Micro acoustics 2002e Cartirdge and upgrade bug

Hello, I got back into vinyl about 7 years ago and largely have used Micro acoustics 2002e cartridges. I can't remembered how I aquired my first one but I've become accustomed to what I think a fine sound from this cartridge. At the time, it was very highly regarded. I have heard, in other systems, other carts of the likes of the upper-end Grado wood bodies and Shelter 9000 and a few cheaper carts, and I have always felt the 2002e has held it's own against these. Now after a few years, I want to explore new territory and wanted to see if anyone here has had time with the MA 2002e and if they've compared it to other carts. What price range/quality of "modern day" carts would I need to spend to get comprable sound?

I have two phono stages at my disposal: Pass Labs XOno and Dynavector P75 II.

Any input is much appreciated.
Dear Aliu: IMHO that Micro Acoustic ( I own it ) has very good quality performance.
Do you already try it with your today audio system?. There are several cartridges vintage/today MM/MI and LOMC that have great quality performance too, some that even the Micro Acoustic performance and some that beat it.
In this last position are the Dynavector XV-1s or the Ortofon A-90, both very good LOMC cartridge examples.

You can do better with this one too: http://cgi.ebay.com/Micro-Acoustics-MA-3002-300Z-MM-phono-cartridge-King-/170473718574?cmd=ViewItem&pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item27b106832e#ht_500wt_1182

or this:

Regards and enjoy the music,
I have been using the 2002e for 7 years and, three years ago, managed to buy six more MA 2002e carts (in fine condition) for a good price, so I have enough of these to last a few years! This is what's creating my struggle. I'm contemplating whether I should try something new, but it needs to be a substantial upgrade, considering the further expense and the full stock of 2002e's I own. I just don't know how much better and at what price point do these newer carts begin to significantly surpass the performance of the 2002e.

You listed the Dynavector XV-1 and Ortofon A-90, $5200 and $4200 respectively. That's at least 40 times higher than I paid for the 2002e. How do you feel the 2002e compares to these higher end carts from Dynavector and Ortofon. Also, is the Nagaoka you suggest a significant upgrade or just marginally better? I know individual perceptions may vary, but I'm really interested in your thoughts.

If I were you, I'd tap Raul's knowledge of cartridges. He has a whole bunch. I had a 2002e back in 1978 with a Kenwood KD-500 turntable modified slightly along with a Grace 707 arm. That table and arm kept me happy until 1994, when the motor started having speed problems. I went through 2 Grace F9E's, Supex SD 900e super, Dynavector 23 mrs, Adcom X-coil. All were better cartridges than the 2002e IMHO. My personal favorite was the Supex. The Dynavector was a litle thin as was the 2002e. The Supex was a big step up in all ways. I now have a Cartridge Man Music Maker III and had a Clearaudio Virtuoso Wood and both were very good sounding cartridges. I used to have a Maplenoll Ariadne air bearing table and arm for about 12 years and now have an Avid Diva II with an Origin Live Silver II with the Music Maker and the sound is even better the the 'Noll with Virtuoso. I've made so many changes that I really couldn't tell you about the sound of the cartridge specifically--sorry. All I can say is the combo I know have will satisfy me indefinitely--alive, open, dynamic, good spectral balance--probably not as incisive as a good low output mc, but darn nice.
Dear Aliu2: A cartridge decision means which budget we have. Top LOMC ones are pricey.

I concur with Dorkwad especially on the Grace F9E and the Clearaudio Virtuoso.

You can take additional cartridge links here on what I posted in other thread:


yes all those cartridges IMHO performs better that your Micro Acoustics.

Regards and enjoy the music,
Dear Dorkwad: Btw, I have not heard in deep the CMMM III but only by brief " moments " but I trust in your opinion about.

regards and enjoy the music,
I don't know about this particular model OP is asking about. But I have Micro Acoustics 630MP with thin beryllium cantilever and nude linear contact tip. It is fastest and most resolving cartridge from my stable. And I have quite a few MM/MI carts discussed in the parallel thread. I also have quite a few TOTL MC cartridges from 70s-80s. It is very fast with exemplary tracking, really hugs the curves with least overhang. The only criticism I can attribute to it to be on gray-scale side on palette. But when when my "digital" friends coming to hear something intensive like White Stripes "Elephant" album I always put it as ultimate in resolution and speed. it is not lacking in smoothness, oomph and goosebumps either.
Raul: I will consider the options you've mentioned. I'd feel comfortable if I kept the next cart purchase below 2000 dollars. Some of those you mentioned wouldn't be attainable for me unless I found a good used deal.

Dorkwad: I largely never felt my setup with the MA 2002e was ever thin- sounding EXCEPT in one instance when I used a cheaper, although somewhat well-regarded, class D amp. It was then only that I the sound was "thinner" and a touch dry, but I attributed that quality to the amp. Nevertheless,like you, I have derived satisfaction from the cart for many years and think it's time to look ahead. Thanks for sharing your experience, and I'll look into those carts you've mentioned.

Sinly123: To me, the MA 2002e sounds refined and airy, and possessing the ability to track some rough vinyl terrain and pickup fine inflections. The most likely problems for mistracking where at times loud piano strikes. Other than that, it's been good. I probably could dial-in the tonearm abit more, but I'm unsure, really. By the way, I ALSO have a pair of MA 530MP's that are a step below your 630. I can't really comment on it much as I haven't done extensive listening to it. Maybe it's time to mount it up again.