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  • MC to MM, a somewhat enlightening experience.

    Inspired by the never ending "who needs MM..." thread on A'gon, I picked up a relatively inexpensive Garrott Brothers P77i MM cartridge. I swapped out my Kiseki Purpleheart NS on my Kuzma Stabi M and was rather shocked by the cohesive, musical, and oh so enjoyable sound of the P77i. I've had quite a few $2000-4000 MC cartridges on this table, and I can't say any one was as enjoyable. I do lose some clarity, pinpoint imaging, soundstage and high end, and though that's all the audiophile stuff we're supposed to want, I can't say I miss it. The P77i seems to just make music sound like music.

    Has anyone here abandoned high priced MC cartridges for MM? I'm not saying this is permant, but for the moment I'm quite loving what I hear, and questioning why I've been looking to spend more and more as the years have passed.

  • #2
    abandon MCs? no, but I do use and respect MMs. another plus is the s/n of your front end improves exponentially (literally) and the dynamics comes at a lower price (so to speak). if you want to turn your world upside down again, go for a 'positive scanning' type pick up like a London Decca Super Gold or Jubilee. with a 5mV output you can use it straight into any MM stage that can be loaded between 10k-20kohm

    Comment


    • #3
      Oh I've been on the Decca bandwagon for years, I have a super gold and a reference. So in a way I shouldn't have been so surprised, but I always viewed Decca's as different beasts altogether.

      Comment


      • #4
        Good MM cartridges and there are a few out there tend be great trackers neutral and natural sounding I like and use them too!

        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


        • #5
          I'm just a bargain basement guy anyway but the Audio Technica 95e sounds pretty awesome and even better with one of the LP Gear upgraded stylus'. My main cart is a Denon 103r MC. The cheapo MM AT has a very musical sound and toe tapping quality for sure..less the detail of the Denon.
          TT- ATLP120 mod> AT120eb (Lofgren), Denon 103
          Pre- Emotiva XPS-1 Phono, McCormack Line Drive
          Power- Parasound New Classic 2125v2
          Dig- JRiver 20 server> Adcom GDA-700.
          Speakers- Mirage M7si, Stax SR5, Stax SR34
          Wires- Transparent, Kimber, AQ, Tributaries

          Comment


          • #6
            I have been thinking about MM versus MC a lot recently. For example, Ortofon's 2M series offers excellent sound quality for the money especially into integrated amps with built-in MM phono stages.

            There seemed to be a bigger gap between MM and MC in the old days, so it is easy to write-off MM without giving them a try. If you throw in Grado's moving iron designs, there are many non-MC designs worth considering. My original Grado Signature III cartridge still sounds amazingly good to this day.
            Speakers/Amps: Genesis G2.2 Jr with Powered Servo-Sub Bass, Genesis GR1440 Mono Amps, 5,000 watts total power
            Preamp: SMc Audio VRE-1C Preamp (fully balanced inputs and output)
            Analog 1: VPI Signature 21 Belt-Drive Turntable w/ 10” 3D Printed Fatboy Gimbal Arm and Ortofon MC Windfeld Ti Phono Cartridge driving Lehmann Silver Cube Phono Preamp
            Analog 2: VPI HW-40 Direct-Drive Turntable w/ 12” 3D Printed Fatboy Gimbal Arm and Ortofon MC Anna Diamond Phono Cartridge driving Genesis Gold Phono Preamp
            Analog 3: Studer A810 R2R tape w/ Bridge Console. Using built-in tape preamp
            Digital: Lumin Network Player with Lumin NAS
            Cables: Genesis Advanced Technologies/Absolute Fidelity Interface Interconnects, Speaker, Phono and Power
            A/C Power: Extensive System Upgrades, Sub-panel w/hard-wired power cables, and IsoTek Super Titan Passive Power Conditioning for Amplifiers
            Accessories: Custom Acrylic Equipment Stands, Klaudio Ultrasonic RCM

            Comment


            • #7

              I've been into a vintage phono cartridge re-discovery mode for the past couple of years.
              Most recently I've been using a Technics EPC 205C mkII. And while I can't say it does anything special it seems to do everything competently. Perhaps it is a 'nothing added' scenario. Moving Coils tend to be 'additive' in making one aspect of their performance, or another especially fun. This cartridge is more honest and gets the whole of it really quite good. For the past month I've enjoyed this one.
              http://www.theanalogdept.com/epc205cmk2.htm
              Link above to a recent review I wrote about it at my website.
              It is a seriously good cartridge. Most recently I had been using a wood bodied Denon DL-103R...and at this point in time I'm happy to leave the Denon in its box and listen with the 205C-II.
              Technics did make a couple of MM cartridges that are judged to be quite a bit further up the foodchain, so to speak. And those tend to cost quite a lot more and are also difficult to get stylus replacements that feature cantilevers of equal quality and design. The 205C does have a few less expensive options for stylus replacement. Although the original is tubular titanium. Matsushita did get rather exotic in the hayday of their turntable design and manufacture.

