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The difference between Moving Magnet / Moving Coil / Moving Iron Cartridges


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On 8/30/2020 at 7:29 PM, MicroMara said:

@Full Range  The Decca London  is a moving magnet and not a moving iron pickup . Needle suspension with double string, scans exactly as LPs are cut, unmatched dynamics and liveliness

Micro, is this the same fundamental design, or iteration, as the "London" cartridges from the 1960's?  I've never heard one since then, but recall they had a great, very clear, and rich musical sound, perhaps the best of any cart then available.  However, like too many carts of that era, record scratch and wear that occurred on virtually each playing were all too audible, and no one wanted to lose their record collections that fast. The Fairchild 232 (MC, w/transformers) also had a first-class musical sound,  but audible wear, with each playing.  It took the top-quality Shures and ADCs, and better tonearms, to get around the record wear problem, though they never equaled good moving coils IMO.  How are the Londons now on record wear?



  - Larry 

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Decca system requires a really good tonearm like an SME, Brinkmann or Tri-Planar. It should be adjustable in height and should also allow extreme heights ( VTA ), because many Decca owners equip their system with a Cartridgeman-Damper. This damper tames the Decca - depending on the tonearm it may be useful or even absolutely necessary. If you are looking for a turntable that harmonizes perfectly with the Decca: the Well Tempered turntables with silicone oil thread suspension are the dream partner for every Decca system!


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5 minutes ago, henry4841 said:

I have been using the Denon DL-110 for a few years now and for a reasonably priced MC cartridge on a Fluance turntable I have no complaints. Know I am not in the same league as some of you guys but for middle road really good sound.  


I too have enjoyed a DL-110 for years.  I use it primarily for ripping vinyl to FLAC files to feed to a Pono player.  As MC cartridges go, it’s relatively high output.  It will play with either MM or MC inputs on my phono preamp.

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24 minutes ago, DizRotus said:


I too have enjoyed a DL-110 for years.  I use it primarily for ripping vinyl to FLAC files to feed to a Pono player.  As MC cartridges go, it’s relatively high output.  It will play with either MM or MC inputs on my phono preamp.

There you go, MC cartridge that works without having to purchase transformer or different phono linestage. One of the reason I purchased myself. I built my phono stage with just an op-amp and adjusted the gain a small amount for said cartridge. Most of the phono linestages one buys now are centered around an op-amp. Some very well know brands are op-amps and the op-amp used is not that great a one at that. But they are well respected by reviewers and customers. I have built and tried discrete J-fet ones and cannot tell a lot of difference myself. Never went down the tube road though. I just use a well known, well respected op-amp and quality parts in my build paying close attention to having low noise.  


Most op-amp circuits used in phono stages can use multiple op-amps. I would do research before purchasing phono linestage and purchase one that enables swapping op-amps. They will have a holder for op-amp and not be soldered in. 

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The opposit to the SME Model 12   simply great and affordable




                          Simplex MK II                                                         Amadeus MK II                                                                Amadeus GTA MK II                             


Simplex Mk2 Small          Amadeus MkII                           Amadeus MkII GTA 



                              Versalex                                                                                Amadeus 254 GT                                                                        Royal 400


Versalex                                 DSC08546 copy 2                         Royale thumb smaller 




The tonearm concept 















Pictures under copyright from Well Tempered Lab


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Overview Cartridge Manufacturer worldwide



Japanese manufacturer that has been known for decades, especially for its inexpensive MM systems. The legendary AudioTechnica AT91 and AT95 play in countless inexpensive turntables - also ideal as sound upgrades for older devices. The new 500 and 700 series meet high demands, the sound is neutral.


Benz Micro - MC systems from Switzerland. They were considered the benchmark for neutral, rather sober sound and are aimed primarily at technically oriented listeners. Often long delivery times.



One of the most famous HiFi manufacturers in the world. The German HiFi reference not only for turntables and HiFi electronics - Brinkmann MC pickups are also in demand worldwide. They are based on EMT studio technology.



