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When I say rock, I don't necessarily mean the rock that's the on the radio. Most of the stuff I like is either punk (which falls under the blanket term "rock), indie pop, folk rock, etc. Some of it is highly detailed as well. Regarding the comment about money, very few of the bands I like have ever made it on the radio, and some of them work their asses off for months just to afford touring, so I don't see where you're coming from with that.
Thank you to everyone who made suggestions. I appreciate it.
Rlwainwright does bring up a good point. If you buy a cart and use it like a tone control, you may cause more problems than you fix. Its kind of like buying an EQ with only 1 setting. The music you are listening to has a very wide range as to the quality and balance of the recordings. Some will be very good, and some very bad. I know EQ's are not very popular with a lot of people on this web site, but in some cases, it makes sense to use them. My suggestion would be to just get a decent, well rounded cart, and an EQ. The EQ can be run through the tape loop or to another channel on the preamp. Then all you have to do is switch it back and forth, depending on when its needed. More importantly, you are allowing each piece to do what it was designed to do. That would give you much better results. I use an EQ myself to deal with bad recordingd. Behringer makes some very good EQ's that don't cost a lot of money. I have a Ultragraph Digital DEQ1024 that works very well for me. Its an option you may want to conseder.
I think it's important that the cartridge sound like one you like hearing. A well researched approach should yield a cartridge that is pleasing to the OPs ears.
Equalizers got a bad rap from a combination of poor product and the rise of the new "Hi End's" insistance on purity of sound such that single ended triode amps became "popular" at least in theory . The basic tenet was -don't F around with the sound!
I would have been delighted if they left tone controls on my SS amps. I tried a late 80's early 90s Yamaha or something like that and it was indeed terrible, awful, yuck pooh. No honestly, it was cheaply made and really ruined the sound.
Ultimately every decision we make in buying audio gear and tweaks is aimed in a direction we like once you get over the first schoolings and embarrasment.
Sorry for the minor thread jack!
Check out Italian eBay, for the NOS Acutex 412 and 312 cartridge. Very good on rock, and the price is right. Look them up on the various audio forums to see what others have been saying. The Acutex 312 is a little warmer sounding of the two, to my ear, and my pick of the two, but others prefer the 412.