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Audio Myths..the cartridge

Discussion in 'audio' started by paskinn, Jan 14, 2014.

  1. paskinn

    paskinn pfm Member

    So moving coil cartridges are superior to moving magnet are they? Well, that's common ground, but is it true....probably not. It's yet another hi fi myth.
    To keep it short (ha!) the mc tends to have better detail, and thus superior soundstaging. But, and it's a big 'but', that extra detail tends to be achieved by a failure to properly reproduce the body and guts of music. Put simply, moving coils give a 'skeletal' version of the music, not the richness and texture of the real thing.
    I speak from long personal experience of a lot of very pricey cartridges...my current one is a Koetsu Urushi.But it is just a personal view from one person. However, I decided to open this thread when a friend mentioned that he felt that nearly all moving coils were poor at actually capturing the sound of real music. Another personal opinion.... of course. But this friend is one of the most successful audio dealers in the UK and sells hundreds of moving coil cartridges: he's heard, and used, them all. And, like me, he thinks most are not capable of getting the job done properly.
    So, moving coils equal the emperors new clothes....great at hifi, not so great at music.
    I know you'll all agree.
    BTW, don't blame the dealer for selling mcs, people want them and he has to earn a living ,and in truth he uses a very expensive one himself.
  2. Joe Hutch

    Joe Hutch Mate of the bloke

    I'm listening via an MC cartridge now; it's great. Your friend clearly just stocks the wrong sort.
  3. thebiglebowski

    thebiglebowski pfm Member

    My ZYX MC cart is excellent at capturing the music, not massively accurate but has a very warm boogy feel to it, only MM I've heard and really like is the 2M Black but still prefer the ZYX.
  4. paskinn

    paskinn pfm Member

    The issue isn't my friend..who has heard an awful lot more cartridges than most people (so, in truth, have I...I think). It's the performance of moving coils. I know most users think they are great...but that could just be habit and convention. They thin-out the music, that's how they achieve the impression of 'speed' and 'clarity.'
    Good moving magnets find it far easier to capture the body and texture of music...the small tragedy is that they have not been fully developed because hifi people convinced themselves that such cartridges were inferior. Such a shame.....the long-dead Shure V15 could still ask serious questions of a lot of 'high end' moving coils, many of which can't even manage the basic task of tracking well.
    I know I'm on a hiding to nothing in opening this thread, but I think this perspective needs putting.
  5. Robert

    Robert Tapehead

    Technically the MC principle has the greater potential, but it's not always realised.
    A good MC generator is more linear but of course all elements must come together.

    I can certainly think of some MCs which are easily outperformed by the best MM and IM designs.

    Technically the Grado Fluxbridger design (moving iron) should hold the aces - nearly all of the benefits of both MM and MC and none of the negatives. If only they'd build them better and fit proper styli :(
  6. david ellwood

    david ellwood Kirabosi Kognoscente

    no mc is fundamentally a better technology and although expensive definitively the better performer.

    the op is talking ootbohh
  7. Zombie

    Zombie pfm Member

    Fink my Troika or DL103R is a fair bit better than my Adikt or OM40...and no so very hifi either...the OM40 is hifi-ish...
  8. paskinn

    paskinn pfm Member

    Is it a 'fundamentally better technology'? I don't think so, and while my view may be a minority one, it is based on decades of listening to an awful lot of cartridges, mainly on good quality decks. As Robert said, moving iron cartridges can be really special. AKG did a lovely one. Other really superior non-moving-coils included the Technics 205, Sonus Blue,ADC 26, Grace F9 and AT 170. Personally,I'd match any of them against a highly regarded 'modern' mc.
  9. kozolov

    kozolov pfm Member

    I agree! The best cartridge what I've ever heard is a ZYX Cosmos Silver!
  10. Martin D

    Martin D Libertarian Division

    myth buster - if the sh1t fits wear it
  11. andyr

    andyr Registered User

    A dealer mate of mine uses the top HO Grado - the Reference Reference1 - because he says the low signal level coming from a LOMC is always compromised by the need to either use a step up of some sort or a high gain phono stage (and LOMCs always sound better than their HO equivalents! ;) ).

