Cart / Phono preamp for Technics SL-5200

Trying to put together a VERY budget analog rig. Would like to put no more than $200 total into a cart and phono pre for a 'table I just bought. Currently thinking AT-95E and the new Music Hall phono pre. I do not want a Bellari or Cambridge Audio pre. I previously had a Technics 1210 with a Ortofon OM5e running into my old NAD 3225PE's built-in phono(which I was pretty happy with). Any thoughts on how the AT/MH would compare? Amp is a Linn Classik, speakers are GMA Europas. Any thoughts or proven cart/phono pre combos for Technics or other tables would be appreciated.
I've owned a number of Technics tables, including the 1200, 1400Mk2 and some linear trackers.

The NAD PP2 is only $129 -- since you liked your old 3225 preamp, this seems like a natural choice.

NAD stuff tends to have a bit of a warm sonic signature, at least in my view. Audio-Technica cartridges tend to have a detailed treble. Meanwhile, Technics tables tend to be dark-sounding. So, if you decide to go this way, I would go for the A/T cartridge with the most extended treble in your price range. That would be the AT-120E/T. You can find it online for $80 if you shop around. It is a huge leap above the AT95E for only a few bucks more.

I have no idea why you don't want a Cambridge Audio pre as they are very good for the money and give you another way to achieve a good balance. The 540P is $99 and a weensy bit bright. Now you can use a less extended cartridge like the Ortofon OM5 or OM10.

If it were my money and I were in your predicament? Wait for a used Rotel RQ-970BX to come up for around $100. You need to spend $400 or $500 before you start seeing a big jump in performance compared with the Rotel. Then spring $99 for a new Ortofon 2M Red or the aforementioned Audio Technica AT-120E/T.

I reviewed the old Music Hall pre and I think that, combined with the AT-95E, would sound a bit rough.
"Technics tables tend to be dark-sounding"

This statement always astounds me... I've never heard it, even in the most resolving systems.

Anyhow - as to the original poster, I would recommend a new AT-120/e and a used Cambridge Audio - preferably the 640p if you can swing it, which I think you should given your budget.
I'm just curious - why do you say you do not want a Cambridge Audio pre??? The 640p is, without a shimmer of a doubt, vastly superior to the NAD or Music Hall (a re-badged Pro-Ject phono-box, btw) offerings.
Thanks everyone. I was hoping to successfully cheap out with the AT95e, but I'll spring for the 120. Can anyone vouch that it soundly beats the Ortofon I had previously?
About the CA - I'm just not a huge fan of their products in general. I'm not really looking for a NAD, either. I've heard a strong recommendation for the new MH ph1.2 - it doesn't look like the Phono Box to me?! There's also a Rotel or 2 on here now for a hun'erd bucks, so I could get that and the 120 and meet my goal of <$200.
Music Hall used to take the guts of the phono box with a few minor mods and market it as their phono pre.

I find it hard to belive they're not still doing the same thing with their strong analog ties to Pro-Ject. Roy Hall is a master of cherry picking parts off the shelves of existing manufacturers like Pro-Ject and Shanling and building solid equipment from it. That's exactly what he's done with Music Halls relationship with Pro-Ject.

That all being said, I'm sure the Music Hall pre performs well for the price but I've not heard a phono-pre yet in the $150 range that bests the CA regardless of the source of you dislike for the company.
Just bought a Grado Red for $65. That leaves $135. Now considering the Rotel 970BX. btw, noticed the original Music Hall phono pack looks exactly like a Tonar (off-brand???) pre - not so much like the Pro-jects I've seen. My source for the MH ph1.2 recommendation notes that it's a little better than the original phono pack. Then there's the modded CA 540p up for sale now. Also (Petsound, please tune in) considering the TCC TC-760LC from phonopreamps dot com.
Well, it's done. I bought the Rotel. The tt, cart, and preamp for an even $200. Hope the Grado doesn't hum, but if not I think I could have done worse for the money.
This is the strangest thread ever - and I mean that with no offense, but you're asking for advice and, I don't know - kind of doing your own thing anyway!

Have you paid for the Grado Red, can you get out of it? It's going to hum like a SOB on your direct drive Technics. They're also very sensitive to the arm you put them in and are horrid trackers if not matched perfectly right. If I had to guess, the Technics arm is probably around 12g and it's not going to be a good match. I hate to be the one to tell you all this - but I wish you had of posted before pulling the trigger on it.

The AT95E @ $49 new or the AT120E/T Ekobesky and I recommended at $79 would have been a much safer bet. The Grado sound is very much a love it or hate it thing - have you heard one?

The 540P is an okay stage, nothing great compared to the 640P. Roy Hall told me personally that the original MH MMF Phono Pack was a Pro-Ject Phono-Box with some minor upgrades and a different case. Just like the MMF tables are Pro-Ject parts on a different plinth. I'm willing to bet that the new one is the same deal - with a nicer case. By all means - believe what you want though.

Good luck with all of this!
Looks like it's a done deal - wish I could delete my prior post! I don't want to bias you in any way and you're committed now to it.

I sincerely hope it works out for you and best of luck!
Vinyladdict, Yes, I sort of got in a hurry. I did take Ekobesky's advice on the Rotel preamp, though! I can take my lumps on the Red I suppose and get the AT - I'll just plunk down the extra cabbage and get the 120, though. Thanks again.
I'm not familiar with the 5200 - who knows, perhaps it will wok great! Let us know once you get it up and running.