When designing a cartridge, the moving coil (MC) principle has a greater ultimate potential than moving magnet (MM) does.

But as moving coils are difficult to manufacture and very sensitive to imperfections, all the good ones are expensive. Cheap moving coils sound terrible, so in the budget territory moving magnets rule.

When building the best possible turntable from parts, there is a strict hierarchy to observe. The most important parts are the turntable mechanics and the motor, then follows the arm and finally the cartridge. It can easily be demonstrated that a modest MM cartridge mounted on a high quality arm outperforms the most expensive MC cartridge mounted on a lower quality arm. This is because the arm is more important than the cartridge.

Observing this hierarchy, it is wise to always optimise your turntable mechanics, motor, arm and even the furniture on which the turntable stands before considering replacing your high quality MM cartridge with an MC.

Another reason to use a high quality MM cartridge is that it allows quick and inexpensive stylus replacements and therefore has a dramatically lower cost per hour of music played. Unlike most MC owners, you don’t need to worry about the condition of your stylus. And if a stylus should happen to be damaged, the party can continue within a minute.