Cartridge recommendations


Need a need a new Cartridge for my Marantz Tt150. Want a good cartridge without breaking the bank. 300-500 range. Someone recommend ortofon 2m Blue.am I making a mistake not spending more? Seems you can go crazy with cartridge costs.I have a Prima Luna primium hp, a pro ject ds tube phono stage and a pair of Focal Electra 1028 Be. Appreciate your input.
tastypeter
My clearaudio Virtuoso cartridge broke as well as some others on an earlier forum. Seems a problem with this cartridge. I hate to have to buy a new one if they might warranty it? Though I was told for 200 dollars it could be repaired. Is it worth spending 200 or buy a new less problematic cartridge?? 
Hana EL mc cartridge - $500. Better sound than any mm (Clearaudio, Ortofon... ).
Post removed 
I found this review site very useful when choosing a cartridge:

https://www.stereophile.com/taxonomy/term-a/172

Eventually went with a Clearaudio Maestro V2 Ebony and could not be happier with the results.
I have a Clearaudio Virtuoso Wood and have broken the cantilever not once, but twice.  I had it re-tipped again but am afraid to use it. 

If you can afford a little more, get a Hana SL.  They are fantastic.  I have one on my Clearaudio Emotion.  The Denon DL-301 MKII is also very nice and closer to your price range.  Nagaoka makes nice MM carts.  I have the MP-500, which is also a little out of your price range, but very nice.
I'd be inclined to replace the turntable with something better before putting that kind of money into a cartridge. I suppose you could move the cartridge in due course. While you may hear some improvement with a better cartridge, you are not hearing its potential capability. You don't say what you have in it currently. There are superior stylus replacements that will elevate existing cartridges for less money.
Nagaoka MP200, really superb sounding mm.
Thanks for the recommendations. In your opinion Hana EL vs SL

$400 vs $650 Is there a big difference, and whats your input. I know I said I wanted to keep my budget down though I don’t want to be penny wise and lb foolish. 
I've heard both. I intend to buy the SL. Both are very good, the SL is better!
Hana are very nice cartridges, but how can anybody say it is the best MM cartridge out there? You can’t. IMO there are better MM carts out there, but you will pay a little to a lot more $$$. Also, how easy is it to retip or rebuild them in the future? Can it be done? How much? I can rebuild my soundsmith for the cheap instead of spending big bucks down the line.
Ortofon 2M Black is my favorite cartridge of all time at any price. 
Check out the Soundsmith Otello or Carmen. Both are excellent choices. Huge vote for the Ortofon 2M blue, bronze or black depending on how much you decide to spend. Don’t overlook the Sumiko Blue Point. Still a decent value as well. That kind of investment will also properly adorn your table with a good Grado. The Audio Technica line is good too. Most important thing, listen to as many as you can in that price range as you can. Clearaudio may also be a good match as well at their lower pricepoints. Their offering can as well as other can climb up to 10k or more as you already have discovered. Good luck and happy listening🎶
A while back Michael Fremer did a cartridge shoot out and he posted files of each cartridge playing the same song.  You can read aboout the shootout and listen to the files here. You might consider listening to them blind to make your own unbiased pick of which of these sound the best. https://www.analogplanet.com/content/nine-cartridge-survey-produces-audible-results.

He gave the results of the poll and identified which cartridge belonged to which file here https://www.analogplanet.com/content/nine-cartridges-compared-reviewed-and-voting-results
I highly recommend the 2M Blue. It took a while to break in but after about 200-300 hours it went into another world. If you listen to Blues and run a tube amp you will truly enjoy the cartridge.
I picked up a NOS virtuoso ebony cartridge for about the money you mention above & it is outstanding for the money. Betters the LOMC's I've used prior to it. I can see how you could break them though. The stylus is certainly not protected. Kinda sticks out there just daring you to break it. If you don't mind going old school, check out Raul's large mm thread. There are a lot of great old mm or mi cartridges out there that you can still get high quality stylus's for. 
+1 for the Denon DL-301 mkII. Very smooth uncolored character with deep bass, and great focus when loaded at 475 ohms. And it’s in your price range. 
Also worth checking out is the AT33 PTG/II MC, I was able to get one on eBay for $460 including shipping. I was choosing between the Hana EL vs AT33 PTG/II and spent a several weeks researching and reading forums. The deciding factor for me was that my previous cart is a AT440MLA MM which served me well with no issues. So far I'm really happy with the sound, it tracks really well and is more refined compared to my previous MM cart. Its still early days as I'm breaking it in but I can strongly recommend the AT33 ptg/ii based on my experience.
Here is a pretty decent resource that you can get a sense of different cartridges actually playing music. The recordings are of sufficient fidelity that, at least for me, i can get a sense of the differences in the sound of the cartridges. The narrator’s comments I find helpful too.  

