How to choose a cartridge?

Aside from compliance, and whether one has enough gain and loading options, how does one choose a cartirdge?

There are a few shops that have one or two brands, and other shops that have other brands… etc.

It is a either visiting a lot of shops, or using some other method.

I have seen a few plots of response and 2nd, 3rd harmonics for a limited number of carts.

The other method is scouring the reviews and digest the colourful wording used to describe the carts.

As an example I am considering:

  • SoundSmith Zephyr MIMC Star
  • AT ART9xi
  • Benz Micro LP S
  • Hana ML
  • and some others…

Does one just flip a coin?


I don't know if any particular measurement says anything about how a cartridge might sound, much less whether one will like that sound.  

I think it was Lederman who said that the channel separation is a general sign of manufacturing quality. (Maybe it was in a video?)

Yes, good channel separation will tell you that the stylus is properly aligned with the signal generating elements, that the left and right elements are consistently made, etc., provided you make the measurement on the particular cartridge.  The manufacturer's specification or the measurement of a reviewer won't tell you anything about your cartridge.  Once you buy it, you are pretty much stuck with what you got, so, at best you can try to discern which builders have a reputation for reliability.  

I am getting an arm rest for the Schroder arm, from Galibier in Colorado.
It is coming together.