MC for Low Mass Tonearm

With my table's low mass tonearm I am sad to see only Ortefon and Sumiko MC carts available.  Please offer suggestions for other carts/brands that might work with an 8.5gm arm.  <$3000.00 budget

My System:
Pro-ject RPM Table / EVO Carbon 10 inch arm  8.5 gm mass and very rigid

Into all Aric Audio front-end:  the 'Transend MM phono pre' (12ax7 and 47ohm), '6SN7 Linestage Preamp' and 'Transcend Push-pull' amp into ZU Soul Supreme.

My current carts are MM and MI, Grace F9e and Soundsmith The Voice. Both are hi-compliance (+22cu).

Will I be able to best those with a $3k Moving Coil cartridge?  The Voice is really nice! 

I'll know that I need to purchase an SUT.



My look at the Benz line, their Ruby Z and Gullwing work well on low mass tonearms.

Add some mass at the headshell and use any MC you want. You need not take the perfectionist approach. Also, have SS retip your F9E with their OCL stylus on a Ruby cantilever and you may not feel the need for an MC cartridge or a SUT.

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I agree with what @lewm says. I have an Grace F9e with the original stylus and the Soundsmith Ruby upgraded stylus, also an original F9e Ruby. The Soundsmith stylus is the better of the 3. I also have a Soundsmith Carmen II and the F9e/Soundsmith cartridge outperforms that one as well.

If you want to stick your neck out there a bit, a friend of mine just bought a mint B&O MMC-1 with the Soundsmith adapter, and I own the MMC-2. These cartridges stack up quite well against MC cartridges and work well with low mass arms.

I’m using the best stylus replacement that SS offers for the Grace F9e.  It’s mounted and I’m using it. It is very nice. My other cartridge is SS The Voice. That’s in for service now.
 Everybody loves MC cartridges. I’m curious to find out why?
Will a $4000 MC cart with an SUT best either of my carts?  

BTW I bought the Grace in 1984 for $153. I’ve seen them advertised for $1200.00. 
Thank you all for the recommendations.



OP question is, I believe, in response to JCarr’s comment on his other thread. How many cart designers will steer you away from their product ;) ?

AnaMighty / Sculpture A may have something tasty, in the budget range, worth an ask.

I have two carts in my portfolio that are brilliant for a lighter carbon arm, but both ( Aidas AU-CU baby ebony and Tedeska Lacote ) are a little above the budget mentioned. 



B&O MMC1 might be the finest cartridge I’ve ever owned, until I accidentally destroyed the cantilever. SS replaced cantilever and stylus but I’ve been reluctant to listen to the repaired version for fear that I’ll be disappointed. Acutex LPM320STRIII is in the same category of greatness. Both MI. 

Dear @michaellent : Project designer recomend in its site the Ofrtofon Cadenza RED ( in this line the Black is trully good. ) that has lower compliance and higher weigth that the Kleos and its resonance frequency is around 11hz against the healthy 9hz in the Lyra.

Ovbiously that who knows best the Kleos quality performance is the designer but the 10" EVO must be really good tonearm for Project makes the Cadenza recomendation.


I think that you can try the Kleos. Resonance frequency is not all between the relationship in tonearm/cartridge, the quality of the design and builded results are important because around tonearm/cartridge exist several other resonances/distortions developed during playback.

For me always is better that the cartridge suspension sees a lower dynamic mass than heavier one.

About those " shortfalls " you posted in the other thread can or can’t appears, in analog world always are trade-offs nothing is perfect . I don’t know in the EVO/Kleos which kind of shortfall could appears if any.

Btw, phono stage quality performance is way critical because it’s the unit that has the responsability to handled the sensible cartridge signal adding and losting almost nothing of what the cartridge stylus tip pick-up from those LP groove modulations. As better your phono stage as better your listening sessions.


Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,



Agreed.  I've run the Benz Wood SL, Gullwing, and LPS on my Clearaudio Tracer arm (9.5g effective mass) with success.  Tracks well, sounds rich, but detailed.  The resonant frequency was about 8hz  IIRC.  Also ran an Aidas Gold (recommended by Solypsa) which mates well, and has a resonant frequency of just shy of 9hz.  @michaellent is onto something with those vintage MM and that low mass arm though! I'm currently running a Stanton 980 and it rocks, literally it is the best tracker I've ever experienced.  Very dynamic and vivid presentation taboot.  Resonant frequency is between 7 and 9hz for that, strangely there are two peaks, one at about 9 and the other at 7, but tracking is superb.  I wanted a change from MCs, so I'm running this Stanton for a while, will put the Aidas back on sometime soon.  I still love the Aidas @solypsa! 

