How much fine tuning required on cartridge loading

I am getting more seriously into analog, and will be buying a new phono pre-amp to replace the Harman Kardon receiver I'm currently using as a phono stage. Some (like the EAR) have a simple MM/MC switch, others (like the Rhea) allow for fine adjustment of resistive and capacitive loading. I'm wondering how much better the sound can get if the loading is fine tuned, or if MM/MC is good enough. Cartridge is currently a hi-output MC (attracts a screwdriver to the body, can play loudly thru MM stage w/ pre turned up), I believe an old Benz - black body with a gold V on the front, with what looks like a figure 8 knot above it.
Having a loading control is like having a tone control. Or more like a treble knob. Basically the variable resistive loading on an MC sets the bandwidth and damping (interactive).

Having adjustable loading is a really cool feature. You can tune the high frequencies to your taste. Or use it to compensate for other system flaws.

Once you get it, though, there is no need to keep playing with it. Sort of a one-time set it and forget it. Everytime you get a new cart, you re-tune. And then maybe again after break-in.

Having a knob is nice. But seriously, even if you have to solder in the resistors, you still get the job done.

If you're using stepup transformers, input impedance becomes very critical for MC's. Active gain stages make it useful (as Hagtech described) but not quite as critical.

Still, I would never be without some way of adjusting impedance for MC use. Every MC is designed to operate into a certain load. It will not provide even frequency response if it sees a very different load.

There are ways to alter impedance if the phono pre doesn't include an adjustment. IMO the ideal setup is internal resistor sockets. That way you can fine tune before soldering in, but other methods are also effective.

Capacitance is not a critical adjustment for MC's, especially LOMC's. It can matter for many MM's. Unless you're planning on using many MM cartridges, capacitance adjustment is not a feature that should affect your phono stage choice.
I've been playing with cartridge loading recently. I use a Sutherland Phd phono stage. I decided to experiment with the effect replacing the stock resistors might have. I'm now listening to my first attempt at this using Vishay resistors.

There is a surprising difference in the sound but I'm waiting until I've put a few more hours on these resistors to see if the sound changes as they settle in.
I use a Rhea and the remote loading feature has proven extremely useful. Also, because the Rhea can accept multiple (3 max) inputs, note that it offers a measure of "future proofing". If your table allows multiple arm/cartridges Or if you add a table in the future, the Rhea will accomodate the change. OTOH, the unit has a specific characteristic sound vis a vis other phono sections I've had/heard and you'd have to be the final judge.

Good Luck,

From the description, it is quite possibly a Monster Cable Alpha 2 HO from the mid 1980's or so.
These were designed and built by ZYX.

DO you have a picture of the cartridge?
I could take a picture. Should I email it to you, or post it somewhere?
@ Willster,

Please do share your findings with us.
I've just figured out the right loading with 'el cheapo' resistors for my Denon DL103 and am looking for some quality ones.
Vishay is on the shortlist.

Thanks and good luck.
To those experimenting with different resistor types, we tried seven or eight on our BentAudio Mu stepups.

In our system, to our ears, Vishays and all other film resistors had one audible flaw. Because of their high surface area:volume ratio, very high frequencies were largely uncontrolled. Even went we took resistor values low enough to audibly attenuate middle highs and upper mids, true high frequency response remained excessive.

We preferred carbon resistors, like Kiwame's, for their even and balanced effect at all frequencies. YMMV of course.
Thanks Dougdeacon,

Some further investigation on the net confirms your findings with the Kiwame's although other - more expensive - brands like Riken Ohm, A. Bradley and Caddock are mentioned as contenders too.
I guess it's, as allways, a matter of taste.

Lots of experimenting is lying ahead.

Thanks again.

My apologies! I meant to recommend the Riken Ohms.

We used the cheaper Kiwame's to hone in on optimal values, then bought Rikens (and others) to hone in on resistor type/brand.

The Rikens were definitely the ultimate winners, for us. Sorry for the mis-info, shouldn't have posted from memory about a year-ago experiment.

Howdy Doug..,

Thanks for your correction.
I've honed in with real cheap resitors.., the Kiwame's ( and simular priced brands ) will be the next step up.. maybe I'll give the more expensive brands a try.., I doubt the benefits of a pair of $ 6,- resistor in my system but.., who knows.