What is the preferred cartrige mm or mc and why

Curious to know why some audiophiles prefer a moving coil cartridge over moving magnet type. What determines this preference? Does the tonearm determine which type is preferred? Why? 
MM is better. MM sounds closer to master tape. MM is preferred by most mastering engineers from the golden era. MM has more drive and bass. MM has more prominent and magical presence region.

MC sounds fake. MC has false over exaggerated detail. MC has a weak presence region. MC has s weak midrange. MC has weak bass and midbass. MC sounds terrible with step up transformers. MC is noisy with a lot of mid fi phono preamps. MC sounds anemic with anything less than 60dB of gain. MC doesn't work well with tube equipment.

You need to do your homework
I'll add that @invictus005, needs to do his homework too.  Must be a school night...
There is a third choice---the MI, Moving Iron. Grado and London (Decca) both have devoted users. They have their own unique sound, different from MM and MC. And high output, so no extra gain stage or step-up transformer necessary.
The first step in making an LP is cutting a master lacquer. This is done by using a metal stylus attached to a coil placed within a magnetic field. All mounted on a radial-tracking arm. An amplified music signal is connected to the coil and drives it to cut a spiral groove in the rotating lacquer disk. So using a mc cartridge is just the reverse of this process! "As it was in the beginning, so shall it be in the end".
The fact that your cartridge is an MC does not make it superior to MM cartridge (or Moving Iron, Moving Flux etc). It's been said many times and approved by many audiophiles worldwide, not by those people who's buying cartridge by reviews or stereophile top 100 recommendation, but those who dig deeper and really understand the process and testing different cartridges in their systems. This is the ONLY way find what's the best.   

I use both MC and MM, practically i prefer MM cartridges, the best MM cartridges are vintage MM cartridges and they are much cheaper than very bad MC cartridges and probably 10 times cheaper than some good modern MC. But the cost is no object in this experiment, it's fact that decent MM could the the last cartridge, no need to search or pay more for an MC. In most cases the cost of MC phono stage or SUT or MM phono stage +SUT or MM phono stage +HEADAMP is a pain in the ass when it comes to LOMC. Then add re-tipping process and so on. 

The MM/MI/MF has replacement styli, relatively high output, they are neutrial, they are cheaper, they are amazing if you know which one to buy. 

Some reasonably priced vintage MC cartridges are good, but people are crazy when they are buying $3000-8000 MC cartridges without having a chance to audition a decent $700-1200 MM from the 70s/80s in perfect condition.     
Here's an article that seems about right i.e. from what I have read on this topic at other sites


I currently have Moving Coil, but there are some compelling arguments for the alternate technologies

On the fence - Steve

I have never seen Tyrolean pants anywhere else than in Germany

and Switzerland. So, obviously, those pants never become

''universal fashion''.  The MM fashion was universal till the 80is.

Then the first Supex 900 MC become the fashion. Those who

owned or , goddammit, bought MM kinds become the losers or,

to use the former qualification, Tyrolean pants bearer in the universe

of , say, jeans? Can anybody imagine seducing a girl with Tyrolean

pants on? Then, like with cars, the more expensive the more

impressive. Not to stay behind I (also?) own more MC kinds.

More to the point I want to show that I can afford MC kinds(grin).

Just when you thought the world couldn’t  get any dumber, it proves you wrong.
Bsme85, I am doing my homework, assignment is to research the OP subject matter. Can't think of a better way than going to the end user for their views. If it bothers you to say someting constructive don't say anything. For those who do tell their stories and opinions there are a lot of fence sitters who enjoy and find your input valuable. I know I do. So thank you for your participation 
Williewonka, thanks great link and down to earth read. This is what the OP is about, thanks for sharing. Share and learn

Watch Peter Lederman’s of SOUNDSMITH lecture:
https://youtu.be/F65mODzn4Gk ... to find out why MC must be avoided and why the MI is better according to his opinion. SoundSmith refurbished/retipped many thousands MC cartridges.

Technics MM cartridges with the world’s smallest effective moving mass (0.098mg) and flat frequency response from 5Hz to 100kHz can not be ignored by those people who claims about high moving mass of the MM system.

