Cartridge for my friend


So a year ago or so I had replaced my Pro-Ject Carbon Debut with a Marantz TT-15 and I had posted here that I would buy a new cartridge for the Carbon and do a A/B to see if the Marantz purchase was worth it....
Well that never happened because I ended up selling the Pro-Ject to a good friend who is also a new and budding audiophile! So cool to see the excitement in all his new audio discovery!Anyway he has a nice little system going and he is retiring from work here in six weeks... I thought I do what I’d said I would and buy him a upgraded cartridge for his TT as a retirement present. Now it’s a small budget I’m working on and I know how fast cartridges can get out of hand price wise so I want to keep it under $750.
The TT came with a Ortofon 2M Red and I was thinking of going with a Ortofon 2M Bronze for him? Thoughts? Suggestions? Thanks for any insight that will help me get a perfect cartridge for my friend and a new member of our club!
264win
The Bronze is a solid choice, but I personally like the Nagaoka MP-200 around that price point.
I would seek out Teo Audios CBP cartridge, this is a reworked AT95 MM cart that comes with a bonded elliptical for $229.00 and a money back guarantee if not satisfied. I bought one and really love it, beat my AT ART9 and really gives my Grace F9 with Soundsmith OLC stylus upgrade a real run for it's money. Just upgraded the stylus to the ML but do not have enough time to say if the upgrade was worth the xtra $150.00 except for the 3 times predicted stylus life. Enjoy the music
There are many absolutely amazing cartridges at this price (under $750 as you suggested). 


One of them is Garrott p77i from Australia (if you want new). If you never heard about this one you’d better search. 


High-End classics like Sony XL-50, Grace F9 with F14 (RS14) stylus, Audio-Technica AT-ML170 OFC are stunning performers, unbeatable by new MM. 


Ortofon is not the answer, especially if you want something different (better). 

Dear @264win :  Ortofon is very good option and  comes from a very well regarded cartridge manufacturer.

Other really good option is this Nagaoka model:

https://www.lpgear.com/product/NAGAOKAMP300.html


Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,
R.
Ortofon is great, especially when you read something like this

Quality control :) 
@264win,

Two notes of caution; from the Pro-Ject manual  USER GUIDE (project-audio.com), the tone arm is very low mass - 6g, so you want to stay with a medium compliance cartridge such as the Ortofon 2M series, the Nagaoka MP-300 and the Garrott P77i.  

However, the tonearm does not have ability to easily adjust VTA (there is an option, but its not pretty -  Manual-VTA-it.pdf (project-audio.com).  The problem here is that advanced profile stylus used by the Ortofon 2M Bronze and the Garrott P77i are very sensitive to VTA.  So unless you happen to luck out, there can be frustration because the cartridge may not sound very good.  In general, elliptical stylus (hyper-elliptical being the better) such as the Nagaoka  tend to be more forgiving of VTA.

Since the Pro-Ject is delivered with the Ortofon 2M Red, the Bronze should be a drop-in; but send an email to Pro-Ject and ask them.  Otherwise, given the limitations noted above, there are people on this site that can make good recommendations.
264Win,
I’m retiring soon as well! (Hint, hint)

What a great gift and gesture!
I’ve got an MP-200 and like it a lot, but that 
Garrott p77i has some great reviews. 
For that kind of money, a NOS NIB Empire 2000Z, Shure V15V or V15V-MR, ADC ZLM MKIII, ADC Astrion. All would match a 5 gram effective mass arm. Some great Jico stylus replacements available.

Id take these or other vintage carts over the new ones mentioned.
264win, I did similar on my Carbon going from Red to Blue.  The improvements were immediate and not subtle.  To me, that would indicate that there is likely more room for some improvement so Bronze,  as a price/quality point should be the sweet spot, staying in the 2M family.  

I retired 2 years ago so if he doesn't like it well, you know how to reach me.

264win asking about a cartridge.  I didn't miss that irony.  Kind of a 300WSM guy my self.  
If your already thinking 2M Bronze,
the 2M Black @ $755 is a no brainer.
I have both of them, I feel the Black is definitely worth price difference.
I own both the Ortofon 2m bronze as well as the Hana el...both about the same price...one is a mm, the other a mc. I love them both.
I  don't have, but have heard and been impressed by both the Hana S and the Dynavector 10x5 Mk II.  Both are at the top of your budget range.  They're also both MC so his phono pre would have to work with that format.  Happy listening --  you're a good friend!


If you listen to acoustic music aka Classical , the Hana lacks the dynamic 
range .  

With that 6g arm Soundsmith  is your best bet .