MM or MC with Supernait3

Dear Naimers,

May I ask if anyone has experience of using a Clearaudio Concept, MM Cartridge with a Supernait3 using the Supernait3 phono stage?

I ask as I am waiting on the delivery of a Supernait3. I have a Clearaudio Concept, Verify Arm with the Concept MC Cartridge using a Trichord Dino Mk III and Dino+ and the cartridge needs changing.

I am considering changing to a top Clearaudio MM Cartridge (perhaps the Clearaudio Maestro MM V2) direct in to the Supernait3 Phono inputs. Does anyone have experience of something similar or an opinion on whether this is a bit of backward step?

Or should I stick with the Concept MC and upgrade the Tone Arm or Phono Stage?

I appreciate it is all in the SQ and how it sounds to me, but I would value your opinions and experiences.

Oh, the dilemma!

Many thanks


At the risk of starting another debate…

The ClearAudio MM cartridges specify a load capacitance of 100pF. The SN3 has 470pF.

I would see if you can get to listen to that cart into an SN3 (at a dealer?) first. Or just get it, without getting rid of the Trichord, which offers 100pF, so is, at least on paper, a better match. You can then evaluate it against the SN3 once you own the cartridge.

I would personally opt for MM, which has some advantages, and I know of no technical reason why it would sound less good if loaded well. But I must add that have no experience properly comparing a good MM/MI vs MC on the same deck/arm/pre/etc.

Perhaps an interesting note is that the inventor of MC, switched to making MI cartridges.

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For what it’s worth, I have an Ortofon 2M Black on my Rega 8 and use it with my Supernait 3. It sounds excellent. I really wouldn’t worry about loading factors and stuff, the MM stage is very much standard.

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Thanks, that sounds good.

Look for the hagtech article on loading, it even has a handy calculator.

To take the ClearAudio Maestro the OP mentions. It has an inductance of 400mH, so with 100pF you get a resonant frequency (and subsequent roll-off) at 25.2 kHz. Well outside the audible range.
If you make the loading 550pF (470pF + cabling), it’s resonant at 10.7kHz.

For the 2M Black that should be (with the same 550pF) at 8.6kHz.

Of course it depends on your hearing (age) what’s still audible.

Hi n-lot,

Thanks for your thoughts, good points. Playing devil’s advocate, it would seem strange that the ClearAudio MM would not work well with the Supernait3 irrespective of the pf value. Why would Naim build an amp that was that inflexible?

I understand what you are saying though.

Many thanks

That’s what I wondered as well. The answer given was that Naim had always used 470pF, so it was the same as all previous Naim MM phono stages.

This of course doesn’t tell you why it was originally chosen. I can only speculate, but perhaps in the past MM cartridges had lower inductance? Perhaps they still exist? (I don’t know of any)

If you look at most other phono stages, for the vast majority it’s either configurable or it’s something like your Trichord, 100pF. There must be a reason they all choose that same low value :wink:

I know this is a bit of a ‘thing’ for you, but all I can say is that the Ortofon sounds great. Sometimes it’s perhaps best to use your ears rather than poring over specifications and calculators.


That’s why I mentioned that it depends on your age (hearing) as well. As long as it’s above the threshold of your hearing, you won’t hear these issues. It can sound great to you, but perhaps not to someone in their teens. Or perhaps some find the adaptation of the frequency curve even pleasant. It’s known that humans don’t necessarily like it completely flat.

It of course won’t change the overall “sound” of the cartridge, only affecting a the frequency from a specific point.

In addition, I urged the OP to try it, not to blindly discount the idea. I.e. to “use his ears”. So I’m really unsure what you’re trying to achieve. Should he go in blindly? Or well informed while “trusting his ears”?

P.S. and I agree that the Ortofon is a great cartridge! I have the Bronze and a Nagaoka myself.

Deccas like a damped unipivot, maybe with a bit more mass but a weight is available, so if you like thrills and don’t mind the odd spill…
Oh and they work very well with a Stageline N so should suit the supernait.

It would be sad to downgrade, as the Trichord Dino with additional ps is a better phono vs the internal SN3.
Personally I would go more towards a new MC or rebuild the existing.
MC are generally better than MM. in general….not always of course.

Is the Dino really better? It certainly costs a reasonable sun but most of that will be the casing. The Naim stage is internal so has no casing, just the components, and is powered by windings on the Supernait’s massive toroidal transformer. As ever it’s a matter of trying it out.

When I got my SN3 I swapped from MC so that I could use the internal stage, merely because I wanted fewer little boxes and fewer wires. I’m not saying a separate stage wouldn’t be better, but it’s less neat and tidy, which may or may not be a consideration.

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Thanks Frenchrooster. Are you sure the Trichord is better than the Supernait phono?

Maybe it’s not better, but I doubt. A lot here are using it and find it a very good value.
The Dino with the separate ps costs 1k. And can run MC.

If the SN3 phonostage is on level with, or even better than 3xx/5xx phono cards, its very good and cost effective.
Not saying a separate stage could be better, often its a matter of matching the right cartridge.
Opinions are divided, no surprise.
In my setup some external phono stages didn’t wipe those card even they were quite expensive.
I had to buy a Rega Aria to get instant improvement, its more than €1K.

Never heard the mentioned Clearaudio cartridges but MM market below €700-800 is crowded, I’d look at latest range from Audio Technica VM with advanced stylus, or the always successfully Goldring 1022/1042, Ortofon 2M Bronze maybe the new 2M Beethoven Black. Nagaoka seem popular but extremely ugly design.
Then there’s high output MC, Hana, Denon, Dynavector, Benz amo.
List of choice is long.

Of course, the SN3 alone looks more elegant than with the additional mini boxes from Trichord.
However it’s a bit wasting money to sell the Clearaudio concept MC, which costs around 800 euros, the MC phono, to get an MM .
I would buy instead a powerline, or second hand XPS .

Thanks PerF that is very helpful.

Yes that does make sense, maybe the next MC Cartridge up in the range, the Essence MC or another brand?

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I don’t know how sound Clearaudio carts, but they have good reputation.
I see you have Proac D30s. Maybe save some money and buy better amps or integrated.
The Naim XS is not to the level of your speakers, IMHO.

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The SN3 mm stage sounds great with every cart I’ve tried.

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