Home Vinyl What is a MM phono cartridge

Look at the cartridge. It’s not large. However, you can’t call it simple. It consists of several essential tiny parts. We can see some of them. For example, the stylus is outside. Touching the tip is not recommended, as it’s too vulnerable. The wires are nearby, but they are hidden inside the tonearm. Meanwhile, how is the signal regenerated? It the method to convert the grooves’ prominences differs? I think the best phono cartridge belongs to the MM type. Let me explain the idea.

Types of the cartridges

Do you wonder what’s inside the phono cartridge: coils or magnets? The supposition is not true. Actually, all cartridges are equipped with both parts. These tiny parts are inside, in the body. They work in unison, following the vibrations and generating the electrical signals. Only their sizes and positions differ.
Therefore, there are 2 basic types of cartridges:

  • moving-magnet (MM)
  • moving-coil (MC)

A MM cartridge is a common one. The devices stand out by a pair of magnets. They are enclosed to the cantilever. They at placed just at the tip of the stylus. The needle moves. So the tiny magnets do. The coils remain fixed. Some voltage is generated.

An MC cartridge works on the same principle as a MM device does. The only design feature is the minuscule coils’ position. They are positioned directly on the cantilever. The magnets are motionless.

Advantages of MM cartridges

Why are the MM cartridges so popular? They have several advantages and beneficial features, such as:

  • high output (5 mV is typical)
  • removable stylus
  • robust design
  • affordable cost

A MM device is easy to use. It’s suitable for beginners. If the stylus is unfortunately broken, replace it by yourself. It’s more affordable than replacing the entire cartridge. The part is robust and simple. Just plug it barely into a MM marked phono input.

Quite naturally, the magnets’ weight is significant. Therefore, the cartridge’s trackability is a bit worse. Its performance is not ultimate. However, it’s still very convenient and simple to use. It’s just what a neophyte needs.

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