Age old discussion I know but MM or MC? Benefits?

Some mighty long discussions on this already here but I need a refresher!
Having decided to upgrage my phono amp to a Dynavector p75 mk3 I am now wondering about my cartridge.
At present I have a Clearaudio Emotion 4 table with a Clearaudio Artist v2 cartridge.
What are main difference between mm and mc that I could expect to actually hear?
And lomc and homc? What is all that about?
Sorry if this has been thrashed to death already but just trying to get a laymans understanding if possible.
8eea28dd 36ff 43ea 8dd2 1ddaccf177e6uberwaltz
Did you read this nine-year old thread? Did it not answer your questions?
Exactly what I meant, I am not about to even attempt to wade through nearly 13k posts!
Was looking for a simple layman's answer type of deal from real life experience with not so much technical wiz as some just goes right over my head.
Hear to enjoy the music only.
But thank you for the link.
Additionally the original post was 9 years old and I am sure there have been some changes in cartridge technology since its inception.
Maybe I should rephrase and clarify.
I am quite happy with the sound of my vinyl but the grass is always greener on the other side so I am curious as to what I am missing if anything.
Baring in mind my components , are mc carts something I should even care about?
Raul who started this thread never stated that MM kind is/was better then MC kinds. His primary thesis was that MM carts are an good alternative which was forgotten because of the MC domination. But the most of us have seen this as ''MM contra-revolution''. Not to stay behind I bought each ''cart of the month'' that I could get. But I prefered all this time MC kinds.There is nothing rational in our hobby
you know (grin).

"  are mc carts something I should even care about? "

you wont know until you try one.     

obviously it has your interest or you wouldnt have started this thread about it.
I agree with addy - no matter what anyone tells you, you won't know if changing to an MC will be an improvement for you until you try it. 
It may mean something to you, it may not. My guess is - it will not. 
And these are exactly the real world thoughts I am looking for.
Yes it has my interest mainly because we all feel the need to upgrade and change to try and find that improvement in sq that gives us a feeling of great satisfaction and a job well
But also I have "upgraded" many times only to feel I took 3 steps backwards!
Are my table,arm and phono amp up to the task of revealing and sq improvement from a mc cart to begin with.
And what sort of price range and type should I be looking at?
Mostly rock music,modern and classic rock.
Definitely no jazz or classical here
The mc type of cartridge is inherently faster and able to trace more accurately the vinyl grooves. Lower moving mass, lower inductance and lower noise compared to mm types. Read Mitchell Cotter's explanation in The Audio Critic circa 1977! And he made excellent SUT's and IC's (Verion Triaxial's) - both of which I've owned! For the money the venerable ,(1962!) Denon 103 mc cartridge can't be beat! I first heard it in '77 mounted in a Denon 307 arm on a TOTL Denon DD table. Step up device was a Levinson JC-1 clone. Sound quality was to-die-for! To this day I still prefer and use Denon 103's, 103R's, 103 Gold Anniversary, 301's and 304's.
I have yet to hear a mm type sound as good as a LOMC cartridge - and this after 40+ years!
Post removed 

I have a ZU Denon DL103 mc cartridge and liked it very much however I wanted to try MM once again.  When I inadvertantly broke the cantelever on the Denon, I went back to a MM cartridge.  I asked some questions here regarding the type of music I played which is 90% Rock.  One of the more senior audiophiles sent me a PM regarding my dilemma.  He suggested I try a Gold Note Vasari MM cartridge as he had one mounted on his VPI and he said his records never sounded better.

I took a leap of faith and contacted the Canadian Distributor as they aren't very well known or represented in the US.  I purchased the cartridge direct from them for 430.00 shipped to my door.  The cartridge was very easy to mount and set up and I have been spinning vinyl almost every day since and that was 3 months ago.  I found the cartridge reproduced my records just the way I like and I am extremely satisfied.  Another member here stated the cartridge specs aren't that great and that it used old school tech.  All I know my records never sounded better and I am playing records again, and almost every day.  Needless to say I won't be going back to a MC cartridge but will get the ZU fixed and keep for a spare only.