German high-end technology from Erlangen. Clearaudio is one of the few manufacturers with its own pickup production. Besides the legendary HIgh-End-MC pickups Clearaudio has played itself into the hearts of music lovers with its pleasingly inexpensive MM-pickups. Clearaudio MM-pickups are regarded as a reference and are built into numerous high-quality turntables.



The Maserati among the pickups.Decca pickups are incredibly good at picking up, reproduce three-dimensionally and inspire with a transparency and dynamics that you will hardly find in other pickups. In return, a Decca pickup requires some experience in adjustment and an excellent medium-weight tonearm.Decca owners rave about these pickups in the highest tones. In fact, they are able to convey a liveliness that will sweep any listener away!There are two small disadvantages of Deccas:(1) there is a magic limit to the pickup's ability to pick up. If this limit is exceeded, a Decca will distort significantly. Fortunately, this limit is very very high.(2) dust and dirt become clearly audible. Therefore you should order an LP-washing machine together with your Decca! Washed records sound much better - not only with Decca systems!So: a Decca is (similar to a Maserati) nothing for beginners and Sunday drivers. But if you are looking for the extraordinary, if you are looking for dynamics and fun, then a Decca is made for you!



The Japanese manufacturer offers its MC systems unchanged for many decades. The Denon DL103 studio system was one of the first MC pickups in the world and is still highly appreciated by many a VInyl fan. The more modern Denon DL110 offers a good resolution with a warm sound image.



MC-pickup as urge rock! Dynavector has been an integral part for decades. The pickups are carefully improved, always keeping their original fascination. The inexpensive Dynavector DV50X is an all-rounder with a vivid sound image that makes vinyl fun in new and older turntables alike. The Dynavector 20X, on the other hand, marks its claim to audiophile high-end: a very natural sound image with pleasant timbres enchants the listener. Dynavector also plays in the upper league with its great MC systems: they offer a very neutral sound and gripping playing pleasure.



The German-Swiss studio manufacturer has played its way into the hearts of music listeners in recent years by carefully developing its studio systems. The current models are considered to be the benchmark for neutral sound, which also creates an exciting magic. Only very few manufacturers master this art - EMT belongs to the worldwide top in this field.



The British manufacturer offers models from their own production as well as systems from Japanese production. PhonoPhono recommends the Goldring G1000 series as well as the Goldring MC systems - both series have British roots and convince with a neutral sound with pleasant brilliance and very good fine resolution.



Pickups directly from Brooklyn, New York. The Americans have been producing pickups that are in demand worldwide for many decades. The inexpensive Grado Prestige series enables even price-conscious vinyl listeners to enjoy magical moments with Grado sound. The modern Grado Reference Series (high output voltage, like MM) and Grado Statement Series (output voltage like MC) are one of the most pleasing products of the last years: these pickups combine the legendary Grado melt (timbres, three-dimensional spatiality) with an incredibly neutral reproduction.



A series of high quality MC-pickups in the medium price range. The sound is neutral with good three-dimensionality, the systems harmonize with practically every fashionable turntable and MC phono amplifier.



Dream of all high-end-players! These Japanese masterpieces might have opened the access to the musical sky for many people. Koetsu MC systems are available from just affordable to outrageously expensive-but I want it. In every respect, Koetsu systems set the standard, with perfection often fading into the background. Because this is where music plays: unsurpassably free, lively, genuine and live.



The world's largest manufacturer of scanning diamonds also leaves nothing to chance with its own pickups and manufactures all components itself. Because at Nagaoka, good vinyl sound is a tradition. For more than 70 years.Originally founded as a supplier of precision parts for mechanical watches, NAGAOKA has been manufacturing turntable needles since 1947. Even when interest in the subject waned worldwide in the 1990s after the introduction of the CD, NAGAOKA, unlike many of its competitors at the time, remained loyal to the market andthus retained the know-how accumulated over the decades.So when demand picked up again during the vinyl revival, the company was on hand - currently over 90% of all pickup needles sold worldwide come from the traditional manufacturer in Higashine, 400 km north of Tokyo.