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKNKJ_uFheEftryRCvbmfNg/playlists

My vote is also for Nagakoa. Its a good value.

Frankly, I'd go with the idea of (at least eventually) a better TT, and buy a used ADC XLM or ZLM body and equip it with a Shibata stylis from JILCO in Jampan.  Total cost; no more that $250, and one of the bestt mm cartridges ever made, upgraded even further by the shibata stylus.
There is nothing wrong with his Marantz TT .Agree with ADC but 40-50 year old bodies are not the best .A Nagakoa MP 150 or 200-300 has better tone than any ADC ever had , I owned at least 20 ADC’s back in the day and there were very fast , loved them .
Actually my Marantz is a tt151 made by Clear Audio / not tt150 my error.

I also settled on spending more money, and went with the Soundsmith Zephyr mimc star. I very much also liked there rebuild policy for 20% of the cartridge cost.

Thank you everyone for your great input, I considered many of them.

Peter
Let us know how you like it. Soundsmith is a great company. 
@tastypeter - Sorry, late to the party. But can you please clarify what Turntable you have? You mentioned it is built by ClearAudio. Is the the current Marantz TT15S1, built by Clearaudio? Is it the all acrylic TT that sells for $1499 MSRP, including the ClearAudio Virtuoso cartridge?
Rubent, 
yes that is correct. I have been very happy with the Marantz, except the Virtuoso cartridge was very fragile and broke the cantilever with almost no user error. 
ortofon 2M.just puchased a nagaokaMP150.You can use the MP200 stylus with the boron cantilever on the 150.
What's with the MM recommendations? Isn't it widely understood that good MCs always beat MMs?
madavid, No, some people (myself included) have had great results with older MM's. 
Agree. I have an Acutex 420 STR that I had re-tipped with a Shibata stylus. On the right arm, (ET 2.5, in my case) I could live with it forever.

OP, where/how did that moniker originate?
But hold on here. Isn't the traditional wisdom that lower-mass generators, the better? MCs are best because they have the lowest mass signal generators. Why is it there isn't a single MM in the high end market?

With my first turntable it had a decent MM. I upgraded to AT-OC9L/II and it blew the MM's socks off. The AT isn't even a very expensive cartridge, you can easily find it for less than $500 new.
One experience doesn’t equal the vast amount of possibilities that await us.

@madavid0 ,,, you need to experience things for yourself, instead of relying on conventional wisdom before making a blanket statement.
madavid,
Check out raul's very large MM thread. There is a lot of information their on MM's that produce exceptional sound quality. That certainly doesn't mean MC's don't (the most certainly do), but that there are viable options.  
My advice from the start was Pickering XSV-3000 with nude Stereohedron stylus, this MM cart (along with Stanton 881s mkII) is a clear winner imo! Not as cheap as they were years ago, but still bargains compared to what they can do for $300-400. 
I use the Ortofon 2m Blue. Great detail and timing, air and soundstage, and frequency extensions. One of the best MM in it's price.
I've read the 2m Black is about as good as you can get for a MM cartridge.
chakster , is correct but the suspension on a cartridge that old is likely to be stiff and you’d have to send it to Soundsmith or the like for a re-tipping .I’ve owned the Pickering and the 2 mblack . the former is better .
I’ve noticed some problem with suspension only with 3 cartridges out of a bunch of 50 vintage cartridges i’ve owned, they are all from the mid ’70s, late ’80s.

Those carts are Technics (notorious for suspension problem), a few hardly used Victor X-1 for some reason and one NOS Glanz MFG-71L

Never had any problem with suspension/damper or styli with the rest of 47 different MM/MI cartridges including different samples of NOS Victor, Glanz etc.

The best way to check suspension condition is to use Hi-Fi Test LP. With this record anyone can measure the actual tonearm+cartridge resonance frequency. We can compare the actual test results with given cartridge compliance and given tonearm effective mass. If the cartridge suspension/damper is stiffer or softer the result will be different between the actual test with LP and for example theoretical test with this diagram

However, softened damper is easy to determine visually, in this case a cartridge with recommended tracking force is much closer to the record surface that it should be. They are so calles Lowriders! Those 3 cartridges i have mentioned above have had this problem. I’ve never seen an old cartridge with stiffer suspension in my life, only softened suspension!
@tastypeter how do you like your MIMC Star after 2 years?