Cartridge & phono stage for VPI Scoutmaster setup?

Here’s yet another “what do I do” from someone who’s taking the next step into vinyl.

Coming this week for me is a VPI Scoutmaster w/the standard JWM9 arm which is replacing my beloved Dual CS5000 I’ve had for 21 years.

I’ve been running the Dual straight into my Conrad Johnson PV11a (phono input), into a modified Threshold S/500. From there, through a set of 2m bi-wire Audioquest Clears feeding a pair of Martin Logan Ascents. Interconnects are Nordost.

I typically listen to 70s and 80s rock as well as some modern blues. As a musician myself, I prefer a clear, defined presentation of the music.

With the old Dual, I had no problem volume matching my other sources when using an Ortofon X3MC (2.5 mV) or recently, an AT 440ML (4.0mV) but I assume those are very high outputs compared to the cartridges I should be using w/the SM to get the most out of it.

So…, with the arrival of the VPI this week, I first need to select a cartridge and second, (or maybe this is the first step) select a phono stage.

Budget wise, I’d be looking for a new, sub $700 cartridge (Benz Micro ? or Dynavector DV20X? works well from what I’ve researched). I’d also like to keep the phono stage (used is fine) around or under that same price.

After purchasing the TT and allowing the purchase of a new cartridge, I’ve pretty much reached the end of my budget, but realize I will likely need a phono stage w/my current pre, can upgrade the phono stage sometime in the future once recreational funds are replenished.

I could also temporarily install either the AT or Ortofon on the JMW9 but I’m not sure if that would actually be taking a step forward or backward.

Any thoughts, suggestions and recommendations are much appreocated…
I just set up a friend's Scout with a Dynavector 20XH and Dynavector phono stage. He seems pretty happy.

I use an Ortofon Rondo Bronze and Trigon Vanguard II/Volcano II combo with my Scout, which might be within your total budget.

I wonder if there is a real good high output moving coil that you could use with your phono input? I haven't heard the CJ's phono input, but if it is high quality, I might tend toward that option.

In the meantime, I would try one of your existing cartridges. If you like the sound, go with it and save some money.
You might try the Benz ACE higher output ones. I heard one that was very nice indeed. I know that VpI arms like most cartridges and bring out the best in them. Dont be afraid of its "tippy' nature. When you get used to it, it wont be an issue at all.
Given your preferences in music, I wouldn't feel absolutely frantic to move up to a low output cartridge. I've got a VPI Scout and have heard the same with with low output moving coils, and while there is an obviously different presentation with a mc, I'm not so sure I don't like the weightier, more fleshed out sound I hear with a good moving magnet design. I know, heresy, heresy. Were I exposed to the most exalted realms of financially unobtanium mc catridges, perhaps I'd change my mind. I've used a Goldring 1042, Grado Sonata, and currently, a Garrott Bros. Optim FGS with the Scout. All have sounded very good to me, the Optim in particular is a very well rounded performer. For some reason, Garrotts don't seem to be imported into the US at present and have to be ordered from Australia.
The Ace is a boring cart and is being replaced on my fathers Scoutmaster, he has my Dyna 20L but I know he wont install it. The Benz Ace has a non-offending smooth sound but will offer little excitement IMO.........and I have spent a considerable amount of time listening to this combo. The Ace is not bad sounding as I noted above but just doesnt impart any real thrill into the music and you may find it boring as I have.
I've heard others say that the Sumiko Blackbird ($679) works very well with the ScoutMaster. You may be able to use it with your present CJ phono stage since it is a Hi Output MC cart. This may do if you are really strapped for $$$.
However I am very much a believer in getting the best phono preamp you can afford. It is an important and often overlooked part of the vinyl chain. I have the SM TT and am running the Dyna 20XL with a Wright phono preamp and K&K tranny. I recommend the Wright very highly. It is $845 new. You can find one used from time to time but you have to jump quickly since the move very fast. I was never quick enough and had to buy new. Its the best $845 I've ever spent. However in order to run a Low Output MC cart, you will need a step up tranny which will put you over budget. Of course you could use the Blackbird with the Wright. One poster over at AA liked the Blackbird better than the 20 XL.
Another recommendation on Sumiko Blackbird. I tried it on my SSM Signature, I like it better than Shelter 901 or 501 overall.
I have a Scoutmaster/Dyna 20X S.V. medium output 1.0 mv and I use it with my Rogue Magnum 99 without any problems what so ever. This is the phono stage in my pre amp.
Thanks for all the great suggestions so far. From what I'm reading, I need to settle on a cartridge (I'm thinking Dyna) and will try it w/my CJ preamp straight. It's a tube phono section so hopefully the results will be pleasing.

In the event I do need a step-up phono stage, I see there are quite a few that I can pick up w/o breaking the bank and if it isn't what I'm after, I can upgrade a little ways down the road.

I did see a Jolida JD-9 unit that picqued my interest as it's tube driven, had decent reviews and was relatively inexpensive ($450 new although I'm not basing anything purely on cost).

Does anyone have any first hand experience with one of these units?
I own the Jolida Music Envoy preamp, in which the phono stage is identical to the JD-9A. It's actually a hybrid unit (thanks Piedpiper! :-) ) with an op-amp gain stage and a tube follower. I love mine - dynamic, great detail, and dead quiet even at the highest gain setting. Good loading flexibility, and plenty of gain so you won't need a step-up.

If you're considering a low output Dyna, the Jolida would work great, but you might also want to consider the Dyna P-75 mkII. I haven't heard one, but it's supposed to have fabulous synergy with all the Dyna cartridges.

I posted this yesterday but so far it is a no show. I use a ASR mini-basis (about $700 used) with the chip upgraded ($70) and a VDH DDT II. Amazingly good sound! The upgraded ASR bettered the Sim Lp5.3 and Benz Lukasheck I had and might even be a little better the Pass Xono. If you can find one used buy it.
I have been using a Blackbird on my Scoutmaster. The BB matches well with the arm and is a high output cart.

I just bought a Shelter 901. A nice step-up but also $400 more expensive. VPI told me it would be a good match for the arm too. Plenty of gain fom my Quad 24P phono stage set at MC and low sentitivity.