Category Archives: Common Questions answered

A frequently asked questions section for hi-fi and home cinema related subjects.

What Are MM and MC Phono Cartridges?

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A Moving Magnet phono cartridge is comprised of a tiny magnet, located at the end of the cantilever of the stylus that sits between two coils. One coil caters to the left aspect of the music, while the other is for the right – this allows for the stereo sound. This magnet vibrates between the two coils and induces a small electrical current within them in the process. Because the magnet is so small, it needs less tracking/downward force to correctly manoeuvre between the grooves of a vinyl record. A Moving Iron cartridge makes use of essentially the same construction, but swaps the magnet for a tiny piece of iron or other light-weight and ferrous alloy. The iron is lighter and so reduces the necessary tracking force even further.

Moving Magnet is the most common type of phono cartridge, so many integrated amplifiers now feature a Moving Magnet phono stage and many manufacturers, such as Rega and Ortofon design and construct a wide range of MM cartridges with varying levels of quality. While every MM cartridge makes use of this fundamental construction, the way that this is implemented within a cartridge varies as do the materials used, allowing for differing qualities and a unique sound-signature depending on the brand and model.

Moving Magnet Cartridge Design

Moving Magnet Cartridge design. The Magnet sits between two coils at the end of the cantilever.

Moving Coil cartridges feature an inverted version of the Moving Magnet design. Instead of a magnet sitting on the end of the cantilever between two coils, the coils are attached the cantilever and a magnet is placed near them. Because space within the cartridge at this level is extremely limited, the coils are made from an exceptionally fine wire.

The coils tiny size results in a very low output. While Moving Magnet cartridges tend to offer a more relaxed, warmer sound, Moving Coils are known for offering a better level of detail and a wider stereofield than the Moving Magnet alternatives. Moving Coil Cartridges will often require an external phono-stage specific to their construction.

Moving Coil Cart

Moving Coil Cartridge design. Inverted to MM design, the coil is this time on the cantilever with a magnet located close-by.

 

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Record Store Day Special: Converting Vinyl to Digital

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Following the resurgence of vinyl, we’re quite often asked about how our customers can convert their analogue vinyl recordings into digital files that their modern devices can understand. Whether this be because their new vinyl purchase didn’t include a digital download link, or because they have some rarities or special pressings from the past that never made it on to the digital format. We’ve put together this step-by-step guide on how to convert your vinyl records into digital files. Of course, this process is done in real-time – so the larger your collection, the longer the process will take…

Continue reading

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HifiGear | Vinyl Request Form

We’ve had an overwhelming response from our customers regarding our new vinyl selection at our shop in King Street, Hereford. We’re unfortunately unable to stock absolutely everything, but if you can’t find what you’re looking for or are after a specific genre, artist or album – then please fill out the form below and let us know! We’re updating our collection all the time and are always keen to hear what sort of things our customers are listening to and would like to listen to. See the list of what’s currently in the shop.

 

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Step by step guide to replacing a phono cartridge

The stylus of a phono cartridge is a consumable item, in other words it wears out with use, and can also easily become accidentally damaged, as it is extremely fragile.

Ortofon OM10 cartridge, minus stylus, which has been accidentally snapped off

Ortofon OM10 cartridge, minus stylus, which has been accidentally snapped off

As 90% of the value of a phono cartridge is in the stylus, it is often just as easy to replace the entire cartridge rather than just the stylus – this also allows you to upgrade to a better sounding cartridge to give you more enjoyment from your vinyl. Continue reading

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Integrating older Video Components into a Modern Set-up…

Chunky, heavy and often un-relliable as they aged, VHS tapes are firmly consigned to the history books…

As HD televisions become the norm, the majority of previous video formats to the Blu-ray format have all become nearly obsolete. However, as many people have built-up a collection on VHS and DVD, replacing them on Blu-ray can be an extortionate task in itself, purely due to both cost and finding the rarity titles.

HD Televisions, such as this Loewe Individual, are becoming the dominant television experience…

 

The modern-world allows for the likes of Blu-ray and streaming services to take the lead when watching films. However, most people record their own recordings onto a hard-drive recording system, assigning VHS and even DVDs to the history books. However, with a lot of people realising the cost of replacing their films on a more modern format, as well as people realising that their memories of family events are on these aging formats, the consumer is still using their previous formats in with their modern HD systems.

 

A visual comparison of DVD and Blu-ray qualities. DVD at the top, Blu-ray at the bottom…

This guide is going to look at how to incorporate these aging formats into your current set-up, enabling you to enjoy your priceless memories for a lot longer; with greater quality than before, too.

 

With obsolete formats offering rare titles, some people still choose to re-commission their original equipment…

To start with we must remember that a modern television system will primarily consist of digital components. For example, a new television will consist of digital technology inside, just like a DVD or a Blu-ray player would, too. A VHS system is analogue, and, therefore, consists of technology from yester-year. It doesn’t mean that both new and old equipment will be incompatible, but it means things will run slightly differently to an exclusively all-digital system. Primarily, a digital television will process an analogue feed differently: the digital system will process that signal in time, at that time; an analogue format is originally a constant processed picture. As it’s originally a constant feed, digital will break the picture into individual segments, thus causing an occasional jitter of movement on the screen. To help to resolve this, a good quality Scart lead, such as QED’s Profile Scart, will help to reduce this problem by giving a faster signal transport from the video to the receiving equipment.

 

The traditional scart lead offers greater quality than the original coaxial or single video cables…

Now a good connection has been established, and to improve signal clarity further, ensuring the VHS’ heads are cleaned and in good condition will help to refine the picture; ensuring the picture is sharp will help with any time jitter or lagging as it’s a purer picture to process for the end result on the television screen. Also, look at adjusting the head’s tracking when watching the video to get an even more defined picture.

 

Laserdisc was the start of the digital video revolution – albeit a little flawed on price and convenience…

If you wish to re-commission an older digital video system, such as a lazer-disc player, it’s a similar principle than that of VHS. Using a good quality lead will help to transfer the signals of the player to the receiving equipment with better results overall. However, ensure that your discs are clean, too. Fingerprints and grease can stop the disc from being read at a more efficient rate. Try using Milty’s range of disc cleaners which is suitable for all digital discs, including DVD, Blu-ray, CD, Super Audio CD and Lazerdisc.

 

Milty’s Disc Cleaning solutions…

If you are re-commissioning older video equipment, be sure to follow the above, and you’ll enjoy your previous video collections at a higher rate of quality that your probably ever did before.

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