Advice needed on MC cartridges

I’ve an Ortofon Black 2M cartridge on my VPI Classic 2 turntable, It’s a moving magnet type cartridge with a Shibata stylus and cost about $700 when purchased. I could easily be wrong, but am under the impression that the Ortofon 2M Black is about as good as it gets with MM cartridges and if I wished to upgrade I’d need to be thinking about moving into a MC, moving coil, type.

So I’ve been trying to learn something about moving coil cartridges and what differences or improvements in sound quality might be obtained by using one. My integrated amp, a Luxman 507uX Mk2, has a built in phono stage and can play either type,

Generally speaking, how much more would need to be spent on a MC cartridge before a noticeable, or significant improvement, might be heard in sound quality over the Ortofon 2M’s performance? What improvements in performance might you obtain using one a better quality MC over the Ortofon 2M Black? And third, what MC cartridges might you recommend that would fit in performance and budget wise with a system composed of the above equipment plus Magico A3 speakers. My other equipment is a Marantz Ruby CD/SACD player and a Shunyata Denali Hydra power conditioner.

I’ve never heard a MC cartridge in use so would be interested in following your advice and recommendations to see if I can find a dealer or someone that might be able to demo one so I can hear what the differences might be in performance. Thank you for any responses or suggestions



Sandthemail. Thanks for your response. When I do get a more expensive cartridge I think I’ll get a professional to set up the installation for it this time. I’m a DIY type guy and worked hard at trying to get all the settings correct for the Ortofon 2M Black on my VPI Classic 2, but who knows how well I succeeded. I’d never done this before and had no baseline to know how well or not it was set up when I was finished.

I found an individual about a couple hours away in Charlottesville, Virginia who specializes in VPI turntables and their set up. I’ll be contacting him. It’s impressive you were able to figure out all you did to gets yours to perform as well as you have.




So did you ever pick up the Gimbal? Thoughts?

I'm in the decision mode of trading in my Uni Pivot for the 3D Fat Boy Gimbal


Tommy I did purchase the Fatboy and a Lyra Kleos cartridge at the same time. It's still nice to not have to fool around with the Unipivot's propensity to move about so much while placing it on a record. Since I installed both on my VPI Classic 2 simultaneously, I can't differentiate what improvement came from the tonearm and what came from the cartridge. I'm happy with both though especially with the overall clarity and detail to the sound with that combo. If you do upgrade just your tonearm and stay with the came cartridge I'd be interested with your impression of the Fatboy versus your current tonearm.