Need help on cartridge recommendation, under 500.

I've been a long time fan & user of the excellent Audio-Technica AT-ML170 moving mag. cartridge, but...what else, am searching for perhaps more detail & smoother mids?

I'm currently using a Well Tempered "Classic" (latest version) with the outstanding B.A.K. P5 all tube phono stage.

Any & all recommendations for moving coil/magnet under $500. would be greatly appreciated.

I know the "what's missing?" feeling. I have the AT ML 150, same series, great detail, but as MF said in a stereophile review, seems to lack harmonic information. Another direction thatn the AT is the Grado Sonata, richer midrange, satisfying bass. That's all I've listened to personally. Good luck!
For $500 you can have Dynavector 20X. I'm using 20X-H with VK p5,but I think Lo version will work as well.
If you could stretch your budget a little for just under $700 you could order Dynavector XV1 or Shelter 501 from Japan.
Good luck.
used Benz Glider ~$350-450, used Dynavector 20xl or 20xh. always prefere a local pick up with my pocket microscope for these purpouses.
If you want brand new only you can get Grado Sonata MM cartridge with low output, new Dynavector 20xl or 20xh will be a little more than $500.
Direct from Japan for around $600 you can order Dynavector XX1 (not the DV1)...
Dynavector 20x has $525 list price in the US which means that you can find it for less than $500.
I would second the recommendation on the Grado Sonata at $500. Sweet midrange. Musical.
Another vote for the Sonata! Just be careful, as they have a tendancy to pick up motor hum on Linns (the very inner grooves only.) This hum is very minor.
Hey, thanks to all!

A friend of mine also says the clearAudio Aurum Beta (?) is one of the best for under $500.?

Anyone out there heard it?
You should be able to find a slightly used or demo Grado Master($800) for $500 or less.The Master is suppose to be very close to the Grado Reference ($1200)
Hi Denf,

I have always been fond of the entire Grado line, but you were asking about the ClearAudio Aurum Beta, I have the current Aurum Beta (S) and I love it.

To begin, the bass is very pronounced (not boomy) but very detailed with strong, quick attacks. The channel separation is extraordinary. It doesn’t accentuate any portion of the audio spectrum over any other, nor does it emphasize any group of instruments over any others.

However, the final glorious revelation comes from the layers and layers of beautiful, clear music, which this unit seems to dig down deep and reveal; this is particularly evident in large orchestra and choral works.

Just a great cartridge for the money.

Regards, and good luck

This is the problem when it comes to phono cart's. I live in a major metro area (Wash. DC), and exactly NO local dealers could demo ONE $500 cart, let alone do a comparitive demo. How is one supposed to make an informed and personally satisfying selection when you can't hear the product? The only way I could do it was to call specialist dealers around the country, and try to glean a consensus opinion in my price range. I wound up buying the Benz Glider M2 from Bob at The Elusive Disc, for a little above your quoted price range w/trade-in. It seems perfectly competent, if not exactly inspiring, but I'll never know what the other choices might have sounded like. If any of the audio mags really wanted to help us out, one of them would take the initiative to do a round-up review of cart's by price point (ideally using multiple reviewers), and rank the results. I know the usual review ethic militates against this sort of thing, but cart's are a unique situation - you can't hear them at the shop, and you can't try them out at home first with return/exchange priviledges. In this case, expert opinion is just about all we have to go on!
The dynavector 20x is availible at Origin Live for a little under $400. Shipping to the US is quick too. I wish I cold comment firsthand on its sound, but my TT has not quite made it to my house yet.
At $350.00 the Dynavector 10X4MII is very hard to beat. Not quite as revealing as the 20X, but very musical and non-fatiguing. If you shop around it can be had for a song.