Danish high technology in every price range. Ortofon is probably one of the world's largest manufacturers of pickups. Ortofon's program is very broad and ranges from DJ systems to very inexpensive MM systems and sinfully expensive (and sinfully good) MC pickups. The most popular models are those of the Ortofon 2M series (excellent MM systems for both new and older drives, neutral and lively sound, PhonoPhono reference) and the Ortofon Quintet series (MC systems with a very good price/performance ratio, neutral and dynamic sound). For lovers of an opulent sound image, Ortofon SPU systems are considered the measure of all things; these systems require a heavy tone arm and MC transformer.



British analog world champion. Rega turntables are among the world's best analogue tools. Rega builds its own pick-ups, which are optimized for Rega turntables. The sound of the MM pickups is neutral with a preference for catchy, lively music-making. The modern MC series is more exciting: Rega has developed a special needle suspension. The Rega MC series sounds very neutral and at the same time very lively and open. Especially the rather inexpensive Rega Ania model is an extremely exciting pickup, not only for Rega turntables!



Japanese series of high-quality MC systems.MC systems have an extremely neutral sound, are very subtle in tone and demand a turntable that is fun to play. The sound of the MM system is completely different: the Shelter 201 amazes with lush timbres and a warm sound image. Not necessarily neutral, but for many a music listener exactly the right thing.



American manufacturer, which was one of the market leaders for pickups in the analog heyday. Beside some DJ systems with very fat sound only very few HiFi systems remained in the assortment.



Soundsmith is a specialty audio manufacturer located about an hour north of New York City. Founded in 1972, Soundsmith has achieved an enviable reputation in the audiophile world for outstanding sonic quality and extremely high-value products. Perhaps best known now for their work restoring cartridges and for their Strain Gauge and Fixed Coil cartridges, every Soundsmith product is hand-crafted in Soundsmith’s Peekskill, NY factory by a carefully selected team of artisans and engineers .The Soundsmith has existed in Westchester County, New York, for over 40 years. We currently provide audio repairs for many major brands for equipment both brought to us and equipment shipped to us from all over the world. We service Audio Research, Revox, Bang & Olufsen,Nakamichi, Tandberg,  Halcro, DartZeel, Jeff Rowland and McIntosh and most every brand that exists or has existed. We have designed and manufactured varied types of audio equipment for many years, and are dedicated to the finest in audio reproduction.



Japanese manufacturer. The inexpensive MM systems are neutral sounding all-rounders. Exciting is the popular high-output MC system Sumiko Blue Point No. 2, which has stood for lively, neutral sound for many years.



The German noble manufacturer has its pickups manufactured by Goldring. One of the outstanding systems is the Transrotor Uccello Reference, which is based on the Goldring G1000 series and offers an outstanding sound experience thanks to the Transrotor needle insert.


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Where and who wrote this article just for reference, not that I disagree with anything said. 


On another note, I know there is a price to pay for excellence and some are willing and able to pay the price but the price for what you get in such a simple piece of equipment is way over what I would pay for just a subtle difference in sound quality. If I could even hear the difference. I Would like to think I could but in reality probably not. I think it would take a trained ear to being to tell a noticeable difference between a mid level cartridge and those that cost thousands. IMHO

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5 minutes ago, henry4841 said:

Where and who wrote this article from just for reference, not that I disagree with anything said. 


On another note, I know there is a price to pay for excellence and some are willing and able to pay the price but the price for what you get in such a simple piece of equipment is way over what I would pay for just a subtle difference in sound quality. If I could even hear the difference. I Would like to think I could but in reality probably not. I think it would take a trained ear to being to tell a noticeable difference between a mid level cartridge and those that cost thousands. IMHO

The above list of manufacturers refers exclusively to the own data of the different companies which I have collected. Some of these manufacturers offer pickups from $ 50 to the sky is the limmit. The list serves an orientation guide for all those who want to get an overview

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Just now, MicroMara said:

The above list of manufacturers refers exclusively to the own data of the different companies which I have collected. Some of these manufacturers offer pickups from $ 50 to the sky is the limmit. The list serves an orientation guide for all those who want to get an overview

Thanks, good general reference article. What I have found over my many years is that it is best to find a reviewer you agree with and listen to what he has to say about any audio product. Reviewers disagree as much as the average person on any product being that sound is so subjective. 


Thanks again for putting this information together and presenting it here. Good starting point on finding the right cartridge. 

