Dear friends:The main subject of this thread is start a dialogue to find out the way we almost all think or be sure about the thread question :  " true " answer.


Many years ago I started the long Agon MM thread where several audiophiles/Agoners and from other audio net forums participated to confirm or to discover the MM/MI/IM/MF/HOMC world and many of us, me including, was and still are" surprised for what we found out in that " new " cartridge world that as today is dominated by the LOMC cartridges.


Through that long thread I posted several times the superiority of the MM/types of cartridges over the LOMC ones even that I owned top LOMC cartridge samples to compare with and I remember very clearly that I posted that the MM and the like cartridges had lower distortion levels and better frequency range quality performance than the LOMC cartridges.


In those times j.carr ( Lyra designer ) was very active in Agon and in that thread  I remember that he was truly emphatic  posting that my MM conclusion was not  true due that things on distortion cartridge levels in reality is the other way around: LOMC has lower distortion levels.


Well, he is not only a LOMC cartridge designer but an expert audiophile/MUSIC lover with a long long and diverse first hand experiences listening cartridges in top TT, top tonearms and top phono stages and listening not only LOMC cartridges but almost any kind of cartridges in his and other top room/systems.


I never touched again that subject in that thread and years or months latter the MM thread I started again to listening LOMC cartridges where my room/system overall was up-graded/dated to way superior quality performance levels than in the past and I posted somewhere that j.carr was just rigth: LOMC design were and are superior to the other MM type cartridges been vintage or today models.


I'm a MUSIC lover and I'm not " married " with any kind of audio items or audio technologies I'm married just with MUSIC and what can gives me the maximum enjoyment of that ( every kind )  MUSIC, even I'm not married with any of my opinions/ideas/specific way of thinking. Yes, I try hard to stay " always " UNBIASED other than MUSIC.


So, till today I followed listening to almost every kind of cartridges ( including field coil design. ) with almost every kind of tonearms and TTs and in the last 2 years my room/system quality performance levels were and is improved by several " stages " that permits me better MUSIC audio items judgements and different enjoyment levels in my system and other audio systems. Yes, I still usemy test audio items full comparison proccess using almost the same LP tracks every time and as always my true sound reference is Live MUSIC not other sound system reproduction.


I know that the main thread subject is way complicated and complex to achieve an unanimous conclusions due that exist a lot of inherent differences/advantages/unadvantages in cartridges even coming from the same manufacturer.


We all know that when we talk of a cartridge we are in reality talking of its cantilever buil material, stylus shape, tonearm used/TT, compliance, phono stage and the like and my " desire " is that we could concentrate in the cartridges  as an " isolated " audio item and that  any of our opinions when be posible  stay in the premise: " everything the same ".


My take here is to learn from all of you and that all of us try to learn in between each to other and not who is the winner but at the " end " every one of us will be a winner.


So, your posts are all truly appreciated and is a thread where any one can participates even if today is not any more his analog alternative or is a newcomer or heavily experienced gentleman. Be my guest and thank's in advance.




Ag insider logo xs@2xrauliruegas


Disclosure: this is not my typical response, but I am simply going to channel your personality, and the way that you respond to others in this response, and perhaps you may learn something:

What kind of stupid question is this?  Do you not have a brain?  Do your ears even work!?  This is like asking which is better: a Ferrari, a Kia, or a Yugo.  Obviously you know nothing about anything!  


I suppose a more proper imitation of @rauliruegas would be something more like this:



(As in life, so on the internet: bullies won’t cease being bullies until you just punch them in the face.)

OK, let’s try and get back on track and away from the typical nonsense that seems to often creep into these threads.

For whatever it may be worth, some thoughts and opinions based on my personal experiences with cartridges of every persuasion (MC, MI, MM) :

I agree with @bdp24 about the Decca cantilever-less cartridges and could not have described what I hear from them any better:

*** The London (Decca) moving iron pickups make music sound more like live music than anything else I’ve heard. Startling attack, immediacy, presence, full-bodied tonality, dynamics, and imaging. The musician’s touch on keyboard, fretboard, or drumhead, the singer’s lips, throat, and vocal chords---the "life" in music. ***

That “life” in music is FOR ME the most important consideration when comparing audio equipment. Assuming no gross tonal problems, even more so than tonality (timbre) issues, That quality is what gives the rhythmic integrity of music meaning and without rhythmic integrity music is pretty meaningless. As some musicians like to say “No one ever got fired for having a bad tone”. An exaggeration to be sure, but the point is that, in performance, rhythmic accuracy and feel trumps everything else. A musician can have a beautiful tone, but if his rhythmic accuracy and feel is not so great there are going to be problems.

So, does this mean that I think that MI designs “has better quality performance? Really?” I don’t think so. As much as I have liked some of the qualities of the Grado carts that I have owned, they didn’t come close to having the sense of life that the Decca’s have. I will let the more technically astute postulate as to why this may be so, but to my simple mind it points to the issue of compliance and why MC’s have been FOR ME second best in this regard, some a close second. MC’s tend to also be of low compliance. Coincidence? They also tend to share with the Decca’s tonal attributes that in my experience tend to elude most high compliance MM’s that I have used. Of course, there is more at play besides compliance.

To my ears the MM and, to a somewhat lesser extent, MI (not the Decca) designs that I have used seem to rob the music of some of the natural color of the sound of acoustic instruments. “Color” is a maligned term in audiospeak, but live music has tons of natural color. I hear what I can only describe as a “grey” or bleached tonal quality in the sound of even the best MM/MI cartridges in my experience. Some consider this quality to be “neutrality”. I disagree.

I think that as much as much as we hate to admit it, when we consider tonal issues in audio systems we are mixing and matching the tonal qualities of the various components to achieve a tonal quality that we like or feel that is closest to the sound of music. Regardless of what specs may tell us, no piece of audio gear is truly “neutral”. We can add or subtract a bit of this or that in the overall frequency spectrum by the choice of certain components, but it seems to me that the sense of “life” cannot be added to the sound if it was not present at the source.