Top 5 favorite MM cartridges currently available

What are your top 5 (or so) favorite MM carts that are readily available new. Cost is not a restriction but mentioning it, for the unitiated, would be nice. No used or out of production carts please. Thanks
The Clearaudio Virtuoso (Black) is a very nice cartridge at around $900 I believe?
But it can be found on HiFiDo or EBay used for around $400-$500.
If you find one of these......ignore the condition of the stylus and cantilever and send it to Axel in Germany who, for 150 Euro.....will give you a nude Line Contact stylus pressure-fitted into a new aluminium cantilever.
This will sound so much better than the original (though no slouch in itself)....that you will wonder why you suffered through those expensive LOMC cartridges which you bought after reading the magazines?

And if you agree with that opinion after listening to the Virtuoso......why not look for some of the golden treasures from the past.....such as the Signets, Empires, Fidelity Research et al, which may surprise you even more with their level if performance?
Audio Technica AT150MLX
Linn Adikt
Roksan Corus Black
Shure M97xE

I just heard the new Audio Technica AT150ANV 50th anniversary cartridge. It wasn't on one of my tables, but it sounded wonderful.
Ortofon 2c Black
Only MM I have heard recently that is comparable to MC and is still in production.
'Everything you can do I can do better'(grin).
The assumption is that all Clearaudio MM carts share the
same 'generator' and differ only qua cantilever/stylus
combo. So one can 'do better' by visiting the German ebay
and buy any of those Clearadio's for cheap (from 50 Euro on but look for the wood corpus). Then ask the seller to post the cart direct to Axel who will provide the cantilever/stylus combo as described by Halcro. The (damn)foreigners need not to pay our (Europe) VAT tax which is just incresed from 18% to 22%. Axel was very clear about this 'prerogative' for those outside of the EU.

I do own a Signet which I bought as a Tag sale item expecting little and getting a lot.
I wanted to keep it to current production because the hunt and repairs are obstacles I didn't want people to hassle with. Thanks keep the replys coming. Steve
I'll add the Clearaudio Aurum Beta S Wood as a very warm, smooth but detailed cartridge
Shure 97 has a terrfic warm sound, it is a great value. I've used it and compared it to $2K units. Try it. Let your ears decide. Makes a great backup cartridge.
I second the Linn Adikt. I took one of of a second Linn LP12 since I do not like to buy or sell used carts. I put it on a new Rega RP3 and it sounds every bit as good as both the LP 12's I had. One had the Ittock LVII the other an Ekos. I had used 2 DV 10x5's but they have no build quality, and bend way too easily. Junk. The Adikt is about 565.00 and the stylus can easily be changed for 265.00
Regards, Mechans: Your AM (Analog Master) 10 cart is well supported in the range of available styli. The AT7V, 150MLx, AT120e, 440MLa are all compatible and there are numerous current production replacements from various vendors such as Lpgear and JICO. Options include Shibata, line contact, hyperelliptical, micro line, fine ellipticals and conical. Retippers can offer alu, be, boron, crystal and even carbon fiber cantilevers with exotic styli such as the well thought of paratrace. Hand wound & bench tested, your laminated coil four pole Signet cart is a proven design.

The AT 155lc stylus, line contact on beryllium, is available and although relatively spendy for a replacement stylus you'll have to reach pretty deep into your pocket to find a cart that will (IMHO) exceed the AM10/155lc combo. There is little probability that, in the foreseeable future, suitable or even upgrade replacement styli for your nice Signet will be unavailable.

The Shure 97xe is a good choice, the JICO SAS stylus is a noticeable improvement. There are also some very positive impressions concerning the Orto. Black.

If you're in exploratory mode, you might think about either the AT7V (.2 x .7 nude elliptical, 1.8gm nom. VTF) or AT 440MLa (micro line), AND an AT140LC replacement stylus (nude line contact on tapered alu, 1.25gm nom. VTF). Styli will be interchangeable and you'll have three styli to sample on two carts. You'll do well to research the 440MLa before purchase, many find it has a rising hf character that needs taming with appropriate loading.