Then remember Mr. Walter O. Stanton and his extremely low output MM cartrisges (for example). Walter Stanton believed to his dying day that NO moving coil cartridge could ever be any good. Unlike ordinary high impedance cartridges, the Stanton 980 LZS is insensitive to capacitive loading. The Frequency response of the 980 LZS extends to beyond 50kHz in order to assure flawless reproduction of all overtones and signal harmonics which exist and are captured and recorded on modern discs. Although those frequencies cannot be heard directly, their interaction with other frequencies creates subharmonics which are in the audible range. Also any transducer capable of reproducing such high frequencies perform admirably within the audible rangeresponding without hesitation to any transient so vitally important in true recreation of original sound.

"Aficionados of moving-coil (MC) cartridges will be surprices and pleased to learm that 980LZS is indistinguishable from the very best moving-coil (MC) types in the most rigorous laboratory and aural tests. Stanton’s is an impressive dual archivement. I was continually aware that 980LZS sounded like a moving-coil (MC) cartridge. The bass was well defined and tight with good sonic clarity, as well as transient response and applause definition. Transparency of sound was excellent when reproducing the high recorded levels present on most direct-to-disc recordings. At no time did i notice any coloration of the music. The 980LZS is also, one of the very few phono cartridges that can cleanly reproduce the cannon fire on the Telarc DG-10041 recording of Tchaikovsky’s 1812." - B.V.Pisha (Audio Review, Feb.1982)

And finally these statement from TAS MAG:

As ASP pointed out in TAS (Issue 70), the audiophile consumer and dealer community is massively arrayed against MOVING MAGNETS cartridges. But experimentation is interesting, and in this case inexpensive. If your audiophile friends give you a hard time, you’ll certainly have a pat answer: you can say if it’s good enough for Kavi Alexander, Jim Boyk, and Doug Sax, it’s good enough for me. The AT-ML170 has tip resonance at 40 kHz, and hence response that extends to that frequency at least. Flanders again: "The ear can’t hear as high as that. Still, it ought to please any passing bat." Seriously, though, such ultra-extension does seem to be associated to exceptional top end clarity.
Everyone is entitled to personal tastes, but truth is truth. If you want to hear something like the truth, I still say-no matter what everyone else is using-that you should buy a flat-top cartridge like the AT-ML170 and avoid all MC cartridges with a rising top-end. If the sound of live music is your goal, why would you want to hear sound which is not only untrue to its source but also is something you are "seldom conscious of live".

The contrast between these views of moving magnet cartridges and usual audiophile opinion is striking. On the one hand, we have assurances of these leaders of the High-End recording industry that the best MOVING MAGNETS are very close to the master tape (or live mike feed, for direct to disc) 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 MOVIN COILS are realistic in some sense of that word and that moving magnets are incapable of sonic truth.

Dear @gillatgh: In one word: IGNORANCE, each one of us ignorance audio/MUSIC levels. Tonearms has nothing to says about preferences.

Several years ago I re-discovered for my self the MM/MI alternative and was really exited and enthusiast about for years till I learned from those great MM/MI experiences.

One important thing that I learned is that the MM/MI alternative was diminished for years with out any true and real facts. This alternative is a really one but different from the LOMC alternative and certainly can't competes " face to face " with the best at the top LOMC cartridges ( vintage or today ones. ).

The @chakster you tube link comes from a 100% biased gentleman that is a manufacturer o non-LOMC cartridges and he makes money for that. Nothing wrong with that but he is not an unbiased audiophile. So his opinion is just one of the " pile ".

The same @chakster post about the Stanton can tell only one side of the whole Stanton design because I own both 981 models the the LZ and HZ that are even better ( both = than the 980 because the 981 are hand calibrated and in my experiences with the HZ has better quality performance levels than the LZ and obviously can play cleanly the 1812.

In the other side, the TAS link where  recording engineers preference for MM magnet in reality says per se nothing more than that were their preferences but all those engeneers are biased for what they likes and not which is better and all those engeneers gave their opinions based on the system equipment where they listened their recordings that  can't says MM/MI are superior to the LOMC cartridge alternative that's as a fact is clearly superior one.

