Moving Magnet (MM) cartridges have been a staple in the world of analog audio playback for decades. Known for their affordability, durability, and superior audio quality, MM cartridges have earned a special place in the hearts of audiophiles and music enthusiasts. In this article, we will explore the five best MM cartridges of all time, taking into account their design, performance, and legacy in the world of vinyl playback.
- Shure M97xE
The Shure M97xE is an iconic MM cartridge that has stood the test of time. It’s known for its exceptional tracking ability and excellent sound reproduction. The elliptical stylus tracks records with precision, minimizing record wear and ensuring a long lifespan. The natural, warm sound signature of the M97xE has made it a favorite among vinyl enthusiasts, making it a true classic in the MM cartridge world.
- Audio-Technica AT95E
The Audio-Technica AT95E is often lauded for its remarkable value for money. It offers superb tracking ability and a well-balanced sound profile, making it a great choice for both newcomers to vinyl and seasoned audiophiles. This cartridge’s affordability, durability, and excellent sound quality have cemented its status as one of the best MM cartridges ever produced.
- Ortofon 2M Red
The Ortofon 2M Red is a highly-regarded MM cartridge that combines precision and aesthetics. Its unique design, which features an elliptical diamond stylus and split pole pins, ensures accurate tracking and a captivating soundstage. Audiophiles appreciate the 2M Red for its detailed and dynamic sound, which breathes new life into vinyl records. The Ortofon 2M Red is a perfect example of how innovation can lead to a better listening experience.
- Grado Prestige Black2
Grado Labs has a storied history of producing high-quality phono cartridges, and the Prestige Black2 is no exception. This MM cartridge boasts a handcrafted design, ensuring consistent quality and attention to detail. It features a spherical diamond stylus that allows for precise tracking and a rich, warm sound. The Grado Prestige Black2 is praised for its ability to reveal subtle nuances and textures in the music, making it a favorite among audiophiles who crave a true analog experience.
- Nagaoka MP-110
The Nagaoka MP-110 is a standout MM cartridge known for its exceptional balance and neutrality. It features a superfine elliptical diamond stylus that extracts every detail from your records while minimizing wear. The MP-110 offers a clean, transparent sound, making it an ideal choice for audiophiles who seek accuracy and fidelity in their vinyl playback. Nagaoka has consistently produced reliable and respected cartridges, and the MP-110 is no exception.
MM cartridges have played a pivotal role in the vinyl resurgence and continue to be cherished by audiophiles for their excellent performance and affordability. The five cartridges mentioned in this article – the Shure M97xE, Audio-Technica AT95E, Ortofon 2M Red, Grado Prestige Black2, and Nagaoka MP-110 – are standout examples of MM cartridge excellence. They have earned their place in history by consistently delivering superior sound quality and tracking accuracy, enriching the vinyl listening experience for countless enthusiasts. When it comes to the best MM cartridges of all time, these five models stand as exemplars of what MM technology can achieve. Whether you’re a seasoned vinyl collector or just getting started, these cartridges are sure to enhance your analog listening pleasure.