What is it in MM that can give me goose-bumps? 🤔


Neither the best resolution CD or MC will give me goose-bumps.
Changing to e.g. my AT 440ML will do, will emotionaly move me, has emotional *impact* with every note played. 
CD and even MC seems to resonate with my intellect, my MMs with my emotions. 
It seems somehow contradictory, but so it is. 
Anyone else has these experiences?
Michélle 🇿🇦 
257ac3bb 26d1 45d8 87c7 2932c6d20f7ejustmetoo
Stanton CS-100 WOS and Pickering XSV-5000 can do that. Both are oustanding MM, very rich and sweet sound. 
Dynamics. Absolutely. If you are a rock fan than a fixed coil cartridge is the only way to go. MCs as a group are too polite. Some of the ultra low impedance MCs with current mode phono stages might be a match. But , way more expensive. I have not had the pleasure of hearing this set up yet. The other problem in the cartridge world is that MC cartridges are frightfully over priced. Thank you Koetsu which started this trend in the late 70s.
Dynamics... is it *just* this? 

I hear differences in timbre/tonality of practically all that's going on.

My Quintet Black and Cadenza Black sound good, but there's always something sort of 'engineered' about the sound, and even other items like PW Windfeld or its predecessor... whether using an SUT or straight into 100-200 ohm loading, this MC charcteristic remains. 

As for CD, when comparing identical recordings to LP running an MC, it sounds so very much the same, good, practically indistinguishable - but just like ultra high tech engineered. Best I can put it. 

Like a bit say the difference between a mechanical piano (perfect) and one played by a person, both perfect - yet one more filled with life, the other somehow a bit - sterile? 🤔 

All this can't be said when I'm using any of my MM cartridges, and it has more to do with timbre and TIMING... , than higher/better resolution. 
Michélle 🇿🇦 
Micro-dynamics in proper scale with macro-dynamics for MC carts is generally a function of low moving mass combined with low output.

This, with the least amount of added noise, which tends to exclude active MC head amps, due to very low signal levels vs the unavoidable relative added noise via transistor, component (caps, resistor,) power supply, layout, circuit board, (stray inductance and capacitance, environmental sourced noise), etc effects.

A well matched step-up transformer will alleviate all of that to some notable degree. This, if the person attempting... is looking to lower the static and dynamic noise floor in the system... and sees things this way. Via hearing and listening, not by the numbers, per se.

The other way (while engaging in due diligence) , is via a low self noise MM cart, one with excellent mechanical, electrical, and EMI/ RFI noise control.

One of the best in these categories, is the Teo CBP and CC cartridges.  Probably the lowest complex self-noise cartridge around. Dynamics come from improving the complex noise floor, first and foremost. This is especially true with phono cartridges.

It's the only cartridge available (to my knowledge) where the basic unit has a 'no cost' trial period. 

If a person likes it, then they can upgrade the stylus any time they want, to a nude elliptical, micro-line, shibata stylus. To do so on their own, at minimal cost.

Best of all worlds, in perpetuity.... is the aim.
@teo_audio
"Micro-dynamics in proper scale with macro-dynamics for MC carts is generally a function of low moving mass combined with low output..."

That sounds like the ongoing ’mantra’ for MC cartridges, now doesn’t it?

Now there’s something else, than just coils and their windings at work...
MAGNETS.

The fewer the windings (to reduce moving mass) ok. BUT now to stay within reasonable output limits (~0.2mV), stronger / bigger magnets are called for, eh?
Talking strictly about MC right now.

(If an MM uses a tinier moving magnet to reduce moving mass, you add windings and, ok, get a bit more induction... ).

Back to MCs now and my thinking - dynamics - vs MM.

What do magnets have if their magnetic field is changed? Hysterresis - loops.
The more rapid the change the more Hysterresis (resistance to magnetic flux change in simplistic terms) 
EVERY magnet has a hysterresis effect, the bigger/stronger the more notable, give or take.

