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MoFi MM cartridges - AT generators, with an aluminium body wrapped around them?

dlaloum

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Just saw some reviews... had a look at a couple of marketing images...

The MoFi MM cartridges, seem to be a core AT generator body (possibly AT95) - fitted into a solid aluminium surround, and with a Stylus "plug" used...

Same deal as for the Clearaudio Concept MM cartridges.

They bulk buy Audio Technica bodies, fit aluminium or wooden mountings to them, and carve up basic AT styli to remove most of the identifying plastic - and fit them into the bodies (hence a stylus "plug" as all that is left of the plastic is the rectangular plug that fits into the AT body)

This approach kicked off about 10 (or more?) years ago with Clearaudio - and appears to have spread.

From the specifications the Mofi has an ordinary aluminium cantilever, fitted with a MicroLine stylus....ie: it's a VM95ML US$169 cartridge repackaged with an aluminium body - and at US$800 - that is to say $600 for a fancy body?!

What am I missing?

It's not quite "snake oil" but definitely looks like the innocent are being fleeced.

(or perhaps I have indeed missed something critical about it)
 

Mnyb

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Did not lexicon basically wrapped a pioneer multidisc player in their own chassi and got away with it ?

Similar practice has been seen in other high end disc players , it can be more than a wrap . Some mods are done not always to the better , but yea tarting up standard midfi players to hit a different market and price tier :)

Badge engineering at its worst ?

I think market and price tier is our enemy :) it so ingrained in audiophile thinking . We have many treads about “recommend me a 1000$ dollar DAC “

So we get products for different demographics and markets :) I think Porsche once did the mistake of having some almost affordable models , they learned and gained more by making more expensive products? That’s the reverse logic of some luxury market.

On topic yes there seems to be far fewer actual pickup manufacturers than there are brands , but the usual practices are oem manufacturing, so that it does not become so blatantly obvious to us customers, then we can’t get insight in the particular price hike involved in the brand name.

So yes a more honest approach would be to recommend a AT cart for the entry level customers, but by perverse audiophile logic it could reflect badly on the expensive TT they are selling ? It sort of makes sense?
 

TBone

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Did not lexicon basically wrapped a pioneer multidisc player in their own chassi and got away with it ?

Similar practice has been seen in other high end disc players , it can be more than a wrap . Some mods are done not always to the better , but yea tarting up standard midfi players to hit a different market and price tier :)

Badge engineering at its worst ?

... early Meridian's used to wrap their chassi/badge around a Phillips cdp.

... seen many re-badged carts over the years, so no surprise.
 

USER

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Back when the tech was at its peak, the opposite happened: cartridges were sold for less under more popular brand names! All those cheap Radio Shack cartridges (under the "Realistic" label) were repackaged Shure cartridges, and pretty good ones at that (M95, M97--ironically enough, cartridges Shure themselves re-released under the "Encore" line due to popular demand). I've picked up a few for peanuts (though prices are rising) and I find it hard to believe that these fancy cartridges of which you speak are better than these seeing that these Radio Shack ones measure as good as current top of the line Audio Technica cartridges.

RXT5 1 - DP-30L II 1.png

This one can easily be loaded better. Got it for $15.

M111HE · R8X - DP-30L II 1.png

This is the Shure cartridge it is based on. Ignore the squiggles at around 5 and between 14-18kHz. Those are the test record. Consider them straight.
 

Bob from Florida

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Look at where the stylus plugs in... look at the metal bits (not the added wooden housing) - then do the same looking at any of the AT MM's....

Extensive discussion of the topic on :
Below is the Maestro 2. Solid boron cantilever with their HD line contact diamond. Are you suggesting everything minus the wood is AT?



24694FBE-384B-4D14-AF1B-8AC60F55DA2A.jpeg
 
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dlaloum

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Here is the clearaudio Maestro viewed from the bottom (V2 has thicker sides, but same underlying core generator:

clearaudio-maestro-wood.jpg


And here are some individual efforts at re-bodying the AT95....:

at95midasat 001.jpg

An Aluminium version

atamKaoni.jpg

A wood bodied version with stylus removed.

At one point there was a lot of discussion around whether the plastic mounting generated parasitic vibrations, and therefore cleaner sound was achieved by carving away the plastic and leaving only the plug...

I remain completely unconvinced one way or the other - would not bother with all this effort, not convinced it provides measurable benefits.

But yes - the MoFi and Clearaudio MM cartridges are all AT95's - with modified body mountings
 
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dlaloum

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Back when the tech was at its peak, the opposite happened: cartridges were sold for less under more popular brand names! All those cheap Radio Shack cartridges (under the "Realistic" label) were repackaged Shure cartridges, and pretty good ones at that (M95, M97--ironically enough, cartridges Shure themselves re-released under the "Encore" line due to popular demand). I've picked up a few for peanuts (though prices are rising) and I find it hard to believe that these fancy cartridges of which you speak are better than these seeing that these Radio Shack ones measure as good as current top of the line Audio Technica cartridges.

View attachment 192292
This one can easily be loaded better. Got it for $15.

