Cartridge Suggestion Requested


Thanks in advance for all suggestions.  I have (3) cartridges in rotation and all of them have issues,  I would like to know if it is possible to find a cartridge that has the sound I am looking for.

Basically the tone and uncolored neutrality of the Ortofon 2M black yet in a more dynamic cleaner sounding presentation.  
I really like the 2M black but it has some dirt and edge to the upper treble.  
I also have the AT ART9 and it is nice but too thick for my tastes.  Lastly the Dynavector DV20X2L, has a smooth dynamic sound but lacks the transparency and uncolored midrange that I prefer.  

avanti1960
try a Dynavector SUP-200 step-up with the 20x2L. boom goes the dynamite!
Also look at the Hana HOMC and Soundsmith. What is your budget?
I think no one can tell you what you really need, i have more than 20 rare MM/MC vintage cartridges and still curious about the others that i have not tried yet. It’s an illusion that you can have one perfect cartridge! Tryin’ different carts is a part of the hobby, but let me say it again that you will get much more bang for the bucks if you will check vintage cartridges. People will always advice you the same modern cartridges based on reviews, some of them you have already tried, but seems like you’re not happy about them. Trust your own ears, no one can hear your system from the internet to advice you something. Try top of the line vintage cartridges instead! There are plenty of them available from Grace, Audio-Technica, JVC Victor, Precept, Signet, Azden, Garrott, Glanz, Astatic, Technics and many more. You can’t go wrong with any of them if you will check for top models, then you can make your own decision by listening music in your own system with your own records @avanti1960

The world of amazing cartridges is much bigger than those modern models comming from today's manufacturers. Most of them are inferior and more expensive compared to the old ones (imo).
thanks to all responses so far, i'll try to make it easier.

looking for a cartridge with similar "voicing" and frequency balance as the Ortofon 2M black but with a more refined sound.

For any that have heard the 2M black and moved on to a similar but better cartridge I would appreciate responses. 

Do Ortofon cartridges tend to have similar voicing?

As for budget I would prefer if the sound I am looking for could be found in the Ortofon Quintet black or Cadenza Red as opposed to the Lyra Delos.  Thanks again.  
Avanti1960- you have 3 highly  rated carts.No one will have a correct  answer for you. I would just stay in your budget and try more carts. 

Everyone's perception of performance is different. No one has your exact setup and room conditions. 

Your phono stage I assume, is the best you can afford? If not, you haven't heard what the ART 9 or the others, are capable of.
@avanti1960 

Do Ortofon cartridges tend to have similar voicing?
Of course not. 
They made so many totally different cartridges and 2M is on the lower side (imo). Ortofon MC2000 was very unique high compliance MC and it is still cheaper than your art-9.  

If you want a decent MM from Ortofon try to find the vintage M20FL Super under $250 or even cheaper. That was a gian killer, it was much cheaper long time ago, but so many people were exited about it when it was $100 cartridge, many feedbacks are right here on audiogon.  
I have  Ortofon 2M Black and a Cadenza Red.  To my ears the Cadenza Red is a great cart to move up to if you like the 2M Black.  
Try a Soundsmith Boheme. Smooth, uncolored, dynamic sound.
@gshepardbuster 
Is the sound of the Cadenza similar to the 2M black, which I would call neutral and detailed?  
@avanti1960  Yes the Cadenza is voiced similar with extended textures, polished edges, and a hint of warmth. 
@avanti1960 

The recommendation for the Ortofon Cadenza Red is a good one.

Alternatively you could look for a Candenza Black if the phono
stage has a higher gain.
Blue and Bronce might not be exactly what you want. The Blue is
extremly dynamic and the Bronce is neither fish nor fowl, which
means the Black is better in all aspects. 

