Phono cartridge recommendations

I currently have a two Benz Micro wood M2 MC cartridges and I'm interested in trying out something different for one of my setups, perhaps a low-output MC setup.  My tables are a SOTA sapphire outfitted with an Audiomod 6 arm, and a Thorens TD-124II with an SME 3009 arm.   The new cartridge would likely go on the Thorens.     

I've heard great things about the Hana ML, but I'd love to get some of your opinions if we limit to the $1K-1.5K range.  
Ag insider logo xs@2xjensmunk
hana would be a step down from a properly set up benz wood in my opinion
Koetsu Black Goldline will be a nice step up from what you have. Why you think low output is a good choice is beyond me. Especially at a lower price point you are asking for trouble. Meanwhile the Koetsu is a nice medium output easy to match and very much in the same vein as Benz, only quite a bit better in every way. Hunt around you should be able to find one for close to $1500. I did. It replaced a Benz Ruby H, a fine cart but can't hold a candle to the Koetsu.
If you like the Benz but are seeking more balance and refinement take a look at the Charisma MC-2. I have become a huge fan of their lineup—great value, super build quality and an intoxicating sound you can live with forever.
The EMT is a bit over your price range, but a great cartridge. You could also try something from the Audio Technica ART lineup. Both are good and will be different than your Benz
Grado Reference 2. Top diamond, boron cantilever, choice of outputs, top tracking, company takes care of its customers. 

I now believe that for $2000 and under Moving Iron/Magnet cartridges rule. Over $2000 MC cartridges take over but really don't come into their own until $3000. If you like energetic music MM cartridges are more dynamic. You do not get this kind of horsepower with MC cartridges until you are spending big money.

Hi Jens : Jim from Progressive. I had Benz Ebony on the Basis and now have a Lyra Delos on Brinkmann and a Grace F9-e on the rebuilt Sapphire. Soundsmith is doing replacement bits for Grace. The Delos is fantastic:-) pm to catchup on life. Best to you in the northcountry 

Perfect price point for either the Clear Audio Maestro V2 ($1200) this is the best MM youll ever hear. Also, the Dynavector 20x2L ($1000) is a .3mv low output MC which is fantastic sounding. I use the 20x2L on my JA Michell Gyro SE turntable with Manley Chinook phono stage,the results are simply excellent sound.

Matt M
Jens I put a Hana ML on the SOTA  today, excellent cartridge 
In your price range you can try to find NOS or MINT condition originals:

Audio-Technica AT-ML170
Pickering XSV/5000
Pickering XLZ/7500 
Grace LEVEL II Ruby 
Victor X1II  

All modern MM and most of the MC simply can't compete with these cartridges. Mid compliance MM are fine for your tonearms, higher compliance can be OK too. 

If you want the best from vintage MM they must be fully original and in mint condition, not a refurbished junk or worn samples. 

For under $1k you can try more amazing MM like:

Pioneer PC-1000 mkII
Stanton SC-100 WOS
Pickering XSV/4000
Sony XL-50


are they still making the at ml170?  or are we chasing old stock units at this point?


are they still making the at ml170? or are we chasing old stock units at this point?


No, they don’t make it anymore. As you can read in my old sold listing the cantilever is Boron Pipe (Gold Plated), this type of cantilevers are not available anymore for any cartridge manufacturer :( Before AT switched to Boron their choice was Beryllium, this type of cantilever is also not available for any cartridge manufacturers today.

I am talking about NOS units or used in mint condition (if you're lucky to find one). 
Ask in direct if you need help with some rare NOS cartridges, I have some in my collection.