View attachment 192293
This is the Shure cartridge it is based on. Ignore the squiggles at around 5 and between 14-18kHz. Those are the test record. Consider them straight.

Yes... I have both of those in my "library"... very nice!
 

Bob from Florida

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The stylus is the same used on some of Clearaudio's upper tier moving coils. Are you saying that is AT also? It certainly looks different and is very long and exposed. I always had the cover on it when it was mounted for errant finger tips.
 
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dlaloum

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The stylus is the same used on some of Clearaudio's upper tier moving coils. Are you saying that is AT also? It certainly looks different and is very long and exposed. I always had the cover on it when it was mounted for errant finger tips.

the Stylus is the special thing - I know of no available Boron/Line contact needles for AT95....

So they must be either getting them made for them custom by AT or by whoever makes them for AT - often the manufacturer (typically Namiki from memory) makes the cantilevers with needles pre-mounted - retippers and companies like Jico then purchase them and fit them to cartridges or styli for MM's.

It is on a par with the Jico SAS styli... and I have always considered it notable that Jico have never made a top end stylus for an AT cartridge... they max out at (very nice) aluminium cantilevers.... seems to me like an informal deal with AT is involved!

It is the stylus that makes it special.
 

Bob from Florida

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the Stylus is the special thing - I know of no available Boron/Line contact needles for AT95....

So they must be either getting them made for them custom by AT or by whoever makes them for AT - often the manufacturer (typically Namiki from memory) makes the cantilevers with needles pre-mounted - retippers and companies like Jico then purchase them and fit them to cartridges or styli for MM's.

It is on a par with the Jico SAS styli... and I have always considered it notable that Jico have never made a top end stylus for an AT cartridge... they max out at (very nice) aluminium cantilevers.... seems to me like an informal deal with AT is involved!

It is the stylus that makes it special.

Below is VM95ML Specs

Cartridge & Stylus
Frequency Response20-25,000 Hz
Channel Separation23 (dB at 1 kHz)
Vertical Tracking Angle23°
Vertical Tracking Force1.8-2.2 g (2.0 g standard)
Stylus ConstructionNude square shank
Recommended Load Impedance47,000 ohms
Coil Impedance3.3 k ohms (1 kHz)
DC Resistance485 ohms
Coil Inductance550 mH (1 kHz)
Output Voltage3.5 mV (1 kHz, 5 cm/sec.)
Output Channel Balance1.5 dB (1 kHz)
Stylus Shape2.2 x 0.12 mil Microlinear
CantileverAluminum pipe
Static Compliance20 x 10 – 6 cm / dyne
Dynamic Compliance10 x 10 – 6 cm / dyne (100 Hz)
MountingHalf-inch
Cartridge Weight6.1g
Dimensions17.2 mm (0.68") H × 18.9 mm (0.74") W × 28.3 mm (1.20") D
Accessories IncludedTwo 11 mm installation screws, two 8 mm installation screws, two washers, nonmagnetic screwdriver
ModelAT-VM95ML
Mounting FeatureHalf-inch mount
Recommended Load Capacitance100 to 200 pF
Replacement StylusAT-VMN95ML
Stylus Size2.2 x 0.12 mil
TypeVM Stereo Dual Magnet
Weight6.1 g (0.22 oz)
Wire Used for CoilT.P. Copper

Next is Maestro 2 specs from Clearaudio

TOTAL MASS8.4g (± 0.4g)
FREQUENCY RESPONSE20Hz - 20kHz
OUTPUT VOLTAGE (1KHZ, 5CM/S)~ 3.6mV
CHANNEL SEPARATION (1KHZ)25dBCHANNEL
BALANCE (1KHZ)0.3dB
TRACKING ABILITY80μm
RECOMMEND TRACKING FORCE2.2g ± 0.3g
COIL IMPEDANCE (1KHZ)0.66kΩ
COIL INDUCTANCE400mH
LOAD RESISTANCE47kΩ
LOAD CAPACITANCE100pF
CANTILEVER / STYLUS SHAPE Boron / Shibata
COMPLIANCE16μ/mN
CARTRIDGE BODYEbony wood
MANUFACTURER’S WARRANTY2 years
______________________________________

Not the same specs. Assuming AT supplied the body, more is going on here than than a special stylus.
 

TBone

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What am I missing?

It's not quite "snake oil" but definitely looks like the innocent are being fleeced.

(or perhaps I have indeed missed something critical about it)

well, one could debate that by re-badging a cart ... which then is specifically setup to match their line of analog equipment ... benefits certain consumers preferring the simplicity of 1 brand setups/options.
 

contium

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There is nothing insidious with subcontracting AT to make cartridges to your spec. Calling it "re-badging" is disingenuous. No one makes everything. Nagaoka makes like 90% of the stylus's used by cart manufactures.
 

sq225917

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Within a certain price range, maybe. They're certainly the largest maker of styli.

But above £1000 it's mostly namiki or gyger. Benz, linn, audio note, most ortofons, lyra, my sonic lab, roksan, sumiko, etc, kuzma, dynavevtor, hana, koetsu, et Al.
 

