Thanks to the large number of you that shared pictures with us of your vinyl setups in response to last month’s Twitter poll asking whether or not you own a record player. The result of the poll shows that 65 percent of respondents do indeed have a turntable, with a further 10 percent looking to discover or return to the format soon. Receiving the pics of your systems on our Facebook and Twitter feeds was very enlightening and provided a clear demonstration of the level of equipment owned along with the care and attention lavished upon turntables. 

With this in mind, we felt it was a perfect time to look more closely at moving-coil cartridges, and this month’s Group Test compares six upmarket MC pick-ups (£650-£1,000), designed to make a significant upgrade to your vinyl replay. From the arrival of the first models through our door to the precarious undertaking of the photography and evaluation process, there’s something rather magical and also a bit intimidating about handling a phono cartridge that’s worth around £1,000 – especially if it’s not yours. One slip of the Allen key and that delicate cantilever with its precious diamond tip could be history. I guess that’s all part of the magic of turntables, and in the current era of plug ‘n’ play devices, the hands-on involvement, effort and care required to install a cartridge on a tonearm makes for a refreshing change. Find out how these six delicate designs perform in this month's Group Test

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