridge - Genesis G7.1f speakers - Marantz Reference PM-KI-Pearl Int. Amp. - Oracle Audio Paris MkV turntable - Various Morrow & Valab/King cables

          Comment


          • #9
            Originally posted by Johnny Vinyl View Post
            Which MM/MI cartridges IYO offer the best midrange? I had a V15 III decades ago and remember liking it very much, but then I got hooked on the Grado offerings.
            I had Grado & Pickering too but I can't remember much about them, the V15 types I have are also very old but seem to never age! I really can't pick one over the other Johnny, SHURE & Technics ones I have are very old and sound wonderful, my AT's are more recent models but also very good, can't complain about the mids, highs or lows of any of them. I might have a Ortofon mm by now if the old ones weren't so good.
            david
            Manufacturer: American Sound Turntables and The Nothing Rack
            Distribution: NEODIO

            Special Sales: van den Hul
            Industry Representation: Lamm, Kharma OLS Speakers, Ortofon, ZYX, Keith Monks, Audio Desk, Jensen Transformer, Venta Airwasher

            Unique Items: Vintage Horn Speakers
            http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/ti...stening-room-1
            http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/ti...earfield-setup

            Comment


            • #10
              The Shure V15Vmr was a very good cart but it was discontinued over 20 yrs ago. I would not recommend looking for one NOS because you never know how the suspension has aged.
              Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (St) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (St) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (St) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (M) , Luxman Tonearm (M) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (M) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-300 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

              Comment


              • #11
                Originally posted by Rob View Post
                I love my Shure too, I haven't played it in a while. DK do have any experience with the Nagaoka MP500 moving magnet, the one with the boron cantilever/line contact styli?
                I know the person now importing Nagaoka into the US and might get one for review.
                Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                ________________________________________

                -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
                -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
                -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
                -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
                -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

                Comment


                • Rob
                  Rob commented
                  Editing a comment
                  that relationship didn't last, i thought Pelotone just got Koetsu, seems like its a hot potato.

                • MylesBAstor
                  MylesBAstor commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Jaime did Koetsu for two years. A lot of these overseas companies think they should be making millions in the US market and don't understand--say in the case of Koetsu that hadn't had a real distributor and any press coverage in years--that it takes time to get market presence and build a dealer network again. There were a lot of things that went on the interim period too that affected the name brand. MOFI is the new US Koetsu distributor and obviously gives Koetsu a much larger market presence as indicated by this map: http://mofidistribution.com/dealers/

                • MylesBAstor
                  MylesBAstor commented
                  Editing a comment
                  The current crop of Nagaoka cartridges (and accessories including their record inner sleeves) ranging in price from ~$100-700 can be found here: http://www.pelotone.com/phono-cartridges/

              • #12
                Last MM I owned was a Grace F9E (that was replaced with an AudioQuest 404 medium output MC). Before that a Stanton 681EEE. I might be in the minority but the Shures never cut it for me. Just sounded like a upper octave filter. On the other hand, the cartridge cornered like a Ferrari in one of the Le Man's chicanes.

                Had a Grado Statement for review in the '90s and while nice and smooth in the mids, just didn't do the extremes well enough for me. They didn't though, have that illuminated sound of that eras MC cartridges.

                I think after that, Grado started to offer the Statement in lower output versions?

                I'm with Steve, I'd like to hear the cactus cantilever Hyperion 2 in my system.
                Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                ________________________________________

                -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
                -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
                -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                -Doshi V3.0 phonostage
                -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 5, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
                -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

                Comment


                • Rob
                  Rob commented
                  Editing a comment
                  As a professional reviewer its incumbent upon you to try a 2016 model MM/MI and report your findings. Grace F9E...wow, how old are you?

                • MylesBAstor
                  MylesBAstor commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I had a Grace 707 arm and Grace F9E on my LP12. Early '80s? The Grace had crappy bearing and they eventually wore out. No SME for sure.

              • #13
                I use a Soundsmith (Sotto Voce) and absolutely love it, I also really loved my Dyna 20x.

                Comment


                • #14
                  Last two cartridges were Grado gold and a Grado mono MI. For the price they are very good performers and there isn't much that competes in the price range. The lower price MCs sound a little shrill to me although the Blackbird works well.

                  ​When I get another cartridge, eventually, it will probably be either a Grado or a Soundsmith. The MIs seem to do a good job on the mids. Bass seems more dependant on the phono amp.

                  Comment


                  • #15
                    Originally posted by JCOConnell View Post
                    To the original poster, maybe you should investigate extreme high output MC carts? I use a denon mono mc that puts out 3.0 mV and runs in a standard MM phono preamp and it sounds excellent. Maybe they make something similar in stereo?
                    Not looking to replace any of my MC carts, i'm looking at adding a MM/MI as an adjunct to what I already have. A Grado Ref 2 was offered to me and its been a long time since i owned a MM. I has half hoping someone with lots of experience with all types of carts had actually heard one.
                    Simon Yorke S10 | My Sonic Lab Eminent GL | AcousticPlan PhonoMaster | Wadia X32 | Innuous ZEN Mini Mk II | Valvet Soulshine2 | Linear Tube Audio ZOTL10 MkII | Avantgarde Uno Fino XD

                    "One of the great challenges of this world: Knowing enough about a subject to think you are right, but not enough about the subject to know you're wrong" - Neil deGrasse Tyson

                    Comment

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