Cartridge selection & output “mV” MM vs. MC Help

Okay thanks in advance and hopefully some good info can be found in this thread.

First I am looking for a new flavor cartridge but need some good tech. Info, and second part of this question is suggestions of direction for selection toward taste.

I currently have a 1500.00 Music Hall MMF7, no not a trendy or excessively built table but it suits me pretty well and its just damn simple which I like, it has the Stock Project arm which I am not to sure the model, but its not the carbon one.
This table is upgraded with cardas tonearm wire straight into the Tube Phono stage, which by the way is a dramatic difference in background noise and bass is much more impactfull, as well as balance is near perfect pitch on all frequencies it seems now.
I am using a 4.5 mv MM cartridge, which sounds excellent running with a 40db gain tube phono stage, this seems to be just about perfect loudness with the Preamp up at about Half volume on the knob (12 O’clock)… But I would still like to get a little more Bite out of the whole thing if that makes sense, maybe have a little more headroom so as to not turn it up so much, plus this would help knock down a little of the background hum, not a biggie but would like to see what happens.

Tech Question #1- What output MC cart. with a 60db gain from the tube phono stage, will at least equal the gain output as I have with the 4.5 mV cart and 40-dB phono? Example .5 mV, .8 mV, 1.0 mV… Is there a chart or something that will show this? I am looking to not lose any volume bottom line, and actually would really like to get some gain out of the upgrade if this is even possible.

Tech Question #2- Or should I simply stick with checking out one of the 5.0 mV MM carts. ? Now this of course is limited in selection, and honestly I have no clue what good ones exist or if they will just hurt the sound. Is an MC cart. Always going to give less power and volume to the sound? I have no clue.

Tech Question #3- I understand the Project arm is not the most desirable, but lets put that aside and figure out that it can or cannot really work with certain weight carts. Some too heavy? Some just not worth it , or simply will never perform without a far higher performance arm? This is fine just help me to not make a mistake, cause I will not stick a 1500.00 SHELTER cartridge or Even a 500.00 Dynavector if its just really wasting time and money.

Suggestion#1 sure I could experiment but do not have the time nor money for that like most… Mostly the music listened to is Fairly demanding Rock, 70’s, 90’s and Current, mostly very good recordings, even for the most part So called Audiophile Pressings, 180 gram, 200 gram re-issues and all treated with the whole VPI cleaner process, using distilled water rinse going beyond the call of duty.

Requirement of cartridge, Fairly Dynamic, not really Bright or over detailed, but well enough…. Very Bass capable, Deep, Fast driving… Needs to create some good pressure in the room, full balanced sound. I have very close to this now but everyone is always looking for more right?….

Not to sure I want to risk getting realistic results with a Shure or Audio-technica type cartridge thing but for 99.00 if this is a choice than tell me, Price range I would like to keep it at 200.00 dollars just like everyone else in the world but realize it can get out into the 1000.00 range pretty quickly, but I think anything that high would require a different arm or even table, so lets say somewhere in the 500.00 range I don’t know.

I guess end desired result is bring music a little further out into the room, have a little more definition, Impact, but not go to far and end up leaner sounding or very analytical… Of course this will have Oodles to do with setup, tracking Weight etc… I understand and have that pretty down with this table. I purposely left out some models of equipment and whatnot cause’ otherwise we could end up on many irrelevant topics. I also realize there are many answers and questions, but basically with all the choices I am sure there is at least 3 that could full fill the main requirements in combination with this table for satisfactory results.

Sorry if this is an unclear post and thanks again!
MC have in general larger freequency range and less noise while the output is lower than in MM carts.

I prefere MC ones over MM because the precision of the sound is much more accurate and much less noisy over MM. IMHO for the given price MC will perform better.
Over at Vinyl Asylum they have been raving about the Audio-Technica OC-9 and it's extremely accurate tested responses,do a search there.For around $200 the Denon DL-103 is pretty good value.
Stefanl, that is funny cause it is one I have looked at and seen some good things, mainly cause its got this new super duper accrurate stylus cut and material or something, very interesting, but thats why I am looking for suggestions :)
As far as the gain is concerned, 20 db equals a 10x voltage increase. So your 4.5 mv catridge into a 40 db phono stage is equivalent to a 0.45 mv cartridge into a 60 db stage. The two situations should have the same output voltage.

Oh, nevermind I thought that was the newer model with a microline stylus... its not just a standard elliptical, plus it is kinda low output MC not sure that is gonna have as strong output as my tech. questions above indicate.
This site might answer your tech. questions 1 & 2.
Perhaps a more important issue is one of cartridge resonance.The effective mass of the arm matching the weight of the cart.This in turn relates to the actual resonating frequency of he cartridge thus affecting audio quality.For a Project arm I think the effective mass is 11gms i.e a mid-mass arm.This will restrict your cartridge choice.For more info see
It would be useful if you identified the cartridge, preamp and amp you are using andor plan to use. Many of the sonic attributes you are looking the enhance are best derived from upgrading electronics and not your cartridge.
Okay sounds good, Limits are fine cause there are far too many choices, so now what carts do people suggest without being too heavy, does anyone know tha heaviest cart that should go on the project arm?
You have several choices of cartridges that will work with your 11 gram mass arm. Try
So .45 mv should equal the same output as 4.5 mv with 20 db more gain... so far so good.. and I need a cartridge that weighs less than 11 gram? correct... just good guidelines.

Thanks guys now we are getting somewhere :)
Think there is Japan only model that can be special ordered ofr the 103 (maybe "R" Model?).I am amazed what a cult follwing.I really srespect Marakents and his extensive knowlege but read Grado site.Founder Joe invented MC but never used it himself just collected royalties on it.Plus the Grado's can be odered with .5 output and John Grado said lower couint of windings leads to purer sound.Like the fact two for multi arm ot ube tablkes you can get mono version for theose 50's LP's.I myself think amd going topmoutfit a VPI with a MC Shelter and get a mono Grado in mono and dpendiong on my pohono section if I can (and will be able if I get PS Audio's new box but probaly could spend half price on Grado box for $500 and run the MM high output .same if I got an EAR where one setting weould be for LO MC and one for HO MM).As far as complaince question not sure but check with manufacturer.Remember though a I think a lot of folks put money into tablkes when as you are trying to do proper matching of Phjono section and cartidge is going to have a much bigger impact on sound than deck/arm combo.Think Zenieth is right bout your arm mass and has excellent suggestion.
I think I am in business guys, I picked up the Ortofon Kontrapunkt A, which is to be a killer rock phono cart. with beyond acceptable bass.. I have read about it, and also called needle doctor and did not mention any cart and asked for their suggestion and that was the model they also came to conclude would be for me! It falls in the parameters of my arm and requirements it seems with .45 mV MC , 10 gram weight and it is originally 800.00 and I just found and purchased one with 50 hours on it for just over 200.00 shipped!!! Thanks for the help, hopefully this is gonna do the trick, but hell for the money and deal its gotta be plenty good enough, I would have really liked to find a .5 or .6 mV cart for a little more, but all seem too heavy as mostly for something decent is over 11 gram weight, and cost way too much money :)