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Let me mention another famouse TT Brand : Thorens ......

.....is a manufacturer of consumer electronics components founded in Switzerland, which became known worldwide, especially for its high-quality turntables. Most recently, the company moved its headquarters to Bergisch Gladbach, Germany.


The company was founded in 1883 by Hermann Thorens (1856-1943) in Sainte-Croix, a small community in the Swiss Jura (canton of Vaud) near Lake Neuchâtel. The family business initially produced music boxes and musical works. In 1903, Thorens began manufacturing Edison phonographs.After gramophones had been produced by the neighboring company Paillard since 1904, Thorens also switched production to horn gramophones for the reproduction of shellac records in 1906. A total of about three million gramophones were built and sold.


In 1927, the family business was converted into a joint stock company, and just one year later the first patent specifications for the electric direct drive of the turntable in gramophones were issued. By 1930, the company already had 1200 employees. In addition to gramophones, high-quality radio receivers were produced in cooperation with the German company Stassfurt-Imperial.


In 1937 Paillard hired the engineer Edouard Thorens, who gave his name to a record player he had developed. Thus Paillard became the birthplace of the Thorens turntables. At the beginning of the 1940s, Thorens began to develop and manufacture complete record cutting systems as well as sound recording and amplification systems for cinemas. Company founder Hermann Thorens died in 1943.


In the following years, various record players and record changers were developed with which Thorens was able to gain a foothold in the USA. Among them were developments such as the "Symphony" CD 50, a record changer with two motors, which was able to play records from both sides without turning them by hand.


CD 50 Symphony


Thorens CD50 Symphony 1943 | Diy turntable, Vintage electronics, Vintage  record player



In 1957, one year before the introduction of the stereo record, the TD 124 was presented, a high-quality turntable for professional use in broadcasting studios. It was one of the first to feature an interchangeable tonearm board (patent CH343667) for mounting various tonearms (from 9 to 12 inches). The turntable was equipped with a two-part turntable, where the lower part served as a flywheel and the pot-shaped upper part as the actual turntable. This could be separated from the continuously running flywheel by a simple clutch mechanism.In the same year Thorens presented the TDW 224 "Studiomatic", a technically very complex plate changer based on the TD 124.


Model TD 124


Stereo: Plattenspieler: Der Kult-Klassiker - Thorens TD 124


TDW 224






In 1965 Thorens introduced the single-stage belt drive with the compact TD 150. The special feature of this turntable was its two-part chassis. In this design, based on a patent of the American company Acoustic Research, the tonearm and the platter bearing are mounted on a floating sub-chassis that absorbs shocks and vibrations. This sub-chassis became a design feature of Thorens turntables in the following years. To this day, Thorens turntables built according to this principle are manufactured. In the early 1970s, the Scot Ivor Tiefenbrun took over the construction of the TD 150 as the basis for the Linn "Sondek LP 12", which is still built according to this principle today.


TD 150


Vintage Turntable Thorens TD 150 mk2 | the turntable Thorens td 150 mk2 on  vintage hifi.





In 1968, production of the TD 124 was discontinued and a newly developed successor was introduced with the TD 125. By this time, almost 100,000 "TD 124 I + II" turntables had been built. Like the TD 150 before it, the TD 125 was also equipped with a sprung sub-chassis. The belt drive of the new turntable had an electronic motor control and three speeds (16⅔ min-1, 33⅓ min-1 and 45 min-1). EMT, meanwhile also based in Lahr, Baden, which shortly before had bought the majority of the distribution company Thorens S. A., used the high development potential of this turntable to develop the EMT 928, a professional studio turntable, in 1971.


The TD 160, introduced in 1972, formed the basis of an entire drive generation that was built well into the 1990s. The basic construction with sub-chassis and belt drive was identical to the TD 150, the case had been reworked and enlarged and the TP 16 tonearm had been taken over from the TD 125. The TD 160 with its subsequent generations was built for over 20 years with a short interruption. Since the own tonearm TP 16 (Mk II and III) is very light and therefore mainly suitable for MM systems with high needle compliance, the drive was available with tonearms of other manufacturers or naked with different tonearm boards. Today it is built by the "new" company Thorens in a new edition equipped with RDC elements.


