Looking for recs for my first foray into MC cartridges...

I am hoping to keep my budget around $500.
Existing system includes:
-Garrard 301 turntable 
-Thomas Schick 12" tonearm
-Jolida JD 9 II tube phono stage
-Supratek Chenin Line stage tube preamp
-Cary 200.2 solid state power amp
-KEF r700 loudspeakers
-REL r900 subwoofer

At your price range I would look for a lightly used Shelter 501 or 501 II. Very nice sounding cartridge with reasonable output. A great value lightly used or with a SoundSmith retip.

The Garrard 301 with Schick is a nice combination.
Isn't one of the main reason to get the Schick arm is a desire to mount a heavier cartridge like a Denon 301R (or its modified brethren like the Zu) in your budget or the Ortofon SPU series? Cheers,
Hey Spencer,

yes, I have been considering the Zu Denon DL-103 (not the 103R because I don’t need a boost in treble). The problem is Zu Audio has been sold out of these for some time now.

The Denon 301 is a high compliance cartridge not suitable for the Schick arm. The Denon 103 or 103r are suitable cartridges, though I prefer the plain 103 for its better balance IMHO.

i would suggest the new Ortofon SPU #1S. It's a little over budget but the SPUs are at the design center of your tonearm.

Happy listening.

Jared, If i were you i’d rather try Allnic Puritas, Miyajima Shilabi or Kansui on Thomas Schick "12 tonearm. I’ve owned the arm for 3 years and sold it towards my investments to Reed 3P "12 Cocobolo. The Shick is nice with low compliance cartridges, but Denon 103 and SPU are not the ultimate in this class (but best match for this tonearm, indeed). Also i think this is not the best arm for refined mid compliance modern MC cartridges with its stock wirings and $5 neutrik rca connectors. Schick is great with oldschool low compliance cartridges (don’t forget the EMT carts). I would go for used Miyajima instead of new SPU or cheaper new Denon. My low compliance (8cu @ 10Hz) vintage Argent MC500HS cartridge was great on Schick, but even better on Reed 3p now.
Chakster, I am sure the Allnic Puritas ($4,950), Miyajima Shilabi ($2,800) or Kansui  ($3,600) are all great cartridges, but the OP said his budget was $500.

Any other thoughts?
Ortofon Quintet Red or Blue.  Very nice and track at 2.3 grams nominal.
@viridian Thanks for the clarification there; my occasional dyslexia shows itself when discussing Denon cartridge models! 

@rotarius I didn't expect those recommendations for this thread. Is there a reason why those are a particularly good match w/the Schick arm? Cheers,
@sbank, the Quintets are low compliance, weigh 9 grams and sound very good so they could be considered in this case.  I own a 103S, have used other 103 types in the past.  My opinion is that the Quintets are bit more refined than the 103.  This was apparent when playing orchestral pieces. Good bass and treble not tipped up either.
Jared, how do you like your sound? Do you want something detailed? Warmer in the mids? What cartridge are you using now, and what do you feel like the change should do?
@thiefoflight I do love my sound now, just always looking for something more. I currently use an Ortofon 2M Bronze cart as my main (I also use an Ortofon 2M mono and an Ortofon 78 cart). I am definitely looking for more detail...