              -Steve
              webmaster at The Analog Dept.
              system list:Classe' CAP 151 integrated, Carver TX-11b Tuner, NHT 2.9 Speakers, Thorens TD124 ( plus other Thorens models), Otari MX-5050 BII-2 R2R, Jolida JD100 cd player, ML-9600 digital recorder

              Comment


              • Jtycho
                Jtycho commented
                Editing a comment
                Some of the "golden era" Technics are supposedly amazing, I'll have to check them out. Your point about "nothing added" is exactly what I hear as well. I don't get the same detailed view into the recording as I do with a better MC, but I do get a balanced and complete picture.

            • #8
              Thomas Schick has a modified MM for sale with 8mV output. I haven't heard it, but I see where he is going with offering it.
              Regards,

              Erik
              http://solypsa.com
              North American distributor for:
              Sensitive Sound MC Cartridges
              STST Turntables + Tonearms


              Available for in home setup and calibration of fine turntable systems

              Comment


              • Jtycho
                Jtycho commented
                Editing a comment
                I have the Schick modified cartridge. It's a lot of fun, but it gives up a bit too much for my taste. I'm going to put it back in play once my Schick arm arrives, presumably they'll work well together.

            • #9
              Originally posted by user510 View Post
              ...This cartridge is more honest and gets the whole of it really quite good...
              This is how I feel about my FR7. Yes a MC, and for the time an advanced design, but in the end it delivers in a way that the MM under discussion do- an involving musical (if less detailed) presentation.

              Regards,

              Erik
              http://solypsa.com
              North American distributor for:
              Sensitive Sound MC Cartridges
              STST Turntables + Tonearms


              Available for in home setup and calibration of fine turntable systems

              Comment


              • #10
                I would categorize the Technics as nothing added too, certainly leaner than the MC cartridges that I use but it's not bare bones either, so very different...

                Click image for larger version

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                david


                Originally posted by user510 View Post
                I've been into a vintage phono cartridge re-discovery mode for the past couple of years.
                Most recently I've been using a Technics EPC 205C mkII. And while I can't say it does anything special it seems to do everything competently. Perhaps it is a 'nothing added' scenario. Moving Coils tend to be 'additive' in making one aspect of their performance, or another especially fun. This cartridge is more honest and gets the whole of it really quite good. For the past month I've enjoyed this one.
                Link above to a recent review I wrote about it at my website.
                It is a seriously good cartridge. Most recently I had been using a wood bodied Denon DL-103R...and at this point in time I'm happy to leave the Denon in its box and listen with the 205C-II.
                Technics did make a couple of MM cartridges that are judged to be quite a bit further up the foodchain, so to speak. And those tend to cost quite a lot more and are also difficult to get stylus replacements that feature cantilevers of equal quality and design. The 205C does have a few less expensive options for stylus replacement. Although the original is tubular titanium. Matsushita did get rather exotic in the hayday of their turntable design and manufacture.

                -Steve
                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


                • david k
                  david k commented
                  Editing a comment
                  To be honest Steve I've learnt that depending on the cartridge/arm/table combination these calculations don't always add up to good or bad and with the Reference I can easily tune the whole table to match the arm+cartridge resonance.

                  david

                • user510
                  user510 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I'm digging that headshell. It makes the cartridge look integrated into it from this angle. And I absolutely love seeing that Thorens Reference. Thanks for posting the pic. -Steve

                • david k
                  david k commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Actually the headshell is integrated, that's how that series of cartridges come. The length is adjustable for overhang and they sound as good as they look. You're welcome to stop by if you're ever in the neighborhood.

                  david

              • #11
                There are a few nice Nagaokas. The MP300 is nice. Boron cantilever and eliptical stylus. 3mV output. It isn't that cheap, about 1000 dollars, but still very cheerful. 😀

                Comment


                • user510
                  user510 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I've been meaning to try something from the Nagaoka catalog. Am I correct in presuming that they also mfr stylii and cantilevers?

                • Per Sundell
                  Per Sundell commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Im not sure Im afraid.