    So I bought the same cart, after having listened to his system ... hoping that it would sound better than my Benz LP. The Grado RR1, yes, produces great music ... but the Benz kills it in terms of HF extension and delicacy. So, alas, I am still listening to it. :)


  12. paskinn

    paskinn pfm Member

    Yes, the Grado is a bit muddled and poor in the treble. But that's the fault of Grado.....the Cartridge man's modified Grado has a good treble. And that's high output.
  13. topoxforddoc

    topoxforddoc pfm Member

    Most like the cutting head on a record lathe - Decca. Get it right and it’s astonishingly good.
  14. YNWOAN

    YNWOAN 100% Analogue

    The whole premise of this thread is one I've heard often enough before and I've also heard many of the systems that MM supporters feel vindicate their opinion. Universally, I would respond by saying, use a genuinely good turntable and a good MC phono stage (many of the well regarded ones are much of a muchness and ultimately quite average). and discover a whole new world of subtlety, interplay and sonic sophistication!
  15. James

    James Lord of the Erg\o/s

    I have two TT, side-by-side. The LP12 has a Lyra Kleos. The PL-71 has an Ortofon 2M Bronze. The MC sounds richer, more complete and satisfying than the MM. But that could also be down to the TTs. One day, when I'm thoroughly bored, I might swap out the Lyra for the Ortofon on the LP12 and see whether I can hear what the OP is on about.
  16. yuckyamson

    yuckyamson pfm Member

    It's simple. After you've lived with a MM and you switch to a half-decent MC, you then know that all MM's should be round up and shot.

  17. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I've gone the other way! Over the years I've run a whole raft of nice MCs (AT OC9, Lyra Lydian B, Dynavector XX1L. MC25FL, AT33 PTG, DL103 etc etc) and I had an itch to go back to an MM so I'm currently using a 2M Black. Now it's correctly loaded I really love it; a big open clear and solid sound and it tracks anything beautifully and cleanly right to the end of side. When it wears out I'll just buy a new stylus.
  18. paskinn

    paskinn pfm Member

    Just to be clear, I have also done these comparisons on plenty of high end equipment; I stand by what I say. The fact that you've heard this claim before is neither here nor there. I've heard the claims for mcs for decades, and I've walked that walk all the way. I know the sound of mcs on excellent high end equipment, , perhaps just as well as you do..
    There won't be agreement on this, but I am simply pointing-out that the claim for the certain superiority of moving coils is just that..another claim. It is not a 'fact'. It is possible to differ without being dismissed as using inadequate equipment or simply lacking discernment. Indeed, such people might respond by saying that many moving coil supporters are incapable of escaping their own narrow prejudices.
    But that couldn't possibly be true.....
  19. Jo 90

    Jo 90 pfm Member

    Gotta wade in. First off, hats off to the op for daring to tread on sacred ground. It's great that we can share our opinions and concepts and whilst I doubt we will agree, it's all good clean fun.

    I do not agree.

    As a generator, the moving could cartridge and easily demonstrable differences that ought to make it better. A more linear transfer function, lower moving mass and so on. In addition, the HF portion of a MM design is achieved by careful selection of the capacitance and the resonance of the tip - not the real output.

    With this in mind, I concur that even on non uber Hifi set ups the transparency of the mc cartridge (what is referred as the skeleton of the sound ?) is easy to hear. I've owned some pretty nice cartridges MM / IM and one of my favourites was the ADC ZLM Select.

    However, when I moved to even a modest MC design, the music came alive in a number of ways.

    But... I'm not going to convince you. I would however, agree that the MM cartridge had a certain thickness about the mid lower bass that you might call "guts" but I called coloration.

    Certainly, the mc design is better to my ears. Moreover, I just spent some well earned top cash on a new stage and this has opened my ears to even better performance than I expected.

    MC for me. every single time.
  20. yuckyamson

    yuckyamson pfm Member

    Tony it's okay. When the men with the white coats come over, they are friends and their to help you.

    And none of them is named "Vuk". Shhhhh.....just rest-up.....

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