Cartridge choice for LP12 with MM phonostage

Hi everyone,

I have an LP12, Kore, Cirkus with heavily upgraded Akito arm by Audio Origami, with Lingo 1.

I am looking at changing my cart soon and have the high output MC Dynavector 10X5 which is an improvement over the Golding 1042 I had before.

I have a Graham Slee Reflex M MM phono stage which is rather good.

It can be changed to MC by adding the Graham Slee Elevator at £639.

After advice on changing cart and potentially phono stage if going for an MC cart. Is the Elevator worth buying or should I sell the Reflex M and get something else?

There are some fantastic MM carts from Audio Technica and Nagaoka.

Is an MC cart going to be much better? What are members experiences of going from MM to MC. I have a high output MC right now.

Would be interested in other members views and experiences on carts and phono stages for LP12s.

Many thanks,


My LP12 is a Kore, Ekos, Krystal, Lingo 1 &, as of last month, a Karousel. I use a Rega Aria phono pre-amp, which I am very happy with.

I went low output MC in the early 1980’s & never regretted the change. Cheaper MC’s at first as I couldn’t afford anything better. Was able to switch to Linn MC’s from the early 90’s & just changed them when they reached the end of their life. I have never tried other brand MC’s, figuring it safe to stick with the cartridges designed to work with my TT & arm & always being happy with the Linns.

I am sure MM’s are much better now, but when I changed to MC I recall two changes for the better & none for the worse. The music sounded more nimble & together & the clear treble made the MM’s I had previously, appear quite restricted at the top end. So much so that a couple of MC’s originally auditioned sounded too bright. I think I ended up with the second bottom MC from the Audio Technica range at the astronomical cost of £42! Nearly 2 weeks take home pay…

Before looking at cartridge changes have you considered changing to a Karousel? I was hoping for a noticeable sound improvement for the cost involved but was pleasantly surprised by the magnitude of the improvement. If you want me to quantify it I would say in the order of 10%. Noticeable increase in what I can best describe as weight & authority, if that makes any sense to you. Poorly produced LPs still sound poor but noticeably better than they did. Well produced albums sound pretty sensational to my ears.

Whatever you end up doing, hope it works out for you.

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Thanks for your reply. I only had the Cirkus done within the last year so am reluctant to get the Karousel upgrade done tbh. Is it really worth it?

It sounds it from what you are saying. Linn Krystal is around £1200. Is it really that good.

Am very interested in both upgrades. Would mean a new phono stage as well. So looking at around £2k.

Hi Dan,

These things are almost impossible to quantify but, attempting to do so, I would say that when I had the Krystal fitted it was at the same time as adding the Rega Aria as I had just gone from a Naim 32.5 pre-amp with internal MC stage to a Nova with no phono amp at all. I therefore can’t say which did what but reckon the Krystal & Aria sounded about 10% better than my previous combination. The Karousel improved matters by at least as much again. So yes, I would say the Karousel is well worth considering.

I am pleased with my Krystal & I notice it seems to garner favourable opinions in the majority of the Hi Fi world. I did not audition it against anything else as it was a dealer recommendation as a worthwhile upgrade from a well used & worn Linn Klyde. On listening I was in agreement.

There may be, & probably are, better cartridges out there for around the same cost but I liked the sound a lot & could have driven myself mad listening to all the possible alternatives!

Also I am not sure of my judgement when it comes to cartridges as I always liked the Klyde when most opinion was that it was just about OK to it being total rubbish, the worst Linn has ever produced. So if you do consider a Krystal get a proper listen first.

I can’t really help you with the cartridge any more than I have already said. However I can be confident in giving the Karousel a big thumbs up! I would definitely have gone Karousel before Krystal in my case, had the former been available last year.

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Hi- my system- LP12 Kore Karousel ittok lingo 2 Krystal with a Leema acoustics phono pre amp.
Got my Krystal before Karousel (it replaced an AT 33 ev- also an excellent mc cart btw) there was a noticeable improvement but nowhere near as much as when I had the Karousel fitted. Admitted I had a Kore upgrade at the same time so double upgrade!
You will see many on this forum praising the new bearing and tbh I thought there was some hyperbole going on- not a bit of it. It’s by far the best uplift in sq that I have had on my system.
Good luck!

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Karousel is huge difference. That and the Klimax Radikal are the most significant upgrades you can do to the LP12

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Biggest upgrades in my experience are to Bearing, Sub chassis and arm. ( and talking to others).

I run a Hana SL and it is great. From reviews the high output Hana HL is also very good.

IMO many of the upgrades to the LP12 make it better, but not necessarily more enjoyable. Proceed with care.

Sounds like the karousel is the upgrade to go for from what is being said. Would appreciate more views on cartridges and phono stages.

Many thanks.

I’ve also been looking for a top MM. From the reading I’ve done it’s mostly between the Nagaoka mp500 & 2m black for most people. Interestingly AT is mentioned less often, even though many top tt brands use them for their own lines.

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2nd hand urika 1

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Need a Radikal for that. Which ideally I would like.

Ekos SE

Would be my ideal. But am looking at keeping existing system and a new cart for now to go with what I have.


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The high output MC Dynavector 10X5 is very good. Wondering if the Nagaoka MP500 or AT VM760SLC is going to be better.

hi dan, before I got my urika I had a lehmann decade on home demo and it was very good. As for your cartridge the dyna 20 high output is very good

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So the DV20X2 is your recommendation? I will add it to the shortlist. Many thanks.

Or should I go Krystal and change the phonostage for Graham Slee Reflex C?

If your going mc dynavector xx2 IMO is better

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Sounds to me that MC is better overall. It’s whether I can make the jump.

My feeling is to wait things out and get the Radikal and Urika 1 and then get a top MC cart.

The Dynavector 10x5 is good at the moment. If it wears out then maybe get the Nagaoka MP500 or Dynavector 20x2 high output MC.

And of course the Karousel.

Nothing is simple with upgrades!

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