A good cartridge between 300.00 and 400.00

I want to invest between 300.00 and 400.00 in a new phono cartridge that have enough definition ( toanl rightness, speed and detail without harshness).
What cartridge to buy?
Benz Micro Gold or Silver MC
Goldring Eroica MC
Clearaudio Aurum MM
Sumiko Blue Point MC
Audio Technica OC9 MC
My front end: Linn LP12 Cirkus with Akito II tonearm
Preamplifier: Spectral DMC 10 gamma ( very good phono stage)
Amplifier : Bryston 4B ST
Speakers : Quad ESL 63
Wiring : ( Interconnect and Speaker cables): Straightwire Virtuoso

I have used the Clearaudio Aurum Beth Mk II, for close to two years now and I love it. Also, I noticed that there is currently one available for sale at a good price. You might want to check it out.

I'm not familiar with your phono stage, but I can say this:
I had the Benz Silver for quite a while in a VPI HW-19 IV w/ AudioQuest PT-8 arm. I though it was quite good; only downside was that it didn't have quite enough output for the phone stage of my Modulus 3A which is designed for MM not MC. Last summer I upgraded to the Aurum Beta-S which is excellent--better bass, more detail, slightly more natural than the Silver. If your phono stage is designed for MM I highly recommend the Beta-S, which is only slightly above your budget (retail $450, if I recall correclty, but you can get it for less).
I used the Audio Technica OC-9 for several years with an LP12 and thought it was good value for the money. I found the Goldring Excel MC to be much better...you might find a pre-owned with low hours for sale in your price range. One recently sold on E-bay for $330. Good Luck!
Contact Denon USA and ask for a Denon DL-103D. They had
a limited number at $228 + shipping. It is a CLASSIC
cartridge of superb musicality, at an absolute bargain
price. You'd be hard pressed to surpass it for less than
$1000. I bought one....... it's terrific.
The Blue Point Special is a good call if it matches your system. But I think that the current king of the low priced great sounding cartridges is the MM Grado Platinum Reference Series. Grado has found some unique ways to make an incredibly great sounding MM cartridge and it lists at $300.00. Dale
I don't see how you could go wrong with a Benz Micro Ace. They've got em' in low, medium and high. The price is usually $450.00, but you can definetly get 'em for less. I did and I love mine. Check out Musical Surroundings web site and then shop for one on this web-site.

Good luck!
Check out the Dynavectors......the 10x4 is in your price range. For a few bucks more you can the Dynavector 20H or 20L (H is for high output, L is for Low output). I own a 20H and love it.
I had the first issue of the scottish Akito a few years back and mounted a fresh Erocia low output MC on it and it sounded pretty amazing, especialy for symphonic music. Setup at the time was an cirkus'd LP12 on a Sound Organization floor stand. However on some records the cartridge would start to vibrate rapidly from side to side (I assume it was certain subsonic frequencies that would set off an instability in the arm/cartridge structure). A grado mounted on a Rega p3 can sometimes exhibit this problem too. Oh well... some things are too good to be true. On the plus side most records did not exhibit this problem.

I should mention I did all alignment/tightening of cartridge with the arm REMOVED from the table as reccomended by Linn. Indeed this is good advice. Before initial listening sessions I checked the bearings and they were perfect but later I switched cartridges FORGETTING TO REMOVE THE TONEARM from its base and indeed the bearings became stiff. When I switched back to the Goldring the sound was notably worse, more 2 dimensional. Linn arms seem to have very accurate but sensitive bearings.

Later I sold that table because the plinth was older (about 1973!) and now I have a new LP12. I had a Linn basic+ arm on it for a while (has some structural similarities to the akito) and one cartridge that sounded great on it was the Audio Technica 120e (Garage-a-record online has them). The Linn K18 also woked well but is no longer available. If you can find a used K18 II it might be worth a try.

Unfortunately that's all the advice I got. Never heard other carts on these arms 'cept for Grado and Blue Point Special which are NOT good matches IMHO. The key word here is experimentation. My own personal observation is that a cartridge that sounds bad in one setup can sound great in another and vice-versa dispite what salesmen and tin-eared people will tell you. A friend of mine had a $400 sota table with an Ortofon cartridge that sounded reasonable but when he upgraded to a Planar 3 that same cart sounded really thin. He tried a Blue Point Special and got much better results with his Rega table, but I have always found the Blue Point Special to be totally unbearable on a Linn arm. The idea that a very expensive cartridge will automatically sound better than a cheap one and work perfectly in every setup is simply absurd. Stereo components, inlcluding cartridges, are all just molecular structures trying to work together as a whole. Oh yes, by the way, the other cartridge I have heard on the Akito II was a Koetsu Black (at a dealer) and it sounded amazing but its $750 I think.

Good Luck :-)
As you can see from the responses, you can get many superb
cartridges within this price range... your options depend on
the type of music you like. If you like jazz or rock, the
Clearaudio is the way to go (fast quick, maybe a bit lean),
for classical music listeners who prefer big, and lush sounds
(kinda like records from EMI circa 1970s), the Grado platinum is a good bet. At the lower end, you have the DL103 and the ATOC9, both of which can be had for around $200. I would say that just about all of these are a major step up from the Blue Point.
I also own a Linn LP12 and have owned or heard all the above cartridges. I've also owned the Denon DL103S and DL103D. Very good cartridges in their day and reasonable by todays standards too. I've owned MC's, MI's and MM's. I replaced an older MC with the new Clearaudio Aurum Beta S MK II and can't believe how great it sounds. I cannot see spending more unless you go all the way with a top flight analog rig. The midrange is to die for, making MC's sound analytical and forced. There is plenty of deep bass and very smooth detailed highs. Nothing fatiguing about it, very musical in a way that draws you into the music for hours. I like it so much I can't see spending more. They really got it right with this model. An even greater value with a trade in. Buy it and be happy!!!!!!!!!!!!