MC loading at 47K

Hi All,

Just after some expert advice from your good selves if I may. My current system is as follows:

Musical Fidelity KW550 intergrated amp which has a MM and MC section, both loaded at 47K. The only difference between them is the step up voltage.

My turntable is the Rega P9 with Ortofon Kontrapunkt A.

Looking at changing my cartridge but honestly cant decide between MM or MC.

My music taste are as follows:

Female Vocal

No classical or jazz.

So what should I choose based I'm only limited to a 47K loading. I was thinking either of the below:

1. Ortofon Jubilee (MC)
2. Ortofon 2M black (MM)
3. Clear Audio Maestro (MM)

Is there a down side to loading up a MC so much?

Thoughts please...thanks
you might experience very thin sound and lack of holography.
the realistic load impedance to try is sub- 100Ohms. You can solder 100Ohms resistor in-parallel with 47K resistor or try different resistors using aligator clips.
I use a Benz Glider SH (2.5mv output) into the mm input loaded at 47k. The phono pre is Vacuum State Jlti. The frequency balance is natural and not at all bright on top. I obtained the same results with the Musical Surroundings Phonomena. However, this cartridge sounds like crap fed into the tubed stage of my VAC preamp. I don't know why this combination doesn't cut it.
The Benz sounds great on my classic rock albums, jazz albums, and vocalists such as Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris.
The impedance of Benz Glider SH is more than 10x higher than Kontrapunkt A. If you try to load with 1.5k you might like it better.
Since you are stuck with 47k I would go with the Ortofon 2m black. I have the bronze and it is an excellant sounding cartridge
Loading a MC at 47K is a recipe for thin sound. I would stick with a MM cart if you are married to 47K. But...why are you married to 47K?
Musical Fidelity manual. Specs at end. link[]
It has 47K for both MC and MM. Not too many low output MC carts will benefit from being loaded @47k. I would connect a resistor in-parallel when switching to MC. It could be done in any phono unit.
I put the link there for Lindisfarne, and others to see what the OP has to work with.
Some folks including Charles Hansen (Ayre) and the late Allen Wright recommended running all MCs at 47kOhms. I think Harry Pearson (HP) of The Absolute Sound recommended it too (don't know if he still does). I tried it and liked it with a Denon DL-103 although I'm currently running that one at 500 Ohms. I'm not sure but I believe the "thinness" will have to do more with the phonostage than anything else. If Musical Fidelity loads both MMs and MCs at 47K, they must think MCs sound okay that way.
I agree with MC at around 100 Ohms. 30 Ohms to 500 Ohms anyway all around for MC.
47K Ohms is really the MM setting.
So if you do not want to worry about the top end being to bright and thin all around, use a MM cart.
PS I have a Benz Glider set at 300 Ohms
My Dynavector is 30 Ohms.
And yes you can use the 47K Ohms with a MC cart without any major issues, and maybe it will sound fine in your setup. but it is not likely. Possible.. but why take the chance you will hate it?
I think the best thing is to see what others use for loading the cartridge you like, then get some cheap resistors from RS, or whatever place you could, and experiment with different values. The alligator clip idea should be OK. Just make sure your amp is *off* when adding the others on. What others use may save some time, to start with, but still try a large swing in values just in case you like something different. When you find the best sounding value,get a couple of that value in a high quality low noise resistor and solder them in if possible. Some companies do say you could use 47k, but I never found a value that high to work for me either,that I can remember.
Goldring 1042 MM to begin with; $320 plus shipping from the UK. Those cheap MCs are unlikely to do it for you considering the kind of music you listen to whether they will sound bright or not. That's not the main point - they won't have enough weight, punch and substance.
Ortofon Black is almost $700 and Clearaudio Maestro is around $1000; they might or might not be overall better for you.
By the way, do you have a motor controller for your Rega? You may want to get it, either Rega or Heed.
If you do add a lower value on, 47k is so high, you may not even need to pay any attention to it being there, especially adding something on like 1k(1000 ohms), or less. Be careful if you use the clip idea, make sure they're not touching anything else.
My 47k statement being high is for MC cartridges that use lower resistance loading only.
This calculator will give you an idea. Add 47000(47K) and 1000,will give you 979.17 ohms. Don't use comas with it. The things like this on the net sure makes it easier. Link[]
Yikes, All of my posts. I must have had to much coffee.
Why dont you try putting a 1K or whatever resistor on a rca adapter and see if you like it. While everyone here speculates about what it may sound like you could actually find out and form your own opinion.
just a thought
Thank you all for your input, much appreciated.

