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PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 5:16 pm 
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I thought I'd share some impressions between the two while the MM is still relatively fresh in my mind. I am still breaking in the MC, which I have been running for only a week. I also acknowledge that without switching back and forth between cartridges, an even greater degree of nearness bias comes into play.

I am running a Concept Wood table so in theory these cartridges were matched to the table/tonearm as they are sold as complete packages. The main obvious difference for me is there is a richer, sweeter sound from the MC. It also extracts more information from the grooves - I am hearing things on familiar albums for the first time. Percussion seems to have more of a snappier attack to it. Noise floor seems reduced. Tracking is improved. My MM had trouble with parts of The Cowboy Junkies Trinity Sessions but the MC had no trouble. Maybe what I have described is typical of the main differences between MM and MC. I don't know. But these are my early observations.

But most importantly, music through my system gets my toe tapping much more often. I guess that is the sum of all of these improved attributes at work. I noodled on whether it made sense to upgrade from a cartridge that is barely broken in, but picking up the barely used MC here on CAM (thanks Orlando!) for about 50% of retail, I feel that this was actually money well spent. For $500, I've taken my humble system up a notch and also have a backup cartridge. If you are thinking about a system upgrade in a predominantly analog system, I put the cartridge behind only the speakers in providing the most meaningful changes to the sonic character of a system.


Last edited by Tangram on Fri Aug 18, 2017 10:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:02 am 
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Thanks for this excellent write up.

I think there would be a lot of interest in this comparison as these are the two stock cartridges.

I started with the MM on my non-wood Concept which is now about 4 years old. I have switched to the similar sounding AT120E. I play a lot of records and a replaceable tip is important for me. The MM is the better sounding cartridge but the bending moment on the long cantilever is audible. I lost a bit of fullness moving to the AT120e but the top end is better integrated. Another good choice (and likely my next cartridge for the Concept) is the Ortofon 2M Bronze.

I also use a two-box Clearaudio Basic Plus phono pre which is very good sounding with a Nordost Blue Heaven power cord and matching interconnect.

I also use a Clearaudio Nano phono pre for my Pro-ject table on the same system. I am a Clearaudio fan.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 12:29 pm 
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The Concept MM is an AT95 dressed up in a snazzy suit, but with a better needle I believe. The AT95 is Audio Technica's 2nd from the bottom. I'm not surprised in this case that the MC outperforms it.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 12:45 pm 
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While the basic architecture is the same the two cartridges sound nothing alike. Similar to when Linn used the AT95 for its Basik and K series mm. Very different sounding. I have owned all of these cartridges. The Concept MM sounds more like a budget HOMC.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 12:58 pm 
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Hi,

banerjba wrote: 'Another good choice (and likely my next cartridge for the Concept) is the Ortofon 2M Bronze.'

Yo dude! Try to hold that thought as just a thought! :roll:

I say this because I tried the 2M Bronze, albeit on a Gold Note TT and 5.1 arm (remember last summer's saga?), and I could never warm up to it. I traded it this spring along with an Ariston + Grace combo to a guy in Montreal and he didn't warm up to it either and has since sold that cartridge onward. He settled on a Shure 97xe that he likes a lot and he may now look into the Shibata stylus upgrade for it. Part of our trade was that I picked up from him a Grado Silver which has that signature Grado sound field all the way. Of course, the usual caveats apply to all my general remarks above such as my personal tastes, aging ear drums, associated gear, room sensitivities, in other words the whole shebang.

But, I now do have a certain hankering for a HANA MM.

Cheers,
David Neice

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 3:54 pm 
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I own the entire Grado Prestige line from Black to Gold as well as a Platinum woodie. Love them. My go to cartridges on my Technics 1200.

I have heard the 2M Bronze and Clearaudio combo and I really liked it (but then I already own a Red and Blue) as well and the OM series from 3 to 20 and a Quintet Blue (I am an Ortofan).

I might try the OM20 on the Clearaudio as well. No reason it should not work as the arm is quite light.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 6:37 pm 
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Hi,

banerjba: I humbly bow to your vast cartridge experience and would never try to deny you the forthcoming pleasure of sampling the 2M Bronze.

Cheers,
David Neice

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 19, 2017 3:15 am 
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buybye88 wrote:
Hi,

banerjba: I humbly bow to your vast cartridge experience and would never try to deny you the forthcoming pleasure of sampling the 2M Bronze.

Cheers,
David Neice


Thanks for your vote of confidence David :D

It is actually because the rest of my system is on the warm side of neutral and needs something faster. The Harbeth-Clearuadio-Yamaha combo is very natural and neutral but needs a faster tighter cartridge that is open on top and slightly forward. The 2M series is that plus the Bronze is incredibly detailed. I would not use the Bronze on my previous B&W 700 or 800 series though - even the Blue was a bit much on some records.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 19, 2017 7:50 am 
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Hi,

Note to banerjbe - the Bronze is 'detailed' in spades and the line stylus is very quiet and really digs into the grooves and extracts a lot of extra analogue information (spatial positioning details for instance) that other cartridges and elliptical stylii cannot seem to reveal. My quarrel is with the overall frequency tilt (or else the mid-bass and mid-band frequency colouration) of the cartridge. I have never had a Red or a Blue, so I don't know if it is a family characteristic. But here is what I hear, and all previous caveats noted above apply heavily to these remarks.

Some components add a dark and heavy mid-band colouration to the sound. Now if you invert that completely and sort of thin out the mids a smidgen, as if you were weeding a garden, you have effectively removed some of the original 'presence', assuming you know what that presence should sound like. This, for me, is particularly noticeable on voice, male or female. I have nearly a complete collection of Van Morrison sides and over five decades his voice has changed markedly and I have heard him live several times. To test a cartridge I run through the Van the Man stack and decide if it is right or not quite right. In these comparisons I also play the same album in vinyl and CD - a telling clue for me. Willy Nelson's voice gets spun next and then a bunch of others. In the case of testing the 2M Bronze I found there was an aural lightness in the mids, that to me is not quite spot on. Once I hear an aberration then I kind of fixate on it and want to move on to something else. Thus ended my experience with the Bronze.

However, I recognize that to other ears with completely different associated gear and a different room the story I am telling here might be radically different. And to be completely frank with you, I would also say that my phono input stage (Graham Slee) plus the amplifier (Exposure) created a gain chain that results in too much mid-thinning and weeding out of 'mid-range weight' .

Just my point of view and apologies to the OP for going 'off-topic'.

Cheers,
David Neice

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