You've run some pretty fancy MC's, but the _______ MM cartridge really impressed me

Fill in the blank above. If you wish, feel free to mention what MC or MC's you have used. 


Grace Ruby. Also other more rare Grace MM cartridges, with advanced styli; I forget the nomenclature. Also vintage Acutex (MI) and B&O MMC1 and MM20CL (both also MI). These will blow away many mid priced MCs and all HOMCs I have ever heard ( includes some Sumiko, Transfig Esprit, Benz Glider 1 and 2). These are only my opinions based on listening in my two home systems.

I just put this together in another thread.

Before joining Audiogon, I had a MM Shure V15Vxmr micro-ridge (favorite due to sound and preferred to AT440ml only because of Shure’s alternate damped brush), alternate headshell with MM AT440ml microline; and an alternate headshell with MM Shure 97xe elliptical, also damped brush. My wood floors are flexible, so damped brush can help with that as well as warped lps. No longer a problem due to current rack/TT location


Joined Audiogon, AND covid era left me toooooo much time alone and some otherwise unspent money). Don’t forget, I’m an old dog, 74.

Current Cartridges:

I ’make my own’ by buying bodies with broken cantilevers and if MM eventually finding NOS stylus or if MC having Steve at VAS build me something. Happily, he’s only 35 minutes from me.

I’ve got 6 mounted in various tonearms here, plus a few spares. I have gathered them based on past listening here or hearing friends cartridges; reviews; specs: but not carefully compared them to find differences. Like many LPs, a few I never even listened to yet.

AT 14SA, shibata 1.25g; sep >27db; balance 1.0db. On my garage/shop TT, a Sony Drawer Type, to stack and fit more stuff there, incl dual cassette and 8 track. Note: these TT’s had P mount, or an alternate head for 1/2" which mine came with.

AT TR485U linear 1.25g; sep >31db; bal 1.0db. P mount Shibata (rare) on my Technics SL-J33 programmable compact TT (former garage/shop: spare/loaner these days)

AT440ml micro-linear 1.25g; sep >30db; bal 0.75. Active on Office Mitsubishi Vertical Linear Tracking LT-5V. Wonderful sound, I had a few AT440ml’s over the years.

Shure V15Vxmr micro-ridge 1.25 sep >25 db; bal 1.5db. Originally Beryllium cantilever, broke it. Bought Jico SAS on boron, optional brush, but not damped like Shure’s. Now have VAS ’p’ stylus on boron, with Shure’s optional damped brush, haven’t listened yet. Optional for rear arm of main system and/or office

note: happily, removable/replaceable stylus fits both V15Vxmr body and 97xe body

Shure 97xe elliptical 1.25g; sep >25db; bal 2.0db. Now have advanced stylus on boron, with Shure’s optional damped brush, haven’t listened yet. (bought body with broken cantilever). Bought it to get the damped brush, knowing original body/elliptical sounded great, was my favorite elliptical. Alternate for either main or office TT.

Grado Mono Elliptical: 1.5g. Main system, left arm. Definitely better than using a Stereo cartridge for Mono. I now have the AT33PTG/II Mono body with advanced stylus for modern mono (bottom of list), but yet to hear/compare here

Goldring Eroica LX MC, ’gyger 2’ 1.7g; sep >25db; bal 1.0 db. Listened, very nice, now at my friend’s house.

Sumiko Talisman S Sapphire Tube, van den Hul 2.0g; sep > 30db; bal 0.5db
I’m hoping a spec more bass out of it’s sapphire tube cantilever. Best bass I ever had was V15Vxmr beryllium cantilever. Friend coming over tomorrow, perhaps I will mount it today!

AT33PTG/II MC micro-linear 2.0g; sep >30db; bal 0.5db. Current Favorite. Main TT, main right side 12.5" long arm. 1st MC, when worn: replaced without even considering anything else. And, AT’s trade in program, I got a new one at half-price.

AT33PTG mono body, had VAS make boron advanced ’p’ stylus 2.0g. Heard it at VAS, not yet mounted here. (bought body with broken cantilever). Left mono arm is mission, fixed cartridge, so I guess I will get a headshell and use it on the rear arm, wonderful Acos Lustre GST 801 with instant height change.


 Nagaoka are superb by reputation. (I’ve not heard one.) Their TOTL MP500 can be had at the low end of your price range. Personally, I have been consistently underwhelmed by Sumiko, and Clearaudio cartridges are typically made for them by someone else, which raises their cost compared to similar performers. Among the 3 brands the OP named, I’d go Grado.