Tell me about switching from MM to MC carts

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Vibrolux_Reverb, Nov 24, 2021.

  1. FuzzyNightmares

    FuzzyNightmares Forum Resident

    Well, the tonearm cables add about 173 cap from what I’ve read, apparently the cart likes 220-270 ish, so if I’m at 273 I’m sure it’s okay..
  2. fish

    fish Forum Resident

    NY, USA
    Me too!

    Heres my short list:
    Grado Sonata3 Timbre (low is 1.0mV!, Elliptical) $600
    Audio-Technica AT-OC9XSL (0.4 mV, Line Contact) $730
    Hana SL Series Moving Coil (0.5mV, Shibata) $750
    Rega Ania MC (0.35mV, Elliptical profile) $800
    Goldring Eroica LX (0.5mV, nude fine-line elliptical) $830

    Goldring Elite (0.5 mV, nude line contact Gyger S) $1000
    Grado Master3 Timbre (low is 1.0mV!, Machined Boron/Diamond Tip) $1000
    Clearaudio Concept MC (.42 mV, Micro-line) $1000
    Rega Ania Pro MC (0.35mV, Vital nude) $1100

    Hana MC Series Moving Coil (0.4mv, Nude Microline) $1200
    Audio-Technica AT-ART9XI (0.5 mV, Line Contact) $1300
    Grado Reference3 Timbre (low is 1.0mV!, Machined Boron/Diamond Tip) $1500
    Goldring ethos (0.5mV, Vital line-contact) $1500

    I recently built a 3-yo Rega P3; rewired the tonearm, ref sub-platter, Edwards Belter and Matt, it sounds very nice with the stock Elys2. Much better than it was stock! surprisingly so.
    Not sure how high to go but up to an Ethos is likely okay. Start needing a better table for it to matter and phono pre. Like the Luxman, the Marantz Ruby has a rather good MC and MM pre.
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2021
  3. Ingenieur

    Ingenieur Forum Resident

    For the love of all that is Good & Holy where in the &$!! is the IGNORE button!?!?

    I'm not sure how deep I want to dive initially, just get my feet wet. The OC9ML seems like a good jumping off point.
    ubiknik and avanti1960 like this.
  4. Henry Love

    Henry Love Senior Member

    I bought the 1931 assembled.I'm not an expert on SUT's but K&K s well regarded.
    Moving Coil Phono Step-Up Kits – K & K Audio
    Mike70 likes this.
  5. old music lover

    old music lover Forum Resident

    Salonta, Romania
    Mike70 likes this.
  6. doctor fuse

    doctor fuse Forum Resident

    The appeal of the LOMC cartridge is the low mass load on stylus, due to no heavy magnets attached to the cantilever. The relatively massive magnets in the cartridge body probably also increases performance (except for the lower voltage output, which can be made up for with a step up device of some kind).

    The Denon DL-301II is about the same price as a MM with an excellent needle cut, so seems like a no-brainer if you are wanting to discover the dfference between the two.
  7. GyroSE

    GyroSE Forum Resident

    Going from MM to MC was a big, big game changer for me. I for long stuck to the idea that I got everything I wanted with a high quality MM cart and getting a MC cart wouldn't change anything really soundwise- boy I was so wrong. Everything opened up completely as I went for a Benz Micro Wood SM around 10 yrs ago, I still remember the feeling when I sat down and played the first records with the new cart mounted. I played record after record and my jaw dropped down more and more, I was sitting there like in a trance-like state rediscovering the records I thought I knew so well. For me it was really shocking that the difference was so huge. I still have a Rega Exact as a backup cart but I'll stick to the MC path when it comes to main listening. :agree:
  8. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Chicago metro, USA
    Sorry, I took liberties vis a vis many plug and play setups that come with cartridge and cannot be adjusted for VTA.
    Ingenieur likes this.
  9. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Chicago metro, USA
    Nice long strange cartridge trip!
    Which are your favorite sounding?
  10. Tim Irvine

    Tim Irvine Forum Resident

    Austin, Texas
    Did you just slip MI into the discussion?
  11. fish

    fish Forum Resident

    NY, USA
    I wish I could tell you that. Haven't heard any of them!

    Id had a slew of Ortofon's MM's and HOMC's. The HOMC really best all the MM's I tried but the output was always annoyingly low!
    I then moved to Grado's (because you know - Brooklyn!) and tried a few up to a few hundred dollars.
    I got out of vinyl at some point and packed all the records up and put them away.
    Upon returning to vinyl i got a AT LP120. Hatted it with the Grados. Modified the table a few times, it got better but it still sucked! I literally threw it away.
    The Rega and subsequent modifications is besting an older rig with a mid-60's Studio Sony table with a AR Arm that I used a half dozen carts on.
    The Elys2 is better than I thought it would be but im missing that MC soundstage and sweet highs thats synonymous with (as peopel pointed out) a low mass cantilever.