This, my suspicion, is causing this ’micro-drag’ that makes MC’s presentation different to MM’s.

The only reasonable explanation I can come up with.
This what I call ’mirco-drag’ is what I’m hearing, I think.
And it doesn’t end there, as it will create ’micro-phase-shifts’ and thereby also affect timing.
This as all gets minutely dragged out of the original ’timing position’.

Correct me if I’m ’hanging too far out of the bus’ with this, and then kindly give a sensible good alternative explanation, please. 😏

The funny thing is, no one seems to mention magnets, ever it seems, as if it was only induction and coil windings being of any import.
Michélle 🇿🇦
Once you've had Decca/London, you can't go back!
@noromance 
Afraid, I'd need a Father-Christmas to get one at their price!
£ 1879.00 and then some I'm sure... 😥 

The heavy income days are over by now...

But thanks for bringing it up as some more exceptional alternative to either MM or MC. 

Though judging by my two MF/I cartridges' susceptibility to electro-magnetic interference - I can only guess, even this item will have some tricks going, apart from superior dynamics, eh? 😉 

Michélle 🇿🇦 
Debate about MM vs. MC is pointless, just like those Digital vs Analog pointless threads on audiogon. 

When you asking an MC aficionado about MM cartridges it's like asking Digital aficionado about Analog (waste of time).

It's better to have an MM and MC and compare in your own system. 
I have both types of cartridges, also some exotic ones (cantilever-less design from Ikeda, Direct Couple design from Victor ... ). 

Moving Magnet or Moving Iron cartridge can be as good or better than some of the best MC, it depends on a cartridge, not on a type of cartridge. What is important in this search is to ignore mainstream, and then it will help to find something very special that people are not talking about on mainstream hi-end media. Here is an example of two MM and one MC, even the cheapest of those 3 is absolutely amazing and it's an MM design from Pioneer for their Exclusive series.   

I like LOMC cartridges from my collection, but I also enjoy an MM and MI and practically they are definitely better, replacement stylus is a huge benefit, look at this original Grace Ruby LEVEL II The sound of the best MM is addictive. 

Inexpensive SONY MM comes with exotic and very expensive cantilever.

I'm just trying to say there are so many amazing MM cartridges (and MC too) out the numbers of mainstream models offering today. 

If we don't know the classics how can we judge new products?  
The roots of high-fidelity in analog is somewhere in the 70's and it was a Moving Magnet era, high compliance carts and lightweight tonearms. With the right cart on the right tonearm you will be blown away by the quality of MM for sure (even if you like an MC like myself).   

 
@chakster 
All good points, yet I'm not talking about which is *better*, if you read my post again. 
Though I get your point. I do. 

If one is, according to my experience, more into high/ultra-high resolution, total possible detail etc. and leave aside... what? 🤔
A certain 'naturalness', a perceived 'artificialness', top MCs (and digital?) will 'kiss the sky'.
No doubt, very cerebral all that. 

But as I mentioned 'goose-bumps' (goose-flesh in American English?) which is instantanious, non-intellectual, having nothing to do with that deeper 'relating to the intellect' but more with some simple primordial (basic and fundamental) reaction!

Such it has squad to do with any technical, electrical, physicist's analysis.

In a way quite uneducated, deeply enjoying e.g. some classical piece of music vs reading a musicological analysis into such a piece. 

The latter (normally?) would not result in getting a goose-bumps reaction, but simply stimulating ones intellect if it sufficiently resonates  being not perceived as 'boring'. 

To me that's the difference here, getting an instantanious (unsolicited by intellect) goose-bumps reaction is giving me more joy of listening, than some cerebral sound analysis...

So... to say it again and as memory serves me, MCs and digital hardly, if at all, produce the former but rather the latter. 

So, this made me reflect why the heck this was so?
It's sufficiently intriguing I find, bothering to ask. 

