Great tracker cart $100

Second system for used 70s/80s punk, new wave, college alt, classic rock. This is more for man cave then audiophile application but still decent sound. Shure m44 series?
Second the shure M97x. Plus you can upgrade w a jico sas stylus for some next level, way next level stereophonic awsomeness.
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Yup, Nagoka MP 100 will smoke any of others mentioned , very musical. And I've owned all.
Note...Familiar with Shure...would like some more detail...which $100 cart handles recordings with sibilance issues?
Also...anybody familiar with Lpgear deft 2...its a HE for 100 bones...are there any other HE carts in this range?
Yes Schubert and Viridian, Nagaoka MP 100/110 carts are really musical; great for classical/orchestra/small chamber. However, both are over $100.00 ($115.00/$130.00).

The 2M Red is more suited for punk/wave/alt/ my opinion :-)
Tracking/surface noise reduction outweighs sonics...but 2m red does seem like the frontrunner...thanks mates!
I had one years ago on a project table so my memory is somewhat foggy...but online feedback is negative...doesn't get much love...until blue point range
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For sound, the Ortofon 2M Red probably has the edge, but IME, for tracking, the Shure M97xE with the damping brush deployed (i.e., in the down position) will track almost anything, including poorly stored hideously warped records from thrift shops or your garage. I have hundreds of thrift shop records, and back when used Beatles records were typically fetching $15/disk, I got a double-disk Beatles album (Love Songs) for $1 because both records had a deep "dish" warp, making them nearly unplayable. But when I put on the Shure and flipped down the brush, it tracked right through with no drama. The only other way I could play this record was when I added KAB's fluid damper to my Technics SL1210.

As was previously stated, you can elevate the performance with the aftermarket JICO stylus, which also includes the damping brush.

Similarly you can upgrade a 2M Red to a 2M Blue by replacing the "Red" bonded stylus with a "Blue" nude stylus.
I've tried budget AT carts but they can be extremely...for tracking/ soundstage depth who is the winner?
I stand corrected by Viridian with $90.00 for the mp-100.

Never heard the Stanton 500 so I cannot comment but it would be a no brainer provided it proves to be better than the 2M Red as Viridian claims it to be.

Shure m97xe is a wonderful tracker indeed.

The following carts seem to be the top choices under $100.00. All good, none perfect.

AT95e special edition black - $50.00
Shure m97xe - $70.00
Stanton 530.V3 (2) - $80.00
Nagaoka MP100 - $90.00
Ortofon 2M Red - $100.00

Your choice, happy listenning!
All this and no mention of the arm?

Also no mention of type of sound desired. What would go with the system, bright, bass heavy, balanced?

The Deft 2 has big bass and a big sound. Apparently it's the same as a Pearl or some Goldring cart, I'm not sure. There's an old thread on VE about it.

If you're looking for a balanced sound, consider the capacitance of your cables and preamp. Ortofon wants to see < 300pF total. AT wants < 200pF. M97 needs 250pF or you get a big treble dip. Too much and a rolled off high end.

The Shure, Nagaoka and I think Stanton are more bass oriented or "mellow". Looks like there's much love for the 2M Red, but there were many complaints about sibilance a number of years ago.
If you have a low capacitance input, the AT95VL (vivid line) or newer 100E, both for med mass arm, is a better choice IMO, but that depends on what you're looking for.
Standard S shaped arm ...shure m97xe has a romantic somewhat veiled sound...reminiscent of classic 70s era tube amps, etc...the m97he that came out in the 80s was a great cart...wish they still had that one in production...2m is is AT 120e
I took the leap gents...maybe not best for my initial post...but for clarity, open midrange, and punchy detailed bass...At440mmla does the trick...brings and excitement and energy to the proceedings!
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Everyone talks about the treble extension with the 440...but what about bass definition?...its staggering...punchy, articulate, and very clean...that's what sold me...hopefully the highs won't be a deal breaker in the does the 2m compare? Bass articulation? One thing the m97 needed help with imho

02-13-15: Viridian
Great buy for $100.00; nice score....
$100 was his original budget, but I'm not sure that he got an AT440mla for that. Those were $100 in 2008 when the dollar-to-yen exchange was particularly favorable. That's when several people here (and I) got the AT150MLX for $250.

These days, the best price I know of on the AT440mla is $174.99 at
Yeah, over budget...but well worth it! I was contemplating 120e for a moment...but the minimal extra was worth it.
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Twice the price doesn't automatically equate to double the pleasure...but in this case it does...thanks to all...just for the record...the 2m was right there...absurd cart for the money