Currently manufactured pickups - Acutex to Dynavector

Makes a mid/high end moving coil pickup.

American DJ See --> Tonar Pickups

Audio Note/Kondo
Makes the Io-j high end MC pickup with coils wound using silver wire, unusually amongst modern day Japanese high end parts has an elliptical stylus, if you are interested you should get in touch now since there is a year long waiting list! This cart has been reviewed by Enjoy the music. Note also that the Io-j has a very low output (0.15mV) and that many preamps and transformers are not able to amplify it enough, so check with you supplier or take a look at the Audio Note MC transformers or Audio Note UK MC transformers transformers that are manufactured especially for those pickups.

Audio Note UK Ltd.
Makes a few high end MC cartridges and markets MM's that are a lightly modified Goldring 10xx design, actually the MM's are called IQ-1, IQ-2 and IQ-3, and are all the same cart but are offered with different stylii, you can read a review of the IQ-2 by here. The MC's are based on an older Audio Note/Kondo Io-j design (see above), but the company makes three variants of it called Io-Iv, Io-IIv and Io Ltd., technically speaking the Ltd version has slightly better specification and slightly lower output, it also requires six wires leading to the cart and comes with it's own power supply. You can read a review of the Io-Iv.

Audio Technica
Japanese manufacturer of low to mid price cartridges, their MC designs are underrated and often very good value, especially the low output AT-OC9ML which is something of a bargain in some markets but it's also the only MC cart from the company that you can buy almost universally, Audio Technica does however make a few other MC cartridges that are usually available in Japan and sometimes on mainland Europe but not in the UK or US, these include the limited edition AT-ART2000 a design based on the much beloved ART1000 of yore. The cheapest MC cart from the company is the AT-F3 II, it a low output cart unlike most budget MC carts, The AT-Mono 3/LP is a high output cartridge designed for the playback of mono LP's and the AT-Mono 3/SP is designed for the playback of 78'rpm's, it has a reduced frequency range to minimise auxiliary noise output. The AT-33ML/OCC is an updated version of the classic AT33 made with the company's OCC technology and much sought after by certain audiophiles eps. in the UK, however the AT33PGT (or 33 Prestige) is the Classic 33 cart in a "deluxe version" (i.e. fancy clothing) and is thus one of the longest running audio product in continuous manufacture or all the way since 1962.

It should be noted that the AT MM range has a very good street prices in the USA and especially in Japan so they should be your first stop if you are in search of a budget pickup in those parts of the world. The range starts with a line of budget MM cartridges featuring a spherical stylus and all share basically the same specification , including the standard mounted CN5625AL and AT70L, the rest of the budget range is what the company calls "universal mount", that is they are P-mount cartridges that come with an adapter that allows them to be mounted in a standard half inch headshell, these include the AT-90CD, the AT348H/U pickup that is also available without the universal adapter as AT3482O at a slightly lower cost and the AT300P a cart that has slightly better specifications. Note as with all low budget pickups that have spherical stylii these are not really recommended for the low budget audiophile, but are fine a replacement units for your granny's stereo system.

The low mid range from AT is more interesting and will make fine beginners cartridges and have the advantage of being widely available and thus easy to get replacement stylii for, some of their models are also good value, all their mid range carts have an elliptical stylus and the standard mount models are the AT71ELC, the ATP-2XN DJ model (usually comes with a extra stylus included in the pack) and the AT120E/T. Most of the midrange products are "universal mount" and include the AT91ECD and a variant of it called AT-78 that has a stylus cut for playing 78 rpm records is also available (and available separately if you want to retrofit your cart) and a kit called AT-91/78 that has both a microgroove and a 78 stylus. The AT301EP, the AT92ECD and the broadly similar AT-95E that is sold in Europe along with the AT-110E have a killer price/performance ratio and have got rave reviews in the press lately, and are excellent upgrade choices. The AT3111EP and the AT316EP. Near the top of AT's MM range is the "universal mount" AT331LP that features a line contact stylus and very respectable audio specification and is a cracking good buy if you ask me, but by all means read the review by Consumerguide, the 440ML has a Microline stylus and is the top MM model from the company that has a reasonable distribution around the world and has a very respectable audio spec but is somewhat dearer than the 331 or a 120, still a review is here. You can read more about these models on the AT homepage. One classic MM design that is still in production in an updated version is the AT-ML150/OCC but it can be a bit difficult to find in the west, it's a high end cart that is more than 2x the cost of an 440 but was considered by many MM fans to be the last word in an earlier incarnation and indeed still is to a degree, the modern version features a nude Micro-Linear stylus BTW. The company also has 2 budget MM T4P mount systems that unlike others from the company do not come with a standard mount adapter, namely the AT-101EP (not sold in the USA) and the 3472.

Audio Tekne
Makes the high end MC 6310 moving coil cartridge.

