Normally less expensive turntables, for example the Project Debut Carbon Turntable, arrive with a cartridge fitted by the manufacturer which usually provides adequate performance for a casual listener. More serious music lovers should consider upgrading to a higher performance cartridge such as Denon, Goldring, Grado, Nagaoka, Ortofon or Rega Moving Coil Cartridges. Most cartridges, or at least their stylus’s, should be replaced approximately every 500 to 1000 hours of play time — this is also a good time to upgrade. Better cartridges tend to last longer, sound better, and because of lower tracking weight produce less wear on the grooves of your records.
Turntable Cartridges are essentially designed to ensure the stylus reproduces an accurate transcription of the record groove, the cartridge components must be rigidly mounted to the tone-arm, whilst simultaneously allowing the smallest possible movements of the diamond stylus to be composed. There are two main types of cartridge, moving coil and moving magnet. Hifix have one of the largest turntable cartridge ranges in the UK. For any help and advice, do not hesitate to contact our help line on 02476 631 707 or email [email protected], our experienced staff are ready to take your call.
Moving Coil Cartridges
Moving coil cartridges (abbreviated as MC) are certainly more complex devices and they can also be considerably more expensive, but are regularly favoured by audiophiles due to their better performance. However, it is also true that fitting a moving coil cartridge to a low-cost budget turntable will not only dampen any performance, but could sound terrible. A moving coil cartridge needs a turntable with good engineering, and don’t forget the output voltage is lower so for this reason you must have either a MC (Moving Coil) input on your amplifier or fit a good quality Phono Pre-Amplifier with a Moving Coil input. The basic benefit of a moving coli cartridge is the fact that because of the very small coils surrounding that cantilever of the stylus, this reduces the mass on the stylus tip allowing a more re-active response to the complex grooves which are being tracked on the vinyl record.
Moving Magnet Cartridges
In most moving magnet cartridges (abbreviated as MM), the stylus cantilever carries a small permanent magnet, which is precisely set between two sets of fixed coils; this creates a tiny electromagnetic generator. As the magnet vibrates in response to the stylus following the record groove, it induces a tiny current in the coils. One advantage of a moving Magnet cartridge is that it has a higher output which makes it easier to match your phono pre-amplifier and another benefit is that you can replace the stylus quite easily. The dis-advantage is that you will not gain as much sound quality if compared to a good quality Moving Coil Cartridge.
Essential Accessories for your Turntable
There are several Turntable essentials I would recommend to enhance your purchase, For example, keeping records free from static and dust is important and there are a number of products available which we have found to be literally the best combination to achieve this. Record sleeves such as the Goldring Exstatic or Nagaoka Record Sleeves, which comes in various pack sizes, are extremely efficient at reducing the static charge created when extracting your record from the original sleeve. Another great device for minimising static is the Milty Zerostat 3 Anti-Static Gun. Don’t forget that static is what attracts small particles of dust, and it’s this that creates the annoying pops and crackles on your records.