Mmmm... MM cartridge Mania!:

Whilst the MC cartridges seem to be the ones to own, there are some new MM cartridges offerings that are getting a good press.
So, I've set to try a few and see how they are.
The subject for this abuse are ARO and Phonosophie No.3.

This system consists of a 52/300 into WATT6 or via a Supercapped NAHA with Audio Technica W5000 headfones. Phonostages are roated between the MM phonocards ( serviced ) inside the 52, Art Audio Vinyl One or Vinyl Reference. Their capacitance is fixed at 220pF. All load at 47k Ohms.

Whilst I haven't heard many MM cartridges on my table, my cheapie MM *reference* is a AT95E (50$USD) or AT95SA ( same 95E body but with a Shibata stylus ). It does not offer much frequency extensions up and down, but is generally upbeat and fun cartridge without sounding plodding or heavy.


AT120E along with two styli for 95E. The former is said to be a grown up version of the 95E. It's slighly more cost wise ( 80$USD ) and as 95E, a line contact stylus can be fitted to the cartridge body.

Currently breaking in on the ARO is the Goldring 2400 (375$USD). This is a relatively new 2000 series moving magnet. I have heard the 1042 in the past and will be curious how it does.


Ortofon's 2m Blue also made a short appearance.

Unfortunately, what it seems to be that the generator went out. Pity as it sounded pretty good out of the gate offering seamless fast and confident performance without a trace of sibilance up top. Interesting that some found this cartridge bright. At least in my system I did not hear much treble distortion. Tracked better than the 95E and about the same as 95SA, albeit the noise floor on this cartridge was lower than either. It reminded me of the grown up version of the 95E.

It was pretty impressive from this 200$USD cartridge.

More to follow!
Original Post
I was initially unimpressed with the Ortofon MM Black, but it just needed running in a bit longer. Now I find it a very poised and neutral cartridge, much better than several MCs I have owned.
The popularity of low cost MC carts is not entirely logical. The high output of MM carts offers a huge low noise advantage, unless one wants to go for the best low input MC stages, and in many cases the MM cart+ MM phono stage offers much better performance than the MC cart + MC stage at the same price point. I still don't know why the Superline couldn't have had a switchable MM option.
I'm sure it would be possible to design the Superline with switchable gain, but switches inevitably incur penalties in performance. Note the use of loading plugs, instead of switchable loading.

Personally, I've found high-output MC cartridges--for example, DV 10x5--to be superior to MM designs. Once you've gone with a high-output cartridge, why not use a low-gain-only phono stage, such as the Graham Slee Reflex.
Very Interesting.

The vinyl part of my system is the next that needs attention and the big question will come up, MM or MC. But thats for a later date.

Quick question. I don't really know a great deal about vinyl playback hardware and something i've seen mention rather a lot recently is tracking.

Could someone explain how you know if a cart is tracking properly or not? Or even how badly it might be tracking?

Cheers
quote:
Originally posted by gary yeowell:
I have been breaking in a new Linn Adikt on my LP12/Ittok and am amazed at it's musicality into the M/M stage of my Nait 2... no hifi but boy it plays tunes. Made by Goldring for Linn i believe.


I've also been running an Adikt (with LP12/Ekos2!) through the Nait2 - actually very creditable performance indeed!
quote:
Originally posted by Absolute:


Could someone explain how you know if a cart is tracking properly or not? Or even how badly it might be tracking?

Cheers


You can hear it (IMO easier with headphones) as a distortion, often sounding like a fuzzy sizzling superimposed on the notes of the music.
Probably more common to hear it towards the inner grooves of an LP.
quote:
Originally posted by Rockingdoc:
I was initially unimpressed with the Ortofon MM Black, but it just needed running in a bit longer. Now I find it a very poised and neutral cartridge, much better than several MCs I have owned.

Interesting doc.

Which MC cartridges did you own?

quote:
I still don't know why the Superline couldn't have had a switchable MM option.

If all things equal, maybe MM cartridges are not as bad as what many claim to be. I understand the mechanical reason why they exhibit certain shortcomings compared to MC cartridges.

