It costs me $100 a week to listen to vinyl

I know the math is obvious, but with the price of high-end moving coil cartridges averaging $5000.00 and with me averaging 20 hours a week of vinyl listening, I was disturbed to calculate that I am paying $100.00 per week for the privilege of listening to my own records?
I realise that doesn't include the depreciation on my equipment or electricity costs etc so please don't remind me of this?
How smug those who can bare digital must feel about this?
And how much worse for those committed to valve replacements in their pre and power amps?
How can we expect younger audiophiles with mortgages to pay, families to raise and education to provide for to afford the price of entry into an analogue system with such a potential maintenance impost?
I realise there are cheaper cartridges out there and the MMs are a bargain compared to the MCs, but once 'hooked' on vinyl, the desire to 'upgrade' is encouraged by the reviewers and the audio magazines continually announcing a newly anointed 'Kingpin' cartridge which is inevitably a moving coil with a price approaching the GDP of Namibia.
There seems to be no critical challenges to the assumed supremacy of MCs over MMs except for the lone crusade of Raul on this Forum?
Well I have taken the 'Raul challenge' and switched to a 15 year old MM cartridge which cost me $300. The 'running costs' of this are obviously a 'snip' compared to my $5000 MC but the best thing is the revelation that this moving magnet cartridge (and probably many more), are not only as good as some of the vaunted MCs in the market place, but better than most and sometimes by a considerable margin.
As Raul continues to implore us.........."try it, you may be surprised?"
How can we expect younger audiophiles with mortgages to pay, families to raise and education to provide for to afford the price of entry into an analogue system with such a potential maintenance impost?

That is rather like saying no one can enjoy the pleasure of driving a car unless they own a Ferrari or Porsche. Or that life's not worth living if one can't eat at a five star restaurant weekly. Or that it isn't worth having art work hang in your house unless you can afford real Renoirs or Mary Cassatts.

When you develop an appreciation for something at a young age, a good part of the adventure is searching for the biggest bang for your buck.

Magazines, manufacturers, retailers and a consumer society in general push people toward more expensive products in every area of life - food, art, clothing, cars, home and so on. They are promoting high-end digital just as hard as vinyl. Some people are more susceptible to upgraditis than others, but that hardly means that you can't get good sound on a budget.
but that hardly means that you can't get good sound on a budget.
Er perhaps you should read my post again? Isn't that what I'm saying?
>>> As Raul continues to implore us.........."try it, you may be surprised?" <<<

There is a rub, where can you find this stuff and be sure it is still in good nick?!
The current offerings seem ALL without exception targeted at the LO- and Mid-Fi. I have listened to some of these, no thanks.

I do realise that during the early MC period (~ early 80s) some top MMs were made. And I guess could compete with the even then VERY PRICEY MC offerings (you needed at step-up trannie too, no 60dB phono-stages then). I sure opted out then as the cost was just too high.

So, I still have a creeping suspicion, it's still: you get what you pay for.
Listening to some more affordable HI- and LO-MCs tells me just that. Never mind those 'run of the mill' main-stream current MM offerings, wanna be a DJ?

If I'm right (and who can say?) it's back to digging up some TOP MMs of days gone by, and I guess Raul is way ahead of us.
So let's hear of some MMs you can actually BUY, and not just find after a lot of scratching on the internet.

Raul gave me a short list on his MM thread, and as from my part of the world ---- niente!

$400 for a month of entertainment is a bargain. Since you are home all the time, your wife or GF will love it too.
Er perhaps you should read my post again? Isn't that what I'm saying?
Er, perhaps I was agreeing with where you finally arrived in your post? ;-)
Quit listening to the reviewers. I think anyone who truly has an ear for acoustic music realizes that a < $2K vinyl setup with a <$500 (or even <$200) cart beats any digital there is, and can be entirely musically satisfied.

Get a 103 or 103R (with a suitable arm!) if you don't want a high "hourly rate" with your vinyl.

(My other hobby, or rather at this point perhaps I should say my other former hobby, was flying, where $100/hr for the experience is reasonable. For listening to music - hardly!)
If we have any boat owners here - divide the total cost per year of ownership by the hours actually spent on the water. What do you come up with? Quite a bit.
There is a rub, where can you find this stuff and be sure it is still in good nick?!
I don't think the cost of a really good re-tip for a MM cartridge involves nearly as much as for a MC? to find a gem from the past and have it re-tipped should have it sounding like new?
Hi Halcro,

re-tip an MM, ja now fine... I guess you go get a new cantilever insert --- at least in my part of the world.