    So thats my "short list" of MC's Id consider from reviews and owners comments.
    Prices range from $600-$1500.
    Sicne i listen to 80% digital and 20% analog, im unsure how much its worth to me.
  12. Ingenieur

    Ingenieur Forum Resident

    I need to add you to list of those who know of what they speak and whom provokes me to think about things I should not at this time.
    You and @avanti1960 are troublemakers.
    Thanks ;)
    fish likes this.
  13. JP

    JP Forum Resident

    Brookfield, CT
    Was in jest, and no worries. I find musical instrument discussions entertaining.
    avanti1960 and Ingenieur like this.
  14. mackat

    mackat Turntable, collector

    San Diego, CA
    I have both the Signet MK12T and MK10T (Audio-Technica AT-650 and AT-630) and have had good results using both with my OC9ML/II. I have not yet tried either with my OC9XML, as it's currently connected to a Sutherland KC Vibe phono stage set to MC. I think it would produce similarly good results.
    Mike70 likes this.
  15. Soundslave

    Soundslave Forum Resident

    I'm only on my first year of MC experience and I had a very limited cartridge try outs so to say, but nevertheless...
    In my experience, the basic difference I noticed when switching from 2M series (Red body, had Red, Blue, Bronze and Stylus 40 on it) to LOMC MC20 Super II was far more extended treble response, better stereo effect (channel separation) and different sonic approach. With the later I mean that on MC cart that I have now music kinda happens in the blank space out of nowhere, whereas on 2M Red (even with Bronze or 40 stylus) music still felt to be coming out of speakers. I read that some people say that MC carts by nature of their technical construction and difference to MM carts have better "timing" response to the sound that happen in music, like being a bit more precise and "on point".

    Now as far as moving into a significant upgrade, stylus lifespan etc.
    First of all, in my again very limited experience, you REALLY have to check the specs for the cart you have. In my case, 10 Ohms internal impedance and 0.2mV output were very demanding in terms of gain and impedance, so if you'd go for SUT route make sure you to grab onto something that gives you the needed gain and proper impedance. I ended up buying a headamp in order to make a proper "connection" between my SA-9900 Phono and MC20SII.
    Sylus and lifespan. As you read, with MCs you only have an option to either change for a different cart or reach out for a retipping service. Here lies the next idea: I'm one of those who believes in advantages of advanced stylus shapes. If you're going for a nice sounding MC cart that outperforms good MM carts I see no point in getting say LOMC cart with elliptical stylus. Aim for Fine Line or Shibata at the very least, better for MicroLine/MicroRidge, FG, vdH or something like Ortofon Replicant. That way you won't restrict your MC cart to perform at best and will have the most of the stylus life thanks to the progress and lifespan of more advanced stylus shapes.
    iloveguitars likes this.
  16. brucej4

    brucej4 Forum Resident

    Can you be more specific about "digital sources"? My 2M Bronze is as good as or better than high-res files of the same recordings through my Oppo 205.
    Soundslave and Gasman1003 like this.
  17. Gasman1003

    Gasman1003 Forum Diplomat.

    Liverpool, England
    Interesting, but remember that the body of the red/blue differs from that of the Bronze/black.

    So putting a bronze or black stylus on the body meant for red/blue will never give a true picture of the capabilities of the higher end cartridges in the range.

    2M Black
  18. Soundslave

    Soundslave Forum Resident

    I know and I discussed that twice alrready in a couple Ortofon threads :) Physically all bodies and styli are interchangeable in the 2M line along with the ability to use OM styli on those bodies. Now as far as a real difference between Red/Blue vs Bronze/Black body - I decided to with the opinion of German audiophiles and the guy I bought my Bronze stylus from, who say the difference is negligible according to sound tests and measurements.
    Gasman1003 likes this.
  19. Gasman1003

    Gasman1003 Forum Diplomat.

    Liverpool, England
    Interesting, but that is far from my experience.

    Each to their own.
    Slimpickens and Soundslave like this.
  20. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Chicago metro, USA
    Compared to both my Sony HAP-Z1ES dual mono analog digital server / player and my former Marantz SA8005 SACD player the 2M blacks dynamics were weak and lackluster.
    Also the Black seemed to sound less clean in the treble when playing compressed / distorted recordings.
    Overall the 2M Black sounded very good but just did not compete with the Audio Technica ART9 LOMC which was similarly priced and much more refined and dynamic.
  21. Oelewapper

    Oelewapper Plays vinyl instead of installing it on the floor.