Hard to say which way to go, but considering recent hike on many cartridges, there might be some gems out there at a reasonable cost.

I would think that in 30 years, MM technology must have gotten better today?
quote:
Originally posted by Markus S:
The Goldring 2400 is made by Nagaoka. Technically, it's not MM, it's MI. I'll be interested in your findings.

Markus,

Interesting you say that cuz just last night I was thinking this *fresh* out of the box G2400 sounded remarkably similar in presentation to Nagaoka!~

On the box, when I saw 'made in Japan', I was wondering who made it for them.

Can you explain what the difference between MM ( moving magnet ) and MI ( moving iron )?

I am curious to see if the G2400 is a good fit. So far only about 7 records played and I have been warned that it takes a lot of run in.

Hope it has a longer cartridge life than a typical Nagaoka ( about 100 hrs )
quote:
Originally posted by gary yeowell:
I have been breaking in a new Linn Adikt on my LP12/Ittok and am amazed at it's musicality into the M/M stage of my Nait 2... no hifi but boy it plays tunes. Made by Goldring for Linn i believe.


I agree that the Ittok/Adikt combo is very hard to beat combo. The trouble is that it now goes for over 500$ in the US in that there might be a better alternative at that price point.
Speaking of LP12/Ittok, today I have heard a very interesting cartridge on friend's Sondek.
Azden YM-P50VL

I knew nothing of this brand but my understanding is that it's made for the Empire. This cartridge was at least 20 years old but he bought it as NOS. Given my past dealing with some NOS cartridges, I wasn't expecting much of it. Plus it is a P mount! Red Face ( no self-respecting audiophools would admit that he/she would run a P-mount on a Sondek )


Then the needle hit a record and I could not believe how musically satisfying this old cartridge is. Plenty of life and body and timed well without No part of frequency band sticking out. Nice forward midrange ( none of those recessed CD like presentation I hear from some modern cartridges )
The cost? If you could find a NOS, I guess it runs about 250$USD.
It was also made in Japan from the country or origin printed on the owner's manual. It sports a vital nude line contact stylus and details retrieval was quite excellent with above average dynamics.
mrflange,

There's not much wrong with the Ittok/Adikt.

When I owned an Ittok, I put on a Dynavector 20XH. The combination lacked in excitement overall albeit it had more natural and bigger sound stage, within a month I was looking for the arm upgrade. ( tell-tale sign of I screwed up )

If you are working with a dealer, can he offer something else so that you can hear the Adikt compared to others?

Especially for a cartridge selection, it is extremely difficult to spot the universal *best* because it seems so many things are at play, hard to predict how any given cartridge behave. And this is even before we get into personal preference.

The Ittok/Adikt is Linn's idea of how the arm/cartridge should sound and personally it's a pretty good one so if you can afford it, not a bad way to go as more than likely, other cartridge options depends a lot on a personal sonic bias and system make up.

Perhaps, other folks can chime in what other non Linn cartridge they are happy with the Ittok?
quote:
Originally posted by kuma:


Can you explain what the difference between MM ( moving magnet ) and MI ( moving iron )?



Almost all cartridges use permanent magnets and coils of wire and work using Faraday’s law of induction: electrical voltage will be induced in a coil of wire whenever there is movement between a coil of wire and a magnetic field. Voltage is generated when the equilibrium, magnetic flux, is changed so it doesn’t matter what is moved.

You can keep the magnet fixed and move a coil by attaching ti to a stylus which is in turn moved by the needle in the groove (MC), or keep the coil fixed and move the magnet (MM). The third variant, MI, keeps both magnet and coil in a fixed position, exploiting the fact that magnetic flux will also change when a piece of iron is moved in a magnetic field.
quote:
Originally posted by kuma:
...Ortofon's 2m Blue also made a short appearance.

Unfortunately, what it seems to be that the generator went out. Pity as it sounded pretty good out of the gate offering seamless fast and confident performance without a trace of sibilance up top. Interesting that some found this cartridge bright. At least in my system I did not hear much treble distortion. Tracked better than the 95E and about the same as 95SA, albeit the noise floor on this cartridge was lower than either. It reminded me of the grown up version of the 95E.

