Jan Allaerts Cartridge Experience?

I've heard some good things about the Jan Allerts MC1B and MC1B Mk II cartridges . These seem pretty rare and there seems to be limited fedback on them.

Do any of you have direct experience? If so how do they compare to other top cartridges, e.g., Zyx, Lyra, Dynavector, Koetsu, Clearaudio?

Thanks for the feedback.
Where is Raul when you need him? :)
I own the JA MC1B. Its mounted on a Simon Yorke S7 arm/tt combination. I find it a wonderfully musical combination.

I've also heard a MC1B on another TT with a Moerch arm and it was superb in this system too.

I've never compared it to another cart on my TT/Arm. Since I've got this setup, I've had no desire to change anything in my vinyl setup.

Let me know if there is anything specific I can help you with regarding the JA MC1B.

Hope this helps.

Dear Aoliviero: ( I'm here Dan ). +++++ " Since I've got this setup, I've had no desire to change anything in my vinyl setup. " +++++

This is what Neville posted. I don't know about the whole audio system of Neville, but the fact that he owns a Simon Yorke TT/tonearm ( one of the best/great TT out there: second to none. ) tell me a lot of him and in his statement he is right on target. Btw, the MC1B mates good with your phonopreamp.

Unfortunatelly for you my MC2 Finish has nothing to do with your today electronics.

The Allaerts MC2 Finish is several steps a head not only over the MC1B but a head any other cartridges that I know/heard in my own system ( all the ones you named here ) or in a friend/dealer system.
When this cartridge is right set up your audio system disappears and you have nothing but the MUSIC it self. When you put the stylus on the record and you hear the very first musical notes you know everything is settled and like Neville said: you don't need to change nothing and you don't want to change nothing, you only want to enjoy what you are hearing.
It is a great natural balance cartridge from top to bootom: do you want the best low bass?: you have it, do you want to have the best midrange?: you have it, do you want the best soundstage?: you have it, do you want the best natural musical agressive high frequencies?: you have it. All what you want: you have it. When you are hearing to the MC2 Finish you forgot about it, you forgot about your electronics or anything else: you will be deep inmerse on the full/whole music: MUSIC and nothing but the MUSIC!!!!!!!

Is there any down side with the MC2 Finish?, yes: it is a very low output cartridge and needs a lot of clean gain and an accurate RIAA eq, nothing less. You have to mate it only with the best or almost the best audio devices ( no SUTs here or bad tube designs ): if not " she " will tell you that your system ( some links ) is not up to the musical reproduction task. Here there are no " greys ": only black or white. This is a cartridge for the music experienced people and for the experienced audiophile that loves the music and take care about it and take care about the quality sound reproduction. Yes, this cartridge is in another " league ": I loved it!!!!!!!!! Who don't?

From the objective point of view this cartridge had some incredible specs:

- tracking capacity: 400 umm
- frequency range: from 3 to 100 Khz
- channel separation: 70 db at 20 Khz!!!!
- Total THD%: 0.1%!!!!!!

These cartridges were build 100% by hand by Jan Allaerts it self ( his company is " one man company " ) and it comes with a life warranty and he told me that the stylus is for at least 10,000 hours.
Allaerts is the first cartridge company, that I know, that gives exactly the load impedance that needs their cartridges ( he don't left these parameters to our ears ) and the exactly VTF too: no VTF/load impedance ranges here, this is a serious and profesional people : Jan.

If you want one MC2 Finish you can buy it and have to wait betwenn 4 to 6 months to have at home.

Highly recomended!!!!!!!

Regards and enjoy the music.

Thank you for your very detailed and passionate response. Seems like this is a good one.

With respect to your comment:

"Unfortunatelly for you my MC2 Finish has nothing to do with your today electronics.",

do you mean that the output voltage of the MC Finish of ~0.2mv is too low for my CAT Ultimate preamp?

When you said "Btw, the MC1B mates good with your phonopreamp.", once again are you referring to output voltage and/or sonic signature?

Finally, does the MC1B have a similar sonic signature to the Finish? How does the MC1B compare to the cartridges/brands I listed, e.g., Lyra Helikon; Zys Airy 2, 3; .

Thanks Raul.
Dear Andrew: Yes, for the output voltage: both.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Dear Andrew: Yes, it has a similar signature than the MC2.

Btw, the MC2 Finish is not the top of the line in the Allaerts catalog, the one on top is the Formula One!!!!!, the MC2 is very near it.

Can you imagine the performance on the Formula One? WOW!!!!!

Regards and enjoy the music.
Well,Raul--I have to say that with this series of posts,from you,it seems that you are "aging" like a fine expensive wine!!Keep up the good work.