I do not know if NOS Ortofons are available in your area. If yes
an Ortofon Vero or an Ortofon MC 30 Supreme could be exactly
what you want.
An ortofon per windfeld sounds like just the ticket for you. It is the same sound as the black but waay more refined and better bass. I used to have a black as well. 
Disclaimer: I do have a used per windfeld up at a great price. 
ortofon quintet black or dynavector 17d3  
have the neutral , uncolored sound of the 2M black? 
Avanti1960
What tonearm do you have ?
I'm sure you've researched Vinyl Engine for tonearm compliance .
I bought a turntable with a Grado from the 80's a TZ ,
I have moved up to a Gold then to a Reference Sonata and now 
have a Reference Master 1 , Fantastic and highly recommended ,
each move up was worth it ,
but one thing I had to do ( which I should have done with the Sonata )
 is add some mass to my Rega RB300 tonearm .
I used rubber O-rings and added over 2.5 grams .
I was planning on switching to Soundsmith but they need a higher compliance tonearm and I didn't want to take a chance .
 
The Avanti was a beautiful car.
Rob
Transfiguration Axia

jjaudiosolutions.com
This is a jump in price but the Soundsmith Zephyr Star may bring to the party what you are seeking. I’ve had the 2m black, dynavector, and Benz carts. It’s the most balanced one of the lot and is my current go to pick up. 
@vair68robertmy 

my tonearm is 10.1g effective mass (VPI gimbal) 

I had a few Grados but they were decidedly not neutral.

@argon66      

thought about the zephyr star, will it sound good loaded at either 100 ohms or 1000 ohms?  if not i would need to research adding resistor jumpers to my phono preamp.  


I load mine at 1000 ohm. 
At or below 500 is far from ideal. 
Soundsmith recommends loading it at or close to 1000. 

I heard that Soundsmith works very well in VPI arm.
Transfiguration Axis is $3000 cartridge.
The AT-OC9/II is a surprisingly good cartriddge. It is NOT as "thick" as an ART-9. Another consideration if the OC9/II reputation scares you away is the AT 33Sa.
I've never owned an Ortofon 2m series, but I do have a super om30 that I like.
I find it to be very clean sounding with a gorgeous mid range and top end.
Airy and sweet with a tight bass. Perhaps not quite the thump in the bass I like but fairly neutral. 

Hope that helps
JP:)

AT ART9 nice but too thick. What a peculiar yet very interesting comment as it has been considered pretty much as perfect MC on various forums so far ! Save money and buy a vintage MM like SHURE ULTRA 400, AT-ML170/OCC, Acutex M320 STRIII (the best of Acutex truly) to name just a few, actually you can get several for the price of a new (MM) cartridge. Good luck...
Transfiguration Axia

I couldn't agree more. This is really where you want to be.
I wanted to throw one more suggestion out, and that is a Shure m95he. $200 bucks at lp gear nos. clean head to toe, rich with a strong bass with out sounding muddling or lopping off the top end. Sure my Empires and Grados are a bit smoother with a wider soundstage but the Shure is not harsh and really grooves.

all the best
JP:)

I had a lot cartridges, but the Soundsmith MIMC is very impressive. I had never a cartridge with such less distortion / clean transient playback. You hear only music and no cartridge.
Something from ZYX might suit you
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I've got about 50 hours on my Soundsmith MIMC Zephyr and concur with ninetynine 100%.  The cartridge disappears.  I liken it to listening to a master tape.  Fremer refers to it as "freedom from mechanical artifacts".  Peter Lederman's explains why in his Youtube videos. One of his primary design goals is to minimize stylus jitter. Needless to say you need to get azimuth, VTA and VTF dialed in.  My test for resolution is to listen for the vocal inflections of background singers or double tracked vocals, and the Zephyr is way ahead of my prior cartridge, a Lyra Delos, which I liked well enough to replace when I snapped the cantilever off my first one.  That being said, the second Delos was 4 years old at the time of the comparison, so that has to be taken into consideration.  TT / tonearm is VPI TNT / ET 2.5.