Moving Magnet vs Moving Coil Cartridge

‘So why do I need to think about this? My turntable has a perfectly good standard cartridge’

If you are interested in sound quality, then the cartridge is a major contributor to the end result. All components do make a difference, to a greater or lesser degree, and ‘Good signal in= Good signal out’ applies.

Now one of the elements you need to consider, besides budget, is ‘my turntable’ good enough for an upgrade.

These are two of the main types of Cartridges available for the modern turntable. (We will not touch on optical as the pricing is significant)

Moving Magnet

In a moving magnet the signal (that the wiggling of the stylus in the micro grooves, and cantilever) is transmitted to a magnet. This in turn moves the magnet, which generates a minute electrical signal through the small wires. A MM (moving magnet from here forth) signal is strong enough that it can be plugged into an amplifier, with a phono input, and do its job. This makes it a better value-option, but it can produce less information.

Moving Coil

Significant details difference over the MM. The magnet is fixed, and the coils (which are attached to the cantilever) move in a lighter, quicker way. You get higher sensitivity, but lower output signal

So why doesn’t everyone use a MC for their system? Well, it is more expensive to begin with. It is a more complicated system for the manufacturer to build, and with finer tolerances. The second issue is that you will need a Phono preamplifier to boost the signal to be loud enough for your amplifier. Plus, an extra set of quality interconnect cables. ‘OnVinyl’ has a vast range of Phono Pre-amp units from Clearaudio and Mofi.

So, which one?

A tricky question and I think asking a knowledgeable friend or, specialist will be a good way forward. to A good brand in the mid-range models from Rega, Pro-ject , Yamaha, Clearaudio, Mofi, etc…. will love a really nice cartridge upgrade. Many sold here on ‘OnVinyl’. Once you have researched a great compatible cartridge, it is time to make a move.

One of the joys of this hobby is trial and error. You do not always get the result you are looking for but that is the adventure. Another point, a good cartridge will reveal more from an LP. The better the setup is the more information and detailing it will present the listener. A poorly recorded album will be just that. Careful selection, and a clean record will help!