Tell me about switching from MM to MC carts

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

  1. fish

    fish Forum Resident

    Location:
    NY, USA
    The Rega P3?
    3 years old. I had the tonearm rewired, did a new GrooveTracer sub-platter, Herbie's belter and mat. Collectively a very noticeable improvement from stock. I would have gotten rid of the table if it didn't. Stock it was just okay.

    The P2 will get the Elys2, not going any higher on that table - especially stock.
     
  2. ubiknik

    ubiknik Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL USA
    I have the OC9XSL and it's quite a satisfying cartridge I must say, it runs very close in sound to the 2k$ Clearaudio Charisma which is a MM, they are both very nice carts.
    Having said that though, there is a lot of love going around for the OC9XML which I would like to try as it has the Microline tip on a boron cantilever, and can be had for around $400! ... edit: more like a little over $500, as Davey points out below.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2021
  3. Davey

    Davey NP: Nala Sinephro ~ Space 1.8 (2021)

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    Closer to $500, retail is $549 and I don't think anyone is discounting them more than 10% or so. The goknight deal is close to 20% discount for me since they don't collect sales tax outside of Ohio.
     
    ubiknik likes this.
  4. fish

    fish Forum Resident

    Location:
    NY, USA
    Yeah, not right now. 5% if you're lucky or buy allot from a specific vendor.

    Thanks Guys! That OC9XML at $550 sounds like a value. Microline and boron at that price too. So what does the XLS offer for almost $200 more?

    Looking for a comparison of these ATs to the Hana mostly.
    I want a more so dramatic difference (improvement) in clarity and soundstage, focus from the Elys2.

    AT-OC9XML $550
    AT-OC9XMLDual moving coil stereo cartridge with Microlinear stylus
    Coil Inductance 25 mH (1 kHz)
    Output Voltage 0.4 mV (at 1 kHz, 5 cm/sec)
    Stylus Shape: Microlinear
    Cantilever: 0.28 mm diameter nude boron
    Cartridge Weight 7.6 g

    AT-OC9XSL $730
    AT-OC9XSLDual moving coil stereo cartridge with Special Line Contact stylus
    Coil Inductance 25 mH (1 kHz)
    Output Voltage 0.4 mV (at 1 kHz, 5 cm/sec)
    Stylus Shape Special Line Contact
    Cantilever 0.28 mm diameter nude boron
    Cartridge Weight 7.6 g


    I found (recently) the Herbie's Way Excellent Mat took some edginess and excessive sparkle from the Elys2 but also left things a bit bland. Also improved the bass, tighter.
     
  5. Davey

    Davey NP: Nala Sinephro ~ Space 1.8 (2021)

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    Well, believe as you like, but the AT-OC9XML is $494 delivered from goknight if you aren't in Ohio (10% discount and free shipping and no sales tax). Many of us here have bought from them. They carry the SH and SL versions too.
     
  6. ubiknik

    ubiknik Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL USA
    Just hop over to Audio Technica .com and compare the two.
    Obviously the tip is different, there may be some fine details that the Xsl sports that the Xml doesn't but one thing for sure is that the Xml is a smokin' deal.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2021
  7. fish

    fish Forum Resident

    Location:
    NY, USA
    Who would ever know they sell cartridges?!? Its a Turntable Accessory? LOL Gotta love pro audio retailers.


    Thanks, I posted some details and links too AT above.
    How do they differ in sound? Is one brighter? I guess it just keeps getting better the more you spend...
     
  8. ubiknik

    ubiknik Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL USA
    I only have the VM740ML to compare, so based on that I would expect the ML to have the brighter of the two sounds, but it's more like an excess of upper end detail.
    Besides that to consider there is the fact that the two carts being considered are MC, and I can only guess about the OC9XML, but based on what others seem to say the XML is not a bright cartridge but rather a very clean and refined sounding cart.
     
  9. fish

    fish Forum Resident

    Location:
    NY, USA
    Thanks! Im reading much of how its always been, that the finer line contacts and microline stylus can (usually do) gain more detail and soundstage, certainly compared to Elliptical and some prefer the Shibata because its a bit less detailed and richer usually than the microlines with compromises.
    Im concerned about the vocal/midrange presence. Forward to back.

