You need to try a Shure 97. I know, too cheap for great sound, but try it. Worst it becomes a back up cartridge for when the $2K goes down. I have a Clearaudio Victory H, still in use, but I did try the Shure before it, since I had it sitting new for 30 years. Well, it gave the CA a run for its money, great warm sound. Table was vpi, 10.5 arm.
Don't be part of the crowd that defines excellence by price.
Dynavector XX2 MKII, great cartridge and so far (going on year two) completely worry free with deep bass and a very natural presentation. This is my third Dynavector cartridge and all have been reliable and given me lots of sonic joy. I listen to vinyl at least 80% percent of the time with my system.
Here's a few standard suggestions
ZYX R50 or R100
Dyna DV17 or better
Lyra Dorian or Argo
Now here's a left-field call
Decca London - it needs a unipivot arm (damped preferably), can't track everything, but it sounds alive. It's not as good as an Allaerts (I have an Allaerts MC1B as well as 2 Deccas), but when it's right, it's great.
PS Once Jan has rebuilt your Allaerts, you won't want to hear anything else.
Happy New Year from Australia, where it's early New Years Day Morning. I also recommend the Shure M97xE.
If overhang is adjusted correctly and electrical 'loading' optimised, few cartridges will better it at many times the price, in my humble opinion! Regards, Fap.
I am leaning heavily toward the Voice,standard or Ebony.I am hearing that it is a "big bang for the buck" cartridge.
Which compliance level would be appropriate for my OL Encounter III?-I know that this would be a question for Peter,but looking to advance our conversation,when it happens on 1-2-09.
Topoxforddoc,I have had several unipivots in house.I know this design type is the favored one,but have had nothing but problems with them.Am very happy with the Encounter and its' performance.
I second the Dynavector XX2 MKII. I love mine.
Didn't care for my ZYX R100 Yatra.
I've owned a Dyna XX2 and can heartily recommend it IF you want/need to spend a lot of money, it IS a wonderful cartridge ... for the last 3 months or so I've been listening to/through an Audio-Technica AT33-PTG and I LOVE this thing. Priced a less than $400 it hits my "way good enough" bone to the max.
I'll second Audio Technica. I have an OC-9. Very smooth and detailed. Very solid, well defined bass and I think I paid less than $400 for it.
Clearaudio Maestro: $1000. I just bought it a few weeks ago from Acoustic Sounds and love it. Great sounding cartridge with focus imaging, tight round bass, big soundstaging, no channel imbalance and phenomenal tracker (even cleaner than my more expensive Lyra Helikon, Cardas Heart) in my Morch/Moerch DP-6, SME 3009 Series II Non improved arms.
Check if its compliance fits your arm though.
Happy New Year
I also have an AT33PTG and am very impressed. Sure, I'd love to have a Rosewood Sig again but as of right now I don't even feel the need to start saving.
Also look at SoundSmith's B&O MMC1 clone - these are superb-sounding carts...Ask SoundSmith, they'll tell you great that cart is. And here is a Stereophile review:http://www.stereophile.com/phonocartridges/408sound/
Thanks to everyone who has taken time to post.My biggest problem is:having been to the mountain many times,I know that many are going to leave me listening to a LP or two and quitting for the day.I have owned Grados,a AT or two,early Dynavector Ruby,Symphonic Line,Koetsu,Myabi,Shelter,Clearaudio REF.Non struck the proper balance and had me pulling out Lp after Lp,as did the entry Allaerts.Mind you that I am not planning a second.But there is a quality to the Koetsu,Symphonic and Allaerts in the lower mids/upper base that seems to allow the music to communicate.None of these cartridges were over-done in the top-end.
I do know that this is a tough bill to fill,but I know these exist.That is my primary search for the moment.This will be my second cartridge and will be stabled with the Allaerts upon its' repair.
My search is appearing to center around the Soundsmith designs and the Dynavector Te Kaitora Rua.