MC Head Amp - do I need one, should I have one?

Dear All,

I've tried to research this subject online without much success. Can someone here explain to me exactly what an MC head amp does for me and whether in this day & age of MC 'compatible' phono stages I need or would benefit from one.

Current front end is Lumley Stratosphere, RS Labs A1 and soon to be Grasshopper III running into an EAR 834P Signature MM/MC phono stage.

I'be been offered a Gryphon Head Amp (dual mono etc.) Will this help my setup or simply get in the way?

The research I've managed to do seems to imply that I can load-match my cartridge better, via the use of something like the Gryphon which comes with interchangeable load modules. However my understaning is that something like the Grasshopper III and many other modern MC carts are happiest with 47k loads, which the EAR presents anyway....

So I guess to sum up - if I have a decent MC cart that's looking for a 47K load, running into a phono stage that's at 47k and happy to accept MC level input... do I need a head amp?

All thoughts / comments much appreciated.


Cambridge, UK.
If everything is currently running up to your satisfaction, you don't need it.

It only is needed when you select a lower output cartridge, that is too low for your existing phono stage.

The other option would be a MC step-up transformer, which I think is preferable to a solid state head amp, particularly since you are using a tube phono stage. Why put any grain into it with a SS head amp?
Did you buy the Gryphon? I have the EAR and am considering the same move. Please let me know.