Reasonable moving coil cartridge


I am looking to purchase a Music Hall 1.5 TT. The selling point being a removable headshell. 

That being said, i am looking for a reasonably priced moving coil cartridge to use on the MH. My preamp is the Bryston 1B- MC. I am not looking to refinance my house. Something in the neighborhood of $200-300 USD. I dont need to worry about a moving coil amplifier as the MC comes with one built in.

thanks
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$200-300 USD for MC cartridge? I think it’s impossible to find any good one at this budget, you need a LOMC, not a HOMC as suggested above.

High Output MC have more coil winding, they are always inferior in comparison to the Low Output MC, so my advice is to stay away from the HOMC.

Each time you think about cheap MC cartridge remember that you will have to re-tip it after 600hrs (if the tip is elliptical, but on cheap MC there is only conical or elliptical), the cost of re-tip is more than the cost of your cartridge, you’re buying another cartridge every 600 hrs or you send yours for re-tip, they got you. You trying to save money on low budget MC, but actually you will pay more. That’s the trick.

Most of the cartridges at this price range will be mediocre, because most likely you can find only Conical tip at this price, Aluminum cantilever. The price is even lower than awful Denon 103.

You’d be better with MM or MI cartridges, but still the budget is too low, i think $350-450 is enough to buy absolutely perfect MM with advanced stylus profile and great sound (much better than most of the LOMC at this price). And you can replace the stylus by yourself.

In my opinion the best you can get for about $350-450 is MM, as pointed out in another thread Stanton/Pickering with STEREOHEDRON stylus are the best among low budget MM. Read.

Another favorite is Pioneer PC-1000 mkII with beryllium cantilever.
Victor cartridges are great, for some of them brand new JICO SAS styli available.

You can also look for Audio-Technica with MicroLine stylus and Garrott with Micro Scanner MKII MM cartridges.
But make sure you’re buyin’ phono cartridge with great stylus profile (definitely not conical) and it must be nude diamond, not bonded.


A Denon DL-301 MK II is a really nice cartridge.  From a dealer they are $400.  I saw one on an auction site for $300 -  https://www.ebay.com/p/2302336364

Having said that, why would you spend almost as much on a cartridge as the turntable?  An entry level table like that isn't going to do justice to a better cartridge.  It's a nice entree into the world of vinyl just to see if you like it or not, but if you care about sound quality, you'll end up selling it before long.  Instead of going through that exercise, I'd suggest looking for a used table of better quality, at least equivalent to the Music Hall 5.X series.
Agree with chakster. Don't bother with a cheap mc cartridge. In your price range mm is better performance. Yes vintage is best but if that’s not for you just buy new. Still better to do some research and buy vintage. Even in a higher budget,  many here still prefer vintage mm to expensive mc. Im just learning this myself. Ive been into audio since the 80’s and always used mc. I wish i was guided better back then when i could buy these great mm new from the store. 
About the denon mc. It only sounds good in an expensive heavy arm. Imo. So whats the point.
You mean like that heavy expensive arm on my Technics SL1200 MK2?

I don't think that a Music Hall 1.5 is worth spending any money on, but that's a different topic...
Both of them ( DL-301 II & DL-110 ) have Elliptical tip, it's ok for about 600 hrs of use and then re-tip with drop of glue or it must be re-cantilevered, but for this price a better MM cartridges can be acquired with Stereohedron Tip (twice as much stylus life span and user replaceable in a few seconds).  

The only benefit of aluminum cantilever is pressure-fitted diamond, when you remove pressure-fitted diamond and glue another one instead it is degradation (a typical re-tipping process), even if the diamond is new. So it's better to change the whole cantilever (can take up to 3-5 month) or to buy another cartridge (better idea in this situation with MC limitation). 




Elliptical styli are in no way, shape or form limited to 600hrs. My AT33E has run for a minimum of 800hrs, more likely around 1000hrs and is still in good shape.

The reason many (but certainly not all) ellipticals wear out quite quickly is that they are destined for cheap cartridges and hence lower quality diamonds are used. And low quality diamonds do of course wear out sooner than good quality diamonds.....

However, an elliptical and a contact line made from the same quality diamond will see a far smaller difference in longevity.

The remainder of Chakster’s assertions are also utterly wrong. There is absolutely no need to accept a bonded stylus as substitute for one that is press fitted as long as you use a skilled re-tipper. There is also absolutely no reason to assume that a re-build or re-tip will take 3-5 months - my last one took less than 4 weeks. Just show a little sense and ask before sending in your cartridge. If the waiting list is long, choose somewhere else to send it.