    The Goldring is maybe a bit too British for my tastes right now (and I usually lean British-Audio sounding). The Ortofon is familiar and maybe too clean for my tastes and at this price point. Ive nearly swung for the Hana SL a few times but concerned its vocally too laid back for my system which needs presence to stand above the lower registers and weight. Im afraid the Grado will not be ideal on this Rega besides owning Grados in the past already.
    The Audio-Technica has always been on the short list but i wanted the ART :-/ . Looking for something cheaper if the compromises are subtle.

    There is also the The AT-OC9XSH at around $650 that uses the Shibata. Chip, chip, chip...it never stops!
    AT-OC9XSHDual moving coil stereo cartridge with Shibata stylus

    What HiFi news had to say about the AT-OC9XSH
    "...While one of the strengths of the older AT-OC9ML/II was its top-end clarity, those with brighter-sounding systems could find it too forthright at times. The AT-OC9XSH still tends towards that brighter tonal balance, but does so without the slight sheen that its predecessor could impart. The result is a clarity that's not just striking but rare at this price, while the detail and insight on offer are downright spectacular.

    Ultimately, though, the Shibata stylus fitted to the XSH appears to be its major strength. Not only could it offer clarity, but it rode the grooves of any LP I cared to play finding the goodness lurking in the depths. Whereas the old OC9ML/II was a shade uncomfortable with poorer recordings, the AT-OC9XSH dived into them with gusto and also seemed impressively untroubled by vinyl surface noise and general dust..."

    But Im coming to some basic conclusions. I wish a trip to a couple of NYC retailers was possible right about now but its not :-(
     
  10. punkmusick

    punkmusick Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brazil
    My VM540ML is brighter than my OC9XML which actually doesn't sound bright at all.
     
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  11. Soundslave

    Soundslave Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tomsk,Russia
    Fish, I'd settle on the ML version just to save money and be like certain about the sound. OC9, if I recall the blind listening in one of the threads here, had a perfect balance in terms of lows and highs, and as far as Shibata vs ML goes - my vote definitely is for ML.
    If you tend to listen to umm jazz/rock music (I'm into heavier rock and metal bands), then SH might be worth the price for you. ML is better than both SH and SLC spec-wise though and will last longer as far as stylus lifespan goes and also has the most advanced shape of all 3 styli.
     
  12. fish

    fish Forum Resident

    Location:
    NY, USA
    Do these AT's want to be VTA shimmed on a Rega? Some say yes and some say no.
    How many mm?
     
  13. Soundslave

    Soundslave Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tomsk,Russia
    Sorry, not a Rega user myself, so can't give any advice on that.
     
  14. fish

    fish Forum Resident

    Location:
    NY, USA
    Thanks Again Guys.
    I ordered the Audio-Technica AT-OC9XSL today. Fingers crossed, full return till late January too!
     
  15. ubiknik

    ubiknik Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL USA
    This philosophy of the more expensive being better is responsible for how I purchased the XSL as well.
    Having been there and done that I can honestly say you haven't made a bad decision because it's a great cartridge.
    How much different a 200$ less in cost OC9XML would sound just goes with the territory I guess.
     
    fish, punkmusick and KT88 like this.
  16. Thing Fish

    Thing Fish “Jazz isn't dead. It just smells funny.”

    Location:
    London, England
    All my audiophile life i've used MM cartridges. Most recently a linn Adikt on my Linn ittock LVll.
    I'd always fancied trying MC but the initial cost and not knowing what SUT to use always scared me off. Anyway I recently retired and came into some money so decided to take the plunge.
    I purchased an Ortofon Cadenza Black with a matching Ortofon ST80-SE SUT (same arm). The results were literally night and day. The MC sounded so much better my jaw made an audible thump as it hit the floor.
    I'll never go back to MM after hearing the difference it made in my system.
     
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  17. KT88

    KT88 Senior Member

    I will suggest adding the Dynavector 10x5 mk2 to your list there. They are always a great match to the Rega arms, and are proven performers. It allows you to use a more affordable phono preamp as it is a "high output" MC cartridge, which works well with nice MM stages. LOMC versions are great, but require amplification of at least the same cost to realize their potential. I haven't heard your phono amps with the DV or the AT cartridges, only with other phono stages, so I can't offer specific advice other than to give it a shot if you are concerned about it. I think in general you'll find the DV to be a bit warmer sounding than the AT carts.

