Searching for the right phono cartridge for your turntable? Well, then you have landed in the right place! Today, we will be discussing Moving Magnetic(MM) cartridges and Moving Coil (MC) cartridges in detail so you can make the right choice and clearly understand which one fits your needs.
Although the differences between MM and MC cartridges are not drastic, we will still be breaking down the products because the tiniest features can matter to the consumers.
Phono Cartridges act as an electromagnetic generator in sound equipment. The stylus vibrates, and the cartridge converts that to electrical signals, which ultimately ends up as sound signals in the speaker.
Enough talk, let’s get on with our MM vs. MC Cartridge guide.
Overview of Moving Magnetic Cartridge
MM has a magnet placed in a fixed coil which is connected to a cantilever – the place where the vibration is received. The MM produces quick and smooth sound signals working systematically with the other parts.
At first, the style gets the vibration from the grooves and passes to the cantilever and finally to the coils. The magnets between the fixed coils produce sound signals of high volume.
High impedance electrical signals created by the mobile magnets make the high volume sounds possible, but it does not really work like a charm for low volumes.
Benefits of MM Cartridge
The great thing about the moving magnet cartridge is its surprisingly low price tag, and you will be able to find it in the market easily.
Compatibility with the majority of turntables, as well as the lower end speakers, make this product more appealing to the customers. Furthermore, the MM cartridge works exceptionally well in higher ranges of volume.
Disadvantages of MM Cartridge
With the advantages, the disadvantages come right along. After all, nothing seems to be perfect! The main issue with the MM cartilage does not have a long life and tends to wear out. Another thing to note down is that it does not have the top class noise performance.
Overview of Moving Coil Cartridge
If it wasn’t obvious, MC cartridges work with tiny moving coils which can be fixed straight with the cantilever. Two coils which move reside along with the magnet inside the cartridge. As the magnet and the coils touch and come into contact, the sound signals are created.
The stylus gets the vibrations from the records and passes it to the cantilever, and then it travels through straight to the cartridges where the magnets create the sound signals. And the highest rates are dealt with quite amazingly due to the extremely low frequency.
However, the low frequency carries a con of low power output, and therefore, a small volume capacity.
Benefits of MC Cartridge
Since MC cartridge is more premium, the sound is crystal clear, and the noise performance is simply amazing.
In addition to that, the low gain allows for a much-improved sound, which will be justified by the superior speakers. With usage, you will be bound to heed the impressive depth of sound this MC cartridge can create.
To put the cherry on top, this product is compact, has a great design and a robust build, which makes it so long-lasting.
Disadvantages of MC Cartridge
As mentioned before, the little gain means the volume capacity of this cartridge is disappointingly low. The premium features of the MC cartridge come with an even more premium price tag, which might be bad news for those of you who are on a tight budget.
MM vs MC Cartridge: A Comparison Guide
Here, we’ll show you the differences between MM and MC cartridge.
The volume capacity of the cartridge is widely known as ‘gain’ in the sound system industry.
As previously mentioned, MC cartridges create signals with low-frequency signals and low power output. In order to achieve higher gain, MC cartridges work alongside preamp gains, which have adjustable ranges that are usually about 55 to 71 dB.
On the contrary, MM cartridges create signals of high frequency with higher power output, which is why it works best with a low preamps gain of approximately 35dB.
As you know, moving magnet cartridges have a higher output, which helps to cancel out or reduce noise. Therefore, MM cartridges can work decently with systems of high and low noise.
Meanwhile, magnetic coil cartridges are prone to more noise because of their low output signal. However, that is not the case because thanks to the MC cartridge’s low signal level, the signal to noise ratio is far better than MM cartridges. Still, they will undoubtedly work better with low noise circuits.
The capacitance of MC has preamps around 3000 pF, and MM has preamps topped at 100 pF.
Since MC cartridges have a lower output than MM, so they also have a lower impedance of 100 Ohms. Similarly, since MM cartridges have a much higher power output, it leads to a higher impedance at a whopping 47,000 Ohms!
To avoid producing sounds that are clearly off, you must keep in mind that it is imperative to pair up both the cartridges with appropriate preamps.
In the end, what matters with these cartridges is how the sound quality is. The low output of MC allows low frequencies to sound better and sharper with reduced noise. Since they work well with both high and low frequencies, you will get astounding sound quality with a high gain system.
Although MM cartridges may not be as premium, they are not bad in any way! You will still get decent quality audio, despite the lack of ability to have low output capacity. The gains, openness, and high volume set the MM cartridges apart, but you will not be getting the clearest sound.
As a result of the high volumes achievable by MM cartridges when paired with a high gain system, it is perfect for concerts, and large halls, and the noise will not be all that noticeable then.
Before buying something, you should always have some idea of how long it may last because no one wants to buy something only for it to break 2 days later.
MM cartridges have a rubber construction that is prone to getting worm out over time, so you would have to replace these cartridges more often. In contrast, since in MC cartridges, there is a magnet between the two coils, so it generally does not wear out.
However, you must be careful because it is much lighter, making it easier to break.
We can all agree with the fact that price has to be of the main determinants when making a purchase, and it should be a matter of discussion here without a doubt.
Due to the simpler construction and cheaper materials used in MM cartridges, they are way more affordable than the MC cartridges. Furthermore, since the MM cartridges work better with low-end devices better, budget users may find it to be a more viable option.
Magnetic coil cartridge is manufactured by much more expensive parts, and they work properly only with premium devices, so the total cost for MC cartridge is significantly higher than the MM cartridge.
We hope you have a vivid idea of the MM vs MC Cartridge by the detailed comparison of each of them in the article. And we cannot suggest you choose one over the other because each customer’s need is different, so only you can decide which one is the best for you.
Take some time to take everything into account and properly understand whether MC or MM cartridge fits your needs better before you make your purchase. If you are still confused, drop down your questions in the comments section below!