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I believe oustanding Argent MC cartridges are all US made in the 80s, but they are very rare and hard to find nowadays. Argent made diamond, ruby and sapphire cantilever versions. The company also made acoustic room lens before they disappeared from the market. Low compliance, high output model Argent MC500HS with sapphire cantilever sounds amazing, i wish i could put my hands on some other argent cartridges. And would be nice if anyone else here could share experience with Argent MC cartridges (reviews, catalogs, personal experience).
Ortofon invented the moving coil cartridge, but Grado invented and patented the *stereo* moving coil cartridge. Similarly, Beyer Dynamic invented headphones, but Koss invented stereo headphones. Columbia invented the LP; RCA invented the stereo LP.
Although Grado does not make MC carts, they *do* make very high quality low output moving iron cartridges in their wood bodied Statement series. In America, New York City, in fact.
Reviewers generally considered the Grado Statement series to be overachievers, so I'm betting their top line $3500 Statement Statement is a seriously good cartridge, and although moving iron, has only 0.5mV output. The coils have fewer windings to lower inductance and internal resistance (2 ohms).
Yeah, very low output MI designed for MC phono stage - very interesting., Same with Soundsmith Sussurro Paua with output of 0.3 mV
I'm curious how those low output MI sound with MC phono stages.
As opposite to this Some people use high output MC with MM preamps but when i tried it with my Argent MC500HS i didn't like it at all (it lost all the magic). It's much better with MC stage.
The OP implies that the only high end worthy cartridges are moving coils, which is false. Grado makes several high end cartridges that are not moving coil designs."
It looks like someone woke up on the wrong side of the binding posts today. Where is this implication you're talking about?
02-21-15: SchubertTrue for a lot of
things these days, but the manufacture of moving coil carts in the US never
got much of a foothold, even when the US made lots and lots of cartridges.
In the '70s we had Shure, Stanton, Pickering, Grado, Empire, Weathers, etc.,
but none of them made MC carts.
I was working at an audio store in 1975 when stereo moving coil carts first
showed up on our radar: it was a Fidelity Research LOMC made in Japan. I
think the countries of origin had more to do with local market preference:
Ortofon invented the moving coil cartridge a long time ago, so the concept
probably had a foothold in Europe that never took off in the US because the
market here liked things simple, plug'n'play with no step-up transformer to
complicate things. Japan has always had a very active tweak'n'mod cottage
industry and market for it.
BTW, AFAIK, desirable moving coil cartridges are not made in Indonesia and
China, they're made in Japan, Denmark, UK, and Germany where the labor
rates tend to be as high or higher than in the US.
Daveyf: For UK-made MC carts, I was thinking of Rega, Linn, and Goldring; I'd forgotten about Decca. So yeah, the UK is pretty well represented here.
As for your fundamental question, you could turn the question around: Why did the moving coil cartridge catch on so early in other countries? After all, the low output makes the signal path more vulnerable to noise from the extra gain required, the step-up transformer adds cost, complexity, and cabling, and when the stylus wears out, you have to replace the whole cartridge or send it away for retipping.
I mentioned that MC carts started to catch on in the US in the '70s, but Ortofon invented it in 1945 and in Japan, the Denon DL103 came out in 1962, where it became the broadcast standard. In the US, it was Stanton and Shure. In the UK, Decca?
I think it comes down to homefield technology and cultural preference. US users liked the idea of fewer components and easy needle replacements.
The history of the MC is interesting, however, I do not think it explains the lack of manufacturing today in the US. BTW, I believe the new Linn MC...the Kandid is in fact made in Japan by Lyra. Is there still a UK manufactured MC besides the Decca and the Rega? ( which I presume are still manufactured there)
Davey, First, as someone else pointed out, building an MC cartridge is not done by persons making 50 cents an hour. It is done only by an experienced craftsman. Among such persons in the world, only one that I know of lives in the US, and he is Peter Ledermann of Sound Smith. However, for his own good reasons, Peter has chosen to devote himself to Moving Iron (MI) and strain gauge cartridges, rather than to MC cartridges. For what it's worth, MI cartridges have many virtues that one may say make them superior (as a group) to MC cartridges, including lower moving mass. (But I don't want to open that can of worms.) So, if you must have a high end phono cartridge made in the USA, then bite the bullet and take a look at the Sound Smith product line. Grado also make superb "high end" MI cartridges, for that matter. There is no reason why high end MCs cannot be made in the USA, but the simple fact is that they are not, because no one has chosen to make them here.
For an added sense of exclusivity and bigger bucks, you might consider a Sound Smith strain gauge, as well.