Wish I had a good listen to one of these babies!
Dear Sirspeedy: You already know that the door is always open to you.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Dear Andrew: Why don't send an e-mail to Jan and Franck asking for their opinion about Schroeder/Allaerts matching.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Aoliviero -- {just noticed your question} I had an old MC1 connected to a CAT. Incidentally, on a Simon Yorke, too. The volume was on the low side, as Raul predicted. WIth that cartridge, it wasn't catastrophic -- but I had to move equipment around to avoid picking up noise. I really can't remember the loading I used (it was the "standard" recommended).

That's very valuable information. Seems like ~0.5mv would be possible but requires special care. Where was the volume set in most cases (of course depends on speakers)? 12-2 O'clock?

The MC1B MkII actually has 0.7 mv output which would probably fare better. My frustration is that there aren't many "great" cartridges much above 0.5-0.7 mv.

Do you still have your CAT pre? What cartridge do you use now?

Thanks for your inputs.
Dear Andrew: Yes, the 0.7mv Allaerts cartridge will be very confortable with your preamp, almost confortable like you will.

Regards and enjoy the music.

Thanks. Comfort is a good thing. I'm getting more and more comfortable every day as the system is coming together.

New question: How does the Allerts do with a diet of 70% rock, 30% Jazz/classical? Does it have the "punch"? Are the Lyra or Zyx line better with these musical tatses?


Dear Andrew: +++++ " Does it have the "punch"? " +++++

Absolutely, yes it is very good on that area. I don't have any doubt that you will be satisfied.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Of course its so much a matter of personal taste, but I've had the MC1B and the MK2 (usually on Schroeder DPS), and I find them outstandingly musical and involving. I'm not too happy comparing, but for me they are in a slightly different class to most other cartridges. I've had the Insider on same system, and I liked it a lot. Now i'm running an Urushi while I wait for the MC2 Finish to arrive. Not the same thing. Not by a long way. There are a lot of really excellent cartridges these days, but the Allaerts are something very special.
Andrew - no, I don't have the CAT anymore. However, ~0,5 signals worked OK (example, a clearaudio insider). The Allaerts was a bit too low for the cat gain stage -- volume was usually 10+ (I don;t listen at excruciating levels). By comparison, with a Clearaudio connected level was ~7-8. Spkrs registered a little under 90db spl, in room, 500-3kHz sine.
But I was actually referring to how far the Allaerts signal "activated" the CAT's circuit. I could say fm memory, it was slightly on the "refined" (or thin) side.

Thanks for clarifying. Do you rememebr the output voltage of your Allaerts? Apparently the older MC1B had a lower output than it does today. Today's version is 0.5mv.

Raul,you are such a good salesman,that you have me trying to download every piece of info on the Allaerts line,that I can find.I've seen the website,and a review or two,yet this mfgr seems to be really SPECIAL!!

The MC1B is in many ways the best value cart in Jan's range (bit like the model 2 is Frank Schroeder's best value arm). I have had an MC1B for about two years and I'm very happy. I use mine on a Schroeder Model 2 and Platine Verdier with GT Audio Battery PSU (Tron Meteor tube preamp, Quad IIs and Avantgarde Duos). When I bought my MC1B, I was told that you can upgrade by returning your current cart and paying the price difference. I don't know if that still holds, but that sounds like a great after sales service
Anyone know the price structures on each model?
Dear Sirspeedy: Yes, Allaerts is really SPECIAL.

The best you can do to obtain the right structure of prices is asking directly to Jan.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Dear Ebarker2: I'm sure that you will enjoy the MC2 Finish when arrives to you: Congratulations for it!!!!

I agree with you, it is difficult to compare to other cartridges because the Allaerts cartridges are really special and " something " different, I can say: a lot different. Like you, I owned the Insider too but the MC2 Finish !!!!!!!!!!! is in another " analog dimension ".

Regards and enjoy the music.
Thanks Raul. I'm having a hard time waiting, and I pester Jan far too often. Meanwhile i've had my Tom Evans Groove Plus changed to 845 ohms, and i'm trying to find out if there's a good step up transformer that will work with the cartridge as well, into a valve MM phono i've got coming. I've heard that this is a step too far for a step up. What do you think?
Dear Ebarker2: No one low output cartridge deserve a step-up transformer. This SUTs do a heavy degradation on the cartridge signal.

It will be a terrible mistake if you mate the MC 2 Finish with any SUT: this will be un-excusable/pardonable.

This is one of my several posts about:


Please, if you have time, read it.

For you or any one can work and " see " the marvelous MC 2 Finish performance you have to do through a high gain phonopreamp with out internal/external SUTs.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Dear friends: Here are some facts about why exist the SUTs for LO cartridges ( at least is my point of view ):

- In the fifthies appear the MC LO cartridges ( As a fact: Ortofon invented in 1948. ). In that time all the phonopreamps were designed for HO cartridges MM/MI/etc. No one was in the design of high gain PP because no body need it.