Basically, Chakster’s proselytising should generally be taken with a large bag of coarse sea salt.
The Needle Clinic replaced the cantilever and tip on my ZU DL103 Cartridge.  He is very quick.  I sent it out on a Tuesday by Priority Mail, he received it 2 days later on Thursday.  The next day which was Friday he sent me an invoice with the USPS tracking number as he already shipped it back to me.  I received it the  following a Tuesday.  Exactly 1 week from start to finish.  The sound is better than when new. 
I should correct something. When i commented earlier i meant new cantilevered not retip. SoundSmith calls themselves retippers but mostly as far as i know they prefer to recantilever. All three that i had done were recantilevered. I don't actually hear much about just retipping. Correct me if this is wrong.
@chakster 
It’s wrong. And a sample size of three is hardly consequential.

Only they can answer as to their preference, but a complete rebuild offers the re-whatever far more control of the quality of the finished product (and of course more money). A simple retip might quite conceivably fail or deteriorate within an unreasonable time frame if the cartridge is old, due to factors outside their control.
Wrong strategy, Number One. Don’t waste your money on upgrading the cartridge on an economy table. That said, if you must, the Audio Technica VM540ML would be an improvement on the Melody. You’ve got to remember you can’t just put a good cartridge on an okay table and expect it to perform at its best. A cheap cartridge on a top table will blow away a great cartridge on an economy table.
I don't even know why you guys are going on and on about re-tipping rebuilding. he's looking at a $300 cart who in their right mind re-tips a $300 cart more economical to buy a new one. Ok ok I know someone has a ultra rare cart they love and will pay to re tip it but 99% of the rest just toss it and buy new at those price levels. 

Ok rant done,

 I agree with the others stick to MM-MI in that price. 
The Denon as much as people gush over it its a dud IMO (conical tipped) Its fine if your looking for that 70's rock sound ie boomy bass, descent mids and rolled off highs but really its a budget MC when the higher end MM's in the same price range are better. Sticking a different body or tip on it helps but its never going to be a $600 cart even with $500 added on in upgrades. Ok my opinion after owning one and trying to get decent sound out of it. 

After owning a VDH MC 10 for 20 years I cannot recommend faster the VDH mc 10 as an entry level MC cart. you'd have to save up some though. The Van Den Hull MC10 its their entry level LOMC and its got 90% of the VDH upper end and of course VDH's fantastic Stylus profile. I think its a great value, you see them for around a grand new. Rebuildable of course and excellent  longevity. I've had mine rebuilt cost about 40% of the new cost. 

Glen 


Any LOMC about less than $800 or so is probably not going to be any better than a good MM or MI cartridge.

Go with MM or MI, with something like a Nagaoka MP300 or MP500 or Ortofon 2M black or Godring 2400 (or similar). You can get them almost half price on ebay. Only a few weeks ago, on ebay, I found an MP500 for less than $250 with a broken stylus and got an MP300 stylus for it.

Note that although these "esoteric" styli types (line contact, shibata etc), are highly touted, some are EXTREMELY finnicky to set up to get their angles correct. An elliptical or an hyper elliptical will be much less sensitive to this (and much cheaper). MP500 will accept either an 300 or a 500 styli. 2M black will also work perfectly well with a 2M blue stylus too.

At my teenage years of 62, I doubt I can hear the nuances any cartridge can offer which is more than about 300 bucks.