    I'm also fairly new to MC cartridges and recently bought my second entrylevel MC cartridge, a Denon DL-103R.
    It's an improved version of the classic DL-103.

    Sounds great to me - I made a small review of it, so if you're interested have a look over here:
    Mini-review: Denon DL-103R

    Sounds very neutral and the frequency response is linear, so this is a great cartridge to use as a baseline/point of reference.
    VintageVibe and old music lover like this.
  22. fish

    fish Forum Resident

    NY, USA
    I did a terrible thing.
    I bought a friend a Rega P2.
    Hes got a $50K++ digital system. Into the hobby since the 90's.
    Decided long ago he was NOT going to go down the Vinyl-hole yet hes Never owned a turntable - ever!
    I want to give him my Elys2 to replace the Carbon. I also gave him a parasound ZPhono to use.

    I need to buy myself a new cartridge for my modified Rega P3 so I can give him the Elys2.
    Im down to these. Can someone Describe the sound of these?
    In terms of Soundstage, Bass/treble extension-tightness and overall clarity or detail separation.

    Grado Sonata3 Timbre (MC)

    Audio-Technica AT-OC9XSL (MC)

    Hana SL Series Moving Coil (MC)

    Goldring Eroica LX (MC)
  23. fish

    fish Forum Resident

    NY, USA
    From Stereonet comparing the Hana SL to the Goldring Eroica.

    "...The Hana is the more even tempered of the pair, with an audibly flatter frequency response, loads of transparency and plenty of overt detail if lacking some of the subliminal detail that’s a characteristic of much dearer, more credentialed cartridges of the calibre of Ortofon’s Quintet Black.

    The Eroica had its own hand to play. Whilst it wasn’t as detailed and had a slight lift in the upper treble, it was dynamically more alert and its personality was vibrant where the Hana’s was more composed. As the review proceeded it was clear the Eroica’s character was part of the musical presentation and no less enjoyable for that.

    But with the Hana, one got the sense that it allowed the music to provide the excitement and involvement. Leading to the notion that the Eroica is a perfect foil for systems with a laid-back character, and the Hana exhibiting all the traits that would suit systems that are intrinsically dynamic.

    It’s fair to say the Eroica is a very British sounding cartridge with a lift in the treble and a real-life midrange supported by decent if underwhelming but informative bass, underpinned by exquisite timing.

    The Hana’s sound falls into the best of the Japanese approach to audio with its abundance of detail, balanced frequency response, loads of transparency and even temperament ensuring a cartridge for long, non-fatiguing listening sessions.

    The Hana takes you further into the inner structure of the music. It’s both informative and neutral in the best sense of these audio concepts. And while the Eroica has soul, the Hana has composure in spades a quality that will take you further and deeper into your music..."
  24. fish

    fish Forum Resident

    NY, USA
    Michael Fremer on the SL vs the Quintet:

    Hana SL
    While the Japanese character silk screened on the front of the body means “brilliant and gorgeous” I’d say the Hana’s sonic personality is more “gorgeous” than it is “brilliant”—and I think that’s what most buyers like about it, especially if they are using it in a system featuring less costly electronics that might impart their own “brilliance”.

    Moving coil cartridges have a reputation for somewhat bright and even aggressive but that’s hardly the Hana SL’s personality. Instead it’s smooth, somewhat laid back and sweet, yet very well detailed thanks in part to the shibata stylus profile

    The good channel separation and channel balance, not surprisingly, produces a generously wide soundstage, with excellent image solidity, stability and three-dimensionality. The added coil mass counters somewhat the shibata’s detail retrieval by slowing down the system, so that while the Hana SL’s retrieval of detail is good, when you spend more to get more powerful magnets and fewer wire turns (and lower mass), there’s more detail to be had.

    Ortofon Quintet Black S
    The sound produced by the Ortofon Quintet Black “S” was definitely faster, leaner and more detailed than that of the Hana SL. Transients were sharper, particularly on bottom and top end extension was noticeably airier and somewhat brighter—perhaps too much so for some listeners’ sensibilities though it’s all dependent upon the rest of the system.

    The Black’s frequency response was observationally flatter particularly in the mids and upper mids where the Hana was somewhat recessed. This produced a more “in your face” kind of sound that many crave though many do not!

    Again the imaging and soundstaging were very good as the measurements would lead you to expect, though arguably the Hana’s had somewhat more body at the expense of image precision and “edge definition”. Bass was faster and “tighter”, perhaps even a bit leaner but definitely more precisely drawn: more “pluck” and “bite” and a little less of the harmonic structure that the Hana so generously provides, though to some degree that’s probably a slight but pleasing coloration.
  25. Pmds55889397

    Pmds55889397 Forum Resident

    That deck won't do justice to those expensive cartridges, I'd not spend higher than $250-400

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