Cartridge for VPI TT with JMW 9 tonearm


After years of listening to digital (DSD/Flac, CDs/SACDs) and contemplating on buying a TT I finally bought a very well kept VPI Scout Jr with an upgraded JMW 9 tonearm (instead of the original gimballed tonearm). I would like to upgrade the cartridge and unlike many here who are looking for expensive cartridges, I have a limited budget. So unfortunately the search is not helping since I keep finding recommendations for >$1k carts.

My Phono premap is a Pro-Ject Phono Box DS that supports MM and MC. My amp is Naim, speakers Focal Sopra 1. I listen mostly to Jazz, Electronic, and some Rock. Prefer a full-body, semi warm sound with good bass.

After some internet search, I came-up with the following potential cart options in my price range (<$400) that seem to have been highly recommended, but I have no idea which one would actually be a good match for my TT/tonearm. Can you please let me know which would be the best choice for my setup? As always, I appreciate your comments and recommendations!

Grado Prestige Gold 3  (MI)
Audio-Technica AT-OC9XEN (MC)
Sumiko Blue Point #2  (MC)
Denon DL-103R (MC)
NAGAOKA MP-150 (MM)
rfarassat
The Denon and the AT are the best choices here! I am a longtime user of Denon MC cartridges. I presently have a 103R mounted on a Pioneer PLX1000 TT. Sounds excellent! Also have a 103/Grace 707 arm on an Ariston RDIIS TT. Again, excellent SQ! In general I prefer MC cartridges because they just sound more vibrant and lively than MM/MI types!
I ran an OC-9 on that arm for many years and got great results!
Thank you both for the quick responses. Sounds like you both liked the AT-OC9XEN. Hopefully my Phono preamp will be good enough for the low MC power coming from that cartridge. 

If there are other cartridges in similar price range that I missed, please also let me know. Thanks.
AT-ART 9, Hana SL and for significantly less money the AT-PTG33/II. All solid performers on my VPI Scout 1.1. 
Do your self a favor and try Teo_Audios' CBP M&M cart for $250.00 with a 2 week return policy, you won't return it. This is a reworked AT VMN cart with a bonded elliptical stylus, just upgraded mine to a Microline stylus and love this cart on my Scout with the 9 arm and has replaced a ART 9 at 4 times the cost. Enjoy the music
Motorway, thanks for the response. While I would love to have any of those cartridges, they are all unfortunately outside my budget.

Tooblue, thanks for the recommendation, I will need to read about that. 
Your arm and table are irrelevant. What matters is your phono stage and ears.

Select a cartridge with enough output to work well with your stage. MM or MC is irrelevant, as long as the output is there.

Do NOT use this criteria to select the cartridge! Use output to exclude from consideration only. Then look through those that are left by reading reviewers listening impressions.

Pick the one you like the best that also has enough output. This is the recipe for success. Lots of great medium output MC for under a grand. Lots of good MM too. At the level you're at you can get huge performance from a budget cart by improving the phono stage. So don't be afraid to use a "cheap" ($250-500) cartridge. If doing so might help upgrade the stage sooner that could prove a wise move.


millercarbon, thank you for the great suggestions, appreciate it. I am looking to upgrade the phono stage as well, but definitely need a cartridge since the one that came on the table needs to be replaced. 
If you have recommendations for phono stage please let me know. 
I am using vpi prime with ortofon quintet bronze and ps audio stellar phono.  Sounding great with my sopra 2 driven by gryphon diablo 300.  Great with Jazz with full body low end such as double bass playback. 
A popular $1K cart for the VPI is the Audio Technica ART9. You can find the 1st generation for under $1K
https://www.lpgear.com/product/ATART9.html

There are plenty of threads on the ART 9.

Your phono stage is up to the task, but the ART9 or equivalent will sound even better with a phono stage higher up the food chain. Consider $2K+ in the future( find used for half).

I've been using a $400 Soundsmith Otello after crashing an ART9. It's performance is so good, I've been able to postpone buying another ART 9 or better. This because I have a phono stage capable of supporting $5K+ carts. My phonostage is long discontinued, so not worth mentioning. I do use tubes though.

Better performance with a lesser cart/better phono stage than the opposite.
Thanks everyone for the great comments and info you provided. These lead me to potentially re-prioritize my purchase plans - it seems I should look at upgrading my Phono preamp first before the cartridge. I will look into that to see what options I have. 
Usaudiomart has a few interesting cartridges a Hana eh and a Soundsmith Carmen with low hours.
I have always had luck on the gently used market. You can usually make a deal for under the asking price.
I'm currently using a Carmen 2 on a VPI Aries Scout with the JMW 9 with excellent results. I did have to add a headshell weight which was about $5 on eBay. I've also used a Sumiko Bluepoint Evo 3 with equally good results.

Good luck.
I see that in all my babble I failed to include a comment directly to your lineup choices.

The OC9 series is quite good at their price point. I've  used the OC9 III. Be aware AT's can have a VERY active top end. The newer series appears to give more stylus options. If you go AT, choose the most your wallet will tolerate.
tablejockey, thank you for the vote on OC9 III, would love to have that one, but outside my price range. Hopefully the OC9XEN is similar. 

Johnto, thanks for recommendations on Hana EH. I have added that to my list as well as the Goldring 2500 is one shows-up on the used market. Thanks.