Moving Magnet Vs. Moving Coil

I'm thinking about getting into Analog TT. Can somebody explain to me the differences in MC and MM Cartridges. I have a C220 McIntosh Pre which supports MM.
Inside every phono cartridge you have a working pair of parts: a coil and a magnet. The law of physics says that if you move one in relation to another, an electrical current is produced. This is how moving-coil loudspeakers work. You send a current to a coil and it moves in relation to a fixed magnet, producing movement and therefore, sound. A phono cartridge has a stylus (needle) that is connected to a cantilever. When the stylus traces out a record groove, it moves the cantilever. Connected to the other end of the cantilever is either a magnet, which them moves in relation to a fixed coil (moving magnet), or a moving coil in relation to a fixed magnet (moving coil). Both methods then produce a current. The advantage to a moving magnet cartridge is that you can build a relatively large fixed coil, which allows a larger voltage output to be produced. The disadvantage is a heavy magnet which slows down the response to record groove modulations. With a moving coil you have much less moving mass due to a less massive coil, but the problem is usually less voltage output. So a MC cartridge is a lot more responsive but requires more amplification to produce realistic sound levels. If you have a preamp that only has enough amplification to support MM signals, you will either have to replace it with another phono preamp with enough voltage gain to support a MC cartridge, or buy a transformer or circuit unit that provides additional gain to feed a higher voltage signal to your existing MM phono stage. I think if you took a survey of high-end phono users you would find most prefer the added resolution of MC, but there are some who prefer the robust signal produced by MM cartridges.
I've been reading the Forum for a number of years and Rlawry -- the best explanation to a quetion regarding MM/MC that I've read. You should be commended for being concise and answer the poster's question as direct as possible. Great job.
your mac phono stage is as good as many expensive separates. better mm cartridges from at, music man, garrott bros, and a few others will compete nicely with more expensive mc's. the audio technica 150 sounds better then my lyra dorian, or my sumiko blackbird....on a thorens 147 jubilee.
Nicely stated....
Impressive Description that I knew nothing about.
That did give me alot of insite. System Includes the Mac c
C220, Mc2102, Sonus Faber Stradivaris's and Mc205 CD Changer with Bel the Wire Interconnects. Wondering if an Analog system is worth an upgrade?
Thanks for the compliments. I guess I surprise myself every now and then and get one right. Glad I was able to help.

No upgrade needed. I have a Mac C220 as well. It has a great phonostage designed for optimal use with a higher output moving coil or moving magnet cartridge. That's not to say that you could not use it with a low output (.4 mv) moving coil (I have in the past with fine results). Here's what I would suggest as a trial run with almost no financial liabibilty. Go to your local Guitar Center and buy a Technics SL1200 Mk.5 for around $600. Order an Audio Technica 440MLa moving magnet cartridge from one of the fine on-line vendors. Mount the cart on the arm, plug the table into the C220 and listen for yourself. You have 30 days with GC to return the table for a full refund and you can easily sell the 440Mla for damn near what you paid for it right here. If you like what you hear, then you can keep the analog setup or you can start to inform yourself on the differences in analog presentations via direct drive versus belt drive, moving magnet versus moving coil versus moving iron, etc. For what it's worth, right now I have a Clearaudio Maestro Wood cartridge on my Nottingham Spacedeck that sounds better than some of the moving coils I have had in the $1500-$2000 range, in my system of course.

Just thought I'd try to offer some practical advice to you. I have an audiophile friend who for years tried to convince me to consider a nice analog system. Nearly 8 years now that I finally did and I'm glad I did and I only really listen to lp's now.
If you haggle, you can often get a really good price at Guitar Center. I got my SL1210 M5G (the Grandmaster, with upgraded tonearm wire) for $500 at my local GC.

You can also mail order an SL1210 Mk2 from Musicians Friend for $399. It's the mail order division of the same company with the same 30-day return policy.

You can get an AT 440MLa from for about $85. That's $485 for the turntable and cart.