Moving coil VS moving magnet/iron

I have an interchangeable  Nagaoka MP500 and a Goldring 2500 on an SME3009R, mounted on a Linn Sondek LP12. These drive a Schiit Mani, Cambridge Azur 651P or a Project S2 Ultra as phono preamps. They all sound very good to my ears.

Is it really worth getting a Moving COIL cartridge AROUND THE SAME PRICE RANGE ? I was thinking some of the Audio Technicas like OC9III and the like. The prices of these are about the same. I listen almost exclusively to smooth jazz (hardly any vocals) and am mostly looking for very tight punchy bass.

Opinions ?


The Mani is a great phono stage for the price. I’ve used one as a back up.

The OC9 is nice for the price. You will get an idea what the fuss is all about, regarding MC. The II is a few bucks less, and has good reviews. I’ve used the III.

Someone will chime in with the other low price, MC’s. I had also tried a Soundsmith Otello which is very nice for the price.

If that that were my setup, I would also consider moving up the food chain with your phonostage.

I’m in the tube camp,which to my ears gives a more "organic" and believeable presentation. Subjective, of course.
Agreed. Look at better phono amp and stay with the cartridges you have for the moment.
Peter Ledermann (SoundSmith) about MI versus MC:

Lecture ONE
Lecture TWO 
Here we go with stylus "jitter" again.
chakster, these lectures are a great example of how you can bend data to support pretty much anything. Peter also conveniently forgets to mention that a mass at the fulcrum has significantly less effect than a mass at the very end of the lever. Thus the important spec to consider is the moving system's effective mass which include the stylus and cantilever in the mix and do not forget that the length of the cantilever is also a critical aspect of the cartridges mechanical behavior. He intentionally picks the worst example of a moving coil cartridge (picture included) to compare his design. There are many MC cartridges with resonance frequencies above 60 kHz. I also find it very interesting that he did not mention Joseph Grado who invented the stereo moving coil cartridge then switched to moving iron because he also thought it better. 
Peter's theory is that lower mass at the fulcrum leads to less stylus "jitter" which leads to less "noise." If he really wanted to impress me he would have digital samples of two identical turntables calibrated to the exact same output level one with his best cartridge and another with an Ortofon Anna Diamond playing the same blank groove. Would his cartridge produce less "noise?" I don't know. Neither does he or if he does he is not telling us or rather showing us. So, it all becomes just a marketing theory.
All this has nothing to do actually with how a cartridge sounds. This is a subjective judgement we all have to make for ourselves. It does seem most of us prefer moving coil cartridges. I had a Grado Statement and it was a wonderful sounding and tracking cartridge. It's only failing was that any electric field near it created noise. My understanding is that Soundsmith cartridges do not do this. I have not owned one so I can not say. The people who own them love them but it seems we always love the cartridge we have and again sound is subjective. There are some excellent MM cartridges out there but I feel comfortable in saying that the vast majority prefer MC cartridges because we have made the subjective assessment that they sound better. 
There are some excellent MM cartridges out there but I feel comfortable in saying that the vast majority prefer MC cartridges because we have made the subjective assessment that they sound better.

@mijostyn If they are better than why this thread was so popular and almost everyone was so impressed with "cartridge on the month" and we ended up having hundreds of them ?

I use both types, but i don’t think that entry level MC is any better than decent MM/MI. Add the cost of the MC phonostage or SUT, the cost of re-tip that some people like so much (even with third party parts). And taking in count what Peter Ledermann trying to explain i think MM/MI is a great choice.

I remember Garrott Brothers, guys retipped and refurbished many cartridges including Koetsu and Decca, their own cartridge was MM (p77) and they made MC series by request from a person who bankrolled the brand.

There are some nice LOMC too, normally at higher price, some of them are very rare, some new are terribly expensive up to 20k.

The industry always brainwash people to sell some new overpriced LOMC, but SoundSmith and Grado still around with fairly priced units. And those vintage MM are even better.

More lectures like that would be nice to watch.

Mijo, all that you say makes sense, yet I do find more excellent MM and MI cartridges than MC types, among the 20 or so cartridges in my collection. Still, I’m loathe to make a categorical judgement because there are many very high end MCs I have not heard. I receive great pleasure from much less costly MM and MI types.
No arguement lewm. It is a subjective matter but when it comes down to the scientific details I like to see a fair and even presentation. When I see a skewed one my BS antenna goes up.
I guess I am lucky. Currently my least expensive cartridge is the Ortofon Windfeld Ti. I have not evaluated cartridges at the lower end of the price range in a while. The Last one was the Ortofon 2M Black which I have to admit was excellent. There is certainly a point of extremely diminishing returns and that point (I'm guessing) is about $1K . I can certainly say that a Clearaudio Goldfinger is in no way $10,000 better than the Windfeld Ti.
It is all about what you can afford and what you like the sound of. The problem is that auditioning cartridges is difficult and many of us have bought cartridges we wind up not liking. 

