Currently manufactured pickups - Denon to Lyra

DaVinci Audio
This company manufactures a high end moving coil design called the Grandezza, more info here.

Makes a range of MC pickups traditionally intended for broadcast purposes and thus usually feature a spherical stylus but also popular amongst audiophiles for their lively sound. Their range has been revamped recently and the big new is the introduction of a design called the DL-S1, this is the first Denon high end pickup in a couple of decades and has specifications more in line with other Japanese high end audiophile models than with the traditional Denon designs including a line contact stylus, a quoted frequency response of 20Hz to 70KHz and an output of only 0,15mV. The DL-S1 also has the same pickup housing as the Denon DL-304 had which is quite different from the earlier designs and features the sort of gold detailing popular with Japanese audiophiles and a matching transformer in the form of the Denon AU-S1, the price in Japan is 84.000¥ inc. tax, but the model does not appear to be distributed in the rest of the world, even the specialised Western phonographic retailers that usually carry even the most obscure Denon models do not appear to stock this one. The company has also taken the opportunity to replace the venerable mid range DL-304 with the DL-301 MkII, but note that this is an updated version of the original Denon DL-301 rather than a direct replacement for the 304 except being close to it in price, the generator is similar to the old 301 but has a slightly higher output voltage of 0,4mV, which means that it is compatible with a much larger range of Moving coil preamplifiers than the 304, it also shares a housing with the DL-S1 and the use of a more modern line contact stylus gives it a better quoted audio spec of 20Hz to 60KHz and improved tracking. This model also gets much wider distribution than the DL-S1 and should be available in most countries even if only in specialised retailers, the price in Japan is less than 1/3 of it's more expensive sibling BTW. The mainstay of the Denon pickup production is budget DL-110, this is one of the cheapest MC designs out there and is a mid/high output cart with an output of 1,6mV that should as such work with the majority of phono inputs intended for MM pickups although you should check the specs of your amplifier (more DL-110 specs.), it features an elliptical stylus, the 110 has a particularly smooth and soft character for such a low priced cart, and balances extremely well with hard sounding/top heavy systems. There is a variant of it available in Europe (but missing from the Japanese and American catalogues) that is called DL-160 it is identical to the 110 except that it has a better elliptical stylus, therefore tracks better and thus gets a slightly improved audio spec, more info on that model here.

The classic DL-103 which has been in continuous production since 1963 with only minor modifications, noticeably since this is an out and out broadcast cart it has a spherical stylus variant while the more modern variants of the Denon range have elliptical stylii, it also has a fairly high recommended tracking force at 2,5g, the 103 cart is for some reason much cheaper in Europe than in North America and for a reason unfathomable to us actually cheaper than in Japan itself, it actually pays for some parts of the world to buy it in Europe via mail order at around 120€ including tax (this goes for some other Denon models as well). The 103 is an out and out classic with a characteristic sound that is very popular with fans of Jazz and vocal classical music due to it's lively timing and it was so popular amongst broadcast organisations in it's day that it was used by EMI and Decca as their reference design when evaluating LP sound quality, the main drawback of the 103 is the stylus but the bass and highs suffer a little from the smaller contact area . This has also meant that there is a small cottage industry that specialises in selling modified 103's, usually with improved styllii and sometimes slight mods to the coil piece itself, there also exists a slightly higher priced variant of the 103 called the DL-103R that has a better copper in the coil windings and a slightly lighter coil design but is otherwise identical, the difference in the coil means slightly higher output and lower output impedance, the 103R model is usually only sold in Asia and you can find more info on it here, and there is a variant called DL-103/78 that is wired for mono and has a stylus cut for use with 78 Rpm. records (this model is sometimes referred to as DL-103/65 in Europe in reference to the groove width of a 78rpm record), and finally there is the DL-103PRO which is only sold in Japan and the only info on that variant is that it has a better high end response than the stock model but it's unclear if that is archived by a better stylus or generator, more info on the 103 here. Denon actually makes more carts that they do not list on their pages and those models are usually not sold outside of Japan and central Europe (with the exception of some 103 variants), amongst those models are the DL-102 a cartridge designed to play stereo records in mono, popular with AM radio stations and mono fans, the DL-102SD version is for playing 78 rpm records, note that both of these are true mono pickups and have an intentionally limited frequency range, the . Please note that those 102 and 103 variants are not in constant production all year round but rather batches are made from time to time so if you are asking for some of the more exotic variants you might have to wait a bit for them, if you have problems getting hold of the 103 or 102 variants take a look at the Specialised Phono Retailers on the grey sidebar, they will be able to help.

