Nagra Announces Its First-Ever Phono Cartridge

Posted on 2nd November, 2022

Nagra Announces Its First-Ever Phono Cartridge

High-end Swiss audio manufacturer, Nagra, has announced the upcoming release of the Reference MC, its first-ever phono cartridge.

Nagra says its Reference MC cartridge is the product of many years of intense research and development, supplemented by extensive listening tests. This moving coil cartridge will be available in 4 and 6 Ohm variants. 

Designed in parallel with the Nagra 70th Anniversary Reference turntable/tonearm system, it says the Reference MC cartridge is “the ideal companion component to complete the ultimate LP playback platform.”

Nagra Reference MC cartridge

It features several significant and unique elements. While traditional moving coil transducers utilise a single-layer coil body, the Nagra Reference MC cartridge employs a multi-layer transducer featuring a double-layer coil body wound with hyper-pure silver windings. The 6 Ohm Reference outputs 0.45mV @ 5cm/S. The 4 Ohm Reference achieves an output of 0.30mV @ 5 cm/S.

A stiff ruby cantilever is mated to a high-strength titanium structure featuring a DLC (diamond-like carbon) coating. The titanium structure utilised in the coil body/cantilever interface addresses a traditional source of resonance and “substantially reduces vibration unrelated to the musical signal”. The stylus tip is a Swiss-produced Fritz Gyger S profile chosen for its wonderful combination of detail retrieval and musicality, says the company.

Nagra Reference MC cartridge

Nagra has also addressed the connector pins of the cartridge, eliminating the commonly found connection joint between the pin and the coil. In the case of the Reference MC, the pin is a single continuous piece from its external endpoint to its internal point of contact with the coil, which the company says “results in a welcomed lowering of inductance”.

Nagra's engineers and designers also paid great attention to the Reference MC cartridge body. Substantial material science investigation led the team to a unique, non-ferrous alloy called EXIUM AM. Said to be born from aerospace materials research, EXIUM AM is the result of a collaboration between the CNES (the French equivalent of NASA), the Ecole de Mines de Paris and the French firm LBI Foundries. It was developed to address the need for an alloy with very high damping properties – a necessary attribute for a particular Mars mission whose purpose was to measure minute seismic activities on the red planet. 

Nagra Reference MC cartridge

Nagra says its engineers determined that this high-damping characteristic alloy was perfect for audio applications where eliminating unwanted vibrations and resonances is an extreme priority. As a result, the Reference cartridge utilises an EXIUM AM inlay at the critical interface between the cartridge generator and the cartridge body. Nagra also says its use of EXIUM AM is exclusive and has secured the sole worldwide right to use EXIUM AM in audio products. 

To produce a cartridge of optimal weight for the Reference Anniversary tonearm while maintaining high internal damping properties, Nagra says, “a proprietary super magnesium alloy is utilised for the balance of the cartridge body”.

Nagra Reference MC cartridge

Specs are quoted as 4 or 6 Ohms Impedance, Compliance 12 μm/mN, Output voltage 0.45 mV (6 Ohm) 0.3 mV (4 Ohm) @ 5 cm/S, Channel balance < 0.5 dB, Crosstalk > 30 dB, Weight 14.3 g. The tracking force is suggested as 2 – 2.2 g.

The Nagra Reference MC Phono Cartridge will start shipping in December 2022 with a UK price of £16,000.

For more information visit Nagra

    Marc Rushton's avatar

    Marc Rushton

    StereoNET’s Founder and Publisher, born in UK and raised on British Hi-Fi before moving to Australia where he worked as an Engineer in both the audio and mechanical fields.

    Posted in:Hi-Fi StereoLUX!
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