@chakster is an enthusiast MM/MI " roockie " with a really long road to walk and learns why and where comes the LOMC superiority. He is wrong but he does not yet knows he is wrong and why is wrong.

Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,

Trust your ears.  I do.

After buying 2nd to the top line Conrad Johnson electronics and a Pass Labs phonostage, I thought I was good to go with my Rega RP6 with the Exact2 cartridge.  Every time I put on an album (after cleaning it on my Clearaudio Smartmatrix Pro), I was really, really sad.  Why?  Because it sounded like crap, that's why.  Compressed soundstage, lack of definition, and no finesse.  No particular bass presence, either.

Before deciding to get out of vinyl, I ponied up for a Rega RP10 with the Apheta2 MC cartridge.  Now?  All I buy is vinyl.

I know the really high end guys poke fun at the Apheta's (both 1 and 2), but it sounds good to my ears.  Fremer was right; classical sounds the best, but rock & roll is serviceable, and way, way better than on the RP6 with the MM cartridge.

My next stop is to try a Grado because I love the house sound of the headphones and had Grado cartridges growing up, or go with a Hana SL and see if i saves my RP6.

Happy listening.
I don’t have enough experience to say definitely -- and I doubt that you could make a single generalized rule about MM vs MC; I suspect there are really great ones of each type.

That said, conventional wisdom is that MC is better because of the lower mass of the moving coil vs moving magnet. But then there’s the additional cost of SUT or phono stage (unless your system already has a MC input).

My own experience is limited; I moved to a Dynavector 10x5 HOMC in the last few years, and love it, compared to the MM Rega Elys I had before.


@bsme85 , your comment was entirely unhelpful and not very courteous.
You still need to do your homework
@liamowen re:
My next stop is to try a Grado because I love the house sound of the headphones and had Grado cartridges growing up, or go with a Hana SL and see if i saves my RP6.
I agree about the grado cart’s - very nice

However - You might want to rethink a Grado on a Rega - I had one for about a week - they can hum and the hum gets louder as the cart gets closer to the motor as the album plays.

Having said that, my experience was back n the 90’s - so things on the Rega motor front or even the Grado’s may have changed,

Here’s a 2008 Audiokarma posting...

My cart is a Soundsmith modified Denon DL 103 - with the Optimized Countour Contact Line stylus and ruby cantilever, is superb - but it does have a shim to add a little mass for optimum Rega compatibility..

You do need to use a mirror’d protractor for percise alignment on higher resolving stylus types to get the best out of it - but an elyptical stylus
might be OK using a paper protractor.

The standard 103 is very good and great value at only $230, but the SS version (add another $400) extracts the most delicate nuances from vinyl.

Regards - steve

If the buyer will summarize the cost of that cheap Denon + the cost of refurbishing work then he will come to the amount of $630 + shipping both ways. We’re not counting the price of the SUT, Headamp or MC phono stage here (it will cost much more with it added to the cost).

For $700 anyone can buy an amazing ORIGINAL cartridge with superior cantilever/stylus combo. It can be Grace F9 Ruby or F-9F with Shibata, Audio-Technica AT-ML170 (Gold-plated Boron Cantilever and MicroLine typ) ... i can add more to the list in MM class and they are not in the cheap plastic body like Denon 103. If you believe in magic refurbishing then all those carts can be refurbished by SoundSmith too. The price for those models with broken cantilevers are even cheaper than Denon 103. Also any owner can try to find original stylus replacement. Those cartridges are superior to Denon LOMC and does not require expensive SUT/Headamp, just MM phono stage with 45kOhm or 100kOhm load. So why bother with refurbishing of the Denon design from the 60s?

that’s what i said:

... people are crazy when they are buying $3000-8000 MC cartridges without having a chance to audition a decent $700-1200 MM from the 70s/80s in perfect condition.