I run the AT7V/ATN140lc on my "office" rig Pio. Exclusive PL-70L 11. Through some beat up old Tannoy floor-standers and an even older Pio. SX-1050 receiver. In a very vintage way, it's a fun listen.

The Nagaoka MP500 replaces the MP50 and is currently in production. The MP500 is reputed to be a little better. I haven't heard it. The MP50 is a nice sounding cart.
I really don't have any first-hand experience, but the Garrott Brothers business is alive and well in Australia, and they make an interesting range of MM or MI cartridges that are also worth consideration. And I am shocked, shocked I tell you, that no one has mentioned Grado.

The OP asked specifically about Moving Magnet cartidges. The Grados are Moving Iron. That's why I didn't include them.
London/Decca Super Gold ==== LIVEST sounding cartridge I've ever heard. Kinda been "the route" during the last 40 years.

How much force should a cantilever be able to withstand before bending? That is like getting in 2 accidents and blaming the car.
Mo-fi, I would think he wants a high output cartridge "like" a moving magnet, so I don't know whether he would exclude an MI type from the search. An "MM" phono stage will typically deal with either unless the output is unusually low, as for a few MI types and a rarer few MM types. Anyway, ... cool.
Hello Mechans, Did you intend to exclude MI cartridge's or was it an oversight? That cuts out several good manufacturers. Not only Grado but the very good Soundsmith line. OK either way.
Triode, Is the Maestro really a step up from Virtuoso? Several on the other MM thread suggested it was not as good, let alone better, than the V. I have no opinion, not having heard either.
Triode&Lew, The Clearaudio series MM carts differ only qua
cantilever /styli and corpus (wood + metal kind). According
to Raul Peter Ledermann told him that the Virtuoso stylus was 'mediocre'. I assume that Raul retipped his Virtuoso by Peter. When we discussed cantilevers in the MM thread J. Carr mentioned the difference between aluminum cantilevers versus the 'exotic kind' (boron, ruby,etc). In the 'éxotic' kind the stylus must be glued while in aluminum they can be pressure fitted. This way there is a direct connection between the stylus and the cantilever. That is btw why I asked Axel to 'upgrade' my Virtuoso with
the nude line stylus pressure fitted in a(tapered) aluminum cantilever. We of course assume that cantilevers and styli do matter. Halcro also ordered the same upgrade for his Virtuoso black by Axel and was 'euphoric' about the result. Not sure however how much importance one should attribute to his opinion because his 'euphoria' reg. the
MM as well as LOMC's carts seems to have no bondaries.

Dear Nikola,
I know your penchant for quotation marks......however, as a lawyer......I would expect your reading to be more thorough?
If you re-read my posting......I think you will find that I described the Empire 1000ZE/X as sounding 'euphoric'? Particularly in the FR-64s tonearm.
I neither described myself nor the Clearaudio Virtuoso as being 'euphoric'?

Happy as I am with Axel's excellent work on the Virtuoso and FR-7f.......I have not yet crossed the edge to euphoria.
That state is still reserved for the Professor's favourite Signet TK-7LCa mounted in the SAEC WE-308N with Dertonarm's special alignment dialled in.
Dear Henry, you made the comparison with blonds, brunettes,
red-haired,etc., to disclaim my own illusion about the 'fidelity'. There was some confusion in the MM thread between 'euphonic' and 'euphoric' but I thought that someone who is euphoric about the blonds, the brunettes,etc., and used this metaphor to explain his
preferences reg. the carts , should have more 'euphoric'
feelings reg. the carts then about just one or two. There
is this old conception about 'quantity' and 'quality'
but if both can be measured the (pre) assumed difference
does not exist. Kant and Hegel never got this right because
they thought that those are different 'animals'. The problem is/was with 'conceptions'. Those are not statements which can be true or false but only senseless
or useful dependent on our understanding or insight.
Btw I always read your post with indepted care.

