MM, MC, or MI cartridge

Can somebody briefly describe the difference in the sonic characteristics of these types of cartridge, if possible?

I’ve never had a MC and I’m wondering what difference it would make.



What about moving iron cartridges??

I have always been interested in the legendary London Decca Reference cart.

I currently use a Lyra Atlas SL. Hard to imagine a $5250 London beats the $13K Lyra.

But the. London reviews all say it produces “scary real”.

Anyone have experience with one?

The only real attraction to the Decca cart is that it is a “tip sensing” cart. Not much to do with it being an MI cart. I wrote about MI carts earlier in this thread^^^^^^.

The Decca cart reads the stylus movement from close to the stylus. It has a short vertical cantilever tied with a string; the string is the damper to kill resonance in the short vertical cantilever. Not a user-replaceable stylus. 

The 1960 GE VR1000 is another phenomenal MI cartridge that is also tip-sensing. Fact is, it’s the only tip-sensing stereo cartridge with a user-replaceable stylus. It reads the stylus movement at the actual stylus, more than the Decca does. Tip-sensing cartridges have a very unique sound! Not bright, but very dynamic and emphatic. Because it doesn’t read from the opposite end of the cantilever, it loses no energy to the long cantilever or into the suspension; all other cartridges do. Until you hear a true tip-sensing stylus you’ll never hear how much energy, dynamics, and FR energy is lost to the cantilever! It’s amazing to hear the stylus in the groove, AT THE GROOVE, and how much more information there is in the grooves. It’s like having a “dynamics amplifier” in your system. Once you hear a record “from the stylus”, NOT from the other end of a long cantilever (MC, MM, MI all have this problem!) you’ll never want to go back to them.


My personal preference is MI - I have had various MC cartridges with good phono stages and have struggled to get the rich tonality and PRAT that I prefer. The most recent MC cartridge was a Kiseki Purple Heart which everyone said was a  great cartridge with rich tonality - I found it shrill in the high frequencies - an aspect I have found with other MC cartridges and has been commented on in hifi press. Currently have a Grado MI cartridge and am delighted to have found the sound I like with great silent tracking - for me MI is a hybrid between the richness of MM and the detail of MC.


I have the Hana ML & it really came to life (exploded) after 200 hrs. Your going to love it! Just be patient. I also have the Credenza Black, but prefer the Hana in my system.