Be hard pressed to find a good FR-5E for much less than a $100 nowadays Chakster. And nearly all I have seen for sale of late are in Russia or Japan, hard to find one here in USA.And it is a very light cart so not going to suit all arms for sure.
I’ve been there, tried it years ago, i think i sold mine for $100-120 to a friend. It was better than the new Grado in the same price range. It’s lighweight, but with 13g shell it’s fine. To my ears FR-5e was better that FR-6se. You’re right that Japanese cartridges are cheaper in Japan. But in the USA you have some nice Stanton / Pickering at garage sale i hope :) The 881s is great, but on ebay it’s more expensive.
Its really not the cartridge that makes that much difference in the 300 - 400 dollar range but the stylus type.
Not only stylus, but a cantilever type and effective mass
also responsible for frequency response. It is possible to find vintage MM with Beryllium Pipe cantilever for example. But it’s impossible to find/buy any new cartridges with beryllium cantilever at any price (the closest is Boron).
It stands to reason that the Shibata would be an even better tracker because that stylus shape was designed to track discrete quadraphonic LPs, which have the back channels modulated up to 40Khz. So my Shibata negotiaates every part of an LP flawlessly, especially when it comes to the inner groove area, where it tracks without a hint of fuzz or grunge.
Yep. Shibata is great, originally invented by JVC Victor, the X-1II
was the best.