Low vs. High Output MC Cartridges


When a MC cartridge is offered both in a Low & High Output version (e.g. Dynavector DV 20X2), what advantage (if any) does one have over the other?

That is, why offer two different output versions of the same cartridge?
agiaccio
Lower output carts have wider frequency range. The specified one usually placed for both versions the same but it's different in reality.
This has been covered ad nausium but the simple answer is that not all phono stages can handle a low output MC but about all can use a high output one. MOST think that sound of the low output is better if your phono stage can handle it; some like HO better. Check the archives for far more than you want to know.
One more important point:
Low-outs are less sensible to RFI or EMI or turntable motor noise. The tolerance in phono preamps to EMI or RFI may also come onto the game with low-out MC, but the implementation of proper EMI or RFI tolerance on the circuit board isn't rocket science nowdays.
Dear Marakanetz, You wrote, "One more important point:
Low-outs are less sensible to RFI or EMI or turntable motor noise. The tolerance in phono preamps to EMI or RFI may also come onto the game with low-out MC, but the implementation of proper EMI or RFI tolerance on the circuit board isn't rocket science nowadays."

There seems to be an internal contradiction. Also, I cannot imagine why a LOMC cartridge would have be "less sensible" to RFI, EMI, turntable motor noise than its HOMC counter-part. Can you explain further? More phono gain is required for LOMC vs HOMC. Any noise from any source upstream from the volume control will therefore be amplified more when using an LOMC vs HOMC. Granted, you may have in mind other factors, but what are those?

To the OP, I have always found that LOMCs are as a class superior to HOMCs purely as regards fidelity. In fact, I prefer highest quality MM and MI cartridges over HOMC cartridges, again, as a class. But this is just one opinion.
A moving inductive coil travels accross the constant magnetic field by Faradey's law and getting a voltage drop between its first and last coil transferred through the pick-up arm wiring harness to your phono preamp...

LOMCs have substantially less coils and certainly less inductance. The cartrige is more likely become a microphone having larger number of coils and sensible to weaker magnetic fields such as EMI. So there's no contradiction there: If cartridge picks up nothing or tolerably insensible to EMI or RFI, than nothing gets amplified X amount of dB or times.

That's why my preference is in LOMC(but not SLOMC though) with high-gain (60dB+) SS phonostage with single gain jFet stage.
Hi - the answer is that the lower output requires less number of coils and due to the lower mass of the moving coils can be quicker than the higher output MC. The downside of the lower output is the requirement for a higher gain phono stage. Some manufacturers produce multiple versions so people can match the output to the gain of their phono stage.
"A moving inductive coil travels accross the constant magnetic field by Faradey's law and getting a voltage drop between its first and last coil transferred through the pick-up arm wiring harness to your phono preamp... LOMCs have substantially less coils and certainly less inductance."

I'm in complete agreement. Then, "LOMCs have substantially less coils and certainly less inductance. The cartrige is more likely become a microphone having larger number of coils and sensible to weaker magnetic fields such as EMI." Here is where I am lost. It would seem to me that EMI fields in the vicinity of a LOMC cartridge would be less likely to induce a spurious signal in the tiny coil than in the larger number of turns of wire in the coil of an HOMC.
Lewm,
I meant for the MM and HOMC cartridges that have higher inductance coils vs. LOMC.
Higher inductance means higher sensitivity to the variable magnetic flux(EMI). Same motions across permanent magnet with larger number of coils will induce larger EMF(Electro Magnetic Force i.e. output voltage) and correspondingly less tolerance to outside signal trash.
Be careful with generalizations. While it is true that a LO version of a particular cartridge is probably "better" (more transparent/detailed) than the it's higher output version, wether it actually sounds that way (overall) IN YOUR SETUP is another matter altogether. As has been pointed out, the ability of your phono preamp to "handle" the lower output version is a complicated matter. First of all, in my experience, phono stages with switchable gain almost always sound better in their LOW gain setting. Same principle as with the cartridge: Less (gain) is more. I have owned phono stages that sounded more detailed with a LOMC, but also sounded lethargic and uninvolving. However, the added gain of a higher output cartridge made it come alive. You gave up a little bit of resolution, but gained a great deal of rhythmic drive. Again, be careful with generalizations and accept the fact that only experience and experimentation in your system, weighed against your preferences, will give you a useful answer. Good luck.
I agree with Dover, There is obvious pursuit by the producer to use as little wire as possible on the 'bobin' or the coil plate. The 'éxotic' plates like ruby
by Benz seems to need more wire then the'iron'kind. This can be seen by their imp. specifications. To my mind one can better choose for some good MM cart then HOMC.
Frogman, your comments about generalization are very true, however generalizing gives you some ideas about building your analogue system based on either scientific facts, reviews, feedback, personal listening experience. My system based on LOMC and 60dB SUT-less pleases me all the way except that it doesn't have a subsonic filter and some of the records really rumble the speakers.
02-08-12: Lewm