Diamond Stylus
Sells a few types of replacement pickups although I believe these are made for them in the far east rather than an original product.

DNM See --> Reson

Dr. Jazz
Makes 2 high end MC pickups caklled Blue Note and Blue Note Special, no web presence for the company but this German dealer has more info on his webpage.

The company does not actually manufacture pickups but does have a couple of models on the market although they are mostly intended for the after-market supply of their own turntable models. The DMS 251 S is a budget model supplied with the Dual CS 415 2 and the Dual CS 435 1 as standard, this looks like an Ortofon model but I am not entirely sure, earlier models were actually made by Shure Inc. and where especially designed to mate perfectly with the tonearm compliance wise, the DMS 251 E is the same pickup with an elliptical stylus but is only sold these days as an after-market option, using the stylus for the E model does improve the performance of the S model quite a bit so seek that out when you need to replace the stylus, the price difference should be minimal. The ULM 165 E is actually the Ortofon OMB 10 with the Dual name on it, a replacement stylus for the ULM for playing 78' RPM records with is available as DN167.

Make mid to high end MC cartridges, of special interest are their high output carts, the company was founded around an invention that allowed high output carts to be made without the weight and sound issues normally associated with them. The cheapest cart from Dynavector is the DV 10X4 Mk2 a high output moving coil at a very reasonable price (UKP 200 or USD 300+) that makes an ideal introduction to moving coil's since it does not need an extra preamplifier and sounds rather good to boot especially considering it's price, but no need to take our word for it read the review in TNT (nota bene there is apparently a low output verion of the 10 available in Japan called the 10XGold L), the 10X has an elliptical stylus. The 10x is also a bit of a classic it has been manufactured with only minor modifications since 1978. Next in line is the DV 20X Mk2 it's available in both high output (2,5 mV) and low output (0,25 mV) versions as 20X H & 20X L respectively, it's design is more in line with the company's high end carts than with the 10x and features a rigid aluminium alloy housing and PE stylus (this is a mid range cart NB.) the H version is also the best tracking high output MC cartridge out there. Next up is the recently upgraded Karat 17D2 Mk2, a low output cart with the famous diamond cantilever and a micro ridge stylus, this model has been reviewed here. The Karat Nova 17D2 is wood bodied version of this cart, and is now being made as a limited edition reissue, there is no homepage for it but if you go to the Dynavector hompage and continue to the manual and technical document download page youll find a file called Nova17d_ebro.pdf that is a leaflet on the Nova. The XX-2 is a high end cartridge that utilises the company's patented "magnetic flux damper" it's similar to the older XX-1 (that some dealers still have in stock) but has an Alinco-5 magnet rather than the conventional ones that the XX-1 had, it has been reviewed by TNT audio. The stunning DRT XV-1 is a striking nude design that utilises multimagnets made out of alnico and is a bit unusual in design but has been getting rave reviews, you can read one of those reviews by HiFI Choice here. The Te Kaitora is the company's top of the line cart, it's also a nude design but a more conventional design. There are 2 things you should note about Dynavector cartridges, some of their high output carts tend to sound brittle and even annoying for the first 20 to 40 hours of use (but heavenly thereafter), and that the company uses for the most part a technique of thrusting a stylus through the cantilever for fastening rather than gluing and heat curing it as most other manufacturers do, this means that one or 2 third party retippers will not retip those carts (but do not let that influence a purchase, there are plenty of retippers that will, this along with the unusual winding of the high output coils is also the source of the unfounded and damaging rumours that Dynavector does not supply spare parts for their products).

Makes 2 Moving Coil designs that are derived from the EMT Pickups designs, these are the TU-2 which is available in 2 variants, the TU-2 Blue SLF is an updated version of the old EMT TU 2 but has quite different specifications, to begin with the pickup features a Super Fine Line Stylus but noticeably it has a fairly high output a 1,2mV while the original model had 0,4mV, this in turn means that it can be used with some high gain MM inputs. The cart is well regarded by the audio press, even revered by parts of it, and not at all that expensive in Europe for this class of cartridge at something under 1000 €. The TU-2 Black VdH is closer to the original specifications with just a 0,5mV output and features a Van den Hul stylus profile. The other model the company manufactures is the TU-3 which again is available in 2 variants but both of them high output like the TU-2 Blue, the TU-3 SFL has a Super Fine Line stylus while the TU-3 Red Gyger-S is a higher end model with a Gyger-S stylus. Note that the pickups are often sold under the Tubaphon name rather than the Einstein brand, in particular in Germany. One unusual aspect of the pickups is that the company stores the colis for a lenght of time after they have been manufactured in order to allow them to settle magnetically, but users of MC pickups may be familiar with this practice from Japanese manufacturers. Their products are fairly difficult to get hold of, Phonophono seems to be one of the few places stocking it and the manufacturer has no homepage.