Have done that to an e.g. SUMIKO Pearl and put the next better elliptical in it.
Sound? SUX, unless we are into lower Mid-Fi to really go save some bucks.

The trouble might be, that we (I, who else?) lost some know-how with these babies, and the reviews don't help much either. Just go check out those point system evaluations, AUDIO, Streo-Play, STEREO, that I know of. Top of the pops MM gets 80 out of ~110 and that's the exception!
So 80 points = 80s sound? I don't say it is so, but it sure makes folks go rather for some Mid-FI HO-MC in my experience, and a shame it may be ---- but COOL (-: ‘cause MM sux… yeah?

A sign of hope I see: Ortofon's new M2, where would that one come into it? $$$ ?

as a kid, i sold needles and cartridges(the days when record and music stores stocked them). our most exspensive cartridge was under 50 bucks, and yeah it was state-of-the-art. today i'll allow myself the splurge on occasion, but unless i'm going deaf, the finist mm's are still as good to me as the finest mc's, and way less costly and 'fussy'. cartridges may be the heroin of this addictive hobby.
When I was in my twenties, I decided to buy a twelve year old 1971 Porche 911T instead of a new 1983 VW GTI for roughly the same amount of money. After about eight years I did a "cost per mile" calculation. I was stunned to realize I was paying about $2.00 per mile to drive that marvel of German engineering. But the fond memories of the incredible fun I had are priceless.

The same can be said of many things: cost per race of a sailboat, cost per run of a ski weekend. By doing these simple calculations, are we not missing the bigger picture? Is it not also about the fun of learning the hobby, meeting others with similar interests, etc.? We also should not discount the value of simply knowing that we have the option, at any time, of going into the next room, sitting down and losing ourselves in the moment of listening to good music.

In the end, one makes his choices based on priorities and affordability. It seems to me that these are good times to learn about and find good quality and affordable gear, whether on the internet, in catalogs or at the local dealer. In time, and as funds permit, the young audiophile can pursue the next step, or not.
Peterayer, Are you sure of your math? Lets assume the 911T was used as a second car, and you put 5000 miles on it per year. After 8 years, that's 40,000 mi. Do you mean to say that you had put $80,000 into that car over 8 years? (Of course, if you drove it more than 5K miles per year, the calculated expense goes even higher.)
I have owned over two dozen Porsches since about 1973. In the late 80's and early 90's, I did a full restoration on a 1955 550RS Spyder, including bodywork, a total engine and transmission rebuild, new interior, and a $12,000 paint job (all by top class professionals). The total cost was less than $80,000. (I did a lot of the disassembly and re-assembly myself.) You must have had a very bad car that you really loved.
Great to 'hear' you switched. You can now be called a value based listener.
Life is expensive. If you do it right.
Halcro, may I ask what your 15 year old MM cartridge is?
I have an Audio Technica AT150MLX, one of the better MM carts out there now. Yes, I know there are better--or certainly more expensive--MMs, but I'd still place it in the top 5% performance-wise.

Anyway, the replacement stylus (remember those?) is $180 for a gold-plated boron cantilever and nude MicroLine stylus, which I consider to be a very good value. At 1,000 hrs per stylus, that's eighteen cents per hour, or $3.60 for every 20 hours.
Dear Axel: +++++ " There is a rub, where can you find this stuff and be sure it is still in good nick?! " +++++

I already told you that for enjoy the MM alternative we have to have a positive attitude about and I told you too that that alternative is not a " plug&play " one.

In the last 18 months I bought more than 70 MM type cartridges ( in some models two and three samples ) and only in two oaccasion the cartridge was damaged, this is less than the 3% of what I bought.

My experiences about tell me that if we make a good research on what we are going to buy we can get a MM cartridge in good operation condition with almost mint stylus condition: this means several hours ( 2,000 at least ) to enjoy it before need a re-tip.

Btw, there are other " jewels " additional to the ones I mentioned to you.

Regards and enjoy the music.
I just auditioned a few mms:

Clearaudio Virtuoso wood w/SoundSmith re-tip;

Ortfon Super OM40;

Stanton 881 MKIIs;

Pickering XSV5000;

All have new styli. All are very listenable. Differences are easily discernable. The Pickering is flat out fantastic on my tweaked Dual 701. Proper matching (and cartridge setup), as with all things audio, is critical.

I'd not be embarrassed to have any lp fanatic experience the musicality/realism I hear (>> Bottlehead's new "Eros" >> custom Audio Note L3 Kits linestage >> AtmaSphere MA-1s) spinning vinyl through my rig.
Dear Axel: +++++ " lost some know-how with these babies, and the reviews don't help much either. " +++++

Today if you are a reviewer follower IMHO you are lost for say the least. IMHO the good times when an audio item review really help us almost gone.