Paper specs are not always the be all and end all of system synergy as your experience shows.
Part of the reason I am trying to glean as much info as possible before diving headfirst down the rabbit hole again
Simple. For rock you don't need MC cartridge. What you need is a great turntable. Upgrade it if you can. You also need great amps. You might want to upgrade your cartridge to another MM later. Well, you could try $1600 Lyra Delos if you must but why ?
This is the rabbit hole getting wider and
For the smaller percentage of vinyl listening I do compared to digital I probably would not want to spend much more on another table right now, heck maybe the set up I have right now is more than good enough, but you know exactly how that goes.
Great amps? Hopefully my BAT VK600SE has that covered.....
The Dyna preamp that you bought or are going to buy is what should make your decision for you. It has a current-gain mode for MC carts only. Reportedly works especially well with Dynavector carts. I tried one with the DL-103R and was not that impressed, but others in reviews and on forums have found the current gain mode the way to go.
I did have that thought in the back of my mind, after all if dynavector can't build a cart to match their phono stage its a poor show.
However lots have had good success with other mm and mc carts with the p75.

Another alternative is a soundsmith moving iron. Sold my last MC for a soundsmith 
Don't know about these particular arm and phono but Grado can be an excellent rock cartridge, or Goldring 1042 or one step down. I use the 1042 with Nottingham, speed and resolution are good for MM and it rocks. I listen to jazzrock among other things.
I have both MM and MC cartridge. Not all records sounds good with MC. That's the reason I have both to eliminate any weakness in my system. MM does sound better with rock. But not all jazz sounds good with MC either. I don't like classical music so I couldn't comment on that.

Just like single ended tube amp isn't the answer to all type of music. Vocals SET wins and for rock, push pull for the slam. 
Never even considered a mi cart.
Must read up on them
To have both is an excellent idea, either with one table or two. But that's not the option the OP is considering. Again, table rocks cartridge follows, well, if it does.
I read that Soundsmith cartridges must be very precisely aligned, with VTF and anti-skate equally precisely set, that’s that they are more capricious than average. But this might only be true in some not all cases.
I don’t think setting up a soundsmith is any different than other cartridges. You will need to setup vtf and anti-skate accurately to get the best out of any cartridge-IMO
Yes definitely just one cartridge and one table! Of course if you had a table with two arms it would be fairly easy to run 2 different carts......

But as normal I have been perusing eBay and spotted a Nottingham Analog table which I have promised myself to own one never
Btw I am from Nottingham in the UK myself so quite poetic to actually own one!
You’re right Inna. What I failed to mention is, would the op sacrifice his rock music for the extra sweetness in vocals with MC or would you stick with MM that can that can rock your world with out that extra clean midrange?
Uberwaltz, you really have to have Nottingham Spacedeck ! Or at least Interspace deck. I wouldn't have it if it didn't rock, believe you me. But I listen to acoustic music, Spain's flamenco, world music, vocal in addition to jazzrock and some rock. So I need a very versatile cartridge. Sure, $2500 Tranfiguration Axia or maybe $1600 Lyra Delos would probably do most if not all things better than my humble 1042. But I really see no need, not to mention the cost, until I upgrade my Acoustech phono. And since I want good tube phono it will be at least $2000. So, a lot of money.
Of course, you could try Dynavector 20 LO, many like this cartridge. If it works in your arm. Perhaps you would like to take a risk with something used bought from a reputable member, just to aquaint yourself with MCs.