EMT Studiotechnik
Makes the legendary HSD 6 high end moving coil pickup, it features a Super Fine Line stylus and unlike the older variants of the HSD 6 this model is sold using a standard mount in a housing milled out of solid aluminium, rather than inside a EMT headshell.

There appear to be a number of pickups being made in Germany that are actually EMT generators but sold under a variety of names, it is not 100% cleat if these are being made by one concern and then redistributed by other companies or if there is a number of companies making variations of the EMT pickups in small number each (this includes Roksan Pickups and Tubaphon Pickups amongst others), but it appears that the former is the case, also while the EMT name was still owned by Barco (as late as early 2005), specialist suppliers could apparently get limited numbers of most of the EMT pickups without any problems. You can also find some further info on current EMT models on the homepage of Hans Fabritius an ex EMT employe.

Garrott Brothers
Makes a range of pickups, the K-Series is a range of a MM variants. While the mother company has a web presence there are really no pages relating to the pickups but you can download the K-Series and the high end catalogues in an Acrobat format.

Has a line of low/mid priced MC carts that feature Neodymium coils enclosed in Pocan shells (very stiff), the basic model is the Eroica H a high output/high impedance cart with a Gyger II stylus that is also available at the same price in a low output version as the Eroica LX with better audio and mechanical specification, a much better buy if you have an audio system that can handle low output MC's. The Elite is a very similar to the Eroica LX but has a Gyger I stylus and the Excel VX is the top of the range MC model form the company, it's an ultra rigid design with an Vital PH radii stylus. The MM range from Goldring consists of 2 carts the budget Elan that features a spherical stylus, it's available with a elliptical stylus as the Electra and a mid line cart known as the 1000 series. The 1000 unit is available with a variety of stylii, this means that you can start out with the G1006 version that comes with a elliptical stylus and upgrade to one of the more expensive models at a later date by buying a stylus for intended for the higher priced models such as the G1012GX that has a Gyger II line contact stylus, the G1022GX that features a Gyger 1 stylus and the G1042 that has the Gyger S stylus. Their G1042e has been reviewed by TNT-Audio and Excel VX review is here.

Traditionally the most gimmickry amongst all cart manufacturers, this is the company that used to put Radon on their pickups to ionise the record ! (And hope that the sound of the Geiger counter does not interfere with your musical enjoyment). Currently makes a well regarded range mid to high end pickups, and not as well regarded range of budget models. Caveat : Their range is more microphonic than carts from most other makers, so if you have a vintage deck, direct drive deck or one with an AC motor located near the platter arrange for a demo in a similar deck before buying, they tend to pick up lots of hum (this is microphony, not a grounding issue as with some of their earlier designs). Their low/mid range of MI pickups is called Prestige and has models called Black, Green is basically the same cart as the Black but is hand selected from the product line, the Blue has an improved cantilever assembly and the Red is a hand selected version of it, at the top of the Prestige range you will find the Silver and Gold.

The company is one of the few around that is making high end MM cartridges, the line is called Reference and includes models such as the Platinum and a variant of that cart enclosed in a wooden body called Platinum Wood, the wodden body means less resonance, then there is the Signature Wood, the Master Wood and "The Referene" Wood, those are all wood bodied carts and are very "upmarket", more so than even most high end MC Carts here in Europe, as for the sound the Platinum carts sound very light and airy (not in a negative sense but in a manner similar to the old ADC pickups, will probably be best suited to opera and vocal buffs) and I gather that the wood variants are more of the same

The newest line from the company is the Statement line , starts with the Platinum, Sonata, Master and the Reference.

Ikeda Sound Labs

Makes a high end MC pickup designed by Ikeda-san of Fidelity Research and has been in continuos production since 1985, it's a cantileverless design but is a true moving coil unlike the Decca MI designs, more info soon.