I have on hand a Koetsu Urushi, ZYX UNiverse (1st version), Ortofon MC7500, Ortofon MC2000, Audio Technica ART7, and Dynavector 17D3.  The UNI, MC2000, and ART7 are my current favorite MCs, but they are not always preferred to my Acutex LPM320, B&O MMC1, Stanton 981LZS, or even my SS re-tipped Grace Ruby.  Some days I think it has as much to do with the state of my ears as to the cartridge, tonearm, turntable combo.
I never held on to cartridges I didn't think I would use any more. Fortunately, the urge to buy another one has not struck yet. 
Your ears are rather simple devices. It is actually the state of your mind. Your psychological state changes the way you perceive, pain , hearing , sight, all of it. In other words, one day you are in the mood for this another for that. It is always nice to have a choice:)
Yes, "ears" was used by me as a metaphor for all the other stuff you list.
@cakyol, since you'll probably want a better phono stage to exploit the qualities of good MC, I'd suggest upgrading that first.
You may find that the cartridges you have are perfectly satisfying.
FWIW I didn't like the AT OC9 at all, too lean and soulless.
Do you know if the SME3009R is a rigid or compliant arm?   The cartridge you buy, whether it be MM or MC, must match the compliance of the arm. A compliant cartridge fits with a stiff arm and vice versa.  This is important because it will result in resonance. If your cartridge is too heavy or too light for the arm You will get resonance. After you find a cart meeting your budget and sonic requirements, see if it will meet compliance/mass standards. 
Oh yeah,  I forgot.
 Ortofon’s website shows how to make the calculation and meet the  resonant frequencies that will work for your cart/arm. I’m only saying this because I see different  cartridge manufacturer’s names being suggested. You will need to determine what is the best one for you based on science in addition to  what the MC or MM camps say. If you can listen first, That’s always good too.  I have read here that most of the time, cartridges are not returnable.
Do you know if the SME3009R is a rigid or compliant arm? The cartridge you buy, whether it be MM or MC, must match the compliance of the arm. A compliant cartridge fits with a stiff arm and vice versa.

The arm does not have a compliance, it has a mass
The cartridge damper has compliance and this is important

So the relation is Tonearm Mass and Cartridge Compliance at 10Hz to be correct.

You can say stiff cartridge (damper), but you can't say stiff tonearm

Moving coils have a much lower noise floor (especially when used with a transformer). And superior (faster) transients (far lower inductance). The coil mass is also insignificant in the low-output versions. 
Regarding stylus "jitter": this does not exist! Mc cartridges have a rubber damping block at the opposite end of the cantilever. This takes care of vibrations traveling up the cantilever - so no vibrations reflected back down the cantilever! 
Doesn’t that overlook the “stylus jitter” produced by unwanted seismic type vibration of the platter? 😳
SoundSmith is in the business of selling MI cartridges. So concocting a "theory" about cartridge physics is an attempt to gain an advertising edge to entice the unwary! At least Joe Grado never went for this sort of thing - and he was building and selling MI cartridges long before SoundSmith.
Naturally a mat that is "dead" and well-damped is a wise choice! I am presently using the Hiraoka Diskmat SE-22 (thick rubber with embedded metal weights) on one TT. And a 3mm magnesium 12" disc (very dead!) on another TT.
You can say that Decca also never "advertised" like that, but it’s MI and when i read comments about Decca i see how many MCs went to the dust.

Every manufacturer is free to record a video for youtube or make comments on audiogon like J.Carr did in the past.

It’s great that we can watch Peter’s lecture. Yes, his business is MI, but MC is also his business, you’re sending your broken MC to him.

If every manufacturer can share the knowledge with us it would be better, now we have Peter, who’s next?

P.S. Joseph Grado passed away long time ago.

Here is a documentary about Grado
Thank you roberjerman, exactly. One thing though. Joe Grado (a watch maker) invented the moving coil cartridge. For some reason I have not been able to ascertain he switched to moving iron. Obviously he thought it better for some reason. I wish I could say more about Soundsmith cartridges but I have just never been tempted to buy one although I find the cactus cantilever intriguing.  
Chakster, Ledermann's lectures are just a marketing tool. There is truth in them but also unfortunately distortions designed to favor his products. In Peter's case I actually think he believes himself. This is what happens when you let assumptions lead you around by the nose. Having an hypothesis is fine but to make it fact you have to prove it. Peter handily neglects that aspect. On the other hand nobody has proven him wrong.
Roberjerman, I forgot to add that although you are right, the damper in MC cartridges prevents the reflection of some energy energy is still reflected at the grove in the for of inertia. The force required to move the effective mass of the stylus and cantilever. This force is effectively absorbed by the vinyl as long as the stylus is tracking correctly. 
@mijostyn Do you think the reviews are not marketing tool ? I rarely see any negative review. Everything is marketing today. So we can only buy both types of cartridges to compare, this is what i am doing myself. MM and MI are great, normally cheaper, much more convenient, does not require some crazy phono stages or other devices to make them even work. Personally i would never recommend a LOMC for beginner, only if he already have some killer MM/MI and willing to spend more for curiosity (even without luck).  
Roberjerman, You wrote, "Mc cartridges have a rubber damping block at the opposite end of the cantilever. This takes care of vibrations traveling up the cantilever - so no vibrations reflected back down the cantilever!"
Do you believe those dampers on MC cartridge suspensions are absolutely 100% efficient?  Is anything in the physical world 100% efficient?  Most likely, the answer is no; therefore there is energy traveling down the cantilever.  Also, if you want to suggest that Peter Ledermann is being disingenuous in order to sell cartridges, then your critique ought to include a physical explanation for why you say MC cartridges generate a superior transient response (presumably superior to MI and MM types, but you don't say).  If your explanation hinges on low inductance, explain how that might work, because I think inductance per se is a non-factor, if one chooses the proper amount of capacitance to go with.  The inductance of an LOMC is typically more than 10,000X less than that of an MM but only about 50X less than an MI; if those differences were directly proportional to transient response, I don't think we'd be having this discussion; every one of us would be using an LOMC cartridge and MI/MM types would have gone the way of the ceramic.
Peter Ledermann probably feels he has to write those essays in order to convince audiophiles, who have been brainwashed for years into paying exorbitant prices for LOMC cartridges, to give his products a try.  Also, he is a smart guy; perhaps it would be more fair to ask him to defend his theses regarding "jitter", etc, instead of smearing him here, more or less behind his back.  I think he is an honest man who believes what he says.