Paul Kehayas

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Below is VM95ML Specs

Cartridge & Stylus
Frequency Response20-25,000 Hz
Channel Separation23 (dB at 1 kHz)
Vertical Tracking Angle23°
Vertical Tracking Force1.8-2.2 g (2.0 g standard)
Stylus ConstructionNude square shank
Recommended Load Impedance47,000 ohms
Coil Impedance3.3 k ohms (1 kHz)
DC Resistance485 ohms
Coil Inductance550 mH (1 kHz)
Output Voltage3.5 mV (1 kHz, 5 cm/sec.)
Output Channel Balance1.5 dB (1 kHz)
Stylus Shape2.2 x 0.12 mil Microlinear
CantileverAluminum pipe
Static Compliance20 x 10 – 6 cm / dyne
Dynamic Compliance10 x 10 – 6 cm / dyne (100 Hz)
MountingHalf-inch
Cartridge Weight6.1g
Dimensions17.2 mm (0.68") H × 18.9 mm (0.74") W × 28.3 mm (1.20") D
Accessories IncludedTwo 11 mm installation screws, two 8 mm installation screws, two washers, nonmagnetic screwdriver
ModelAT-VM95ML
Mounting FeatureHalf-inch mount
Recommended Load Capacitance100 to 200 pF
Replacement StylusAT-VMN95ML
Stylus Size2.2 x 0.12 mil
TypeVM Stereo Dual Magnet
Weight6.1 g (0.22 oz)
Wire Used for CoilT.P. Copper

Next is Maestro 2 specs from Clearaudio

TOTAL MASS8.4g (± 0.4g)
FREQUENCY RESPONSE20Hz - 20kHz
OUTPUT VOLTAGE (1KHZ, 5CM/S)~ 3.6mV
CHANNEL SEPARATION (1KHZ)25dBCHANNEL
BALANCE (1KHZ)0.3dB
TRACKING ABILITY80μm
RECOMMEND TRACKING FORCE2.2g ± 0.3g
COIL IMPEDANCE (1KHZ)0.66kΩ
COIL INDUCTANCE400mH
LOAD RESISTANCE47kΩ
LOAD CAPACITANCE100pF
CANTILEVER / STYLUS SHAPE Boron / Shibata
COMPLIANCE16μ/mN
CARTRIDGE BODYEbony wood
MANUFACTURER’S WARRANTY2 years
______________________________________

Not the same specs. Assuming AT supplied the body, more is going on here than than a special stylus.
The VM body is different to the old one...\
these are the AT95E ones...

- Output voltage @ 1kHz, 5cm/sec.: 3.5mV
- Channel balance: Within 2dB
- Channel separation @ 1kHz: > 20dB
- Frequency response: 20Hz-20kHz
- Load resistance: 47k ohms
- Load capacitance 100-200 pf
- Stylus type: 0.4 x 0.7 mil elliptical diamond stylus
- Tracking force range: 1.5-2.5 g
- Tracking force recommended: 2 g (20 mN)
- Vertical tracking angle: 20°
- Coil impedance @ 1kHz: 2.8k ohms
- Coil inductance @ 1kHz: 400 mH
- Color: Black/Green
- Weight: 6.5 g
- Dimensions (mm): 30.5l x 17w x 17.20h
 
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dlaloum

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The VM body is different to the old one...\
these are the AT95E ones...

- Output voltage @ 1kHz, 5cm/sec.: 3.5mV
- Channel balance: Within 2dB
- Channel separation @ 1kHz: > 20dB
- Frequency response: 20Hz-20kHz
- Load resistance: 47k ohms
- Load capacitance 100-200 pf
- Stylus type: 0.4 x 0.7 mil elliptical diamond stylus
- Tracking force range: 1.5-2.5 g
- Tracking force recommended: 2 g (20 mN)
- Vertical tracking angle: 20°
- Coil impedance @ 1kHz: 2.8k ohms
- Coil inductance @ 1kHz: 400 mH
- Color: Black/Green
- Weight: 6.5 g
- Dimensions (mm): 30.5l x 17w x 17.20h
The resistance and inductance of families of bodies have varied over time....

I categorise the MM bodies in terms of the bodies that are cross compatible with each others needles - which may involve surgery on the plastic mounting - as the shape of the plastic was often combined with the mounting of the generator, to limit cross compatibility.

In the case of Clearaudio - they have cut away nearly all of the plastic on the stylus, and left only a "plug" - but the core generator is the exact same size/proportions with the same stylus fitting.

I have measured a wide variety of the Shure V-Bottom cartridges... and Inductances can vary from 450mH to 650mH - which allows for quite a bit of tweakability with differing styli, if you know what you are doing! - Which is of course exactly what Shure was doing - selling the same basic design, with a wide variety of different styli, and adjusting the oveall EQ by varying the cartridge inductance.

I have not measured as many AT cartridge of the "95 type" generator... but given its extremely extended lifetime as a design, and the wide variety of styli found on its many iterations, it seems certain that a range of generator inductances were used to adjust, just as Shure (and others) did.

It is not a "single" generator, but a family... with the exact same proportions, thereby allowing for stylus exchangeability between them, and a wide range of adjustment to match.
 
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