- Ortofon and latter other MC LO cartridges never ask to the PP designers/builders to manufacture a high gain PP for their MC LO cartridges. What I mean is that never exist a cooperation job between the MC LO builders and the PP manufacturers.

- What was the comercial attitude of almost all MC LO cartridges builders?: to put on sale their MC LO cartridges along with a SUTs ( designed for it self ) for those MC LO cartridges.

- I can remember from Ortofon when they design the MC10, MC 20, Mc 30, Mc 2000, Mc 3000 and MC 5000, cartridges at the same time they offer the respective SUT: T 10, T 20, T 30, T 5000.

- Like Ortofon everybody do the same: Denon, Audiocraft, Fidelity Research, Koetsu, Micro Seiki, Accuphase, Dynavector, Highphonic, Audio Technica, Entre, etc, etc.

- In the mid-time what does the PP designers ( SS or tube ) for the development of a high gain PP?: almost nothing, almost all take the easy " cheap road " ( wrong/worst one ): that the customers buy SUTs along with their PP if they want to handle a LO cartridge. Some of the PP designers/builders incorporate in their " high gain " PP internal SUTs, exactly like today ones.

- No body take the challenge to design a HG PP with out SUTs. There are some exceptions: Curl, Levinson, Pass, Klyne, Classé, D'angostino, etc, etc,

- So we all are suffering the " easy road/ wrong road " that almost all designers/builders take it more than 55 years ago.

- All those comercial attitude never take into account us: the audio customers and never take into account the QUALITY MUSIC/SOUND REPRODUCTION. They don't care about in those times and many of them don't care about today.

Fortunatelly, in the last few years, some PP builders finally take the challenge ( others like me designed our self ones ) and we have some very good HG PP, many of them at very high price.

This change of comercial attitude: Bravo!!!!!!, could tell us that the best about is coming because the developtment of HG PPs are really " starting ", it is not a mature industry.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Dear Ebarker2: +++++ " I'm having a hard time waiting, and I pester Jan far too often. " +++++

Yes, this is part of the " price " that we have to pay for that kind of quality. You will be extremely satisfied: be patience!!!

Regards and enjoy the music.
I have some information to share with all of the folks interested in these cartridges.

I have been trying to assess the method that Jan allaerts uses to specify his output voltage. I contacted him and he told me that he uses the following convention:

5cm/S , 1 KHz

Hope this helps some.

I do wish that someone with extensive knowledge of the top Allaerts models could/would add some "extensive" thoughts,and insight into,what appear to be some extraordinary designs.When I look at the Allaerts website,and see the amount of manufacturing detail that goes into these little gems I can only imagine how fascinating the top models must sound.

Surely,like the extensive "Koetsu Crowd",or the Van den Hul/Lyra/ZYX lovers,of which there seems to be a deserved army,there must be a group of loyal Allaerts followers!!
Don't make me buy one,and be responsible for what could be a "forced" review. -:)

Where are you guys???

Best! ------ But,only if I get some feedback! -:)
Raul? Ebarker2?

Kha, Thomashesig..any experience?
Huh, I think, at this kind of level there are a few really good cartridges out there. My listening experience is a few years ago, it was a System comparison from Record turntables with Cartridges, but after that TT's all was sent through the same Phono Stage and the Rest of the System. It was their most expensive cartridge at that time and I was not sure to buy a second Miyabi or to go for the Allaerts. To make a long story short, I did like it very much but I went to order a Miyabi and I have to say, this Allaerts was really good. But at that time the list of really top cartridges was not so numerous like today. And it was at that time really expensive. Today we have Zyx Airy, UNIverse, more Transfigurations, more Miyabi etc.
I think, here it is much more important what Arm you have and what Phonostage to get the details out.
Thomas,you seem to be contradicting yourself in some comments.First you claim there is not that many good cartridges today.Then you state that today,there are alot of good choices.I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt,and assuming you know that today there are more great choices of components,in virtually any component category than ever before.In lieu of the fact that this is 2006,the fact that there seems to be so many really fine cartridge designs,makes that,alone,all the more amazing!!Now that digital has become the norm!

Also,the phonostage and arm,like virtually every aspect of a good set-up,is clearly important,but that does not negate the fact that there has been a wealth of "cartridge developement" in the "here and now".Last year I,and a pal did an extensive(and expensive)"small signal tube" survey,for our own phonostages.Even that aspect of performance,with the wide variety of "NOS" tubes out there,could,and has,become a long winded subject.