    Dynavector 10x5 mk2 $750
    Dynavector 10x5 mk2 High output moving coil cartridge with flux damper and softened magnetism
    Output Voltage: 2.8mV (at 1KHz, 5cm/sec.)
    Channel Separation: 25 dB (at 1KHz)
    Channel balance: 1.0 dB (at 1KHz)
    Frequency response: 20 - 20,000Hz (± 2dB)
    Compliance: 12 mm/N
    Tracking force: 1.8g - 2.2g
    DC resistance: R=150 ohms
    Recommended load impedance: >1K ohms
    Cantilever: 6mm length aluminum pipe
    Stylus: Nude Diamond "Shibata III" Line Contact
    Weight: 7.5g

    DV-10X5 MKII | MC Phono Cartridge | Dynavector International Site

    -Bill
     
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  18. KT88

    KT88 Senior Member

    Yeah, I have been using MC carts for over 30 years with a lot of experimentation using various cartridges, preamps, head amps, and SUTs. I get a lot of MM experience at my shop with tons of new and used turntables, so I guess I am "staying grounded" there, but I almost always prefer a MC cartridge when it is properly matched to a preamp. The cost of admission was higher, and the rent continued to rise through the whole experience, yet it's hard to accept lesser performance after having listened to some for a while.
    -Bill
     
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  19. fish

    fish Forum Resident

    Location:
    NY, USA
    Thanks Bill. i DID but i really wanted to use the MC phono pre in the Ruby which is said to be very good.

    Ive had a few High output MCs for the MM phono pre's ive had in the past. The MC pre in the Marantz is the gem, while the MM is just there - so reviews have said.
    If I like the AT i wont be replacing it anytime soon. The low hours i put on vinyl compared to digital keeps cartridges lasting for Years.
    Thats why I went with the OC9XSL - for the stylus, its supposedly exceptional detail and soundstage at this price point was appealing.
    The OC9XSH uses the Shibata at about $80 less. The XSL sports their Special Line Contact stylus with a boron cantilever.

    I was more so sold on the Hana but its apparent laid-back nature especially in the vocal range is less desirable for me.
    Besides one of the last companies id ever thought id buy from at this price point was Audio-Technica, bad experiences in the past. But the same held for Marantz for me and im love the Ruby Integrated so i took a lesson from George Costanza.
     
  20. KT88

    KT88 Senior Member

    Oh, so you've already bought the XSL? It's a fine cartridge, and way better than most MM. All LOMC need to be best friends with their phono amp partners though, so it might be that you find it a perfect partnership, or that it'll open up a new rabbit hole...
    :cheers:
    -Bill
     
  21. fish

    fish Forum Resident

    Location:
    NY, USA
    I hope so too!

    The Phono section is lifted from the Marantz PM10 called 'Marantz Musical Premium Phono' EQ. Has a pair of silver terminals, uses a two-stage circuit, with part-active/part-passive RIAA eq, employing a low noise input stage combining Marantz HDAMs with J-FETs.
    In an interview Ken Ishiwata said "he was particularly proud of it’s a discrete, cascaded design with an initial gain stage for MC that acts like a head amp before the EQ stage, which is a very rare approach outside of tube preamplifiers."

    Again, one of the reasons I bough that Integrated and choose a MC cart.
     
  22. BillInGa

    BillInGa Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Loganville GA
    On my tt-15s1, I’ve used mc’s from Denon and Clearaudio. This last time, i decided to go MM with an AT VM740ML. Sounds very good to me on my mostly jazz and classic rock library. I find a good mm cart can make it easier to just relax and enjoy the music.
     
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  23. FuzzyNightmares

    FuzzyNightmares Forum Resident

    Location:
    Oregon
    Did you not like the original virtuoso cart?
     
  24. Buck_Rogers

    Buck_Rogers Active Member

    Location:
    Midwest
    Denon DL301III with a MC Step Up Transformer is amazing.

    Always had MM then went to Sumiko High Output MC BlackBird which was a massive improvement.

    The Denon w/SUT blows it away, Shocking upgrade.

    It was 450$ for cartridge and 450$ for the Lundahl SUT.

    Super deal.
     
    doctor fuse likes this.
  25. doctor fuse

    doctor fuse Forum Resident

    You mean 301II, right? I haven't heard of a 301III being released - yet!

    I concur! Using a NOS DL300 with Lundahl 9226 transformers (K & K Basic SUT) and it is incredible!
     

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