I will try and adding a resistor to the RCA input (I presume I just attach on end of the resistor to the positive and one to the negative). Is this correct?

To get 100 Ohm loading on the cartridge (starting point) what size resistor do I need to add at the RCA input? Is there a calculation table for this as this is starting to go above my head now.

Thanks a million.
I'm running a Lyra Titan i and Transfiguration Orpheus wide open (47K ohms) through a Manley Steelhead with terrific results.


Dealer disclaimer
I use Lyra Titan as well but much better of with 100Ohms.
"Better" depends on your other components and personal taste.

It's that simple.
Get a couple rca y adapters (2fmale to 1 male) and some cheap rca connectors from radio shack. Make yourself a few load plug ins by soldering resistors onto the connectors and the y adapter will put them in parallel with the input. This is a cheap fast way to sample different loading. Use good resistors. If you find something you like you can fashion something more permanent or just use the jig. There's no hard and fast rule its different with every cart, pre, system, combo.
Thanks RCCC for the help.

I'm trying to imagine how your plug in will work?

If possible, can you email me a diagram and I will rig something like this up.

Hi All,

Found this link showing the load plugs.....will definetly be giving this ago.

That's the idea. I looked around for pics, and couldn't find any that were good enough to make your own from. Same link.[]
Thats it. I used Dale RN 65 resistors. Not too expensive and not noisy, used by some fancy pants designers. I like the one piece body Y adapter as it is a shorter path and makes for neater wire dress made by monster and others. Post your results Id like to hear what you settle on.
Look at Audiofeil's answers very closely. Perhaps I am mistaken, but your OP suggests that you don't understand how loading a MC cartridge works. Running a cartridge into a "wide-open" 47K load, means that the cartridge sees less resistance than at 200, 500, 1000, etc. ohms. My experience with many different cartridges, and preamps over the years has been that I tend to prefer 47K loading for MC's. Anything much lower than that has usually (not always) made the cartridge unnaturally thick sounding, with loss of fine inner texture to the sound. As Audiofeil says, it is really a matter of personal taste in the context of your particular system. If your system tends to the bright/thin side, you will probably prefer a lower load value.
I agree with Frogman. The loading values for an MC are listener and system dependant, however, it has been my experience, especially with the Benz LP and LPS, that wide open at 47K sounded best. Loading at 1000 seemed best for me while the MC was breaking in, however, I experimented with other load values and decided that wide open (47K) sounded the best.

The option leaves the OP of this thread to choose any cartridge he would like. We're not saying he needs to do this. He is not stuck with 47k only, in other words.
Here is the Manley Steelhead manual. You could check out their options.[]
My experience with many different cartridges, and preamps over the years has been that I tend to prefer 47K loading for MC's. Anything much lower than that has usually (not always) made the cartridge unnaturally thick sounding, with loss of fine inner texture to the sound. As Audiofeil says, it is really a matter of personal taste in the context of your particular system. If your system tends to the bright/thin side, you will probably prefer a lower load value.

My experience as well with Titan i and others in the past.
HI All,

After a lot of switching around of loads I have settled in the 80Ohm or 100 Ohm setting. %0 ohm seem too thick and slow and 80-100 seemed spot on. As I went higher 200, 300, 400 and 500 Ohm the sound became more "shrilley for my likings". I prefer a more "meat on bones sound". At higher loadings the sound was a lot more detailed but to me more "harsh".

This is on my Kontrapunkt A cartridge which has a recommended loading of 50-500 Ohms.

Thanks again all.

Sounds great.
I have the Benz Glider SM and have experimented with the loading using a Phonomena. FIRST of all I should mention that you should set the arm level or slightly lower at the back end and the playing weight correctly BEFORE you play with the loading. If you do not you end up trying to correct a VTA related issue with the cartridge loading!!!

The Benz spec sheet has a huge window from 200 ohms to 47K so obviously that is not much use. The 47K gives a lot of width but it falls down in complex passages of an orchestra you lose a lot of the individual instruments in a hodge-podge of sound. I ended up at 680 ohms. Lowering it beyond that thinned out the sound too much.
>>03-20-11: Stops
I ended up at 680 ohms. Lowering it beyond that thinned out the sound too much<<

That's rather odd.

In most cases lowering the value makes the presentation more thick, muddy, or congested.

