Apart the Decca which is actually MI and yes does not have a cantilever the replaceable stylus has nothing to do with sound quality apart the company who makes it wanting to sell a stylus. Nag carts for example have tiny screws to secure the stylus on. That said The 881 which is a very highly revered MM is just a push on and it sounds amazing (I have one). Re Grado the woody are not user changeable but IMO a new Gold 2 with a nice tip would beat most things and even as it is it is amazing. Fixed or changeable stylus has noting to do with quality.raphaelmabo wrote: ↑13 Jan 2019 12:37MI is technically not the same as MM. Soundsmith does not make MM, they make MI, without replaceable stylus (there are sonical reasons for this). 2M Black may be high-end MM but in absolute terms it is upper mid-market. Clearaudio Maestro V2 is regarded by some as "the worlds best MM pickup" but it's still not high-end in absolute terms, even if it is high-end in MM. It is still upper mid-market. It cost around 1 000 euro. Now, when I talk about high-end cartridges, I talk about over 3-4 000 euros. For example the Sumiko Palo Santos MC for over 4 000 euros or the Zyx Ultimate Diamond för over 12 000 euros. This is the high-end that I'm talking about.cafe latte wrote: ↑13 Jan 2019 11:47ot truem look at MI Grado the top end cost way way more than MC, then Decca same again and amazing perfotmance, Clearaudio, 2M black Soundsmith list goes on and on MC is not the only option and non replaceable stylus has nothing to do with quality of replay just not true.
It is true that London Decca has cartridges in this class, but they don't call them MM designs. They say they are neither MM nor MC and they don't have a cantilever. They are special designs, and special designs can be quite expensive. So, London Decca Reference cartridge (around 3 - 3 500 euro) is not technically a MM, even if it is a high output cartridge.
Regarding this about that non-replaceable stylus has nothing to do with the sound, Grado themselves has non-replaceable styluses for their more expensive models - because they believe they sound better, having lower tolerances. It is their entry level Prestige series that has replaceable stylus, but not higher up the line. Their Reference and Statement seriess does not offer replaceable stylus. And Soundsmith, another MI design, does not have it. They believe they can make the body with lower resonances and tighter tolerances when there is no replaceable part, and as thus leading to better sound quality.
In the 70's, it existed MC cartridges with replaceable styluses - it can be done. But it was abandoned. A replaceable stylus is a compromise, even if they are getting better and better.
So I stand with that there are no high-end MM cartridges, and with MM I mean MM designs. The high-end MM's are all in the upper mid-market.