@gakerty   I did not recommend the top of the line Benz LPS as it could be mistaken for the MR model, which I think is one of the heaviest cartridges and probably not suitable for a lightweight arm ( albeit, I do think on my WTA Black it would work, due to the arm's suspension design). Not sure if the regular model you use, the LPS, is lighter, I think it may be considerably so...??

Barring problems with counterbalancing the cartridge's weight, the weight of the cartridge is inconsequential, in my opinion, so long as the combined effective mass (tonearm + headshell + mounting screws + cartridge) is within reason. In fact if the compliance of the "heavy" cartridge is low enough, you actually need a lightweight (read low effective mass) tonearm if you want to comply with the recommended rule for resonant frequency.


Indeed the one I used was the Benz LPS with a weight of about 16g!  Of course I had to use a supplied second counterweight for the Tracer to balance, putting it just at the upper end of the Tracer range, which maxes at 17g.  To my ears, the LPS sounded lovely, and tracked quite well, albeit not as well as some other MCs I had in the past, such as the Lyra Delos, which apparently is not a good match for low mass tonearms.  I suppose there's theory and what actually works in practice.

Egregious error on my part.  In the post above gakerty's, I wrote, "In fact if the compliance of the "heavy" cartridge is low enough, you actually need a lightweight (read low effective mass) tonearm if you want to comply with the recommended rule for resonant frequency."

Obviously, I should have written "HIGH enough", not "low enough", in relation to compliance.  I just now spotted my error which was really careless.

@gakerty  Actually I think the Delos you mention may work well on a low mass tonearm. My Kleos works very well on my WTA 'Black' arm, which is a very low mass design. Tracking is no issue at all. OTOH, on the other thread, J Carr did mention that the extreme bottom end suffers a bit with the Kleos on low mass designs. I can well believe this, but I suspect that this applies to all cartridges on low mass designs. However, the upside to the match up is an absolutely amazing sound stage reproduction, possibly due to the inherent speed of the low mass design ( and of course, the liquid bearing helps). 

I was also looking at a Van den hul frog. It was an open box, but got sold. Also bad timing!  

thanks for coming over here and answering this question for me to you guys who were on my other post. 


Van Den Hul The Frog Gold or even the MC1 Special which I thoroughly enjoyed.

I'm in negotiations with a European Audiogon Dealer right now to Purchase a Frog!

Thank you all (again) for your advice!





If you check out the specs on an AT OC9 XML you'll see that it's custom made for your arm's 8.5 g effective mass.  


Save yourself a ton of money.

Dear @michaellent  : I owned the Frog and is a good cartridge designed many years ago.

Now that you are looking for other cartridge than the Kleos then you have to look to Audio Technica that's a solid cartridge manufacturer of MM/LOMC for 60 years. Next models that can work with your tonearm:


Dual Moving Coil Stereo Cartridge | AT-ART20 | Audio-Technica

Dual Moving Coil Cartridge | AT-ART9XA (

and this its 60th anniversary unique one piece diamond cantilever/stylus tip:


Dual Moving Coil Stereo Cartridge | AT-MC2022 | Audio-Technica


Great designs, recomended.



@michaellent , I have used the Soundsmith Voice in my system. A $4000 MC cartridge is not going to get you far if not backwards. The Soundsmith Voice is an excellent cartridge. It tracks as well or better than any MC made. It has a very high quality diamond and cantilever. To be sure of a significant improvement in a MC you would have to jump to something like a top model Van den Hul like a Crimson or Colibri and a solid state phono stage. 

The Delos sounds quite analytical and lacking a muscular low end in a lightweight arm. Additional weights help in my Triplaner but don’t get you all the way.  My finding based on a Herron… certainly for tubes a very neutral bit of kit. To me anyway..never mind the arm chair quarterbacks, when the designer advises look elsewhere….. his STAR and credibility do nothing but go up.