It was pretty impressive from this 200$USD cartridge.


I have the Blue on a Technics 1200 deck. I'm extremely impressed with this combination, and I was also surprised at how good the cartridge sounded given its price level. The Technics with Blue is not embarrassed by either LP12 or dps3 with Akiva and Koetsu Blue, respectively.
quote:
Originally posted by Markus S:
You can keep the magnet fixed and move a coil by attaching ti to a stylus which is in turn moved by the needle in the groove (MC), or keep the coil fixed and move the magnet (MM). The third variant, MI, keeps both magnet and coil in a fixed position, exploiting the fact that magnetic flux will also change when a piece of iron is moved in a magnetic field.

Markus.

Thanks. I found this pictorial diagram and I take it the figure 12.24 is the Moving Iron?

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quote:
Originally posted by Rockingdoc:
My current working cartridge collection;

Ortofon Rohmann
Audio Technica AT33 PTG
Dynavector 20X low
Linn Troika
Ortofon 2M Black
Goldring 1042


...and you prefer the 2M black over Supercapped Superline with above MC cartridges?
I was warned that the Goldring takes some times to break in. It has been testing my patience really hard but it seems it finally started to turn around.
Naims internal phono boards seem to be a better match than the Vinyl Reference valve phono I was using prior. There is still a slight thinness to the leading edge and treble area but for the most part, it's happily tracking along.
So far the 2400 does not sound like the 1042 I have heard in the past. Perhaps it might need more break in, but its overall tonal balance is much more neutral and even keeled and somewhat lacking in midrange weight. I've played around with anti-skate/VTF and arm height to get a bit more midbass grunt and body it's touchy. If I overdo it, I quickly lost a nice balance either sounding too slow and soft or starts to shout on top. For some reasons, this is a little more fiddly than the Audio Technica AT95 variants or Ortofon 2M Blue. It seems they have more substance and just a little more *kick* in the bass. I don't think 2400 cartridge per se, but I don't mind a bit more drama & expression than what I am hearing right now.

Its noise floor is just excellent bettering the 2M Blue minimising the surface noise even further. Instrument separation/resolution so far is behind the Blue at this point. I'd say the Blue has slightly more angular presentation whereas the Goldring tends to string the notes together and making the wall of music. Possible that it still needs some break in, ( about 20+ records ) but I felt more comfortable with the Blue right out of the box. I miss the kick drums on my gut and textures and colour. It's a good cartridge and tracks well, but wee bit too academic sounding for me.

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JonR.

That's what I read in the MP10 owner's manual. I am not sure about their higher end ones. ( MP500 et all )

No wonder I used to go through those things once a month.

I wonder if a moving magnet's life span is shorter than a moving coil but then replacement for the former is less painful.
quote:
Originally posted by kuma:
mrflange,

There's not much wrong with the Ittok/Adikt.

When I owned an Ittok, I put on a Dynavector 20XH. The combination lacked in excitement overall albeit it had more natural and bigger sound stage, within a month I was looking for the arm upgrade. ( tell-tale sign of I screwed up )



Kuma,
do you think the same advantage for the Adikt would occur with a 20XL with an Ittok arm ?
quote:
Originally posted by JonR:
quote:
Originally posted by kuma:
Hope it has a longer cartridge life than a typical Nagaoka ( about 100 hrs )


A typical Nagaoka cart only runs to around 100 hours? Are you sure? That doesn't seem like very much at all.
100 hrs thats 150 to 200 lps
quote:
Originally posted by shoot6x7:
do you think the same advantage for the Adikt would occur with a 20XL with an Ittok arm ?

In my view, the Adikt works better with a Linn arm than a Dynavector cartridge.

But plenty of folks try different things so you have to give it a listen and decide to see if it's working for you.

I wouldn't discount a moving magnet cartridge right off the bat.