Today I read TAS or STP almost only to know what's new and read the item reviews ( between lines ) to learn what not to do and sometimes to laugh ( in good shape ) and " cry " for so many and different non no-sense/non know-how advises.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Dear Mingles: Here you can read about:

Regards and enjoy the music.
Hi Raul,
thanks for continued encouragement :-)
But now seriously >>>no plug&play<<< I'm fiddling my socks off with MCs as it is!
Are you telling me this is getting worse to get an MM right? Eish!
Next, 70*500=35'000$ phew, so let's make that 200$ 14'000$ are we talking expensive MC now, or what?
I can only listen to ONE at a time (-: You buy such a load, their got to be good ones in there for sure. I think the whole of SA has not more left then 70 good ones, if that many. EBay......... me no like, sorry. Scared of crooks and thieving Post Office workers. So it is a bit tricky, but I keep my eyes pealed.

Dear Paulfolbretch: +++++ " Get a 103 or 103R (with a suitable arm!) if you don't want a high "hourly rate" with your vinyl " +++++

with all respect to Denon ( I own those models and other Denon's along. ), the MM alternative of what Halcro are speaking and that I support is a higher quality performance step ( way higher ) than what the 103 family can/could dream and for almost the same 103 prices.

Regards and enjoy the music.
I would say this is the difference between a hobby and a business. Still cheaper than being married to a trophy wife!
Dear Axel,
I watched Brian Garrot remove and glue a new stylus to the end of the removable magnet of my Garrot P77 which took him about 15 minutes. And he was indeed a craftsman. There was no necessity to go inside the cartridge body and no need to replace the magnet assembly....just a bit of extra blu-tak (if required to ensure a snug fit to the body itself. I believe any decent re-tipping company would do a good job. It is not rocket science like re-tipping moving coils seems to be?
The Garrot Company still produce MM cartridges although have recently discontinued the P77 ( there still must be tens of thousands of these still around) after more than 20 years continually in production.
I don't think that the P77s produced without John and Brian Garrot would be quite as good, but at even 80%, they are really something.
Raul might know how the rest of their current range measures up? Good luck.
A 550RS Spyder??!!.......just about the greatest (and rarest car ever together with a Ferrarri 250 GTO). I am jealous!
I've had a '63 Porsche 356B Super (T6) for 20 years having paid $40,000 in 1989 and spending $40,000 over 20 years it is now worth $80,000.
Total cost over 20 years for driving the best car I could ever imagine - zero! I call that economical!
Hi Halco,
that is educational in deed!
you say:
+++ I watched Brian Garrot remove and glue a new stylus...
It is not rocket science like re-tipping moving coils seems to be? +++

Have you ever tried that yourself at all? (I'm not being sarcastic, please)

Something struck me yesterday, listening to "Brothers in Arms".
This will not change things in the cost department, but in the SOUND department.
Here goes:
I understand, that some of the attraction, other then price, is the tendency of a 'fuller' reproduction with MMs i.e. more BASS. Though usually it is coming with a lesser treble performance -- of sorts.
Why it that so?
The higher voltage output directly from that 'massive' coil in the MM body of ~ 5.0mV (mid-point spec. for MM phono stage = 4.7mV input) which makes for a VERY good signal transfer.
Why lesser treble performance?
Because of the higher mass of the magnet / stylus system compared to any LO-MC. That is MM/MC understanding 101, yes?

But what's been going 'down the drain' is some MC 101 understanding. Due to its minimal output voltage EVERY MC originally had to have a step-up transformer to bring it up to ~ 5.0mV (like any MM).
Then came the 'smarties' and said: No need! We'll find the missing 20dB in that solid-state (as tubes only won't hack it) phono-stage for you, save you that SUT cost!
So there we are.
BUT, the funny thing is, that ONE important thing has changed --- that easy, no sweat, BASS performance like an MM can produce (and the MCs superior treble can make that lesser BASS 'feel' even more so -- missing). I'm sure any MM fan will give me some credit as far as the BASS part of it goes, yes?

Now it gets funny (for plenty folks): In comes the SUT and make that MC work as it was originally the case.
What do we get? BASS! What else? Even more dynamic differentiation / depth (diff. between very quite and damn loud), STAGE WIDTH! But there is also a small price to pay --- images are JUST not quite THAT sharp, still good but still.
I still much prefer it to the more anaemic type of hyper-detailed sound, and believe me, I have done lots of cross checking (A/B).