It's at the very "beginning",in the "groove",where everything "starts"!It's then up to all of us to screw it up from there -:)

Best!------- I guess I'm not going to get any new Allaerts insight,as those owners are probably too busy listening to music.That could say it all!!
Sirspeedy I'm in a rush so cant give an extensive comment but I find the Allaerts MC2 Finish is truly an exceptional cartridge. Properly set up, and with a good phonostage (it wants 845ohms mostly) the results are thrilling and astounding. A remarkable cartridge by any standards. I would add its also very sensitive to set up - especially VTF, where it doesn't tolerate any variance off 1.8gms. It brings out a lot more detail than the MC1B MK2, and a little more surface noise. The only other cartridge i've heard that seems of the same quality (and could be even more amazing actually, though its very different) is the Kondo Io-J. But of course the best Dynavector, Univ, Miyabi are all excellent cartridges too. I had got fed up with waiting so long, but in the end it was more than worth it. Now i'm very keen to hear the Formula 1.
BTW,Thomas--I owe you an apology!I read your post too quickly.You were not contradictory.Sorry!!
Dear friends: +++++ " I think, here it is much more important what Arm you have and what Phonostage to get the details out. " +++++

I almost agree with this Thomas post specially on the phonopreamp subject where not many people give the critical importance that the Phonopreamp has on the quality sound reproduction. In my opinion this analog audio link is ( maybe ) the most important one.

Regards and enjoy the music.
I own a MC2 Formul 1.
I have used it with a Da Vinci Grndezza Gran Reference 12" and also with a Graham Phantom 2 on a Monaco Grand Prix Audio turntable and on a Versa Dynamics 2.0.
It is a good cartridge, fast, dynamic and well detailed.
Compared with tha Kondo IOM it sounds a little lighter on low frequencies but a little more dynamic..
Compared with Ikeda 9 it sounds a little deeper on low frequencies and very similar in dynamic, perhaps just a little lower but richer in details.
With a Audio Tekné MC6310 it is clearer ad more extended in high frequencies, faster and more dynamic, but perhaps for some voices and "solo" instruments" a little less "magic" (but it happens only few times).
Compared with the Audio Note IO LTD it has a better separation but loses against the capacity of IO LTD to materialize instruments/people/music in front of you.
Against the ZYX Diamond, it sounds a little similar but, i think that, the Diamond has all the qualities of the Formula expanded.
I think best matching for the Formula1 is an active preamp, but it seems to me it sounds a little more natural with high sensivity speakers driven by tubes.
Wow- Good stuff. Thanks for the breakdown. I know someone who uses a Jan Allaerts, and loves it. I wanna say it's a 1B model. I hope to hear one at some point. I have heard the Ikeda and they are excellent, although one with a low/med mass arm need not apply.
I have a lyra Atlas and a Allaerts MC 2 Finish. Grand Prix Monaco Turntable with a TriPlanar (current model), EAR MC4 Step up, Nagra VPS.

The Allaerts is finicking on set up and on the phono stage. Honestly, I am on the hunt for a better phono stage...unsure if I'll go solid state (like Pass or Boulder) or Tubes and Trannies (like Allnic or Lamm)

So my set up with the Atlas is near perfect from a phono stage perspective, with the Allaert's it's on the edge of being a issue (lyra is .56mv and Allaerts is .2mv) I get a little hum, microphonics in the cable off the SUT. I get about 18 db gain of the tap I use on the EAR and another 49 db from the MM input on the Nagra..

All this said...The Allaert's MC 2 Finish is a fantastic cartridge. dynamic, fast, natural, ultra focus and presentation on the sound stage wide and deep, but not stretched images...

All if this in comparison to the Lyra Atlas, which is one of best...
Pietro, thanks for posting. I am very curious regarding your phono stages you've tried with the Allearts Formula...can you let us know?

Hello Jfrech.
The MC2 Formula1 usually is used with an Accuphase 300 preamp.
I have also used it with an Audio Note Japan 6C transformer + an FM Acoustic 122 MKII MM Phono preamp and finally i have used a Shindo Lab Mombrison in the MC input.
With the Shindo the result is not very good as its gain is a little low for this cartridge and for this reason the sounds loses something in terms of "body" (i am not so good with english).
With both Accuphase and ANJ + FM there are no problems in this way and, it seems to me that the sound keeps fine and rich.
Dear Lucy25: I owned the MC2 Gold ( btw, the M.Fremer Allaerts MC2 sample in his review was my cartridge that I borrowed to him because Allaerts never had on hand a sample for review. ) and own the Formula 1.

I ow, owned or heard in my system all the cartridges you mentioned but the ZYX Diamond and my experiences, with out been the same, were around yours.

+++++ " I think best matching for the Formula1 is an active preamp.... " +++++

here I certainly agree, MC2 and Formula 1 needs an active high gain phonolinepreamp to permit that the cartridges can shows you at its best. Speaker/amps is a different matter and IMHO not related with what the cartridges can shows, of course that at this quality performance level we have to have first rate audio items at each audio link in the system chain.

Regards and enjoy the music,