New cartridge for MMF 5

Hello, I'd like to get a better cartridge for my MMF 5 because the Goldring 1012 gx that came with it sounds very bad to me: thin voces, harsh highs, muddy bass, sound that is not involving (especially compared to the cd) and not dynamic at all. Since I don't have 2K to get a better TT, I am considering these options:

Grado Sonata 1 $600
Clearaudio Aurum Beta MK II Wood $650
Aurum Beta S MK II Wood $750
Clearaudio Virtuoso Wood at $950

I listen mostly rock and jazz, I have hardwood floor, a tube amplifier and a Vincent pho 111 phono stage.
Thanks for your inputs,

I used to own an MMF5 with a Goldring MM and did not find it harsh. If you are finding it VERY bad, my guess is the problem is somewhere else, like playing rock music too loudly, meaning beyond the system's ability to handle it. But if the CD sounds good to you, the problem may well be in the tt. Here are my suggestions - I found the MMF5 to be very sensitive to vibration. Placing the table on 3 cones seemed to help quite a bit. I used very cheap, ordinary spiked cones from Dayton and they worked fine. Second, a Herbies mat made a huge difference on this table, especially in the bass. This is funny, because the same mat on my Linn totally ruined the bass, so it's a case by case thing. Herbies offers full money back on all his products, which is cool. I would try that before changing the cartridge, but if you want a recommendation, the Goldring Eroica high-output MC is very nice for the money and will work well in the Pro-ject arm. But first try the cheaper stuff and make sure to keep the stylus clean. Good luck.
Hello Fra77, my question would be do you intend to upgrade the table or phono in the future. If so I would save most of your money for that upgrade and get an older MM/MI. There are some great $100 to $250 options available. Also I think I remember that the Goldring 1012 stylus could be upgraded.

If you are going to be keeping things as they are for a while I would do some DYI mods to the MMF5. Look online and on this forum.

I enjoyed my time with the MMF7 with the same arm I think. I sometimes had to wrap the arm with Teflon tape to dampen on some carts and used the herbie's mat as Chayro said.

I would change Vta on arm if to bright.( just mentioning in case).

BTW, I did not like the Goldring Eroica but everyone is different and our systems are different. Get out and listen if possible to find what you enjoy.

There is a 0% chance I'd spend $600+ on a cartridge for that table. But that's just me.
It makes little sense to invest in a more expensive cartridge for a table with an entry level arm.

Save your money and buy a better table/tonearm.
Thank you all for your help. I bought this TT used one year ago and I used it A LOT without ever being particularly impressed by its sound. The thing is that there's no comparison btw the Cd player (that I'm very pleased with) and the TT. The cd player wins. And that's not what I want. I know that my TT is what it is, and I do want to upgrade one day. But I can't now. So, I'll go with Herbie's mat, which I just ordered. I'll look for the cones too (silly question: do I need to install them?). I was also thinking about getting a wall shelf rack. It seems like the most popular and budget shelf here on audiogon is the Target, but both Needledoctor and Music direct say that there are problems with availability. The only one I can find is the Apollo but it's made of glass and I have read somewhere that's not ideal. Any suggestion? As for the cartridge, I'd like to try something different from the Goldring and I thought the MMF 5 was good enough to support nice cartridges. Does it make sense to think of a $600 cartridge as an investment? I would already have a nice cartridge to start with whenever I decided to get a better table. Or not?

Thank you again,
A good easy to find, low risk, choice would be a NOS Acutex 312 or 412 on Italian Ebay.Only about $60 but much better than that pricepoint .They are not as "refined" as the few you mentioned, but IMHO are very close. I personally like the 312 better but thats just me. If you don't like it sell it.

As far as using a $600 cart on that table/arm as an investment, it all depends on how long before you could get a better table to actually hear the difference in carts. I can only tell you what I would do in your place. Maybe your Idea is better if you swing an upgrade before using for 500 Hrs.

Good luck and enjoy the journey!
I found the MMF5 to be very sensitive to vibration.

This is quite an understatement. My woofers used to pump like crazy when I had an MMF-5 (regardless what it sat upon). It would be interesting to tear one apart and see if you could insert something between the plinths (like Magic Eraser) to address this issue.
Hello, here's an update about my MMF 5: I bought Herbie's mat and was happy to find out that it does make a HUGE difference. I definitely recommend it to other MMF 5 owners (if there are still some around).

Also, I built one of those 'ikea lack rack' that you can read about here on Audiogon. I have to say that I completely changed opinion about my turntable. The sound is warm, the soundstage has become wider, the bass sounds smooth, and I can finally do justice to my vinyls (not sure this sentence works in english :)

Finally, I 'pulled the trigger' (this seems quite a popular expression in the audiophile world) on an Aurum Beta S MK II (I found a good deal, so I did not pay its retail price). I still don't have it installed, hope to do it tomorrow and will let you know how it works.

I am interested in how the Aurum Beta worked out for you .
This is one of the cartridges that my dealer suggested in order to meet my requirement to warm up the sound without losing the extension , detail and seperation that I have with the stock cartridge on my MMF 5.1 , just acquired .
The other cartridge suggested was the Grado Sonata 1 .

MODERATOR...why in the heck can't I send emails to the posters ???

Thank You

sorry for replying late to your post. I'm not very good with reviews, but I can tell that the Aurum Beta worked great in every aspect of the sound quality of my table. It is especially good with piano recordings. There is no comparison with the sound I had with the stock Goldring. I should mention that the cartridge is only one of the upgrades my table had, the others being Herbie's mat, a wall mounted shelf, and a Music Hall cruise control 2.0
I had the clearaudio maestro wood on an MMF 5 playing thro a cambridge audio 640p. It sounded stunning. Since then I have upgraded the TT and phono and still use the maestro.