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Asheville, Walnut Cove, Biltmore Forrest and Western North Carolina’s Audio and Home Theater specialists present Cane Creek AV and Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl

Yes, there are lots of different type of phono cartridges, other than Moving Coil cartridges and Moving Magnet’s. I’ve used those two , as well as a Moving Iron cartridge for a while, but the MC Dynavector Karat 17DX is the best I’ve owned and while a traditional Moving Coil cartridge, it’s surely a different beast than any other MC cartridge I know of. It has a very short, stiff, 1.7 MM  cantilever,  which is the vibrating conduit that tell the coils on the other end of the actual, needle what to do and this cantilever is made of diamond. This cantilever length is a fraction, in length, of most MC’s and being very short,  only vibrates to the music in the record grooves without much spurious movement of its own. This isn’t the only important thing going on inside a phono cartridge, but the cantilever length and the fact that it is very stiff, is an important one, in my book.

And speaking of compromise

In yesterday’s post on compromise, I laid out the differences between the two main types of phono cartridges, moving coil, and magnet.

It didn’t take long for my mailbox to fill with a host of emails reminding me of just how many phono cartridge types I didn’t include. Lord have mercy, I had forgotten.

There are 5 basic types of phono cartridge: magnetic, dynamic, piezo-electric, capacitive, and strain gauge. If you are truly interested in researching all these types, there’s a well-written article in Enjoy The Music you can read up on by going here.

Over the last 120 years or so that we’ve been playing LP records, thousands upon thousands of bright innovative people have lent their collective hands to the task of making a better sounding source of music.

This very much inspires me.

If you’re reading this post you’re as much invested in music’s reproduction as those that have come before. Maybe you haven’t dedicated your life to engineering reproduction’s betterment, but it’s your interest that keeps it alive.

Cheers to everyone that cares about music.

Asheville, Walnut Cove, Biltmore Forrest and Western North Carolina’s Audio and Home Theater specialists present Cane Creek AV and Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl

Coils, magnets, and compromise

There’s no free lunch when it comes to engineering. Every design is fraught with compromises to make it work.

One great example is the differences between moving magnet and moving coil cartridges.

A moving magnet phono cartridge places a tiny magnet atop the stylus. In close proximity are two big coils of wire. As the magnet moves in concert with the vinyl grooves, an electric field is generated and we hear sound. The advantage of this design is high output signal level. The compromise is that the magnet has a lot of mass for the stylus to move.

A moving coil phono cartridge is the opposite of a moving magnet. Instead of the heavy blob of magnetic material atop the styles, we instead mount two tiny coils of wire in close proximity to some big magnets. As the coils move in concert with the vinyl grooves, an electric field is generated and we hear sound. The advantage of this design is less mass on the stylus. The compromise is that the coils must be very tiny, resulting in less output (which is why we must add a head amp or step up transformer).

Neither of these schemes is perfect, but the moving coil is considered the better option.

We live with compromise on a daily basis. It’s just part of the deal.

The trick is to choose what best fits your system from among the choices.

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