Michélle 🇿🇦 

The Grey export for around £500 might work for you. I have a few Deccas and the Grey is pretty sweet. 
Try a MI.
SoundSmith
Maybe give the Hana moving coils a try. They seemingly provide all you describe. Outstanding mc cartridges at great prices. I step up my Hana EL (with elliptical stylus and Alnico magnets) with a jensen mc 2RR-L transformer (1:10 ratio/20db gain/430 ohm load impedance) into a Tavish Design tube phono preamp, the sound is divine. Using three tubes, Ge jan 5751, Tungsram 12ax7, and a Ge 12au7. I got an RCA 7025/12ax7 and an Amperex bugle boy 12ax7 in reserve to try as well.
But as I mentioned 'goose-bumps' (goose-flesh in American English?) which is instantaneous, non-intellectual, having nothing to do with that deeper 'relating to the intellect' but more with some simple primordial (basic and fundamental) reaction!

This reaction can be caused by everything, often it's music itself (no matter what quality). If you can feel it only with MM cartridges as you said earlier then it's just you and not necessary anybody else on this forum. But if you're interested in MM cartridges (high quality performers) I recalled some of them. You can't go wrong with top Stanton and Pickering, those are emotionally rich cartridges with very sweet tone. 

If you like MM so much then continue with better MM or MI and you will find what you're looking for (in terms of sound). 

Chakster, I was of the understanding that you were a dyed in the wool moving magnet guy. Now it seems there are moving coils that you like also. Have you heard a current mode phono stage with a very low impedance cartridge yet?
@mijostyn I posted so many times about my current mode (current injection) phono stage (called 47 Labs Phono Cube) I like a lot with my MC cartridges.
I also posted how exactly I came to the best vintage MM after using modern expensive LOMC in $2-5k range. 
The only modern LOMC I have today is Miyajima Kansui, my Ikeda 9 III is a bit older, but my favorite LOMC are much older (FR-7fz, Miyabi Standard and Miyabi MCA ... ). All LOMC works perfectly with Gold Note PH-10 phono stage. 
One cartridge I use a lot these days is Fidelity-Research FR-7fz on FR-64s tonearm with B-60 vta base on my Luxman PD-444.


Current mode phono stage from 47 Labs is great!
Ok, thanks for all those cartridge suggestions.

Though if I left the impression of needing any more than the 6 MM/I cartridges I already own, this was not intended. Sorry.

According to Russian psychology (at least) as I now learned, goose-bumps an be caused by most anything, even a good motion? 😝
Never mind an experience of well presented analogue music.

So what we have here, is a phenomena strictly experienced by myself, if it’s suggested?

Interesting.
If that’s the case, it doesn’t explain really anything, other than having asked the wrong question, no? 🤔
Stuff happens, no harm done.

Thanks again for all the kind feedback.
Michélle 🇿🇦
Yes I understand. I had a 2M black that has shibata. It sounded like a CD and unengaged to me like you say OP "sort of 'engineered' about the sound".
A simple ML110 solved that issue and I never looked back. Now I am using a AT540ML.
Though if I left the impression of needing any more than the 6 MM/I cartridges I already own, this was not intended. Sorry.
@justmetoo

It’s OK, after my first high-end LOMC I was pretty sure that it is the last cartridge, but then I bought 60 more somehow over the years, because of the curiosity.

According to Russian psychology (at least) as I now learned, goose-bumps an be caused by most anything, even a good motion? 😝
Never mind an experience of well presented analogue music.

Some people even crying when the music is good, they don’t need a cartridge for that, emotional contact with the music can be settled even if you’re playing a song from iPhone.

Playing music from vinyl records for the people for over 20 years I’ve seen a lot, been traveling worldwide with my records. For majority of people Music is the key, not a cartridge, not even a sound system!

Neither the best resolution CD or MC will give me goose-bumps.
Changing to e.g. my AT 440ML will do, will emotionaly move me, has emotional *impact* with every note played. CD and even MC seems to resonate with my intellect, my MMs with my emotions.
It seems somehow contradictory, but so it is.
Anyone else has these experiences?


Audiophiles are strange.

