suggestions on MM to MC upgrade

Current setting is Linn LP12 (pre-cirkus, valhalla) + Ittok LVII + Clearaudio Virtuoso Wood + Lehmann black cube, sounds wonderful - may be a bit on the rich side, but it sounds great to me, plus Virtuoso seems to track on anything. I am thinking to go to MC route and already obtained a Linto from the bay. However, I am bit concern how much should I spend on the MC cart so that it won't be just a lateral move. Here are the list of a few carts that I am looking at:

Audio Technica OC9
Audio Technica AT33PTG / EV
Ortofon Kontrapunkt
Ortofon Jubilee
Ortofon Cadenza
Clearaudio Concerto

The price range is pretty wide, and I don't know too much about other carts anyway - in fact, among the list the only one I listend to personally is ATOC9. Any suggestion is much appreciated.
I have both the OC9 and the 33EV. I can't really give an accurate comparison as my OC9 is around 20 years old and in line for a Soundsmith update and I just got the 33. I can say I have been very satisfied with both. I actually used the 9 in an Ittok, as well as Zeta and SME IV, it worked well in all. The 33 is in a Graham 2.2. The cartridge I have used most during the last 17 years or so is the Denon 304, I have one in my VPI 12.7 now. However its price has gone up recently so I would go with the 33EV, I got mine for $399.99 at J&R. Had to wait a while for them to be in stock but best price I found. I suggest you try one as it will be very representative of a good moving coil. I have stayed with AT and Denon because their prices have not undergone the unjustified [to me] extreme inflation of most of the MCs. In the end system and taste govern but the OC9, 33EV and 304 are all excellent cartridges and will take you far up the mountain if not to the very summit.
Audio Technica AT33PTG

A REALLY good MC cart with heathy output - .5mV

Can buy from EBay for under $400 delivered.
I've gone from MC to the Virtuoso and feel no need to return.In recent years I've used the Benz MC 2,Dynavector 20X,Ortofon X5 MC and Kontrapunkt B among others.The Virtuoso Wood sounds better in my set-up(Acoustic Signature Manfred with stock RB 250)than any MC I've tried.I also like the Ortofon 2M Blue and Bronze which I am using on vintage Dual CS 5000 tables.
Hi, of those mentioned the Jubilee and Kontrapunkt c are
without any question the best. I have seen the Jubilee for
less then $1000.

Dear Gxleetw: +++++ " suggestions on MM to MC upgrade " +++++

Certainly you have several roads to achieve a real upgrade for what today is the quality performance on your analog rig, not only with a cartridge change but even with a different tonearm or better phono stage.

But if you choose to go for a cartridge you can improve what you have staying with the MM/MI alternative with cartridges like:
Ortofon M20FL Super, Nagaoka MP-50, Ortofon M20E Super, Garrot P-77i, Grace F-9E etc, etc.
These unexpensive cartridges IMHO even or beats any of those MC cartridges ( btw, I agree with all those post here and I'm not trying to degrade those opinions. ) but the Concerto that I never had the opportunity to hear it.
IMHO if you want to go on the MC road and want to even or beat any of the cartrridges I name here you need to go higher on the LOMC alternative: ZYX Universe, Dynavector XV-1s, Ortofon A-90, etc, etc but these excellent LOMC cartridges needs to be mated to an excellent phono stage too.

Maybe if you tell in specific what are looking for to improve or what are your targets on quality performance be more easy to help you.

because you say: ++++++ " sounds wonderful - may be a bit on the rich side, but it sounds great to me " +++++, so you are really satisfied, many us maybe can't say: " my system sounds wonderful "!!!!!!!

Regards and enjoy the music,
Dear all,

Thanks for your gracious comments. Much appreciated.

Dear Rauliruegas,

I am actually very new to analog - too young to grow up with them, didn't believe how good the vinyl sound can be, until hearing a LP-12 with ATOC9 at my friend's place. His system is my only reference now, because there is no shop in town carry analog demo :( On the other hand, ignorance of how it can sound even much better is probably a bless too :)

Music taste is 99%+ classical - instrumental, vocal, orchestra, opera. Compared to my friend's sytem (AC OC9 + Linto), I think mine doesn't have that much of "airy" quality, but sound more "organic" - which I really like. Also, his OC9 seems to deliever more details. However, both may be partially becuase of the table setup - I am still very new to LP-12 and I know my suspension setup is far from perfect.

In short, the sound I am looking for is having more details while maintaining the organic feel as my Clearaudio Virtuoso delivers. Since I got a good Linto deal a while ago, MC route becomes an option. Arm upgrade to Ekos is over budget - plus I don't want Linto sitting idle there.
Dear Gxleetw see your point. I only posted that because it is not easy to achieve a " wonderful " sound ( of course that there are different quality levels of " wonderful ". ) and this could means that some way or the other you have Synergy on your system and this is a critical and very important characteristics that everyone is looking for.
Sometimes adding a " better " audio item could broke that Synergy so be very careful on your system changes.