If you wait nine more years, you may have had the honor of starting your own 13K-post thread.  Because you have in a way re-stated Raul's question.  You cannot expect others to tell you what cartridge you will like.  Period. That's just for starters.  In addition, your question is based on an assumption that either all MM cartridges can outperform MC ones, or vice-versa.  (Maybe that's an unfair summary of your question, but that is one take-away from it.) That is simply not the case.  There are a few MM cartridges that outperform many or most MC cartridges.  (For a hint of what those cartridges might be, you might just read Raul's initial post on his long thread.) There are also a few MC cartridges that outperform most MM cartridges. It's a mixed bag, and only you can find your way out of it.  If Robjerman's rationale were correct (about MCs being superior because of having lower moving mass), then Moving Iron (MI) cartridges should rule, because MI cartridges have lower moving mass than do MC cartridges.  On top of that they generally have higher signal voltage output which makes the job of the phono stage much easier, in that the phono stage needs to provide much less gain for an MI, and much much less gain for an MM than for any MC.  With gain comes distortion and noise.  (One disadvantage of a LOMC cartridge.) Also, contrary to your assumption, I would argue that very little to nothing has advanced in the area of cartridge design, in the past 9 years since Raul opened his thread.  Certainly there is nothing new in the price range where you seem to want to shop.  So, my opinion is that you need to do some critical listening of your own.  I rank my top MM cartridges (Grace Ruby with Soundsmith CL re-tip, Acutex LPM320, Stanton 981LZS) in the same breath with my best MC cartridges (ZYX UNIverse, Audio Technical AT7, Koetsu Urushi, Ortofon MC2000).  I really have never heard a high output MC in my system that could compete in any way with those listed cartridges.  So, no HOMC for me.

A further thought.  In your price range, which is to say at $600 and below, you might consider the Denon 103 or the Hana SL.  Other than those two, I would suggest an MM or an MI, because there you get more bang for the buck.

Rarely mentioned is the third alternative---Moving Iron, Grado and London (aka Decca) being the two best known. A big advantage of the (generally) high-output MI's is their lack of the need for either a transformer or extra gain. London's produce 5mV output!
Hi guys - check out a website called REGON AUDIO by Robert Everest Greene who has written for THE ABSOLUTE SOUND. He gives a fascinating insight into MM carts. What is interesting, and I have found is the MC's pick up certain artefacts in a recording that when heard in a master tape are never picked up on, but due to the MC design they are. These often give a sense of air and magic that aren't in fact accurate - the MM's were in fact closer to neutral. I have a Pickering XSV4000 and I am impressed with the way it goes about its' business - it doesn't major on 'airy highs' but has an earth driving musicality that none of my 3 MC's deliver. In addition to this they don't require as much amplification as an MC. So MC's give a magic when done correctly, but MM's have their own strengths of equal value. 
Uberwaltz, you’ve received a lot of excellent comments above. I would add that a good means of narrowing the bewildering range of choices you would have in going to an LOMC cartridge would be to choose one having comparable weight and comparable compliance to your present cartridge. In doing so you would minimize the possibility of a mismatch between arm and cartridge, since your present cartridge appears to be commonly supplied with your turntable.

Your present cartridge weighs 8.4 grams. Its compliance doesn’t appear to be specified, but the compliances indicated at for numerous Clearaudio moving magnet cartridges are all 15 x 10^-6 cm/dyne, presumably at 10 Hz. (Cartridges manufactured in Japan typically have compliances specified at 100 Hz, and to equate those numbers to the 10 Hz specs used by European manufacturers multiply the Japanese numbers by a factor in the area of approximately 1.7, as I understand it).

That would seem to rule out the Denon DL-103 and 103R that were mentioned. Although their weights (8.5 grams) are very close to the weight of your present cartridge, they have 100 Hz compliances of only 5 x 10^-6 cm/dyne.

Also, while I’m not familiar with the phono stage you have purchased, and specifically with its noise performance, keep in mind that choosing a cartridge having a rated output in the area of say 0.5 mv is less likely to result in excessive hiss than one having a considerably lower rated output, such as the DL-103R (0.25 mv). I note that the description of the phono stage recommends a minimum cartridge output rating of 0.15 mv, but I would take that with some grains of salt.  It's usually a good idea to provide significant margin relative to published specs.

Good luck with your choice. Regards,
-- Al

REG of TAS has forever been a proponent of MM cartridges over MC types.  This is not to say he is wrong, just to say that he has a longstanding bias that he maintained even when HP was gushing over every new LOMC entry from Japan, back in the 70s and 80s and probably the 90s.  This proves to me that in the end, the judging has to be subjective and system-dependent.