Sitting alone in front of the speakers we have to hear what was recorded mixed and mastered by professionals in the studio. In other words we have to hear the truth. If it was analog master then it must be Reel to Reel or Vinyl, and this is where digital doesn’t work.

This is what you have to read to understand why an MM (you’re not alone with your impression):

* Interesting point of view from TAS magazine (back issue) article called "Assessing the State-of-the-Art in Storage Media" (Issue 40). In this, J. T. Henderson reports on a listening session comparing digital master tape, analogue master tape, direct-to-disc lacquer and the "live" mike feed; the report consists of a long conversation among J. Boyk, Keith Johnson, Doug Sax, and JTH himself.

Those people were top sound engineers if you don’t know:

"On the one hand, we have assurances of the leaders of the High End recording industry that the best Moving Magnets are very close to the Master Tape and that they are capable of "uncanny" resolution. On the other hand, we have the prevailing perception, amounting almost to a shibboleth, of the High End listening community, that only Moving Coils are realistic in some sense of that word and that Moving Magnets are incapable of sonic truth. While it is clearly beyond the scope of a single review to resolve this conflict entirely, a couple of points come to mind. In direct comparison of two "sounds", tonal balance differences show up very conspicuously. Good Moving Magnets can be very nearly neutral tonally, as well as being low in the kinds of distortion that are audibly significant. Moving Coils are low in distortion, too, but typically they are quite far from neutral tonally, with a "presence range" suck-out followed by a high frequency rise."

Their choice of monitoring cartridge during the disk mastering process was Stanton 881s mkII, Audio-Technica AT-ML170 and Technics P100c mk4. All cartridges are Moving Magnet type.

BUT not every MM cartridge of today can give you what Stanton, Audio-Technica, Technics ... top models can do!

P.S. I can imagine how many great TAS articles about classic MM or MC cartridges I have missed, they are not available online sadly. 


@chakster 
Thank you dear man, always find your posts of greater interest, even if by some sensibilities - also my own - you can come across a bit 'strong' flavoured at times, eh? 

And many thanks also for sharing this TAS article!

As for me, now never mind the underlying technicalities (I'm still nosy...) , it explains my ongoing preference for MMs in particular. Even though I have tried *so very many times* to 'love' MC's sound presentations - to no avail as yet. 

I'll bear in mind your cartridge suggestions (alas, SA is a *notoriously bad* country for ordering and RECEIVING goods these days!).

Once my currently owned MMs give up the ghost 👻, who knows? 

You're a ⛲ of experience and derived knowledge. 
Michélle 🇿🇦 

@justmetoo
I’ve played with the exact aspects you speak of and it is tied directly to the chakster illustrated points.

and I’ve fixed them.

At which point a good MC done this way starts to sound more like a high quality MM, with the majority of all the remaining MC faults in situ, obviously. Then I went to work on those....(and that remains an unfinished project out of dozens of similar ones)

Point is, that the MC faults are what people are living off of re falsified detail that they cannot mentally parse out.

to parse out the point or fact that all sequenced conversions of prior signal, in the mechanical to electrical conversion sense...are going to have dynamic and living faults and specifically losses.

losses or alterations in correctness that will do exactly as chakster implies. To put it country simple, the MC is noise shaping, and the MM does less of this, but still does it.

The trick is to remove as much of the components that mask this, as is possible. In either the MC or the MM.

In the MC world, one way to lessen the one poorly realized issue, is to use Alnico magnets. Their hysteresis is minimal compared to most.

This will be heard as a clarity to some and a loss of detail to others.

Depends, literally, on how the person listens.

Sadly, the norm of hearing and learning to hear in the audio world, can generally encompass the wrong direction, due to how much noise is inherent in the given systems as a sum total chain. Thus punching specific distortions (realized or unrealized) above this complex noise floor can be and generally is -- mistaken as detail.

the Teo audio cables and the cartridges and the unpublished circuit refinements, unpublished teo loudspeakers, etc are all designed around fixing these problems.