              • #12
                Well I am one who did leave the MC camp but not for a MM, I went with a MI from Soundsmith (Sotto Voce). I absolutely love it to this point I have 120 hours on it and I am oh so glad I tried it!!!

                Comment


                • JCOConnell
                  JCOConnell commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Is the MI high output like a MM?

                • jonathanb
                  jonathanb commented
                  Editing a comment
                  The Soundsmith range of cartridges are made in high, medium and low output versions. The Sotto Voce is medium output, at 1.1 mv

                • MylesBAstor
                  MylesBAstor commented
                  Editing a comment
                  And Grados come in various outputs. But years ago was on the medium to high side. I think the Statement had back in late '90s was around 1 mV.

              • #13
                Jonathan is correct it is a 1.1 mv output... A huge factor with the Soundsmith cartridges is the amount of separation that can be achieved, I am getting 39 db of separation so the soundstage is huge!!!
                Last edited by jcmusic; 07-27-2017, 07:13 AM.

                Comment


                • #14
                  The new top of the line Clearaudio charisma is supposed to make you forget about MCs especially as you can partner it with a low gain Tube Phonostage. The only bad news is its about 1500$ so not exactly MM territory in price either

                  Comment


                  • JCOConnell
                    JCOConnell commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Still much less expensive than a high quality MC

                  • Billy Shears
                    Billy Shears commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Very true, but expensive for a MM. From first comparison it seems to be every bit as a good as a Ortofon Cadenza Blue

                • #15
                  Yeah...a really expensive cartridge is not necessary. There are some really awful cartridges (the worst I ever heard was a Sumiko Pearl) but many cartridges are capable and you sacrifice some detail resolution. The problem is that detail resolution is exactly what this hobby is all about. The mega-buck cartridge doesn't really sound that much better than its lower dollar cousin but it does resolve details better.

                  For one, I profess to love the Denon 103 series of cartridges. One of those with a proper cantilever and stylus is a cartridge capable of making much higher dollar cartridges sound like money wasted. I particularly like the 103D retipped with a boron cantilever and a line contact type stylus. Is it the best cartridge in the world...hell no. Is it a cartridge that will make you forget how much you spent on the cartridge...hell yes. A retipped 103D on a quality tonearm will sound much better than many people want to admit.

                  Especially with cartridges, the law of diminishing returns is alive and well. I still like LOMCs better than MM cartridges but there are some dammed nice MM/MI cartridges. SoundSmith and Grado makes some very nice MI cartridges.

                  The issue in this hobby is extracting the last bit of detail possible and that's where LOMC cartridges come in. We just tend to forget that the LOMC is not the only cartridge capable of good sound.
                  Life is analog...digital is just samples thereof
                  https://www.edsstuff.org

                  Analog: Walnut VPI Prime TT, HRX Pulley + 3 Belt Drive + ADS, Dual Pivot Assy, Tru Lift, HW-40 Feet
                  Analog 2: Ortofon Windfeld Ti + Bob's Devices VPI Sky 30 Stepup + Liberty Audio B2B-1, Stereo Squares Dust Cover, Wayne's Audio Peripheral Ring
                  Analog Care: VPI MW-1, Kirmuss KA-RC-1, Record Doctor V, Hunt EDA VI Brush, AQ Brush, Discwasher Record Care Kit
                  Digital: TASCAM UH-7000 USB Interface, Pioneer Elite DV-47Ai Universal Disc Player, NAD C448 Internet Radio/Streamer
                  Digital 2: Digital Audio Workstation (Toshiba P75-A7200 w/MS Windows 10, 24GB RAM, 1.5 TB Crucial MX300 SSD Internal Storage, Intel i7-4700MQ Processor)

                  Amp: Rogue RP-9 Line Preamp, Schiit Loki Tone Ctrls, Parasound A21 Power Amp
                  Speakers: Magnepan MMC2, REL T9/i Subwoofer
                  Headphones: Stax SR L700 MkII + Woo Audio GES, Focal Clear + Schiit Lyr 2, Stax Lambda Pro + SRM1 Mk II
                  Wires: Kimber Hero ICs, Kimber 8TC Speaker Cables, AQ Leopard Phono IC, Pangea Silver USB Cables, StraightWire Expressivo ICs
                  Power: Furman Elite 15 PFi

                  Comment


                  • Johnny Vinyl
                    Johnny Vinyl commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I'll second your opinion with regard to the Sumiko Pearl. Stay away....far away.
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