Bang & Olufsen
Still makes the MMC 2, MMC3, MMC 4 and the MMC 20S Moving Iron pickups in limited numbers and with only occasional production runs (and possibly the MMC 1 as well), mainly intended to supply the user base of their old turntables (they have a property mounting system), but the range has a small cult following so we have seen these carts mounted on to a normal turntable (and at one time some enterprising individual sold converters). Any authorised B&O dealer can order these for you from the factory but if you are having problems locating a supplier try PhonoPhono, you may have to wait for a new production run if you are looking for a specific model, at the time this was written the MMC4 was the only one that was generally available from PhonoPhono. For the MMC3 try Mr. Stylus in Germany (Had stocks in September 2003), both above suppliers can also supply you with original and 3rd party stylii you should be aware that original B&O stylii come with line contact stylus while the 3rd party units feature elliptical and even spherical ones so there is a reason for the price difference (in fact the company invented the line contact stylus, another useless fact bought to you by

Benz Micro

Makes mid to high end Moving Coil pickups, most of the current model range is from the recently introduced Series 3 that is notable versus their older carts for their lower mass and a new rear pole piece that is 20% more efficient than on previous products. Their cheapest cart as far I can see is the high output MC-20E 2, it's has a 47kohm impedance and can thus be used with any MM capable amplifier, so does the Silver but it's output is slightly lower at 2mV so some cheap MM stages/amps might not have enough gain to work with it, if you however have a MC capable stage or a transformer you should rather look at the low output Gold, it has a better audio specification but retails at the same price as the Silver. Next up is the ACE (not sure if the Ace is a series 2 cart), it's available in 3 versions, the L is a low output variant @ 0,3mV/12ohm, the M is a mid output variant @ 0,8mV/24ohm that is an excellent choice for those with ultra sensitive valve based MM stages or with a MC capable stage that has problems with the low output of the L version, and the H is a high output/impedance version that at 2,5mV/90 should work with most MM capable phonostages. The mid range Glider Series 2 is equipped with a Geiger 6x40µm line contact stylus and are a naked coil cartridges that has an excellent price/performance ratio and is unusual in being almost universally liked (i.e. it has got good reviews around the world, unusual in that tastes in carts are quite different around the globe), it's also shipped in L2, M2 and H2 versions with the same output voltages as the Ace and that is also the case with the closed Wood 2 (also called Woodbody 2 or sometimes just L2, M2 and H2) that also have the Geiger 6x40µm line contact stylii, a review of the Wood L2 can be found here.

The high end pickups from the company all come with a Geiger Dynascan 5x150µm stylus and the range starts with the Reference 2 Silver a low output cart that pumps out 0,3mV/8,5ohm and then there is the Ruby 2 a high end cartridge with a wooden body open at the bottom, it is unusually lightweight for this type of cart and puts out 0,3mV/40ohm, there are 2 further variants of that cart in the mid output Ruby H variant that puts out a 0,8mV/85ohm, but has slightly worse audio specification than the 2 and is the same price, the Ruby Open Air 2 is however an open coil variant that is slightly more expensive than the closed version and while the specifications are similar the Open Air 2 version has got better reviews.

Blue Angel
Manufacturer a low output moving coil design.

The Brinkmann-EMT pickup is a nude MC pickup based around an EMT Studiotechnik generator.

Canadian Astatic
Makes a wide range of low end crystal, ceramic and a few MM based cartridges, mostly intended for the replacement market.

Designs and sells 2 low output MC cartridges that are made for them by Lukaschek HiFi-Elektronik and show similar family characteristics as the Benz Micro pickups listed here above, the Myrtle Heart and the Myrtle Silver Heart both feature a body made out of American Myrtlewood but the complex grain structure of that wood is supposed to help with the resonance characteristics of the pickup. The basic difference between the 2 models is that the Silver Heart has a silver wound coil while the basic models has a copper one, this makes the Silver slightly heavier than the plain Myrtle and slightly lowers the impedance but otherwise the 2 models share the same specification, the Silver Myrtle is somewhat dearer than the Myrtle and supposedly sounds better, more info on these designs here.

The Cartridgeman
Makes a £ 499 MM cart called The Music Maker, seems to be a reworked Grado but the maker claims it has , has been getting very good reviews in the British press, has also been reviewed by TNT-Audio.

Makes a line of low output mid to high end MC and MM pickups that feature a unique body construction and a patented coil arrangement called "Series coil system" whereby the coils are mounted symmetrically in front and behind the cantilever pivot. Pickups include the relatively low priced Aurum alpha MkII, Aurum beta MkII and Aurum beta/S MM designs, the mid priced Virtuos and the Sigma Gold, that cart is something of a gem and has got awards and great reviews left right and centre, the coils have 24k gold windings hence the name, you can read a review by Enjoy the music. The high end line consists of Gamma/s 2001, the Victory which is available in low or high output version for the same price, the Victory Gold variant of the same cart with gold windings, the Singature, Discovery, the Accurate. The flagship models from the company are the ultra high end Insider and Insider Reference, these are hand crafted from a solid block of leadalloy to ensure that it's oxygen free and then gold filled. Most Clearaudio carts use a propirty line contact stylus called Trigon PII.

Crown Jewel
Manufactures a high end MC cartridge by the same name, like so many traditional high end Japanese MC cartridges it has a Samarium Cobalt coil magnet and an elliptical stylus rather than a line contact one, the housing is made out of aluminium and the out put is a healthy 0,5mV. There are only made 15 of this sought after cartridge every month, the company has no homepage but you can find information on it on the web from Absolute Sounds in Berlin or from Audio Evidence in the US. some people have wrongly asserted that this is the same as Shelter but that is an incorrect assumption (they use the same body, the insides are different though).

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The site was last compiled on Sun Nov 10 2013 at 9:15:00am