STEREOPHILE MAGAZINE: There are a thousand different ways to make a loudspeaker. A hundred to make an amplifier. And at least a million to make a piece of wire. But here's the deal with a moving-coil phono cartridge: stylus, cantilever, rubber grommet, tensioning wire, coils, magnet, output pins, and maybe a body. Done.
That's one reason I love cartridges so well: The physical and technical differences among various makes and models don't seem remarkable, yet the sonic and musical results of those differences certainly are. Even those audio mavens who think of themselves (howsoever wrongly) as objectivists agree that it's easy to hear differences among phono cartridges, whereas the sonic differences among amplifiers, which contain many more parts and whose workings can be a function of wildly different technologies and operating types, elude them entirely. I could cry.