I did it the wrong way by starting off with $3500-4000 ZYX and $4500-5000 ZYX cartridges when i jumped on High-End territory. For about 18 years prior to that moment my turntable was equipped with mediorce MI like Grado, Shure and Ortofon MM carts. In between i discovered the sound of Technics 205c mk3, 205c mk4 and 100c mk3. But the opinion makers hypnotized me that MC is superior, so i tried Audio-Technica ART2000 and that was the best MC cartridge in my early days (the price was about $600 used). Now i have very rare MM cartridges and they are superior to any MC i have owned, but i’m still tryin to find some vintage MC that can compete with them, but i’m not gonna buy $3000-5000 MC anymore for sure. One of the best MC (according to our members) is already in my collection (Ortofon MC2000 NOS) along with various Fidelity-Research MC carts that i like at the moment.

Would be nice to see your MC list.

P.S. Believe it or not, but i’m waiting for my First Watt F2J amp designed for fullrange crossover-less speakers. Then i will be a battle between my tube push-pull amp vs. single-ended Class A current-source F2J.

Fortuitous I discovered Denon AU-S1 which covers impedances

from 2-40 Ohms. I own many MC carts so the perspective of many

SUT's each suitable for particular cart was not very attractive. But

then I also discovered Denon DL-S1 which is special made for the

S1 SUT. This combo can compete with my best LOMC's among

which Allaerts MC2, Magic Diamond, Benz LPs, FR-7 fz, Ikeda

9TT and 9C, etc. But the biggest surprise is/was the price. In my

case $2000 for both ( new). I use this combo with Klyne 3.5 phono

pre in MM stage. This means even more attractive proposition

because there is no need for an (expensive) MC phono pre.

Bsme85, getting it done! You can stop trolling. Or not. I may need to do homework but you need to find a life. 
I am not familiar with vinyl. I am thinking to buy a new TT incl per-amp. I also read controversal comments regarding Rega. 

Will a complete package (TT/arm/cartridge/phono per-Amp) in the Price area of RP6/RP8 (maybe a RP10 if Necessaire) deliver a good Sound (warmth, dynamic, detailed but not harsh)? Or is it better to assemble TT from different Brands?
@audioaffin this topic is about MM vs. MC cartridges
MC sounds fake. MC has false over exaggerated detail. MC has a weak presence region. MC has s weak midrange. MC has weak bass and midbass. MC sounds terrible with step up transformers. MC is noisy with a lot of mid fi phono preamps. MC sounds anemic with anything less than 60dB of gain. MC doesn't work well with tube equipment.
All of the above statements are false.


With regards to the original post, Its been my experience that the ability of the arm to track the cartridge properly is far more important than what cartridge you have!

Loading of cartridges is a poorly understood issue in the audiophile community. The loading issues for a MM are quite different from that of LOMC; the latter don't need any loading at all (the stock 47K input impedance of nearly all phono sections is fine) but MM cartridges are different because they have much higher inductance (which is why they also have more output). The higher inductance means that the loading directly affects them at audio frequencies whereas LOMC cartridge loading generally affects them at Radio Frequencies. As a result, to get the best out of MM its a good idea to load them correctly.

This loading has an effect on the cartridge as you are asking it to do more work. This means that the cantilever will be stiffer than the designer may have expected and so this can affect tracking.

If there is any advantage to LOMC cartridges, it is this latter point, as they need no loading at all.

(You may read quite a lot about loading LOMC cartridges, and if you do, here's the issue in a nutshell: the loading is there for the benefit of the phono section, which is unstable *if* the loading is a requirement. Other, stable, phono sections with the same cartridge won't need the loading to sound right.)
I think Invictus005 is overstating MM's advantages.  Having been through Shure V15's, Stantons, Ortofons, A-T, and Grados, I can state that my Dynavector MC through a Schiit Audio Mani phono stage brings a level of dynamics and transparency that is unrivaled by the others.  The A-T is the only one that comes close, but at the cost of a thicker lower midrange, and less detail.

MM carts sound more "hi-fi" than real.

I have both types . The MM type I have gives up nothing to the MC .. You have not found the right one .



 to get the best out of MM its a good idea to load them correctly.

