Why not just add a SUT to your current setup? Bob's Devices or a Silvercore are around $500 or so. I also have a Zu Audio/Denon 103 on one of my tables and that's what I would do. I really like mine also.
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The SUT idea is a valid one. It's a pitty the Ortofon M-20 fl super is no longer available on eBay NOS. For $179 this cartridge holds it's own against offerings costing thousands more(I have many LOMCs). If you see one for sale, don't hesitate. It's a MI and I would think it would work great with the 9" VPI arm. William Thakker does still have the NOS replacement styli on eBay. I just bought two so I can use this cartridge for years to come. Provided you could find a cartridge, for your $500 budget you could easily buy the cartridge and a couple replacement styli and be set for years and probably have enough left for some great vinyl.
The Bob's Devices SUT is a 1:10 stepup. That will stepup your Zu/Denon 103 from .3mv to 3mv. It is listed with 20db of gain, not 10. That should be more than enough. Link is below:
I would look for a used Silvercore "1 to 10" SUT. They retail for around $650, so a used one should be in your price range.
IMHO, the (2) carts you list above are not as good as what you have.
I bought a Denon AU-320 SUT off of Audiogon for under 300.00 today. After reading everyones opinions, I decided this would be the way to go. The built in output cable also saves me money on yet another cable. I will report back once I have used it in my system for a couple of weeks. I am under the impression that the 40 ohm setting would be best. Any comments pro or con?
I have both a Denon AU-300 and a Denon AU-320 in my collection. I didn't recommend either because your budget was more than these sell for. The AU-320 will work just fine. I really do think the Bob's Device SUT and/or the Silvercore SUT are better sounding, but are more money. You should be fine.