Lowest priced MC thats better than a Premium MM?

I’ve only used MM’s with my Technics 1200Gr with Luxman Phono Pre. I’ve used a couple AT "540ML" series, a Ortofon black, KAB Concord with 40 stylus (very close to Ortofon Black in sound) and my current Nagaoka JT80BK (which I love). I tend to change cartriges (and keep them with headshell intact) at a point to where the stylus still has around 40% -50% life. I sometimes I switch out and listen to my older ones for a change of flavor.

I’m now wanting to try a MC however, I want to keep it under $1200 or so. An Ortofon SPU would be fun to try, however, from what I've read, I do not think its a good match for my tonearm. For my 1200GR, can anyone recommend a good MC Cartridge. I’m tempted to try a ZU modified 103r. Thoughts?


I run MC in three systems ranging from Koetsu Urushi, through vintage Lyra Clavis to a modern Goldring Eroica LX. I recommend the latter as a  c. $1,000 option for you.

I agree that there is no such thing as a price-point or specific MC that beats out any MM/MI cartridge; it is really a matter of taste.  There are some who would say that a Decca London will beat out any cartridge of any type for example.  But, there are certainly lower priced MCs that do, to me sound quite good for their price and are worth checking out.  As someone mentioned above, the Ortofon Quintet Blue is a bargain, particularly if one is looking for a warm cartridge along the lines of a Koetsu, but at a fraction of the price. 

For a completely different sound (or detailed, less warm sound) an at a much higher price, I like the Lyra Delos.

A Soundsmith'd Denon 103D.  A giant killer and it has a higher compliance for a low to medium mass arm.  My Nak Dragon loves it~

I have - and love - a Hana SH. Yet some people dismiss all HOMC carts, Hana Dynavector, Sumiko, with a wave of the hand and not so much as a whiff of reason why. Care to explain?


Sure. MC cartridges already use very powerful magnets. The only option to increase the output is to increase the size of the coils which adds a lot of mass to the moving system making it harder to damped effectively. Theoretically they would also go through styluses and record grooves faster. In short it is a silly marketing idea. MM and MI cartridges are far superior when it comes to high output design.