MC, or stick with MM?

Pondering a move to MC.

I have always had MM cartridges, and for the last 4 years have used a Nagaoka MP-500. It will soon be stylus-replacement time again and I have been reading good things about Hana cartridges.

Now that I have the Allnic phono stage, maybe it is time to test the water with an MC cart.

Options considered:

Stick with the Nag and get another new stylus for £350
Get a Hana SL for £600ish
Get a Hana ML for a grand.

Has anyone got experience of both the ML and SL? My budget is max £1k, but would prefer to spend less.

Hana SL is the sweet spot.

I don’t know if it’s reflective of all but sitting through an Ortofon demo was interesting. In the same system there seemed to me a clear presentation difference between the MMs and MC. The MMs seemed to focus on the rhythm and flow of the music where while you get all that with the MCs they opened out the soundstage with better imaging. Having heard a good few Audio Note systems with MM based TTs it struck me that they’ve tended to have that MM focus. I think I’ve a general preference for the way MCs do things but I can understand others with a different view.

The ML is very good, in my system a clear step in the right direction. Not tried an SL

The ease of changing styli on an MM is a wondrous thing. The ease of sound from a MC is a wondrous thing

Go with an SL. IMO, better than the best (IQ2 and 3, 2M Black) MM carts that I’ve owned.

Once you get over £500 or so, either buy an MC or a Decca, I reckon.

Denon DL103 or go home :+1:


I think that is for demo convenience, especially as Audio Note make the excellent Io range of MC carts,

Yep, a couple of buddies have AN with IQ3 and they’re really nice systems. I’ve not compared AN MM&MC in the same system and have limited experience of the Io’s but it’d always struck me that the AN’s I was familiar with had a particular sound. It was listening to the Ortofon demo that nailed down for me what I felt I was hearing. More emphasis on tone and flow than soundstage/imaging, not that the AN systems, MM or MC are necessarily bad in any respect, just a different emphasis.

MC is the way to go but you’re then at the mercy of your phono stage. A lot of built-in MC stages are afterthoughts and low quality, which is why external SUTs are a thing.

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Io/Slagle/Coco FTW


There are a lot of AA members with AN Ios, probably more than with AN MM carts.
I don’t think the generalisation that MMs are about tone and flow and MCs are about imaging and soundstage are valid fo AN carts

The Io does everything that the IQ3 does, it just does it better,

I do accept that that generalisation is more accurate for other manufacturers, the Lyra range comes to mind for instance. But even that is a subjective observation. One mans ‘clean and clear’ is another mans ‘clinical and sterile’

But back to the OP

Get a Hana SL

I’d go for the Hana ML over the SL as the ML requires loading around 100 ohms which is pretty standard whereas the SL requires loading around 400 ohms which is trickier unless you already own a suitable SUT or have a configurable mc phono stage.

I liked the AT33-PTGII as an affordable MC, although now with the Rega Ania as part of an all-Rega front end.
no experience with the Hana I’m afraid

I should hope so considering the price difference :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

If folk on here diverted half of the dosh they spend on cake, meat and beer into their cart fund, they’d be able to afford an Io in about two weeks :wink:


My wallet is still stinging from my Io purchase a while back. I cannot afford cake, meat and beer still. Sadly, I am still a fat bastard.

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AA: giving hifi this much priority.

P.s. you forgot coffaff.

Do not mess with the coffaff.

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