Review: EMPIRE OP250 Cartridge

Category: Analog

Journey From MC to MM/MI

I returned to vinyl 2 years ago. After extensive reading of cartridge reviews I was convinced that a moving coli cartridge was the only sound investment. After each moving magnet cartridge review they would compare it to a moving coil and exclaim that it wasn’t quite as good as a m.c. Because of the need for entry level cartridges I began with a Denon DL160. It was the first cartridge I had heard in thirty years so needless to say I was impressed. I then moved up to a Denon 103R and a Denon step up transformer along with a tube phono pre amp. What a pleasant upgrade. Greater lows, mids and high end, it was an incredible improvement in detail. I thought surely it couldn’t get better than a moving coil………..until I read the thread ” Who needs a MM cartridge type when we have MC”. Yesterday I mounted an Empire OP250 MM/MI. I removed the step up transformer and went directly into my tubed pre-amp. I sat up into the wee hours listening to album after album to compare and to be wowed by this new cartridge. I haven’t been able to find any specifications for this cartridge but I will say that right out of the box it was kicking sand in the face of my Denon 103R. It’s difficult to comprehend that a 30 year old “P” mount cartridge could sound better than the latest and greatest Denon 103R.
I would like to thank Raul and all the other contributors to the “Who needs a MM cartridge type when we have MC” thread for showing me a better way along with the opportunity to own vintage cartridges for a fraction of the cost of a moving coil. This particular cartridge cost a total of $56. If anyone has any information on this Empire OP250 it would be appreciated.


Associated gear
Accustat Power amp
Sheer Audio tube phono pre amp
JVC QLY3F Turntable

Similar products
Denon DL160
Denon 103R