This the reason why people don't really understand the potential of MM cartridges, their phono stage has ONLY 47k Ohm loading. It must be at least 30-100K Ohm range to try different loading with MM. 
We just have a loading strip on our preamps so you can install anything you want (quite often with MM cartridges, a capacitance is also involved).
Quad had something similar with their earlier pre amps, with removable input boards for cartridges, and tailored boards for many well known cartridges of the day. The tape input board had adjustable settings for sensitivity, and I still use that to avoid clipping on the input by my Chromecast Audio. Peter Walker was a very practical designer.
@atmasphere Right, i use JLTi phono stage for the same reason with a bunch of different RCA plugs resistors. I just asked the designer of JLTi to change internal resistors to 500k Ohm, so i can load it down with parallel RCA plugs resistors to whatever loading value i want. I can do the same for MC cartridges with this phono stage.

On the other phono stages i just replaced 47k to 100k Ohm (Vishay Naked Foil) and it’s better for most of my MM carts.
MC because it sounds much better done right.I had MM 50 years ago then it was great but sadly its heyday is over.
Dear @atmasphere : """  the loading is there for the benefit of the phono section, which is unstable *if* the loading is a requirement. Other, stable, phono sections with the same cartridge won't need the loading to sound right.... """

Things are that some people read and read and read what you posted about ( I posted too. ) and never learn and follow speaking of SUTs with loading options for the cartridges. I have to say that some  are at the " stupidity border ".

Only a few phonolinepreamps handles the LOMC right.

Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,
I have 2 Shure V15 RS with a variety of Styli including a SAS. I also have an AT 14Sa. I have 3 MCs, a Denon DL-301 II, a very low mileage Dynavector 10x3, and a new Hana SL. Nothing very extravagant. The Shure is as close to perfect on a Linn LXV through a Nakamichi Receiver 2 as I'll ever get.

However on my Alexandria with a Sumiko MMT through a Musical Surroundings Phonomena II, I like the MCs better. I've been tempted to try a Grace F-9; but I fear that the supply of good styli will dry up. I don't see the wisdom of MIs without replaceable styli. What would be some good options in current production that would perform as good or better than the F-9? My MMT can only handle 4 - 8 grams.
2channel8, In this day and age, there is almost no such thing as a non-replaceable stylus.  Such companies as SoundSmith, Expert Stylus, at least two others in the US and one other in Europe, can replace styli on any type cartridge you care to name.  (Well, there may be a few exceptions.)  In some cases, a totally worn out or damaged suspension cannot be repaired, but otherwise, fear of stylus wear is not a reason to avoid this or that vintage cartridge.  I have had the stylus/cantilever of my Grace Ruby replaced by SS with one of their OCL styli on a ruby/sapphire cantilever, a la the original, and the sound is improved.  (I can say this because I also have an original unrestored Grace Ruby with its original elliptical stylus, and I have auditioned them side by side.)  Similarly, I own an Ortofon MC2000 that was repaired in Europe before I bought it.  I am also sure that SS can work on any MI type cartridge; they manufacture and sell excellent new MI cartridges.

The only issue that could arise, if you are a stickler for originality, is where the original stylus has a very exotic shape that is no longer available.  This might be the case for certain Ortofons, Stantons, and some others.  Actually Expert Stylus in England has some of these styli available.  Otherwise, you'd have to "make do" with a modern equivalent.

My experience with Shure V15s dates back several decades, but I found them to be totally underwhelming back then.  I would have guessed that the Hana SL might be your favorite among the MCs you named. By all means, do buy a used F9 or Ruby and have Peter L at SS replace the stylus; you'll be happy, and the Shure will gather dust.
As usual, @lewm , you make a good point. The cost of a ATN150MLX or Goldring D42 are not much less than Peter's services. But the Garrott Brothers P77i is only $270.

All-in-all the F-9 may be the better deal.
I use both MM and MC, like each cartridge - each has strengths and weaknesses. What I have noticed is that of the 3 phono preamps I use, the MC output is quiter - particulary on my new Parasound JC3 Jr - set to MM, it has an audible hiss when close to the speakers, not the case when I use it for my MC cart. YMMV

EDIT: 2 of the preamps I use have XLR output - same experience with XLR and single ended.