TD 160


THORENS TD 160 - Catawiki


In 1976 the TD 126 was released and the successor of the TD 125 was also designed for professional use. The proven design features, such as the sub-chassis suspended on three conical springs, were adopted and further improved. The modular drive and control electronics were designed for maximum reliability. In the third generation of this turntable (Mk III), the proven platter drive using an AC synchronous motor was replaced by a completely newly developed drive with a DC motor and load-dependent tachometer control. In addition to the Thorens tonearm fitted as standard, the TD 126 could also be equipped ex works with tonearms from various manufacturers (e.g. SME).


TD 126


THORENS TD 126 MKIII , EMT 929 ,EMT TSD 15 , top ! TD 126 Spezial - EUR  1.095,00 | PicClick DE



In 1980, the "Reference" was created, the largest and heaviest Thors drive to date (total weight about 90 kg). About 100 copies of the device, which was originally designed as a measuring platform and show object, were sold. However, there are contradictory statements about the exact production number. Up to three tonearms could be mounted on this record player. Depending on the equipment, the prices were beyond $ 10.000




Thorens Reference | Plattenspieler, Schallplattenspieler, Hifi


In the early 1980s, Thorens developed the TD 524 on the basis of the EMT 948 studio drive, which was designed for use in radio and discotheques and was equipped with a quartz-controlled direct drive that accelerated the turntable to nominal speed in 0.25 seconds. In order to meet the requirements in radio and recording studios, the drive functions were completely remote controllable. Another turntable from this time was the TD 226, which was technically based on the TD 126, but could be equipped with two tonearms. Only about 600 copies of the TD 226 were built.


TD 524


Thorens TD-524 Professional | Plattenspieler | Plattenspieler + X | Geräte  | Gebrauchte Hifigeräte kaufen - springair.de




Thorens TD-226 (31.01.2019 von Spring Air HiFi) | Neuheit auf audio-markt.de


In 1983, Thorens celebrated the 100th anniversary of the company and, on this occasion, launched the special models "Centennial" (based on TD 126) and "Jubilee" (based on TD 147, which in turn is derived from the TD 160) in limited numbers. The "Prestige" drive was presented in 1983 at the Berlin Funkausstellung.




Thorens TD-126 MK III Centennial with SME 3009-3 | Turntables | Turntables  + X | Audio Devices | Spring Air




Die 80er - Thorens TD 147 Jubilee !!! | 80er, jubilee, td, thorens |  hifi-forum.de Bildergalerie






Thorens Prestige Prospekt


In 1984 Thorens introduced a new generation of turntables with the TD 320. In the new units, the previously used coil springs of the sub-chassis were replaced by leaf springs. To demonstrate the new technology, Thorens also offered the TD 320 with a transparent Plexiglas housing under the name "Phantasie". Based on the TD 320, the TD 520 was developed in the mid-1980s, which could be equipped with tonearms up to 12 inches long. The TP 16 tonearm, a development from the 1970s, was mainly intended for MM systems with high needle compliance in the Mk II and Mk III versions due to its low moving mass. Initially, the TD 320 was equipped with the low-mass TP 16 Mk III version, later the medium-weight TP 16 Mk IV. In the same period, the more simply constructed TD 280 without subchassis was also launched on the market. 1988 saw the introduction of the "Ambiance" and the "Concrete" turntables, which attracted attention due to their special design. The circular main chassis of the "Concrete" was made of concrete.




Thorens Ambiance/SME-V




Thorens Concrete turntable. | Hifi turntable, Turntable record player,  Turntable

During the 1990s the company structure was changed several times. Instead of cost- and time-intensive new developments, the turntables were mainly further developed. From 1993 on, Thorens had a part of the turntables built in Poland, but two years later the production was moved back to Germany.


