I really like the Denon DL-110 HOMC but the TT I use it with is a Technics 1200Mk2.
On my other TT that has a Origin Live modified RB-250 arm I really like the Ortofon Super OM20 Cart. The thing I like with the OM series of carts is I can change the stylus to the OM30 with no issues. Upgrading is a little easier as I won't have to drive myself crazy with cartridge mounting and allignment.
Best of luck with the search.
Ortofon 2m series are very descent, but I found that Pickering XV15 with D750 stylus can do the same job for a lot less and with replacable stylus.
I've always been a fan of the Shure m97 for under $100. Check out www.needledoctor.com
Hands down, THE best value is the Sumiko Pearl !
The Denon DL-110 is an excellent choice, but the OP states he needs a cartridge with at least 4mv-5mv output. The Denon is only 1.6mv.
I really like the Ortofon 2M series. If you could swing a tad more money, the 2M Blue would be a great choice. The 2M Red is only $99.00 and I love mine. I have it on a very expensive rig and it really shines. Color me impressed.
You might be able to find a used Audio Technica AT150MLX for around your budget. A little harder to setup, but a wonderful cart.
Thank you to all have responded so far Seems incredible that the Denon output is 1.6Mv, the Dynavector 10X5 which I sold was 2.5Mv.
Unfortunately, with the Rogue Sphinx integrated's phono stage I have to turn the volume up to 2'0 clock to get comfortably loud volume. The output of the new Ortofon 2M series is between 4-5 Mv. (or did I read that wrong??)
*******BTW, did Ortofon change the outer shell design of the 2M BLue cartridge?? I ask because there is an dealer in Bottop, Germany who offers the cartridge for $194.00 but the outer shell looks different.....Careful!! Are there possibly knockoffs of this cartridge being sold on e-bay.???
Will have to check out the Pickering cartridge recommend by one of the members Happy Holidays.
Jim...I took a look at the ad on E-Bay for the 2M Blue from Bill (Williamthakker)in Germany. It looks the same as all the others. The ad shows it with it's stylus guard in place, maybe that's what threw you?
I've ordered several cartridges over the years from Bill in Germany and he is the real deal. Great seller.
The Ortofon 2M Red and Blue have an output of 5.5mv. The Bronze and Black are 5mv.
I have owned the Denon DL-110 (now $300.00 so I don't know why it is being recommended), Shure M97Xe, various Ortofons, Sumikos, and Audio Technicas. The dark years of vinyl didn't do much for availablity of new releases on viny but they did cull out the crappy cartridges and all of these that remain are excellent cartridges though, of couse, they all have different flavors.
My first choice in your price range would be the Nagaoka mp-110. It is a smooth, chunky and highly musical player and a stone cold value in the price range. The mp-150 is even better for a bit more dosh.
Second choice, for a lighter sound, would be the Audio Technica AT-120e, but it's quite a bit behind.
Find a Sumiko Blue Point #2 $399 on sale
Jim, before finalizing your choice you should check to see if the specs provided by the manufacturers of the cartridges which make it onto your short list include a recommended range of load capacitance. Your Sphinx has a specified input capacitance for its phono input of 150 pf, which is highish. Assuming that the turntable cable is around 5 feet or so in length, as a rough ballpark guess I would figure an additional 150 to 250 pf for the capacitances of the cable and the tonearm wiring. That adds up to a total of 300 to 400 pf, which I know to be too high to be an optimal match with at least one or two of the cartridges which have been suggested. And I wouldn't be surprised if 300 to 400 pf turned out to be too low for some others.
And I would proceed with caution if the specs on a cartridge you may consider do not include a recommended load capacitance range. The consequences of a severe enough mismatch, btw, would be tonal imbalances in the treble region.
Also, ideally you would want to check that the weight and the compliance of any cartridge you consider are in the same rough ballpark as the corresponding figures for the Rega Elys2 cartridge, which is commonly supplied with the P3-24. Unfortunately, though, those figures don't appear to be specified or available for the Elys2. Perhaps one of the others can suggest some guidelines for assuring that you don't go wrong in those respects.
Good luck. Regards,
Al is correct, but I second Mofimadness' opinion. Go with the Ortofon 2M Red. It lands below your price point, has the capacitance Al notes and has a replaceable stylus. I am totally satisfied with mine. Good luck and happy listening!
Ortofon 2M Red at 5.5 mV for $100.00 is all you need.
You will be hard pressed to find a better HO MM cart under $200.00 than this one. Go for it and save the extra $$$.
Thanks to all who have responded. Special thank to MoFi for pointing out the faux pas of not seeing the freakin stylus guard. It seems everyone loves the Ortofon 2M Red. Nevertheless,I have to ask why is the 2M Blue $136.00 more, and how does this translate into supposedly better performance?? Is the difference just marginal??
Jim...The 2M Red has an elliptical stylus and the 2M blue has a nude elliptical stylus. Same engine and body.
You can start with the Red and replace the stylus assembly with the Blue and have the same thing as buying the Blue upfront. That's what I plan to do when I need to replace/upgrade from my Red.
The Bronze and Black allow the same thing. Both of these have an upgraded body and stylus shape over the Red/Blue series.
There is a seller that I found for a used 2M Bronze that has about 150 hours on it that the seller wants around $250 (it retails for around $425). If you PM me, I can give you the details, if you are interested. No relation to the seller, just passing on a great deal.
The red has a bonded elliptical stylus where a small diamond tip is fused onto a metal slug. This slug is then mounted to the cantilever.
The blue has a nude mounted elliptical stylus where a larger diamond has the opposite end to the tip fashioned into a shank that is directly mounted into a hole in the cantilever.
