MC (or MM) cartridge recommendations

I am interested to try a couple of MC cartridges, so seeking some collective wisdom and advice, and as recently a forum member kindly recommended the AT 33 PTG II. Has anyone compared or had personal experience with it or some others such as AT-OC9XML, AT-ART9? I am also interested in the Hana up to the M model? Others? How would you describe the differences?

You can see I am mostly looking at Audio Technica and this is because I like their MM cartridges, although I don’t necessarily expect their MCs to be completely similar? That said, has anyone compared e.g. the VM760SLC to any of the above? Would be open to other higher end MM cartridges recommendations as well.

Just for some background, the Rega MCs have not really worked for me (at least the Aphetas 1&2 that came with my Rega TTs) and this is probably part of why I have stayed with good MMs … which, of course, I might end up continuing to happily do so but thought to give the more “affordable” MCs another try. Especially with Naim introducing the NVC TT, which I am willing to consider as it did very well on a home demo (with MM) and it would partner nicely with my 222. All this with my Rega P8, which I am not intending to change.
Thanks all in advance.


Hana MH with refurbished Rega P25 and Cyrus Phono Signature and PS sounds very good. I preferred the Hana over the comparable Rega MC[Apheta].


Can you put your finger on what you particularly prefer from AT over Rega in delivery? That may help people make relevant suggestions.

It might be worth giving AV Forums a read over a coffee break, as Ed Selley has just published a collective review of all of the Vetere cartridges available, and it makes interesting reading. I’ve heard a few Vertere decks now, and very impressive they were on each occasion. A dem at the North West Audio show illustrated the improvements moving from the ‘lowly’ DG-1 and MM Sabre to the lofty SG-1 and MC Mystic (wow).

For clarity, it is Worth noting that Ed is a fan of the manufacturer and has bought his own Vertere MG-1, so I guess he’s predisposed to like them. He’s also a Naim-ite too.

A lot of Sumiko MM carts are reviewed with a Naim phono stage so that may be a consideration. But of course synrgy between cart and stage is one aspect. Synergy of cart and deck another. It’s a rare brand on the forum though. They’re a subsidiary of McIntosh. I mention purely because I have a couple on different decks and they work well, espicially on forward aounding decks like Technics, they can tame them a bit but you’re using a Rega.

When auditioning carts a dealer dem room with a removable headshell can make things easier otherwise you are basically going on a punt. But that also might mean auditioning on an unfamiliar deck.

Rather than ask for general MM/MC recommdations, switch the question to ask what people are putting on the same deck and phono stage as you. Otherwise most of the recommendations will be rolls of the dice.


Great, will have a look!

Good question - something overall in the balance between richness, lifelike engagement and extension that for me takes Aphetas more into CD-like territory or at least leaves me a bit cold…

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I’ve not managed to ever have a very informative cartridge demo at a dealer to give me confidence, for reasons you mention and this is not even going into speakers and overall system.
Happy to see and learn from what people prefer around the options I am considering, and why?

Have you considered the Ortofon 2M Black?
I have the LVB version in my Rega P6.
I have definitely heard better cartridges, all MCs, but much more expensive and requiring step up transformer or a new phono stage. Just a thought


I did have it, just with my RP6 (so close TT setup), I thought a good combination (I had a rather different system in terms of phono/amps and speakers then). At the point of change it travelled with the TT to the next owner and I’ve never tried it since.

I never had an Apheta 1 or 2 but had a P8 with Apheta 3 (and now have a P10 with Apheta 3). I personally like the Apheta 3 very much - it’s quick, detailed and dynamic. Might be worth an audition on your P8 (this would also eliminate any doubts as to VTA or the need for spacers under the tonearm).

I believe that Peter Swain of Cymbiosis likes, and has in stock - or will have soon - the Audio Technica VM760SLC. (I haven’t spoken to him about it, though, so you may want to give Cymbiosis a call.)


The VM740ML is very competitive at about half the cost.

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Dynavector seem quite popular, around these parts…

Both High Output MC and Low Output MC.


With which phonostage?

Hi, if memory serves right the earlier Apheta was with Avid (Pulsus) and the second I had with the Rega Aria

@llatpoh76 and @graham55 - yes, never tried the 760SLC and I know many have compared it favourably to other MM and MC too. I’ve had several versions similar to the 740ML (as they are so easily interchangeable) and now using the 150ANV with a 150Sa stylus.

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In which case I’m genuinely surprised because I find the Rega cartridges a great match with Rega stages.

Especially true for me with the Rega Apheta into their one time Rega IOS.

yes, I imagine they are meant to be combined but I never became a big fan of the Aria too?: )

May I ask what you think of the AT-OC9ML - if this is what you have at present (from your profile)?

I love it. It was recommended to me by a friend as being great with Naim ‘S’ phono stages. It’s fast and clean. Tracks really well. And it’s speed adds a bit of pace to the relatively ploddy Sondek.

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Sounds good, and I don’t see why it wouldn’t work well with a Rega and a NC or Nait 50 too.

I heard the Reaga Alpha v Hanna ML v Audionote IQ3. The Alpha had a lot energy and was exciting but soon got fatiguing and seemed the less resolving of the three. The Hana is smooth with a fully extended top end and great separation and air, back not exactly an exciting listen. it is a lot more refined that the Rega.