In 1994, Thorens presented electronic components again for the first time since the 1970s with the "Consequence" series. With the aim of developing high-quality hi-fi components, a new development laboratory was founded in Berlin in 1995. In addition to the "Consequence" series, the "Classic" (tube amplifiers) and "Concreto" (38 cm grid) series were developed. At the end of the 1990s, Thorens once again briefly added high-quality loudspeakers to its program with the TSP series. An attempt to find new buyers with low-priced turntables failed and in 1999 Thorens Audio Vertriebs-GmbH had to file for insolvency



Pictures under copyrights of Thorens. Translation from original by MicroMara






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Where do the TP4 come into the mix. Composite lightweight tonearms are on alot of popular turntables. Have to admit really like the sound and idea of using low gram weight as being easier on records. 

Does this hold weight for the sake of discussion...


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@billybob   I do not know the TP 4 tonearm ! But I know what your question refers to, at least I think so......" Uff " hard job for me right now ...L O  L 


The issue here is the compliance of the needle carrier. The compliance indicates how hard or soft the suspension of the needle carrier is, which in turn carries the scanning diamond. The unit of measurement of compliance is µm/mN. It is measured at 10 Hz.Some of them measure at 100 Hz. There is also a distinction between dynamic and static compliance. The dynamic one counts; and it is obtained by dividing the static value by two.


MM and MI cartridges have a higher needle compliance than MC cartridges, these have a more stiffer needle compliance


Low compliance = hard suspended systems = values between 6 and 12 µm/mN
Medium compliance = medium hard/medium soft suspended systems = values between 11 and 22 µm/mN

High compliance = soft suspended systems = 22 to 30 µm/mN

Very high compliance = very soft suspended systems = 30 to > 40 µm/mN


Tonearms can be roughly classified according to the following scale


Ultra light tonearm: 4 to 5 grams

Lightweight tonearm: 6 to 9 grams
Medium-weight tonearm: 9 to 15 grams (most of the arms used today)
Heavy tonearm: 19 to 24 grams
Very heavy tonearm: 25 grams and more


For tonearms with exchangeable headshells this must always be included.


Tonearm and cartridge as spring-mass system

The mentioned values/classifications are important because the combination of tonearm and cartridge represents a spring-mass system. Like all classic spring pendulums, such a combination has a natural frequency that depends on the hardness of the spring and the mass of the whole system. This is the famous "moving mass", and only this is decisive: If the hardness of the spring increases (i.e. with lower compliance), the resonant frequency increases. If, in turn, more mass is added, the resonant frequency decreases.


The excitation of the mass-spring-system and the consequences

Now what happens if you excite this mass-spring-system with its natural frequency? Logically: it resonates, so that the oscillation becomes extremely upsetting. These oscillations in turn superimpose other frequencies. They lead to disturbances or booming and color the sound image or restrict the exact reproduction of the music. For example, if the resonance frequency was 40 Hz and you were playing a nice Kraftwerk disc, the needle could perform a dance and jump out of the groove.


Tonearm adjustment: many settings - lots of sound


When you start with the vinyl hobby, you think in a naive way: screw on the pickups, swing them out, roughly adjust the counterweight, and off you go. Unfortunately a wrong way - at least if you want to listen to music with high standards. Which pickup is already perfectly produced? Which needle is mounted exactly straight? Which needle carrier is at the exact angle in the generator?


Azimuth: mandatory setting of a good tonearm


The most obvious production errors can usually be detected with a sharp look at the needle carrier and needle. A magnifying glass or USB microscope can help enormously. If the needle or the needle carrier is obviously mounted crooked, you should complain about the pickup at the dealer. Slight misalignments can be compensated by using the mounting bracket in the headshell.


How to correct skewed needle carriers and diamonds

What can only be compensated for by adjusting the azimuth on the tonearm is a diamond inserted at a slight lateral angle, as unfortunately occurs in 80% of all cases with MC pickups. If you want an exact position of the needle in the groove and thus a perfect result, you have to measure and correct the azimuth. Many do this by ear. Respect, who can do that! The goal of an azimuth measurement is always to create a channel separation that is as equal as possible by using different angular positions of the headshell. With well produced pickups, the corrections are +/- 0.5 degrees or less to achieve the desired position. This sounds like little at first, but at one degree you can see the "skew" more than clearly.