I think that he meant "lowering the loading" (not the value).
>>03-20-11: Geoch
I think that he meant "lowering the loading" (not the value).<<

I don't.
Lowering the load thins out the sound in an MC cartridge. It also narrows the stage width but it adds more definition.
I think you are getting confused with lowering the height of the arm. That does make the sound muddy.
>>03-22-11: Stops
Lowering the load thins out the sound in an MC cartridge<<

Let's be clear on this. Lowering the loading value i.e. going from 600 ohms to 100 ohms will muddy or blur the presentation. Raising the value will add air, presence, clarity and other related superlatives.

I am not the confused poster here.

Check out your closest mirror for that guy.
Audiofeil, one ohm is a real heavy load, to heavy for any cartridge. 47,000 ohms is a light load. To light for a lot of people. Zero ohms is a direct short.
Yes hifihvn, I am aware of that; perhaps my post was poorly written.

When I use the term "lowering", it referred to reducing the value i.e. 100 is a lower number than 600.

As you indicated though, 100 ohms is indeed a greater load than 600 ohms.

Thank you for the clarification.
You have to try it. There is no Standard (unfortunately). The result will be different from Manufacturer to Manufacturer. Phonstage A with 100ohm will not sound identical to Phonostage B with 100ohm, same of course with 47kΩ...
You have to try it on your own, when you will find the best setting, fine. When you buy your next Phonostage, you can start the game again...
There are a few MC Phonostages out there which have excellent results- Speed, airy high frequency Aera, headroom, deep soundstage, holographic Body - with 47kΩ (Stan Klyne, CTC, Vendetta, Manley Steelhead...) but most will sound thin, harsh and lifeless at that Setting. Depends on Design.
At 47kΩ you can hear the cartridge the way it really is, pure, no damping (a kind of coloration), the more you go down, the more slow and dull it will be.
But most Audiophiles are not -really - mad for that. The reason is a compensation in their Hardware. A sharp, thin and agressive sounding System is unlistenable with such a non-load. The cartridge has to be dampened here, that the area of pleasant sound will be arrived. This is System depending. Here you have the reason why anyone will get different answers when he asks for a setting. Even when some have the same cartridge and the same Phonostage.
Unfortuantely to rate a component (a cartridge for example) on such unsafe conditions is like rolling a dice. Next is the Phono Cable, it also has a technical influence, but that is another story.

To design a good sounding Phonostage needs a lot of knowledge. To design a good sounding 47k MC Phonostage shortens this group dramatically. Even today.
It is difficult from shielding, influences, musical flow, high frequency raising, choice of parts and so on.
Those, who can‘t do it, always write, it is not optimal and recommend a lower value, those who can, write nothing about. Unfortunately the Audiophile doesn‘t get technical informations, he gets opinions instead. And after some time, these opinions are transformed into „facts“...

This discussion will never end, because most knowledge is buried, the average became Standard. For the customer is good, what he likes. So it is very rare, when a Dealer like Audiofeil opens his ears and hears a difference in Hardware AND knows why.

Btw. all Benz (and others) were made for 47kΩ, but they changed the description in the manual some years ago, too much problems for the dealers, too much time for it is 100Ω-47kΩ :-)
The coil in the cartridge is a generator and the external load will damp the generator bringing the mechanical movement (coil) to a quicker stop (back emf). This is analogous to the damping on a speaker by the LOWER output impedance of an amplifier.It is also apparent that a lower resistive load on the cartridge will reduce the output so if you do compare the effects of the various load resistors on the cartridge you should adjust the volume level.There will be an optimum damping for the cartridge that will prevent overshoot of a rapidly rising waveform and therefore trial and error is needed.

Any NON-Personal feedback is welcome.
As I said, lowering the numerical value (increasing the load) will muddy or blur the presentation.

Case closed.
Thanks for your scientific analysis
Do your homework Sparky.
Something that hasn't been mentioned: Anyone with a phonostage offering instantaneous load change comparisons like my Aesthetix Rhea will be aware that the audible difference as you go from sub-100 ohms to 47 kOhms isn't nearly as great as you might expect. Yeah, there's a difference (especially going from sub-100 immediately to 47k) but the incremental changes are pretty subtle.
Audiofeil:I have done and you are NOT the last word on this subject even though you are trying to be by your soapbox statements....

Dopogue: I agree with you on that. I am using the Phonomena and the changes require extended listening to a wide variety of material. Other items that have a more obvious impact to sound are whether the arm is level or slightly lower at the back and/or the playing weight. These should be optimised BEFORE the load resistance into which the cartridge is fed is evaluated.
It's simple electrical theory and physics young man.

You need to read more and post less.