As always Al, your posts are very inciseful and contain many words of wisdom, as do the vast majority of the post already in this thread and I am grateful for each and every reply and the time and effort that goes into them.
I was of the opinion that a very lomc might not be a good fit and that possibly a medium output as you state or even a homc. Or stick with mm...or try mi....
Yes I have lots of great information now but still unclear of future path.
But that is one that at least is much more informed for sure!
Maybe at my level the present cart is more than good enough....but we all know the itch to try greener pastures.

Agreed that you have to be the judge. Cart choice must fit into your system and produce a sound you like. Other people's opinions are just that. This is a subjective hobby. 

A lot of people will say that to truly hear what MC can do you need to spend $$$. I have heard anywhere from 2000k to 3000k. For me that is a lot to spend on a cart that cost near the same price to re-tip and at some point will completely fail. 

I have heard MC up to about 1500 bucks and was not overly impressed. I prefer the Soundsmith carts sound and the their economics of re-tip. 

Also surprised you have not read that your phono stage was specifically developed with a circuit to work with the 20x dyanvector. People say with the enhancer circuit and the 20x you get a lot of performance for the dollar.  

MM are great, cost less, gives more and you can look for the top carts mentioned by many users in the dedicated thread. No one knows which MM or MI would be the best in your system and it’s about personal preferences in sound. But the potential of vintage MM is huge, prices are real compared to MC. It’s always nice to get rid of all additional cables, suts, headamps etc, just to connect your MM to the phono stage to get the decent loud sound. Rare vintage MM cartridges will give you neutrial presentation much closer to the mastertape than most of the MC. The option with 100k load is also very nice to improve the sound quality.

MC cartridges are also good (often colored), but normally more expensive if you will get in count the price of the sut, headamps or high gain phono stages. They are more sensitive to cables, because the signal is so low. In the other words you can spend a lot to realize at the end of the day that your vintage MM is still better.

High Output MC are also not bad, i have at lest 2 of them.
I have MI cartridges as well and even very low output MM cartridge.

I was so disappointed with the very expensive modern MC cartridges, the prices are crazy and i can’s stand it, still can be fine for some people, but i don’t believe in the absolute cartridge, it’s always experiment, you never know.

I would avoid oldschool cartridges, conical tips and those broadcast denon 103 madness. MM cartridges from the 70s/80s are superior to the modern MM cartridges and of cource much better that oldschool MC carts.

It’s nice to have an alternative in the system (at least two tonearms with different types of cartridges). It is so much fun and always potential to find a better cartridge if you can compare them carefully.
Dear @uberwaltz:  """  so I am curious as to what I am missing if anything  """

of course that you are missing several " things " but not because you have not a LOMC cartridge.

Your today cartridge is an entry level MM one that is builded by AT and is designed to a specific price point, so there are significant quality performance levels as trade-offs vs its price.

If I was you what I do is to go for a way better MM alternative before think in a LOMC cartridge that could outperforms your MM up-grade.

In the other side your main listening is through digital ( good for this. ) that means your analog software is a poor one: how many thousands of LPs do you own that can justify a really good LOMC cartridge?

Maybe it's better to invest in a better digital source or digital software than in LOMC.

Fortunatelly I'm not you.

Btw, the kind of music you listen is not important when we are looking for a cartridge because if your choice is a good alternative/option then one of its characteristics must be to handle with high quality levels any kind of music ( either: MM/LOMC. )

Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,
Out of interest @chakster which cartridges do you call the vintage MM's?
@lewm REG may well be an MM fan - it's is essentially a perspective, my point was that it is equally valid. Tom Fletcher of Nottingham Analogue was another well known proponent of the MM. 
There are also some interesting hybrids such as the MMC as designed by Bang and Olufsen (yes of lifestyle fame now I know) but they were designed ground up with a parallel tracking arm in mind with exceptionally small and dexterous stylus tips. 
Out of interest @chakster which cartridges do you call the vintage MM's?