The Tonearm Height (VTA = Vertical Tracking Angle) and the Stylus Rake Angle (SRA)

The second "big" control variable and hopefully also -screw on the tonearm is the height adjustment, the adjustment of the so-called "Vertical Tracking Angle". This is not very comfortable with some tonearms (Rega works e.g. with washers; but these arms are anyway mostly only interesting as a complete package with pre-installed pickups). With others like the above mentioned Reed 3P or the Aquilar from Acoustical Systems, the whole thing goes "on the fly" and extremely comfortable and sensitive with a rotating wheel.

What the height adjustment of the tonearm is actually about, is to trim the angle of the needle's insertion into the record to the angle specified during vinyl cutting. This way you can correct the SRA (the Stylus Rake Angle). The standard for this (exceptions confirm the rule) is around 92 degrees when the needle is dipped with the correct weight. Why not 90 degrees? Because the cutting graver scratches out material when cutting vinyl, and to prevent the material from accumulating in front of the graver, you admit a few degrees, i.e. you cut at a slight angle. 92 degrees.


At this point I would like to emphasize once again that the described settings can be made by ear and taste, as always. Those who have practiced ears can and should use them. The bottom line is the same as with frequency response perception: what you really hear can also be measured. What cannot be measured is often only anchored in the human psyche.


This graphic from 1960 by Peter Prichard illustrates the entire tonearm setup principles




This has now challenged me hard @billybob  . Hope you´re satisfied now ......No more questions today ... PLEASE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Zeig her deinen Workflow! Wie strukturierst du deinen Arbeitstag? [+  Verlosung]



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This is a very good explanation of the simple point I made earlier in this thread, about the relationship between tone arm mass and cartridge compliance. The resulting resonant frequency is critical. Good job with the detailed explanation!



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Many classic amplifiers have a MM ( MI ) / MC input in the basic configuration. Some have variable settings for the MC input.  Modern amplifiers have these only rarely, therefore more and more manufacturers decided to produce external phono modules. These are connected to the amplifier via the line inputs. Here is an overview of inexpensive entry level models up to $ 500. Of course there are also a large number of phono preamplifiers which are much more expensive. Then you should get advice from your dealer.


The Dynavox TC-750 is a very inexpensive phono preamplifier with RIAA equalization for modern MM pickups. The TC750 is suitable for all modern turntables as well as for the majority of older units.

Dynavox TC-750

The Dynavox TC-2000 is a good, inexpensive phono preamplifier with RIAA equalization. It offers very good sound, especially with MM pickups. The TC-2000 is suitable for modern turntables as well as for older units. The Dynavox can also be used for MC pickups, since it offers an adjustable Vamplification. However, MC has a lot to offer in terms of sound - which is not a bad thing, given the very reasonable price.

Dynavox TC-2000



The Dynavox UPR-2 is a special preamplifier with one input, which can be used either for turntables with MM pickup (Phono) or HiFi equipment (Line) Output Cinch for connection to a HiFi system. Built-in A/D converter with USB connection for digitizing music. The Dynavox UPR-2 is detected by the PC as external sound card.


Dynavox UPR-2


Pro-Ject PhonoBox S2 is a modern and good phono preamplifier, adaptable to all MM and MC cartridges

Pro-Ject PhonoBox S2




Rega Fono mini USB is a compact built MM-Phono preamplifier with very good sound. Built-in analog-to-digital converter: digitize your own LPs with any PC via USB.


Rega Fono mini A2D





The Graham Slee GramAmp2 Communicator is an exceptionally good MM phono preamplifier. The electronics is optimized especially for MM-pickups and deliberately avoids being adaptable for MC-pickups. You can hear that immediately: this phono stage puts many much more expensive competitors in seriouse trouble! Graham Slee focuses on inner values and packs extremely good electronics into a simple, inconspicuous housing. Only the housing is saved, but not the components that are responsible for the sound. That explains the large fan community! This phono preamplifier has evolved from an insider tip to THE preamplifier for demanding vinyl listeners.The sound is very catchy, dynamic and lively. Amazing and probably unique in this price range: the enormously spatial sound and the deep stage! In addition, there is a fine resolution and an excellent low bass.