Jan Allaerts
Makes high end MC pickups including the £ 5.500 (uhrg) MC2 Formula 1 that had a claimed frequency response of 0 to 100 KHz, although it has later been modified to 3Hz to 150KHz ! Note that all the pictures shown on his website show his carts "in the nude" (ie no pickup casing) but all that I have seen have come cased. If you cannot afford the above but want a taste you of the true European high end he also has some models at more down to earth prices such as the MC2 Finish, a cart remarkably close to the F1 in specs but costs less that half of what it's big brother costs, but do note that the MC2 pickups have a fairly high load impedance requirements of 845 ohms and that is not within the capabilities on all RIAA preamplifiers. Mr. Allaerts cheaper line of pickups is referred to as the MC1 Series and consists of the MC1 eco which is the cheapest cart he makes and features an aluminium cantilever with a Fritz Gyger II stylus, the MC2 Boron has as the name implies a cantilever made out of Boron, the British rag Hi-Fi choice has reviewed the MC1B and they were impressed, read it for yourselft. There is also a higher specified version of the MC1B called MC1Boron MkII that has a Gyger-S stylus and quite impressive audio specifications, noticeably the MC1 line has a load impedance of 100 ohms rather than the whopping 845 than the MC2 has.

Legendary manufacturer of high end MC pickups that are hand made in limited numbers, and I mean HIGH END, the cheapest model from the company is the Black and it costs the same or more than the top models from most other manufacturers, next up is the Standard and the Red K (also known as the Rosewood Standard or the Rosewood Red, primarily in the USA and mainland Asia) a high end model. Best known of their models is probably the Red K Signature (aka Rosewood Signature) that differs from the plain model in size and in that it has a stronger magnet and thus pumps out a 0,6mV versus 0,3 from the plain model, the Signature is also available in a version called Red K Signature Platinum with magnets made out of platinum and wound with a siver coated copper wire and has an output of 0,25mv or so (this cart is also known as Rosewood Signature Platinum). Stationed somewhere between those 2 price wise is the Urushi, a unit universally acknowledged to be one of the more musical on the market and is available in 3 different finishes, it has been reviewed by At the top of the range are the Onyx Platinum and the Jade Platinum the casing on the Jade one being carved out of a solid block of jade and the stylus and cantilever carved out of a solid block of diamond, you don't not even want to know about the cost. You can find more info on most of their range by checking out this distrubutors link. But note that I have for some reason never seen an dealer or even a distributor that carries the whole range (some do not carry the most expensive models others not the Black and Standard etc. etc. etc.).

Makes makes or sell 3 pick-ups, namely the the recently introduced Akiva Moving coil and Adikt moving magnet Arkiv and Klyde low output moving coil cartridges, they have also recently reintroduced their low cost K5 entry level MM pickup in a limited production run (it's actually a rebadged AT cart).

Makes mid to high end cartridges based around the old Decca designs, these are pretty unique designs in that they are actually Moving Iron (MI) rather than MC or MM and do not have a cantilever and are known for their "lively" sound, but note that like most other MI designs they do not have user replaceable stylii but the have output voltages similar to MM carts and thus compatible with MM inputs. The cheapest pickup from the company is the classic London MkVI popularly known as the "Maroon" that actually features a spherical stylus (by far the most expensive cart to do so, but still preferred by some) but you can get it with an elliptical stylus as the London E. The range also includes the MkVII Super Gold a design that was changed in early 2001 by replacing the VDH stylus with another line contact and has been getting rave reviews since, the brittleness that many percieved with the Mark VI stylus has gone, there is also a version of it called MkVII Super Gold Reference and the cheaper MkVI Gold that has an elliptical stylus. The Jubilee is their top of the line cart and is enclosed in a solid alloy body and has a line contact stylus. The only page that I can find with reasonable info on their designs is one that their US distributor holds out. Note that you can also get a POD damper for the cartridges from the company which can help especially with undamped lightweight medium weight arms, but this has to be done at the factory, preferably before you order.

Makes high end cartridges MC cartridges. The Lydian Beta is their "budget" offering, it's sports a Ogura line contact stylus and has a bottomless housing made out of anodised aluminium, has been reviewed by Audiophilia and you can find another review here, note that i's a mid output cartridge at 0,7mV. All the carts from the company have the same audio spec or 10Hz to 50KHz.

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