Please help me choose a new cart, advice needed

Okay let me start off by saying that I listen to mostly 80s/90s rock some fusion etc.. I sometimes actively listen, but my TT is almost the only source that I use at home. Its almost always playing.

My table is an oracle alexandria with a well tempered arm (I think its a classic but im not 100% sure) that I rewired with cryo cardas wire and clips. I am using a wellborne labs tube phono stage. I do not know how much gain it offers, and not sure how to find out! Interconnects are audioquest quartz. Amp is a carver PM 1.5 and speakers are mordaunt-short performance 860s. I do not own a preamp right now but have a PSE studio SL on the way.

I started with a denon DL103 cart. Always had major sibalance problems that I could not fix. I now think that cart was faulty (I still have it). I replaced that cart with an NOS sumiko BP, not the #2 version about a year ago. The BP, as everyone said, did midrange very well but the highs were always a bit chopped for me, as was the bass extension. I have a backup marantz table that I use often that I had a audio-technica at331lp cart on it with a P-mount adapter. I always kinda liked it so I swapped it to my oracle tonight. The highs that I missed are there, the midrange is not quite as forward as the sumiko (which I am not sure I like) bass is a little less but the extension seems deeper.

I think its time to put a different cart on my oracle. Can anyone help me with some suggestions? I am open to purchasing a good used cart as well. There is little chance I could swing over $400 for a different cart. Judging from my frankenstien audio-technica there must be something better out there for me! I was considering both of the top end audio-technica carts.

Any thoughts from you guys would be fantastic. I am using protractors and stylus force gauges for setup as well.

I would check out the Clearaudio Aurum Beta Mark II but if you can swing another $400 the Aurum Virtuoso Wood is superb.
You can't do better than a Dynavector 10x5 at that price (list is $380, I believe), or even a bit higher. The dynamics, especially for rock, are astounding at the price. Don't just take my word for it, search the archives for other's opinions.
I am not an expert on Oracle turntables. But Well Tempered yes! The Well Tempered arm seems to be one of the hardest things to set up correctly for most turntable lovers. They simply do not commit to tweaking, and tweaking it until they get it right. When correct, it will "sing" like magic.

I use a Denon 103R on my WTT, and it works great. Not as smooth or emotional as a better Shelter 501 cartridge would be, but for the dollar spent, I would take the Denon over the Dynavector. I also listen to Steely Dan and lots of 70's rock.

Denon discontinued the 103, so your only hopes are a used one. Be careful of cartridges that have been laying around for years in a box somewhere. The cantilever is usually all stiff and worthless. Personally, I hate the thought of buying cartridge used. Speakers are almost as bad. Electronic gear either works or its broken. Speakers and cartridges could be damaged, and it may be hard to tell.

Good Luck

Dear Evan: Another choice could be a Sumiko Blackbird ( second hand ).

Regards and enjoy the music.
I agree with Ncarv.
the system is really nice, the turntable and the speakers are indeed absolute 'classics'. i would wait until the ps is in system before getting thr new cartridge.......though the dynavector is superb
I owned this arm and both the Denon 103 and 103R are good matches if your phono preamp has the appropriate gain. Both are readily available from, and there are several resellers on ebay as well. The rumors of the 103D coming back seem to be incorrect, but it does have a bit more output and slightly higher compliance.
Thanks so much for the info guys!

Jaybo, thanks for your thoughts on the speakers when i purchsed them. They are the best piece of equipment I have ever owned by far!!

I am a tonearm tweaker, do not worry about that! I have a very through understanding of the arm and its adjustments. The only thing I hate about my WTT is the lack of on the fly vta adjustment. I guess its compounded by the oracle's suspension design making it flop all over when you touch it LOL.

I live outside chicago, so music direct is downtown. I am going to try to get down there to audition some carts. I will be sure the rest of my source components and amps are all setup and ready to roll before making a final decision.

Thanks again audigoners! - Evan
I have just had a discussion with another member who has the WTRP and it appears that caution is in order when using this arm with the Denon Cartridges. My early production arm was quite heavy, but as he pointed out, the arm on the WTRP and the carbon fiber arms are much lighter. He felt that they were not an ideal match with low compliance compliance cartridges like the Denon. Caveat emptor.
Mine is of the aluminum tube variety.

Thanks for that tip! I am leaning twoards a dynavector right now anyway due to availability.