Phono stage matching - how critical


How critical is it to use an MM cartridge with an MM phono stage and an MC cartridge with an MC phono stage?
My phono stage is designed for an MM cartridge; however I'm using a Benz Glider on my Classic 3. The Glider is high output so I'm not having any issue with gain. But would my system sound better if I used an MM cartridge such as the Soundsmith Zephyr?
rockyboy
Most high output moving coils are designed to work into a standard MM phono stage. As long as you have enough gain, you shouldn't worry about it.
Your using the proper type of phono stage for your cartridge so your good.
Now whether your system would sound better using a Soundsmith Zephr, well only your ears could tell that. You would have to try it and tell us which you prefer.
I have always like the sound of HOMC cartridges over that of MM into MM phonostages. They seemed to be more exciting and dynamic. Must add that I was always dealing with ~$300 cartridges. Can’t speak to those in a higher price bracket.
What they all said. Contrary to Mesch's opinion, I prefer MM and MI cartridges, as a class, to HOMC cartridges, as a class. In fact, I once owned two successive versions of the Benz Glider myself. I find that any of the better MM/MI cartridges are preferable, to my ears in my system. There is no right or wrong in this case.
Which MM/MI do you prefer, Lewm? Just curious.
By the way the Soundsmith isn't an mm design- a point suggested by some of the responses to the op.
The more critical matching is the phono stage to the preamp / line stage. If the phono stage is a tube unit with higher output impedance and the preamp / line stage is a low input impedance solid state unit. the mismatch will negatively impact the phono stage performance.
Dear Bpoletti, What you write is true in principle but is hardly ever a problem in practice. Nearly any worthy SS linestage will offer at least 10K ohm input impedance, and nearly any tube phono stage will offer an output Z of less than 2K ohms. Usually it's more like 1K out into 20K to 50K.

Wrm57, I am way into vintage MM/MI cartridges: Stanton 980LZS (which is actually low output), Grace Ruby, Acutex LPM320, Grado TLZ are among my favorites. I do also like low output MCs. As a group, HOMCs rank 3rd with me, which means I no longer ever use one.
Lewm - Minimum should be 1:100 ratio between the two. It is supported by more than one manufacturer.
Thanks for everyone's input.
I think it's very critical. Two points to keep in mind...the cartridge has to like what it "sees" at the phono stage input, and the phono stage output has to be compatible with the line stage input.

The first point is most critical, input impedance and capacitance isn't for the phono stage's benefit, it's for the benefit of the cartridge. This is so for MM, MI and MC cartridges. Wrong setting and the cartridge may seem to "ring" because there's a peak in it's response. In other words, the frequency response is not flat because the cartridge is also acting like an inductor.

MM and MI cartridges for example like to see 47,000 ohm at the phono stage input, MC's like to see much, much less. Therefore, using a LOMI cartridge on a phono stage set for MC gain and typical MC load and capacitance will not sound the same as if that LOMI cartridge was used with a higher gain MM phono stage.

It is for this reason that I believe no single phono stage fits all situations. "My phono stage sounds great on my system, but not so good on a friend's" sort of thing, and vice versa.
I spent yesterday afternoon auditioning four different phono stages on a friend's system. The results on his system were very different than the results on my system. The only major differences between our systems were the cartridges (MC vs MI with similar output) and amount of line stage gain. Fine tuning the loading and capacitance on each system was necessary to attain the best sound for each situation.
They all work, one way or another. But if you want to get the most out of your vinyl, it seems proper matching and fine tuning is necessary. If the cartridge doesn't like what it sees, the sound may be splashy or boomy.
Lewm - Minimum should be 1:100 ratio between the two. It is supported by more than one manufacturer.

Standard engineering practice is 10:1.