High Output MC Cartridge recommendations?


Hi everyone, first-time user here!

My vinyl system consists of the following:
Clearaudio Champion 2 Turntable
SME Series 300 Model 309 Tonearm
Sumiko Blackbird HOMC Cartridge
Audioquest Leopard Tonearm Cable
McIntosh C41 Audio Control Centre / Preamp
McIntosh MC2102 Valve Power Amp
Amphion Argon 7LS Floorstanding Speakers

Most of the components are about 10 years old. I bought the TT, tonearm and cartridge from a second-hand hifi dealer so I didn't have any involvement in matching the components etc.

Some years ago an over-zealous cleaner managed to snap off the cantilever from the Blackbird. I was very happy with the overall sound of the system so I went and bought another Blackbird. Sadly, however, the same thing has just happened again (in spite of a big PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH sign, but that's another story!)

So, rather than go to the expense of just replacing the Blackbird yet again, I thought this time I would do a bit of research into what other options might be available. Sorry for the long story, but has anyone got any recommendations for other HOMC cartridges I should be considering?

Cheers, Mike
mikebest
I would go either Soundsmith or Grado w/ one of their high output moving irons  instead of a high output moving coil.
+ 1 for Soundsmith or Grado .
Bummer about the cleaning crew - hopefully that problem has been eliminated!

I started my vinyl journey with a HO Blackbird and loved it.  Sounds like you enjoyed yours.  

I've had the bird. After crashing the cantilever, sent it to Soundsmith for the ruby makeover.

The bird sounded nicer to my ears than in its original form.

The new cantilever seemed to soften the sometimes shrill high end of the Bird.

I agree with WRM.  High output MI, and MMs too, have generally sounded better in my system than any of several well regarded HOMC cartridges. I keep meaning to sell off the HOMCs but never get around to it.
Mike,

I have had great success with Denon 110 high output MC cartridge. It won’t have you crying if it is broken as you will be out of pocket only a fifth of the cost of the Suniko.

FWIW you have spent 5K on cartridges that got broken. I would recommend less expense on the cartridge and a higher investment in a speaker (to get more bang for the buck which seems to be your concern). Your speakers look aesthetically great but driving a 1 inch tweeter at 1600 Hz is going to sound great at low volumes but that is a hell of a load on a tweeter at higher volumes and it will compress/distort or simply dry out Ferrofluid fluid and burn up)
The best HOMC carts i have tried were Argent MC500 series from the 80s with boron, ruby and sapphire cantilevers.  
I use Grado ( I have a few ) with my 309 tonearm and I prefer them over any HOMC that I’ve owned. A word of caution,if you get the plastic body ones they weigh 5.5 grams and the minimum cartridge weight for the SME is 6 grams. You would need a headshell weight to balance the arm.You can get 3 gram weights on Ebay for about 5 bucks!
Benz Glider has a Low, Medium, and High Output MM cart avail.  Reasonable price range for a good quality cart.
Lyra Delos is a mid output cart and currently in my own system.....what range of cart output are you looking at?  What are the gain settings available on your C41phono stage?
I read about Hana cartridges in a recent thread @ AudioAsylum and did a little research (for my SME 3009 Non-Improved) and they seemed to be well liked and a good match.

Not familiar with your 309 though.

Never heard of Hana before, but the HOMC’s I looked @ were $475 & $750, which I assume is in your price range.

Anyway, might be worth a Google.

DeKay
Thanks for all your help guys, you've given me heaps to think about. In answer to the question for Quincy, the phono stage on the C41 has a sensitivity of 2.5mV
Why not send your existing cartridge into Soundsmith and have them replace the cantilever?

I had a Denon DL103 which I liked a lot and heard about the Soundsmith option. I actually bought a new DL103 from them that had the ruby cantilever treatment just for expediancy (faster than sending the Cartridge in). The improvement in details conveyed was amazing, but it kept the same Denon qualities that I liked.

You also get to choose from several stylus profile options, so you can get as fancy as you like.

I would warn that the more advanced the stylus profile is the more critical setup becomes to get the best out of the cartridge.

You would probably need a Mint Best Tractor (protractor) to get the alignment spot on (or something like that). A paper protractor will no suffice with advanced profiles such as the Optimized Contour Contact Line stylus type

For the different Stylus Type offered see the drop down on this page
https://www.sound-smith.com/cartridges

Having said that - the rewards are many :-)

Regards - Steve
Lyra Delos is a good option
It sounds like you are looking for a cheaper cartridge, assuming that it will get broken again. If you must function under that assumption, maybe you should buy one of the better Shure cartridges and simply remove the stylus when the cleaners arrive. Or fire the cleaners and get someone who will follow your instructions.
My own cartridge is a Dynavector DV20-XHII. Tracking force is 2.0g +/- 0.2g. I like it very much.
Ortofon's MC-3 Turbo HO cart is worthy of your consideration. At $450 retail, I don't think it can be beat at twice the price. I'm not a fan of anything that needs an external SUT; just more opportunities for garbage and hum in the cabling.
LP Gear carries the MC-3 Turbo for $329. I deliberated long and hard on that before settling on a Denon DL-301 II LO to compliment the Shure V15 RS I already had. No regrets except that I didn't have  $600+ for a Dynavector 10x5 (I feel like a relative pauper after reading some of this week's posts. I only have ONE amp in my main system and all my cabling combined didn't cost as much as one pair of the ICs being discussed) or that the Hanas were not yet available.

However a nice Grace F-9 is probably the next cartridge I'll try.
Thanks again for all your responses everyone. After much research I decided to move away from HOMC and instead got myself an Ortofon 2M Bronze MM cart. It took a while to set up properly but now that I have it sounds awesome. Maybe a bit less shrill than the Blackbird. And it comes with a stylus guard! (Something the Blackbird was sadly, inexplicably and expensively lacking). The cleaners have been reprimanded and all is good with the world