To the OP, I have always found that LOMCs are as a class superior to HOMCs purely as regards fidelity. In fact, I prefer highest quality MM and MI cartridges over HOMC cartridges, again, as a class. But this is just one opinion.

I'm not sure. How do you explain Clearaudio's upper tier carts ? The Goldfinger Statement cart is HO MC and arguably one of the best sounding carts one can buy.

02-09-12: Rockitman
I'm not sure. How do you explain Clearaudio's upper tier carts ? The Goldfinger Statement cart is HO MC and arguably one of the best sounding carts one can buy.

1+1=2 only in math, but in reality it could be 2 or more...
few coil wire with 12 magnets.
Frogman, If you re-read my statement, note that in all cases I used the qualifier "as a class". This is to warn the reader that I mean "in general", i.e., I did not mean for what I wrote to be taken as a hard and fast rule. In other words, I was saying, as you said, be careful about generalizations. Of course, I have not heard every HOMC ever made or every LOMC either. So it is entirely possible that a single given HOMC (apparently the Clearaudio is one, in your opinion) could be competitive with the other best cartridges in the world of any and all types. But I spent about 15 years playing with several so-called "good" HOMC cartridges (Sumiko, Benz and Transfig brands) in my system, and in my system, in my opinion, they suck compared to a few very good LOMC cartridges and a few very good MM and MI cartridges that came later. OK? To be more specific, they lacked "sparkle", life, any sense of verisimilitude.

Marakanetz, In your very last post, you say exactly what I say. So I am guessing that you just accidentally misspoke in your first and second posts regarding susceptibility to EMI. Cool.
Lew, I'm not quite sure I understand why you felt I was referring to or contradicting your comments. If anything, I was referring mostly to Stanwal's correct observation that some think LO is better, and some that HO is better. If you reread my comments you will note that we are actually in agreement. I believe that in absolute terms LO versions of the same cartridge are generally better. The point that I was making was that because of their lower output, in practice, they may not yield a superior result in a system with a gain structure that benefits from a healthier output from the cartridge. BTW, I have no experience with Clearaudio cartridges, and made no reference to them (??).

Speaking of the comment re Clearaudio carts, Rockitman the .8 or .9 mv output of the Clearaudios can fairly be considered medium output for a MC. My experience with VDH and Benz medium output MC's tells me that output in the .5-1 mv range represents a very sensible compromise on the part of manufacturers to maximize the advantages of low output design and usability in "the real world".
Dear Frogman, I am too lazy to re-read all the posts to find out who it was that praised the Clearaudio HOMC. Someone did, and I meant to cast no aspersions on that person's opinion. Anyway, sorry for sounding a bit strident. There is no rule to go by, as you and others have said, but I always considered that the "High" in HOMC begins at about 1mV output, and up from there. Which means that MCs in the 0.6 to 1.0mV output range are kind of in limbo. Then too, ZYX makes the UNIverse in 0.24 and 0.48mV output versions; what do you call the latter? It has higher output than its congener but hardly qualifies as "HO". On the other hand, the scuttlebutt is that the LO one is better.

My major point is that (again, as a class), I like the best of the MM and MI cartridges I have auditioned much better than the best of the HOMCs I have lived with for years. So my rank order is: LOMC=MI~MM>HOMC, or something like that. Surely, LOMCs sound "different" from the best MM and MI cartridges, but not always better.