I'm talking about top MM cartridges from the 70s/80s era, from various brands such as Audio-Technica, Stanton, Pioneer, Glanz, Grado, Grace, Victor ... Most of them are RARE today, but still not expensive compared to modern MC. Those vintage MMs are hard to beat at any price, but i'm talking about specific models, not all of them are interesting. 
Well I pulled the trigger and bought the Nottingham Spacedeck cw Spacearm and a nearly new Shelter 501 mk3 mc cartridge. This is apparently a medium voltage cart at 0.5mv and was reportedly a good match on the arm but obviously in my system we will have to see.
Cant wait.....
Great. Yes, the Shelter is liked by many with Nottinghams. If you have questions regarding the set-up you might want to talk to Larry from Hollywood Sound, he knows Nottinghams and I think the only distributor/dealer in the US. He also likes MC cartridges. You will probably want to use original Nottingham oil that he should have, though you could get it cheaper from the UK dealers. Belt lasts a long time but still you may want a new one. And of course you will need a record mat to replace the stock. Most people prefer Boston Audio graphite mat, but the company is no more so it's difficult to find. I am sure you read the Nottingham threads on Audiogon, see what alternatives are there. Also, as I remember, just about everyone used one of the three isolation platforms under Spacedecks - 2"-3" maple block, Symposium or Neuance (no longer made) but you can start with the platform it comes with. I use 3" maple block with Boston Audio tuneblocks under it.
Thank you for the very usefull information.
The previous owner has included in the sale some original oil and a spare belt which is very nice. But the contact for future reference is helpful.
I will likely try it on maple blocks first as I have quite a few different size blocks around the place.
I don't know about the Shelter cartridge, but with my Goldring MM it took me some patience to set the anti-skate right. It was slightly better in one position with some music and slightly better in another with other music, but these were very small steps.  With VTA set by ear I ended up with the arm in parallel but you have very different and heavier cartridge.
Yeah, Larry should be able to assist you in dialing it in if you need it.
Oh yes, it is much better to overfill with the oil than underfill. One bottle is good for five times, I think. It is recommended to change the oil once a year if you play it a lot and every 18 months if you don't. Besides getting small metal particles in it, oil gets consumed, burnt.
lohanimal, What was "different" about the MMC series of cartridges from B&O?  I think of them as "not MC" (MM or MI without having done any research).  I ask this out of genuine ignorance.  I own an MMC2.  Thanks.
@uberwaltz , I just replaced a Soundsmith Zephyr MKII High Output MI with a Lyra Delos (MC). The Delos is still breaking in, however, I cannot understate what an impact this has had already on my system. I would say, to my ears, I've almost doubled the sound quality. It sounds as though a veil has been lifted, the highs are sweet and not muddled and I've gained additional separation of air and instruments has.
Yes I have heard many good reports on the Lyra Delos, much as there should be bearing in mind the cost.
Hopefully I will be pretty happy with the new Nottingham table and Shelter cart for a while before I bankrupt
If you do not mind sourcing, you can find some great deals. I bought my brand new Lyra Delos for $300 less than what I paid for my brand new Soundsmith Zephyr MKII. 

I've heard of but have never heard Nottingham and Shelter gear but I hope it's exactly what you are looking for! Good luck. 
Dear @lewm : No, you are not ignorant on that B&O regards, maybe a misunderstood by @lohanimal  because as you point out the B&O are Moving Iron cartridge design.

Btw, very good permormers those " diminute " cartridges., especially the one you own and the MMC1.

Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,
I had a very lengthy conversation with Tim Jarman of HiFi News who set up the following website:

In the conversation I had with him at the High End Show in Windsor he said that the B and O cartridges were a brilliant design as they were conceived with a view to be put into the parallel arms found on the 4000 range of decks. As such they have a very small stylus. B and O apparently considered all parameters when designing the decks - arm/drive/cartridge as opposed to each part in isolation.
Now I am somewhat expanding this thread, but pivoted tonearms are inherently flawed as they follow an arc - so there is always a tracking error - most cartridges are designed with conventional pivoted arms in mind. Hence cartridge architecture originates from this. Parallel is the way records are cut and should be they way to go, but compliance matching appears to be an inherent problem (I am sure many will disagree). Anyway it was with this in mind that the B&O arms and cartridges were designed all of piece so to speak. 
So returning to the issue my intrigue has drawn me to getting a B&O 4002 which I am getting serviced along with the mmc20en cartridge - lets see if the theory is true...