Need help with LP cartridge choice.

I just bought a TNT V and JMW 12 arm by VPI and am astonished at the quality of this table. BUT! I am saving the cash for a good cartridge and I am new to vinyl. I mounted a Grado Signature JR MM (not real expensive, but ok) and I am playing NEW classic records pressings of Miles Davis and I get a ton of snap crackle and pop. Use a carbon fiber brush, static gun and wash and still this thing picks up every bit of pop on a record. I have a friend who has a great table set up and his plays as quiet as digital with the sweet sound of analogue. Dose the cartridge make that much a difference in the "cleanness" of the sound? I am pretty sure the set up is right. Vertical, azimuth, Tracking force and antiskate set as specified. Is there a cartridge out there that is good at keeping the popping to a minimum and why? Thanks for your help.
Did you play your record on his TT? You need to isolate what the problem is.
yes, I played it and it sounded great, but he has a very nice table with a Koetsu Platinum cart. Is that the big difference?
You may want to try other carts. Also, attempt increasing the tracking force. Not beyond recommendation, but at heavier end. Lyra Helikon has been receiving rave reviews. Have you a record cleaner/vacuum. Hard to imagine new records would be hampered with dirt and dust. Good luck
I have a TNT w/JMW12 arm also, and I chose the Benz Micro Ruby 2 about a year ago. I love the match with my system in that it delivers great impact, dynamics, and tonal balance. I am using all Krell,B&W,PAD cables, but I have heard that the Koetsu is the way to go. It all depends on what sound you are looking for. I have to recommend that you invest in an acurate stylus guage such as the "Cartridge Man". It made the biggest difference to be able to accurately check the force. Anything else is like changing the tire on a Ferrari with a lug wrench. You can really experiment within the force ranges. Also, a good record cleaning machine is a must.
The ticks and pops are from your record surface, they have nothing to do with your cartridge. With the investment you have already spent, you may want to consider a record cleaner like VPI and Nitty Gritty. They may do the trick for you. Check with your local shops and bring a few records to try out. The other way to isolate the problem is to bring your records with ticks and pops to your friend's system to determine if the problem from your records or cartridge.
another variable unmentioned re:ticks & pops is your phono stage. if u are using most of the available gain 2 obtain your preferred sound level, the noise floor is too high & you'll never get the velvety background u crave, irrespective of how often & well u clean your lp's. going from a mm 2 a relatively low-output mc cartridge may exacerbate your problem rather than curing it. if u try something like the benz ruby 2 or one of the "mid-level" koetsu's (it's ALL relative), u may also wish to try an outboard stepup. benz makes several & they're very good. BTW, i have a tnt/airtangent/benz ruby2 combo, which i'm selling in order 2 buy a basis debut vacuum/graham 2.0 ceramic/koetsu onyx platinum. the tnt is good but the basis is a huge order of magnitude better, including, importantly, in the silent background department.