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Another vote for Grado Black. As Czarivey notes, you can replace the stylus yourself and use either a Gold stylus OR an 8mz. Some seem to claim the 8mz is better than the Gold. They are both $150 at Needle Doctor. So there's an easy upgrade path as funds allow. Grado is reported to have a slightly "darker" sound - I can't speak for all their cartridges. The Black did some "less sparkly" to my ear BUT given my system could sound a little hot/harsh and given I prefer buying old vinyl vs the so-called "audiophile" re-releases (do have a few of those) - Grado is a nice fit. I am very happy with the sound. On my SL1210M5G w/KAB damping trough it tracks just fine. Good luck with your decision.
Hockey, Depends on what kind of sound you like and what would go with your system. Grado is known for nice vocals. The Black has big bass and mellow high end. This entry level Grado obviously lacks the detail/finesse of its more expensive brothers.
If you like the balance of the 95E I have a great inexpensive upgrade for you. Go to the auction site where you can find an AT92E(CD) for less than $25. Remove the stylus and trim back the plastic so it fits on your 95. I used wire cutters. Then replace the stylus and reset VTF to 1.6g.
Allow a few hours playing time for the stylus to settle in. This should be perfect for your Denon, a more appropriate match for your arm. I use this combo with low mass arms on both my 95 and Virtuoso.
Tough call, the Shure is fantastic at $80.... @ $105, I really like the Nagaoka MP110.
I believe that these will both be livelier than the Grado, It can be a bit dark in some systems, but these all 3 are terrific cartridges at that $100 range.
With your equipment and no evaluation, I'd lean toward the Shure.
I hope this helps, Tim
After a new AT440 sounded way too bright in my system I stuck a Sumiko Pearl on my Akito a couple of years ago and have never looked back. This is a great sounding full range and (seemingly) accurate cartridge that really pulls the mojo out of the groove…and is generally either ignored (although Pro-Ject sticks ’em on some new tables) or lacks respect due to it not being expensive enough at 125 bucks or so.
Hi hockey4496.... wolf's post got me thinking, I'm familiar with the cartridges that he spoke of, for me, I would normally prefer the AT440 over the Pearl... I started thinking of cartridge loading, impedance, arm mass etc.... So I looked at your table... the DP31 does have a fairly low mass arm. As much as I really like the Nagaoka that I mentioned earlier and that Schubert reinforced. The good news is that with your table, all of these will be decent, But I believe the Shure or Ortofon would be the safest bet to match for your arm mass.... The Nagaoka or the Grado won't mind a low mass arm. In a great set up, I personally like the Nagaoka 1st, Shure 2nd, Grado close 3rd and Ortofon, very close 4th. I don't think that you'll have a problem any way that you go.
Thought I'd update this thread to mention I ended up getting a Shure m97xe. Very happy with the purchase, considering the price! The bass response is light years better than the AT95, I couldn't even believe it. I had to turn down the integrated subs in my Klipsch RP-5's down from about 35% to 20-25% after switching the cartridges. Very detailed, and zero noise.
thanks for all the valuable advice