Electret transducer cartridges vs MM and MC. What are your experiences?

Hi all,

Through the years of following the MM thread here I collected a small selection of good ones, many of them NOS: Signet TK-7LCa, Empire 4000D/III, Astatic MF-100 (sold), Sonus Gold Blue, Shure V15 Type III with VN35MR stylus, ADC XLM Mk II Improved, and Stanton 681-EEE-S.

I also discovered the Micro-Acoustics Electret line. First the 2002e, then the 530mp, and later the 3002. All have beryllium cantilevers, with thinner and lower-mass "Micro-Fine" beryllium cantilevers as you move up the line. The 2002e has an elliptical stylus, the 530mp a "Micro-point", and the 3002 a "Micro-point II" stylus. According to MA, the electret transducer design is completely immune to capacitance and resistance of associated cabling/phono stage loads, making it very unique in the cartridge world.

My MA exemplars deliver ultra-fast, open, dynamic, and tonally balanced sound. While I recognize and appreciate the strengths of each cartridge in my small MM stable, I prefer the MA 3002 to all of them for listening excitement and satisfaction. I must confess that I find my Transfiguration Orpheus L to be in another league in refinement, yet I still enjoy the MA electrets on various tables/arms in my vintage system.

I would like to hear from anyone that has experience with electret transducer cartridges of any type, is just curious, or has technical expertise (J. Carr?) on this special type of sound-making device.

There are some errors in this link re: stylus specs for some models, etc. but I think it is a good introduction:

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Best to you all,

Dear Dave, I ever started a similar thread ''induced'' by Carr who

suggested to extend our MM/MC discussion to the ''other kinds''.

He was , alas, the only member who reacted to my thread.

My reaction is, alas, not a kind of contribution but rather a question.

Do those ''electret'' kinds need some special ''phono-amp''?

Curiosity has some limitations connected with money as so many

other ''things'' do. So my curiosity is also connected with this

pragmatic question.

Hi nandric,

No special anything to use the MA electrets.  Just the opposite.  Output is a very-agreeable 3.5mV and they seem to be, as claimed by MA, immune to loading, both capacitive and resistive. I suspect that it is this immunity that lets the sound come through in a uniquely dynamic and lively way.

They are also relatively inexpensive.  I paid $325 for the NOS 3002.

Best to you nandric,

Some interesting reading material on MA’s final electret cartridge products:

Dear @dlcockrum : I own almost all the top MA electret cartridge design but the 830 that already gone.

I still have the next to the top 630 that I posted years ago about but maybe posted in a " bad time " when all the Agoners were busy with the month " cartridge deal ".

All what we need of design and technical information is in the links you posted.

I think that everyone deserves to listen a top Micro-Acoustic cartridge. My today 630 is my third 630 cartridge. I bougth the first one more than 15-20 years ago ( I can't remember for sure. ). I sold two of them but I always have in well respect this MA cartridges, really top performer that I almost never talked again in the MM thread on it because as I said there were no interest as was with other very good performers as the B&O ones.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Hi Raul,

I recall your mention of the MA 630/830 as top contenders in your initial post on the MM thread. It seems that many are missing out on this fantastic and unique group of cartridges.

I have searched almost continuously for a 630/830 but have yet to land one. Apparently, I missed out on yet another opportunity to own one (your recently sold 830). If either the 630 or the 830 is significantly better than the 3002 series II, I could easily imagine it being my all-time favorite non-MC cartridge.

Thanks as always for contributing Raul.
Are these MA cartridges the same as the realavily new Soundsmith devices?
Hi noromance,

I can't say.  The Stereophile review of the TOTL cactus-needled Hyperion says that it is a "moving iron" design. 

Best to you noromance,
Dave, no not those -it's called the Strain Gauge. I think it may be the same idea but possibly better executed. I heard it on a VPI deck at SS room in NYC. Very good but I am not convinced fully on the price per sound quality scale. 
Dear @noromance : Strain Gauge is diferent design than electrect even needs a dedicated phono stage, you can use it in your phono stage and that dedicated phono stage does not works with normal catridges.

Regards and enjoy the music,
I continue to learn...

noromance, what makes the MA electrets unique to all others that I am aware of is they have a "common to MM" 3.5mV output and seem completely insensitive to cap/res loading. No special accommodations required to get their best performance.

Raul, thanks for the assist.

Best to you both,

Dear Dave, The case is that information for free has paradoxical

consequences. You started this thread so we are free to ask

questions for free. Which kinds are available , where and for what

prices (grin).

Kind regards,


Okay by me, Nikola.

Best to you,
OK. Thanks all. The electret is a type of capacitor where a diaphram changes the capacitance in sympathy to vibrations, in this case the stylus. The strain gauge us a piezo-effect device.