What we end up with is a startlingly noise free and warmly detailed system with insane transients and huge gobs of harmonic delineation, just like live signals have.

The Teo Audio MM carts are designed in such an environment, one where the window (for the designers) is exceedingly clear so these problems can be tackled and be resolved. And thus removed correctly.

What we end up with is world class MM with the least amount of self noise that you can find in a MM cart and probably most MC carts, for a huge dynamic range and richness of signal retrieval unfettered by self noise and additive/cumulative distortions. Where groove distortions become uncannily resolvable.

The window of the motor proper is brutally clean, Where the mechanicals left at fault in the moving components are the last part of the puzzle. When the stylus is upgraded from the basic bonded versions with thick-walled heavy cantilevers (03x0.7 elliptical) ..to the nude and light versions with a better suspension (Microline or shibata), the differences, the gains.. become shocking and unexpectedly potent.

As.. the key thing is, most people realize nude mounted styli, on superior cantilevers, they show their advantage in a notable way..well... with the Teo MM carts, there are no other conflations that obscure their effectiveness. The perceived differences, the gains, become notably greater.

Getting people to understand that is going to be a frightfully long process, it seems. Unless people take us up on our 30 day free trial for our basic phono carts. and then upgrade the stylus at their own leisure and self selected costing and pricing.

A scenario where they are in the drivers seat, not the cartridge producer (MC re-tipping, special styluses that are limited in availability and source points, etc). Even there, we’re giving them what they want.

The trick is getting enough people to understand this simple seeming MM in a crowded world of competing pricing, truly does stand head and shoulders above the rest. and I do mean the rest. Hence the 30 day free trial. For a cartridge. That is the gauntlet which has been thrown down.

Come on people, figure it out.....The only known cartridge with a 30 day trial (on the basic versions). A trial period that has to exist for a REASON. It’s not a game.

It’s a gauntlet thrown down, a stake in the ground, a proclamation nailed to the wall.

A combination that everyone begs for, which is the highest quality available at the lowest price possible with the highest level of the buyer being in the drivers seat.

You all wanted this... so please realize that someone did their best to bring it into existence. As, if enough people don’t give it this essentially free shot, then what might be the best MM’s that people might ever hear, will die on the vine... and never get the chance to grow into a real force to be reckoned with.
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@justmetoo AT ML 170 and AT ML 180 OCC have been known to make people go insane upon hearing. Not me, I was already there. My modest collection of vintage NOS MM carts from Pioneer, Argent, Sony, AT, Victor, Stanton, FR  and Grace transport me to the rings of Saturn each time I drop the needle. MM or MC, doesn't matter regarding best sound. Both will give you time travel if you purchase correctly. 
@knollbrent 

👍 👌✔️

Michélle 🇿🇦 
IMHO - I only have a Pickering Xsv4000 - but it has a certain body and grunt that my mc’s don’t have. It is very satisfying and creates a body that is very enjoyable. U may simply prefer that type of sound as ur MC cartridges are pretty damn good. My MC’s do have a certain finesse and sparkle which are also enticing.
@lohanimal
Yes, I hear you.
I’m right now running my Empire S1000 ZE/X-ERD, .2 x .7 mil original stylus.
Sounds like you point out, also when compared to my 2 Ortfon MCs (Cadenza Black and Quintet S Black).

But my OP was really about WHAT IT WAS exactly that produces this difference...

There surely is a Physical/EEngineering explanation - and not JUST: "one moves a coil and the other a magnet". Hah! 😝

If a slab of chocolate tastes different to some other (say Cadbury vs Lindt) it has a REASON!
Not just: ha, I like this one better, no?

Michélle 🇿🇦
lohanimal said....."IMHO - I only have a Pickering Xsv4000 - but it has a certain body and grunt that my mc’s don’t have. It is very satisfying and creates a body that is very enjoyable. U may simply prefer that type of sound as ur MC cartridges are pretty damn good. My MC’s do have a certain finesse and sparkle which are also enticing."

Well said.