Slightly OT: Has anyone here compared the Soundsmith MI to the Clearaudio MM offerings in the $750-$1000 price range? I really like what I hear and hear about the Soundsmiths, but no local dealers sell them, and I would really prefer to pay for professional mounting. There is, however, an excellent Clearaudio dealer near me. Hence, the question. If you have compared these carts, please share your impressions. Thanks!
I've never heard the Clearaudio but I run the Soundsmith Zephyr on my Amadeus now and it's pretty incredible. I'm thinking about picking up an AT 150MLX or Nagaoka MP-500 to compare with what I have.
Im a big Shure fan as well...m97 is insanely good for the is much more nuetral than what many least in my system...
Halcro - An inanimate object such as a MM cartridge cannot be euphoric, are you telling us they have feelings of happiness and elation, get hurt if you try a moving coil or moving iron. Do you put them in the naughty seat if they misbehave ? Do you have long philosophical debates with your MM's ?
I think Nandric's interpretation of your unusual use of the english language is quite understandable.
I disagree......
A cartridge can sound 'happy' in a particular headshell or arm?
It can sound 'soulful' and 'wilful'.......'unhappy' and 'sickly'.
'Sprightly' and 'aggressive'.
Sometimes.....if you have the right headshell and tonearm......a really good cartridge can sound 'euphoric'.
Perhaps Kiwi schooling is overly restrictive?
What about grados? I had the master and it was good but not as good as a wood body Benz mc
Halcro, yes you are probably right, but for those who use English as a second language, with English syntax being at odds with many foreign languages, our colloquialisms and liberal interpretation with the use of words can be difficult for non English speakers.
Poem. By Henry Gibson

There was a man from Victoria
His cart lacked euphoria.
Listeners were moved to aphoria
And visited him no moreia.

Peace ;)
There was a girl called Gloria,
who wanted to find euphoria,
she tried a cart from Highphonic,
but found she preferred euphonic,
by downing a gin and tonic...

Poem by Cloth Ears
Waxing on....


From low to high doth dissolution climb,
And sink from high to low, along a scale
Of awful notes whose concord shall not fail;
A musical but melancholy chime,
Which they can hear who meddle not with crime.
You posted in another thread about your experience with homc vs mm. Did that include mi? Just wondering what mm/mi you have tried? Is your dyna the 900ish one, dv20xh?  An equipment designer I trust also loves this cart if it's the one I'm thinking of. Have a great day!

I just got a Shelter 201 a few days ago. I’m still listening and breaking it in. At US list of $310 it’s an OK deal, but when you get it from a Japanese dealer on eBay at $167, it’s a no-brainer. It’s a rather vivid cartridge, very dynamic (it can make you jump) with a rich and natural-sounding midrange, rich but quick bass and smooth and natural treble. Also good imaging and soundstage. Whatever kind of music I put on, it sounds like the cartridge was designed for that kind of music. Using it in a listenng session always leaves me feeling good, which I consider to be an important indicator of its effectiveness.

There’s a HOMC that has some very positive Internet buzz and piques my curiosity--the LpGear BIN 323. It has 1.7mV output and a nude 5x20 um line contact stylus. On my high-output-only rig, the 1.6mV Denon DL160 has plenty of output and the Audio Technica AT-MONO3/LP does just fine at 1.2mV. There is also a less expensive version, the BIN 215 at $249. But it has a bonded elliptical stylus and the nude line contact on the BIN 323 seems to be a good deal for an extra $80.
Dear @mechans : You posted:

I don’t know why do you want to change what you already have?

Sumiko and Benz Micro have on sale very good HOMC cartridges.

For HO cartridges you have several today/current models options: Roksan, Audio Note, Goldring, Ortofon, Grado, Clearaudio, Audio Technica, Garrot, Nagaoka, Shelter, etc, etc.
Try to look for its the latest top models.

In the other side you said: """ Cost is not a restriction ... """

if that is true maybe a good option for you and before to pull the triger in a cartridge: how about a better phono stage?

Regards and enjoy the music,