The advantage to nude mounting being the lower mass of the moving system being more responsive to fine detail.
At $200-ish, my nominees would be the Ortofon 2M Blue or the Grado Prestige Silver 1.
Virdian, Thanks for the advice, have you personally used either of the Nagaoka cartridge you mentioned?? I have two concerns about this brand. Is the cartridge shieled against hum?? the Rega P3-24 does not have a ground wire??.
Second, there is a host of OVERSEAS internet dealers on e-bay that sell the SAME cartridges at a variety of prices. Are they trustworthy, and how do you know you won't get a knock off of their brand??
Lastly, you stated that sound is "smooth".... and chucky. What do you MEAN by chunky. Thank you, Jim
Hi Jim, I routinely buy vacuum tubes, accessories, phono cartridges and various other goodies from overseas. Both Asia, Eastern and Western Europe. Knock wood, no problems at all so far, however I can't recommend a specific vendor for the Nagaokas.
Yes, they are sheilded and yes, the P3-24 does have a ground wire but it is tied to the shield of the left RCA jack. What induces hum in some cartridges with Rega turntables is the minimal sheilding and positioning of the of the motors interacting with cartridges that are, likewise, minimally shielded, ie Grado.
IMHO, there is no reason to knock off inexpensive cartridges. Making cartridges is complex. There are much better things to knock off. If you did want to do a cartridge a wood body Koetsu would be easier, and get you a whole lot more money than a plastic bodied moving iron.
The Nagaokas are full in the power region, the lower midrange, that's what I mean by "chunky".
To Virdian, Thank you again. The information was very helpful.
I am also putting the Shelter 201 MM cartridge on my short list of choices (which has a an output of 4mV.) It list for $225.00. but have seen it on ebay for under $200
I believe it was reviewed last year in Stereophile.... Happy Holidays to all Audiogon members.
Another cool cartridge. The Shelter is related to the Sumiko Pearl series and the Andante E of yore. You may find one of the Sumiko cartridges to be quite similar and may save a few bucks that way.
Happy holidays and happy listening.
Related? Try the same. Two greatest bargains in vinylville
are Sumiko Pearl and Nagoka MP-150.
All a sensible person would ever need, which leaves most"philes out, including me
There is nothing out there under $200.00 that would top the 2M Red, maybe the Pearl but it's more suited for Jazz/Classical.
Now, if you want to go over $200.00 then the Nagaoka ML-150 would be the way to go under $300.00
Many other choices over $300.00 to mention.
AT carts may sound bright on Rega TTs so be cautious when paring with phono pre.
I run multiple Rega tables and there are 3 truly outstanding values:
Nagaoka MP110. Warm, good tone, good tracking very musical.
Sumiko Pearl offers a fuller presentation and more dynamics but gives up some fine detail.
The 2M Red is tighter, more detailed and has better bass than the other two. It gives up a bit of tracking and can sound a bit hard but this cartridge is ideal for the Rega. Look at the 2M brochure and it is shown on a Rega arm. Mounting is a snap as the front of the cartridge almost perfectly lines up with the front of the Rega arm.
I am currently listening to the 2M Blue on my Technics turntable. The Blue is a detail retrieval champ. The only other cartridge at the price that brings out that much detail is the AT440Mla. However I find the AT slightly thin up top and softer in the dynamics. Not as ideal on the Rega but it will work.
Stay away from Grado. Great on a Technics 1200 but bad choice for the Rega due to hum issues.
I would second the Shure recommendation...Regas are known for lively, fast presentations... the warmth, musicality, and relaxed nature of Shure is addictive...
I should have responded sooner, but holidays partying, lady friends, late nights.....I am making up for lost time wasted in graduate school
Nevertheless, I bought a AudioTechica AT120 cartridge for $119.00. It took 3 hours to install on in Rega P3-24 freakin headshell which is fitted with slotless screw holes, and makes almost impossible to tighten down the screws and align the cartridge I used a Geodisc to set up the overhang, VTR. etc. Well it was worth the effort, though a few more minor alignments may be called for.
Actually, I was stunned by how clean, undistorted, and generally quiet the AT cartridge is. Its major strengths are the midrange and mid highs (you can hear the cutoff beyond that range, that is, the upper highs were just not there. I was also surprised at the quality and depth of the bass response
However..... As the old English saying goes, "....Me thinks I got hoisted on my own petard"..... That is, I began to wonder what might be up the line still at $200 or a few bucks less. I am convinced I have found the roots of "audio nervosa", that is, to wonder what a few extra bucks may yield in better sound. I realize many members have gotten almost orgasmic over the sound of the Ortofon 2M RED at $99.00 and want to crown, "Component of the Century"
Judas Priest, even Bob Reina of Stereophile is reviewing the Ortofon 2M Red this month, even though his audio beat is generally speakers.
But like the interconnect and speaker cable merry go round of trial and error, a similar bug may have captured my attention. Someone mentioned the Nagaoka MP150 as superior to the Ortofon, Sumiko, and possibly AT120.
Fortunately, there is no urgency in any of this rangling which in the end actually makes it fun. However, the other possibility would be to sell the Rega with its (now) spanking new AT120 spike, and buy Music Hall's new table called the "Ikura" that comes set-up with an Ortofon 2M Blue cartridge for $1195. Nah, Roy Hall is a jerk, so why make him richer (e.g. check out his response letter to Bob Reina's super positive review in Stereophile in Dec. 2014)
Nevertheless, thanks to all members who responded with comments and advice and helped me suit up for yet another quest in audiophilia