MM Cartridge recommendations for my LP12

I checked out a similar Topic started by @SpaceCadet1 in May but this was MC focused.
My system is : LP12-SME3009-Stanton/stageline-N/282/250.

Also inherited, my 1973 Sondek LP12 is still fitted with its original Stanton cartridge, and it is time for a change. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated


Budget? up to £100? £300? £500? +?

If MM is what you’re after, I’d be taking a close look (and, if possible, listen) at the New AT line - the VM740ML looks to possibly provide a very high performance/value combination. I’ve always found the ATs to match well with the dark and earthy character of the Stageline N.

BTW, an SME309 is an interesting arm to have on the LP12. I always thought the 309/IV/V arms were too heavy for the Linn. Or do you mean the old 3009? In which case, which one are we talking about here? I ask because money may be better spent on the arm, or else stick with a cartridge known to work well with the 3009 and instead spend on a new stylus.


Ortofon 2m blue, bronze or top of the range black all sound great!

Sorry typo, should be 3009, I’ll amend the post.

Thanks for that Richard, Can I take it then that the MC route would be better? I started with a Supernait3 (with onboard MM) then changed to a 282/250 and bought a ‘N’ from the dealer, but I dare say I could swap that for a MC if it is a better format ?

Not so concerned with budget at this stage, I was thinking about what would suit the system, thanks

Thanks, I’ll put this on the list to look at.

No, if it’s a 3009 then definitely stick with a MM cart. You’ll want medium to high compliance depending on which 3009 variant you have.

The original bill reads - SME 3009 (improved) pickup arm £34.65

OK, then stick with something fairly light and highish compliance MM.

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I can definitely recommend the 2M Bronze which I’m currently using. Thinking about changing to the 2M Black (stylus only, as same body), or the Nagaoka MP-500. Never really considered AT like Richard says, perhaps I should?

I hate how you can’t easily AB these things like with other electronics.

Note that while my deck is also a subchassis one, it’s not an LP12.

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OK, please bear with me, a lot of this is new to me and I am on a learning curve here, but thanks to everyone’s help and enthusiasm, I am enjoying my rekindled interest in vinyl listening.

After much hunting around in my father-in-law’s paperwork, I have finally found all of the information. Its a 3009 II (improved), thats the one with a fixed headshell and a screw-thread adjustment on the main balance weight. The spec reads that the arm will accept cartridges between 4 - 9 grams.

Currently fitted with a Stanton 681EE. I’ve now read lots of specs and info about the AT and Ortofon cartridges as mentioned by @n-lot @Richard.Dane and @HorsesMcFaddon, thank guys.
Richard, I have an AT question. I understand that the VM740ML (aluminium body) is 8g and has a lighter version - VM540ML (polymer body) weighing in at 6.4g. The AT manufacture’s spec. looks identical with these two except for the materials used for housing.
They claim that the 740’s aluminium body reduces vibration and adds a natural electrical shield. Presumably this means that the lighter polymer body of the 540 would be more susceptible to these issues. You mentioned that a lighter cartridge would be a good idea. Price being only £60 different, it is a weight/sound quality that is confusing my decision here. How to choose ?

I think you’ve summed it up well. A lighter cart may bring benefits to your arm. It’s cheaper too. I haven’t heard them though.

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Would you have compared the top AT with the top Nagaoka or Ortofon? I might at some point upgrade and as mentioned hadn’t really considered AT yet.
Seems to be a lot cheaper, perhaps because unlike the other two they’re not MI? (Yes, Ortofon mislabels theirs)

I haven’t got on to the Nagaoka MP-500 yet, though I have seen mixed revues of the 200. The Ortofon 2M Bronze and Black look like contenders. Still lots of reading to do. I am going to look at the three brands individually, then pic one that will fit with my system. After that, compare the three front runners. I’ll let you know when I have finished. Hope to do a listening test if I can. Also, do you know if there is a reasonable downloadable protractor somewhere that I can print out. The original SME alignment card is not with the kit.


Sorry, what is MI ?

I’d try e-mailing SME, they might just send you one.

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yes thats a great idea, thanks.

Moving Iron. The magnets and coils are both stationary and a small hollow piece of iron on the cantilever disturbs the magnetic field. With MM (moving magnet) the coils are fixed and the magnet is attached to the cantilever. The advantage of the latter is cost, the advantage of MI is a lower weight of the cantilever.

(Though, assuming modern cartridges with lightweight magnets, both will be lighter than MC which some say is superior, so weight isn’t everything)

For you as an end user it makes no difference vs MM. (Hence Ortofon’s choice to market their MI cartridges as MM)


Thanks for that description, its really helpful to understand the difference. I had seen the term Moving Iron, so great to be informed when reading and comparing specs.