AR XA Turntable cartridge


I haven't posted in quite a while as I sold most of my gear several years ago.

I saw a local ad for an AR turntable, and as I had one in my college days I was intrigued. Anyway, I ended up buying it, along with the box, paperwork, warranty, and tons of pieces - spacers, screws, overhang device, even the screwdriver with the red handle. The previous owner said he changed the cartridge every year while he was still using it. There was a Stanton 600EE mounted and I had a new Shure M97xE in a sealed box.

All this has rekindled my interest. I had stored some old equipment from long ago, so I'm using it with a Marantz Model 15 amp, Model 7(T) preamp, and Thiel 1.2 speakers (and although they don"t really impact the AR, a Marantz Model 20 tuner and a Sony C333ES round out the system).

I still have lots of lps in storage which I need to get out. But for now I picked up a handful of lps at second hand stores (cleaned them with my VPI 16.5 which I unearthed from storage). 

So,  I did clean out the bearing wells,  relubed and set overhang, tracking force and leveled as best as possible. I've been using the Stanton and I've got to say it sounds pretty good! But - and here's the reason for the post - I'm wondering if any one has cartridge suggestions. I know this comes up with some regularity (there was a question just a few months ago; but these things can certainly be equipment specific). Should I try the Shure, or is there something else that might be better?
Thanks for your consideration. 

frankm1
I used this TT around 1986 with a Denon 103. Had no complaints!
Thanks for your suggestion. I note that is an MC cartridge. Not sure that the phono section in my preamp would be able to handle the lower level output signal. 
High output. No step-up needed. These are famous for low cost and high performance. A company called "Zu" uses the stock 103 as a starting point and modifies into a new product.
https://www.stereophile.com/phonocartridges/1207zu/index.html

The article says to use a step-up transformer. I never used one and thought it sounded great. YMMV
The Denon 103 (a fine mc cartridge) will not work well with the 7T. You will need a step-up transformer or a phonostage with higher gain. That new Shure M97 would be an improvement over the Stanton! Another recommendation would be one of the wood-bodied Grado MI cartridges.
Thanks!
I’ll try the Shure. Also will read up on the Grado. Any thoughts on a Stanton 681EEE?
The problem with the Stanton and other vintage mm cartridges is finding replacement styli that are equal in quality to the original ones (no longer in production). 
I have a beautifully restored and modded AR by VinylNirvana. Stock arm tube replaced by a Technics with removable headshell and new wiring. Platter and interior damped with Dynamat. Plinth refinished with automotive gloss red paint. These old AR TTs are worth collecting and restoring!
I was fortunate to secure a Stanton 681EEE. I installed it today and the results are very pleasing. My expectations were realistic as I know we're not talking high end here, but for lack of a better way to put it, I am hearing a little more of most everything. 
Although not quite up to the standards of the relatively upper end turntable and cartridge I had previously, all things considered, an excellent bang for the buck!

Ha! I have a Stanton 681EEE on my Technics SL-1700. Its nothing like the Koetsu on my big rig but its magic on the Technics. Well magic in the sense I dug it out from a box and when I heard this old relic best my Cal Audio CD player it was the single biggest factor in convincing me to go analog. 

So I have a pretty good idea the system you have now is the kind that can be both fun and very satisfying. Not to mention cool, to have something today that sounds so good yet is practically a time warp back to 50 years ago. Love to see some system pics!


That is a really good way to describe it - fun and satisfying. I don’t feel a need to be quite so particular in how I use the system as previously but it provides a terrific listening medium. Especially considering I’ve owned a number of the pieces since college (many moons ago). As I understand it pics can’t be posted here in the forum. When I can I’ll post in the systems area and note this thread accordingly. 
I’ve owned an XA and tried a Grado on it- not a good choice. Grado cartridges are not shielded (why?) and as the arm approached the spindle, which means it approached the motor, i increasing got a hum through the system. The Grado hum! 
Post removed 
Mate that with the "Grado wiggle" and you've really got something!
Finally posted to the Virtual Systems area. 
Can be found by looking for 'frank's vintage system'.  
My first real TT I bought it at Crazy Eddie's on Flatbush Ave Bklyn NY with Shure ME97 cart .it was like $90.i Sold it in a couple months but an add in the Village Voicec.sold it for $90 and bought a Technics SL1350 with Shure V15 cart $379.from a place on 45 st  I remember carrying it on the Subway.It was Fantastic .This was 1973.
Oh I have another one still in the carton with everything....
I've been having a lot of fun with the system - some of the items were new back from my college days! 
A little off topic but I did upgrade the speakers to Thiel 3.5's. Quite a transformation in the sound!