Graham Slee Audio GramAmp 2 Communicator




Graham Slee Audio GramAmp 2 SE Fascinatingly good MM-Phono preamplifier from the English special manufacturer Graham Slee. Thanks to selected components and selected electronics, this device offers an experience that is rather expected in higher price ranges: gripping dynamics, very fine resolution, unusually good spatial imaging. An ideal partner for all high-quality MM systems (Clearaudio, Ortofon) and high-output MCs (Dynavector).The GramAmp 2SE combines intelligent circuit design and many years of experience at a surprisingly moderate price.


Graham Slee Audio GramAmp 2 SE




Rega Fono MM is a very good phono preamplifier from the analog master Rega: a phono stage with audiophile sound quality especially designed for MM pickups


Rega Fono MM





The Graham Slee "Fanfare" is a phono preamplifier that is specially optimized for MC pickups. The whole circuit is designed for operation with high quality MC pickups. Selected components and elaborate circuit layout guarantee playback quality at the highest level! The GramAmp3 Fanfare is hardly to be surpassed in its price range! Its unmatched spatial imaging and its fine high frequency resolution make it a serious competitor for many considerably more expensive phono preamplifiers. Graham Slee designs all his devices for the best possible sound and at the same time a reasonable price. There is a little saving on the cabinet, which is high-quality and practical, but by no means luxurious. The electronics, on the other hand, are almost luxurious. Especially interesting is the new low-noise power supply, which is specially designed for devices with low power consumption.A great phono preamplifier.


Graham Slee Audio GramAmp 3 Fanfare



Pro-Ject Tube Box S2 is a modern phono preamplifier in tube technology with two ECC83 tubes. The amplifier is switchable for MM- and MC-pickups, the input impedance selectable 10Ohm, 100 Ohm, 1kOhm, 2kOhm, 47kOhm


Pro-Ject Tube Box S2

The Lehmann BlackCube Statement is - in view of its sonic performance - a very inexpensive phono preamplifier. It is the little brother of the famous Lehmann BlackCube and Lehmann BlackCube SE! Soundwise almost as good as the big one, just as flexibly adaptable to MM and MC systems - and fantastically well manufactured!


Lehmann Black Cube Statement



The Trigon Vanguard II is a modern phono preamplifier. Its gain is adjustable to MM or MC pickups. Thanks to numerous switchable input resistors, the Vanguard can be optimally adapted to all modern MC systems.The elegant metal housing effectively shields the electronics from interference voltages. The power supply is outsourced, optionally the Vanguard can even be operated completely disconnected from the mains with the Trigon Volcano battery power supply! The extensive equipment and the excellent sound make the Trigon Vanguard a very inexpensive phono preamplifier!

Trigon Vanguard II

The phono preamplifier Era Gold V  is not just a slightly better device. With its uncompromising circuit design, the Era Gold opens up new dimensions in record reproduction. The Graham Slee Era Gold is specially designed and optimized for MM pickups. By dispensing with extremely high amplification (which would be at the expense of sound quality), the Era Gold succeeds in creating a captivating sound experience.


Graham Slee Audio Era Gold V






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As last information I would like to link this thread to Vinyl Engine.  Have fun through the galaxy of analog TT´s


The Vinyl Engine has all the information you need to get the best sound from your records, all completely free of charge. As well as a huge archive of owners manuals, service manuals, schematics and brochures. They also have images, articles and reviews for most modern and vintage TT´s and a friendly forum where visitors can share their knowledge.



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  • 3 weeks later...


Found a very interesting article about Parksaudio MM / MC Phono DSP preamplifier. It´s allready in use by @Full Range, one of the Klipsch Community´s most vinyl lover´s.


The features, flexibility and handling of the Puffin are simply unbeatable in relation to the price for $ 400


[Parks Audio Puffin - DSP Phono Pre-amplifier]


Here are two links for further information.







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Good information.


There is a law of diminishing return. As much money as I have put into audio since 1974 a few observations.


Your hearing will get worse.

You have to love your speakers, if you do not the rest of the components are inconsequential.

You have to love your preamplifier or phono preamp. 

I do not think my ears would appreciate a $ 5000 cartridge over a $ 1500 cartridge.

I can easily listen to an economical cartridge.

I cannot listen to an economical DAC.

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