Cartridge Recomendations for VPI HK-19 MK IV w/Gra

Hi all. I have a VPI HK-19 MK IV w/Graham 1.5t on the way and am looking for opinions or recommendations on good cartridge match ups with the Graham 1.5t (11 grams mass) and TT. Budget under $1000 please and HOMC or MM, as I am still relatively new to this and do not want to mix in step up devices or separate phono amps to my learning curve at this point. I will run the TT through a McIntosh mm phono stage.

My current system consists of McIntosh 6900, Jolida JD100 cd player, SF Cremona Speakers. I don't play music every day, but when I do, I like a nice sounding system that will not give me ear fatigue. I listen to mainly female vocals and instrumentals.

Some cartridges I am wondering about are Grado Reference Sonata, Benz Micro Glider SH, ClearAudio Virtuoso Wood. The Grado appeals because of its reputation for warm, lush midrange, but I wonder if this is too light for the Graham arm?, and am also concerned reading other posts that claim the Grado highlights record noise and may "hum" with some TT's.

I appreciate any input you may have.
The Grado Reference Sonata is a nice cartridge, particularly well suited for those who love acoustic instruments and voice. The "hum" issue one reads about will not be an issue with a VPI turntable due to the location of the motor. If your phono stage can work with the lower output versions of the Sonata (.5mv or 1.5mv), go with those.
There are lots of cartridges that have better soundstage, depth, air, clarity, etc., etc. than the Grado Sonato low output. They have a kind of brown coloring to them, and I think with little effort one can do much better. (Dyna or Benz)
Hello All/Rushton,
Makes sense what you say that any Grado "shouldn't hum, but doing a search the other day about "VPI Hum" on the asylum, I pulled up quite a few numerous posts about Grados humming with HW-19 Tables. Odd, I know.

I'm sort of doubting that any MC with an output of .5mv-1.5mv will be suitable with the Mac MM Phono Input.

I know your Table, with Arm should be worthy of a very fine MC, in the $1K-$3K range, but as you say, you wish to not delve into SUT's. or stand alone Phono Stages.

I'm going to go out on a limb here, and say that maybe for now, just buy yourself a nice MM Cartridge that won't break the bank, like the Audio Technica AT-150MLX. Typically, this $500 list Cartridge sells for $249 at places like LP Gear, and JR Music.

Your Arm-Table should be able to bring out the very best this Cartridge has to offer.

Better to perhaps have this Cartridge on board, than say a mega-dollar MC, that won't give sufficient output through your MM Stage. Mark
Hi Markd51, I used Grado cartridges of various vintages (XTC, XYZ, Sonata, Reference) on a VPI HK-19 for over 20 years with no hum problems, but I always used the 1.5mv versions that were available back then, not the 4-5mv versions. Perhaps that's the reason for the different experience.
I have used my VPI HW-19 MkIV with Graham 1.5t with a wood bodied Grado cartridge (forgotten which model) without problem. But I agree with Markd51; the audio-technica AT150MLX works beautifully with that combo. I found mine on Audiogon at a good price and couldn't be happier. (I've since switched it over to my Nakamichi Dragon, in which it also works beautifully). A very nice cartridge that one can listen to for hours without fatigue.
I was browsing over at the asylum earlier, seen you had posed the same question there, and the one recommendation at this point, was for the Clearaudio Maestro Cartridge.

I never owned-heard one, so I certainly cannot give a personal viewpoint either way, to say if it is worth it's $1,000 price tag. One would assume at this price, this MM should be outstanding. I was going to suggest it, if you are willing to take the chance spending this sort of money.

I'm certainly no authority on Clearaudio, they make-market some nice products, and some very expensive products. I have heard it rumored, that some, if not many of Clearaudio Cartridges use Audio Technica Parts in their construction.

What parts are implemented, and what changes, or differences are made, other than the wood bodies on the Clearaudios, I cannot honestly say? They may very well all being coming out of Japan from the same factory, just a pretty wood body added to give a slightly different voice-sound?

For a 1/4 of the Maestro's price, the Cartridge I suggested earlier should pleasantly surprise you. Mark