It's all in balance with a phono stage, too.
quote:
Originally posted by kuma:
quote:
Originally posted by shoot6x7:
do you think the same advantage for the Adikt would occur with a 20XL with an Ittok arm ?

In my view, the Adikt works better with a Linn arm than a Dynavector cartridge.

But plenty of folks try different things so you have to give it a listen and decide to see if it's working for you.

I wouldn't discount a moving magnet cartridge right off the bat.

It's all in balance with a phono stage, too.


That's my issue, I already own the 20XL with internal 323S cards, if I bought the used Adikt I'd need to source some 323N cards, shame I only have spare K cards :-)

Maybe I should keep with the 20XL for now and get a KLYDE next time around ...
quote:
Originally posted by kuma:


...and you prefer the 2M black over Supercapped Superline with above MC cartridges?[/QUOTE]

No, and I didn't mean it to appear as such. I have three vinyl systems on the go, and only one Superline. What I meant was that up to a price point, the suitable arm+MMcart+MMphonostage will often outperform the suitable arm+MC cart+ MC phonostage of the same cost, but this is usually overlooked in the common acceptance that MC carts are "better". Many people simply can't afford an arm and phono stage good enough to do an MC cart justice, but they buy them anyway because of the fashion.
I trust my SME V to handle any MC cartridge, but my Ittok and Origin Lived RB250 only get MMs as a rule.
i would have liked a MM input on the Superline so that I could compare MMs and MC carts in my "reference" vinyl system.
quote:
Originally posted by Frank F:
Undoubtedly the Akiva is better but the old Linn mm cartridges have the house sound and are less demanding of the ancilliaries. The K9 does play music splendidly and is very easy to live with.

The K9 was my first cartridge when I got my current Sondek. (The basik PSU/Basik arm )

Some say it's a dog of a cartridge, but I sure had a great time with it. I recall when I *upgraded* to a Dynavector 20 XH, I missed some aspect of that K9. It seemed that I've traded fun with sophistication.

The K9 is said to be a Linn modified Audio Technica AT95E.
Looking at it side by side, it is not exactly the same physically. The projection is quite different.


They probably used the AT95E body ( note that Linn coated the body ) but cantilever and stylus also looking different to me.
quote:
Originally posted by kuma:
Some say it's a dog of a cartridge, but I sure had a great time with it. I recall when I *upgraded* to a Dynavector 20 XH, I missed some aspect of that K9. It seemed that I've traded fun with sophistication.

Ahhhh the Ariva of carts.
Kuma,

I lived with a K9 from 1987-1992 during the ownership of my 1st LP12 (which had Ittok Valhalla). Incidentally this cartridge was the best I could afford at the time and the only cart it used during my ownership.
It always satisfied me up to a point, after all I had demoed better more expensive carts back then, but the only comparison I had regularly was a friends LP12, similar set up to mine but his Ittok used a Linn Karma (MC) and this sounded so much nicer, more musical, more natural, more everything ~

During this time I also owned my original Rega Planner 3 with RB300 which at the time was on it’s 2nd A&R P77 cartridge, soft but musically nice it seem to help take away any harshness, and could play down surface noise too.
However, trying the K9 on the Rega was very tiring, too detailed for it's own good, picked up too much information out of the groove perhaps, the sound was a bit fatiguing and had less musical flow.
The K9 could work on the LP12 okay, but on the Rega Planner 3 i much preferred the P77.

My present Rega Planner 3 has a RB251 fitted, and this with a AT-95E and this sounds really good, much better than it’s price tag would justify, and perhaps oddly it plays music nothing like the result I had years ago with the K9...

Perhaps the K9 is a too over-engineered 95E ? ; )

Have you ever tried a A&R P77 ?

btw, great thread this, 5 days old and 1695 views so far! : )

Debs
quote:
Originally posted by kuma:

Some say it's a dog of a cartridge, but I sure had a great time with it.


They probably used the AT95E body ( note that Linn coated the body ) but cantilever and stylus also looking different to me.


The cartridge name K9 came from the Dr Who SciFi TV show from the BBC. The cartridge looked like robot dog's head ...

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