Long story short:
Has any of the MM fans had a chance to hear am MC with a **properly set-up** trannie?
I think THAT, to me, would be the correct comparison --- alas not in price. The trannie / MC set-up should 'beat the socks of ANY MM', it more better has to!
If that was not so, WHY on earth would ANYONE EVER have come up with that MC concept?!
Just to rip us off, I really don't think so.

So yes, NO QUESTION, a top MM is still a worthy cost related alternative, absolutely --- BUT an MC WITH a good trannie is as powerful, AND more detailed, i.e. revealing still more of the inner-detail of the music. Listen to pop / rock (van Halen :-?)-- what inner detail I ask? But then as there is also e.g. Roxy Music...

I like MMs, the bass, the power, but I like an MC WITH a trannie most probably better yet...

Does that make an MM a poor (thinking) man's choice? Could well be just that.

Dear Axel,
I didn't say that I could re-tip a cartridge like Brian Garrot who did it every day.
Removing someone's tonsils is not a difficult task for a doctor but I surely could not do it?
Your summary of some of the attributes of the MMs opposed to the MCs are interesting as I am doing a direct comparison at the moment between the Garrot P77 and the Dynavector DV1s and ZYX Universe.
Whilst I agree with you that the MM appears to have more bass, this is not quite true in reality. I can best describe it by comparing the bass of the MMs to the bass of a ported speaker. It seems to go deeper but is not as well defined as the bass of the MCs nor does it stop and start as quickly. The bass of the MCs have a tightness and a three dimensionality that the MM can't quite achieve.
On the other hand, the apparent lack of treble you perceive is actually an illusion. All the treble information that I hear with the MCs is there with the Garrot as well. Again, it is the quality of the treble information and its balance that is different. With the MCs, the harmonics of the high frequencies appear to go higher and last longer then the MM which maintains the fundamental rather well.
The primary differences I am finding at the moment is the Midrange strength of the MMs and the overall frequencies balance which seems to me more natural and relaxed than with the MCs.
I will be writing more at length on these differences when I have completed the listening tests.

I respect your op on MM carts. I have had a couple that I liked. But could you recommend something specific to try that would perform well on a heavier arm like an SME 3012?
The high cost of replacing a top quality phono cart was one of the main reasons I got involved with Soundsmith's Strain Gauge first as an owner, and now a dealer of that product.

It allows the owner to replace the relatively inexpensive stylus in a few seconds, and have an extra stylus or two on hand in case of an accident, or even to just compare the sound of a brand new stylus with the current one in use, and of course to try different stylus profiles for different LP's.

Before investing in this phono cart "system" I used to run my cartridges too long after they had worn, (for financial reasons) which is obviously not a good idea for our precious vinyl collections.

I have always lusted after owning the best phono carts available, but it was not a financial reality, simply because of the wear factor. I don't mind spending five figures on an amp I may keep 10 years or longer, which will still have some value even at that point in time. But replacing a $3500 cart after 2 years (or less since I listen to vinyl almost exclusively) is a hardship which many of us can't endure.

Now that being said, on the digital front, even though there is no wear factor, I believe the cost factor is similar in the sense that a good digital front end can be expensive, and then a short time later due to advancements, the owner may want to try the next latest and greatest, or some new product comes out at 1/10th the price that is equally as good. That very scenario is playing out right now with a just released digital front I am getting this week - it may very well equal a 10 times more expensive top digital rig.
Hi Emailists,
your post brings up some interesting questions for me.

1) Why would a stylus be worn out after ~ 2 years of intensive / exclusive listening ---- if the records are CLEAN / cleaned.
Vinyl has some 'self-lubricating' properties that aught to prevent this wearing so soon. Are you actually using a RCM?

2) This stylus swap and change item / idea. It is my understanding that the stylus-carrier, so far as my experience goes, is at about 2/3 of the MM cart's price. This makes for only a minor saving in not replacing the hole cart?

Next, I come to understand that it is the STYLUS type (fine-line, micro-line, shiabata, replicant, etc.) and the cantilever material (boron. period) that makes MMs closer in performance to an MC.
Now, to replace e.g. a Fritz Gyger Special stylus (on a boron cantilever) cost me ~ 850 Euro (by J. Allaerts). If that's what's actually needed to get an MM into the top league, this whole 'savings' idea starts to sound be bit challenged to me.
Any 'more basic' stylus (round / elliptical) and cantilever (alu-tube) sounds like just like what it is --- economised, yes? Any of these top MMs use 'fancy' stylus and cantilever, correct me if I wrong.

Food for thought.
YPES... I own a Porsche that gets about 15000 miles on a set of tires if I don't bring it to the track. At 500 dollars a tire...... If I do bring it to the track, I can go through a set in a few hours.... The cost of doing business....