Regards and enjoy the music,

Bought the Nagaoka MP-50 based upon your write up of MM cartridges (01-15-08) and am most pleased. So much so that I am selling my Sumiko Celebration Pearwood and my Shelter 501 Mono, the Nagaoka is more musical and less harsh. It also costs 1/4 the amount of either. The only argument I propose is that mine, for whatever reason, sounds better at 250ohms rather than 100kohms as suggested. Even at 47K ohms (the most my Loricraft Missing Link is able to dial in to) the sound is muffled, highlights lost. Perhaps as the cartridge breaks in this will change, will wait and see.
Like you, I listen almost exclusively to classical music. And while these observations may apply to nobody but me, I'll share them for what they're worth.

The moving-coil carts I have (Shelter 501 MkII and Benz Ace S (low output) are breathtaking in their transparency. It's like looking through a freshly cleaned window. Very appealing. I use both of them regularly. But on many discs (especially those with with heavy violin passages), I find the upper frequencies to be a bit less realistic than with my Grado Statement Sonata1 (0.5mv output).

I won't call the high-pitched violins shrill, harsh or strident, but there is a thin, insubstantial, "pinched" quality to them that I don't hear in the concert hall. My moving-iron Grado does a better job of capturing the woody, rosiny, rich character of the violins.

I probably wouldn't want to be without a good moving coil, but if I had to choose one type, it would be the Grado or something very much like it. As I said, for what it's worth.
Dear Danielvrandeburg: Good that you like it, very fine quality performance.

You need to loadd as best in your own system and remember that different capacitance values makes a difference too so you have " play " with capacitance too.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Alternatively you can consider keeping the cart and upgrade the phono instead.

More transparency, and added pace. If possible, borrow one to try if it is worth the upgrade. Look at MM phonos from Graham Slee and Whest.
This is an interesting thread. I have a Clearaudio Emotion TT with Virtuoso Wood cart and really do admire its highly organic sound. I have, however, been curious about the world of moving coil. From what I've been reading, it seems like it might take a substantial sum of money to move into the MC world from the high end Clearaudio MM carts if one wants to hold onto that organic sound.
I have several excellent MM cartridges including an Ortofon 2M Black and a Clearaudio Virtuoso Wood.I enjoy both a great deal.Recently,I purchased a used Denon TD 316 with a nearly new Denon DL 110 cartridge(high Output MC) fom a fellow Audiogon member.I am shocked at how good the table/arm/cartridge combo sounds through an inexpensive Vincent phono preamp! I have owned far more expensive MC cartridges from Benz,Dynavector and Signet,yet;this might be the best sound I have had from vinyl.There is very little surface noise and the soundstage is deep and wide.The mids and highs open and shimmering while the bass is tight and well defined,if not overly large or deep.
Dear Danielvradenburg, You must mean 250,000 ohms or 250K. Correct? Or are you really loading your MM at 250 ohms? Thanks. I am rather surprised that you hear so much difference between 100K and 250K loads. Do you have any idea of the capacitance at the phono stage interface?
I too went to the Linto(I)from the Lehmann Black Cube SE. It was a definite upgrade(although I didn't test the two properly). I would suggest that you try the Linn forum or Pink Fish media(?) for suggestions, because you want a cartridge that matches the Linto also. While you are there, have a listen(there are links)to a Linn with their new step-up and dc motor. I believe that the Radikal(and cheaper offshoots, I hope)is the next move-before the arm. I use the Ekos I and Archiv(the early one), because that is what came with the table I bought on Audiogon. I believe they recommend that you take the arm off the table before tightening the screws on the cartridge. Scrounging around in my memory, I believe a Dynavector is one of the ones people recommend-but I don't know if that is with the Linto. Of course, the Linn mc's should work also(although the Klyde is controversial). There is a bit of a cult surrounding the one before the Archiv(I forgot the name.), but remember that it is getting long in the tooth now. I believe that one of the current cartridge manufacturers made the Archiv, and they may be a good match.
No, 250 Ohms on the Loricraft missing link phono stage. The sound is much better on my system at this setting than either of my moving coil cartridges (which weren't cheap). I think Raul did us all a great service by buying and trying out all these cartridges. I am so tired of the hi-fi rags extolling the virtues of whomever it was that paid their fee. Raul is one of us who put his own money down on the line, he heard and reported his findings and I, for one, find that his insight was right on. Believe him, as he speaks with honesty and is a man worth respect. My hat is off to you Raul.
Sorry for the delay, family illness has had me pre-occupied. I don't know, to answer your question, as to the capacitance of the phono system in total, sorry. I'm certainly no engineer. I do know that I really like the sound of the new cartridge loaded as stated. The recent 45RPM set of Nat King Cole by Accoustic Sounds sounds wonderful with this cartridge, (on SME 3009 tonearm, Loricraft 301 turntable, silver interconnects, Loricraft Missing Link Phono stage, Audiable Illusions Modulus 3 Preamp, F3 First Watt JFET amp, BD Design Quasar II speakers with sub-amped bass and Lowther PA5 silver coils without hi-ferric for top end, Tara Labs Reference cables.