Cartridge Upgrade for NAD 533

Hi Everyone!

Have a Music Hall MMF-9 at home with which I am very happy. It has the Goldring Eroica cartridge and I have it hooked up to a Jolida J9 tube preamp.

Got a used NAD 533 as a second table for work. It is hooked up to a Bellari VP129 which feeds into an Onix Sp-3 integrated tube amp. The arm is the RB250 that comes with Rega tables and the current cartridge is a Grado Black.

Can you suggest a cartridge upgrade that would improve the sound? My speakers are Advent classics (large). I'd be willing to spend about $200.00.

Thanks in advance.
Denon DL-160.
Thanks, Mtbrider!
Never heard the DL-160, but I did not like the sound of the DL-103. I ended up replacing it with a $99 Ortofon 2M Red. For $200 you can get the 2M Blue which is one step up, and may be a slightly better match for the RB250 tonearm. The 2M Red has a very open, smooth sound. Plus, the higher output of the Ortofon 2M series would be a better match for the Bellari.
I've had good luck wth Ortofon OM series cartridges on Rega and Rega based systems.The OM 30 would work well with large Advents which can sound rolled-off in the high frequencies
Jwglista and Transnova:

Many thanks. In researching the Denon, I found that it is a moving coil cartridge and the Bellari only works with moving magnet. So I guess I'll give the Ortofon a try.
The operating range of the Bellari is 3 to 6 mV. The factory spec output of the DL-160 is 1.6 mV, though they test out to 2.2mV according to Needle Doctor, but that's still too low for the Bellari.

The 2M Blue is one of the best things you could possibly get for $200 for an RB250. They also have high output, even for an MM. The next step up would be the Audio Technica AT150MLX, available for $299 at

I have both a Denon DL-160 and an AT150MLX. After reading the first half of this thread, I decided to listen to them back-to-back as a sanity check. For me it confirmed that the AT150MLX seriously outclasses the DL-160. On its own, the DL-160 sounds good--even tonality, decent tracking and frequency extension, and good body to the sound. Plug in the AT150MLX, however, and you keep all those good things while it also shows you all the music you've been missing. It pulls out a wealth of instrumental timbre and ambient detail that the DL-160 misses on my rig.
I had an NAD 533 for a while. I modded the hell out of it. While the DL-160 was a good mate the 2M Red and Black beat it in solid presence, tone, and impact. The DL-160 sounded twangy and thin to me after having the Red and Black. Really can't get back into the 160 now.

It is as if the 2M carts were made for the rb250.

I saw in your earlier post you are going for the 2M so I thought I would throw a supportive boost in there.
Johnnyb53 and Gadfly:

Thanks for your input. I'm going to get the 2M blue.

BTW, Gadfly, what mods did you make to the 533? Someone suggested getting an acrylic platter. Did you do that? Did it improve the sound? What else can be done?

I used a glass platter which really made a nice difference.
I wound up using a thick rubber mat with cork dots.

After the mods I had rid the table of the WoW issues it had.
It also had a far better bass presentation and much better impact.

The final best 'mod' was the Ortofon Black.
I had the Red first. Really, the sound was better presented with the Black but I could have lived happily with the Red. The Blue has a nude stylus which is a better choice than the bonded Red.

I am sure you are going to like it.

This thread is quite old, I hope some of you are all still alive and well!

Following the advice above, I have installed an Ortofon 2M Red on my NAD 533. It sounds wonderful, but I have a problem: The Ortofon cartridge is taller than the original, so the arm lifter does not go high enough to lift the stylus clear of the vinyl. I have found instructions on how to disassemble the lifter, mainly they say DON'T!. Does anyone have a trick to fix this before I start experimenting?

RB 250 arm lift adjustment very small Allan Head bolt holding the lift arm to the shaft.
Slacken it and raise the lift. bit fiddly and Bobs your Uncle.

Or if you cannot find the correct Allan Key stick a rubber strip or some cardboard with some light duty double sided tape on the lift arm as a temporary measure.

It is !.2mm.or 1.25mm Allan key.