second @merosen40 - owned them both and they are excellent entry level cartridges for the money. That was two years ago and as most of here know, I fell into the rabbit hole and started to upgrade my TT and cartridges. And I can tell you that from experience (now Linn Sonedek LP12 with Koetsu Black cartridge - bought used) that there is noticeable difference in all aspects of ugrading your sound experience, turntable included. The trick IMHO is to first make a slight upgrade change (as you are), spend some time enjoying your new sound, for more than a while...then and only then begin to upgrade components that match your system. AND listen to this group in its entirety, there are some really experience audiophile people who have been in your exact shoes...maybe the better question to ask the group is you are interested in purchasing a new TT with cartridge for $X dollars and like the idea of a removable head. I think you will get some great answers. Enjoy the ride !!
Look on Ebay for an AT-12sa vintage cartridge you can find NOS for around $200.00 - $300.00 I picked one up a couple of months ago for $155.00 and then bought a NOS original stylus for another $55.00Shibata stylus MMOr if you want to spend a little more you can look for a vintage NOS AT-15sa for around $250.00 then just buy a NOS stylus for around
another $150.00 - $200.00Best yet upgrade your TT to at least an MH 3.3 or 5.3 TT otherwise as stated above just wasting your money on a cartridge that is going on an economy TT
I will second both the audio technica at-f7 @ $259 currently on Amazon. I will also highly recommend the Hana EL @ $475! The Hana is absolutely wonderful for the money. At elusive disc.com they are running a special right now on the hana @ I believe $427 if you trade in any brand working or non working cartridge. If I were you I’d go with the Hana and just buy a cheap pos cartridge off Ebay for 7 or 8 bucks and use it as trade in value towards the Hana. Otherwise, for the money, you will find none better for the price of the aforementioned audio technica F-7. Look at the review of the AT @ whathifi....the people telling you that you need to spend over 800 bucks to get a good M/C cartridge are full of crap! Maybe that was how it used to be, but not now....we live in a wonderful time to be an audiophile...there are extraordinary bargains to be had....
I loved my Denon 103 D. LOMC. Compliant with many arms. Should be in your price range. Look it up.
Several solid recommendations here. Thank you!

One brand that is noticeably absent is Ortofon. 

thanks

In my opinion....

The price range you're suggesting does not have any adequate moving coil cartridges.  Or t least any moving coil cartridges that start to reveal some of the potential of MC carts.  IMO, the real entry-level moving coil cartridge is the Audio Technica OC9/II.  Some higher-priced cartridges are as good, but they are higher-priced.  At their price point, Audio Technica moving coil cartridges seem to be the best in their respective classes.  Many of their top cartridges are based on the OC9 design.  And for good reason.  

I used OC9/II's for years.  Only recently have I moved to Lyra cartridges.  But I still have an OC9/II as a backup.  

@bpoletti, unless I am mistaken jumping from an ATOC9II to Lyra is at least an order of magnitude jump in the price. Does that  jump REALLY justify the sonics ?  Note that at my age of 62, I very much doubt I hear anything over 16k if I am lucky.
Gotta ask a question.  Back in the day, the SME arms were not considered to be highest quality as they had a removable headshell.  Arms with fixed headshells were considered SOTA.

Has this changed over the years?  What arms are considered to be SOTA today?  Back then Linn Sondek was considered the best belt drive table and Technics the best direct drive. although there was a constant back-and-forth as to which drive was "better."

Today?

Cheers!
I'd suggest having a read over at The Korf Blog.  It's the only place I know of where measurements of (a few) tonearms and headshells can be found.
Anyway, there are a number of very good tonearms around today which feature removable headshells.  Ikeda, Thomas Schick and Reed to name the three which spring immediately to mind.  No doubt there are more.
I doubt that anyone today would consider the LP12 to be the best belt drive table available, while the Technics is likely still up there.  Not many new DDs
to be had these days though.
Do you need the built-in MM preamp? You do not!  Don’t waste your money on a table with that feature!  Check out the Fluance RT-85; it is supplied with an Ortofon 2M Blue MM cart. Enjoy for now, then choose the ATO9XEN. Or buy both and sell off the unused 2M Blue. You’ll pay $850, recoup maybe $150...still right on budget. 
Note that although these "esoteric" styli types (line contact, shibata etc), are highly touted, some are EXTREMELY finnicky to set up to get their angles correct.


I do not agree, correct set up of any cartridge is important, once you can set up a cartridge you can do it with another one. Manufacturer recommendation for Shibata or LineContact or whatever is the same (tonearm must be parallel to the record surface when the needle is on the record, azimut must be correct). Since you have protractor with your arm there is nothing to worry about. What else? A tonearm with VTA on the fly is great, fine tuning by ears.

Honestly i have never experienced any difficulty to set up the most complicated profiles like Ortofon Replicant (similar to F.Gyger and VdH) for example.

Do not afraid of the styli :)) And practice, it is easier than anyone can expect, i do not use any special devises, just Dr.Feickert protractor and ortofon digital gauge.
chakster
... correct set up of any cartridge is important, once you can set up a cartridge you can do it with another one.
If precision and accuracy are your goals, properly installing and aligning a cartridge with a conical stylus is a whole lot easier than one with an elliptical cartridge. Similarly, properly installing and aligning a cartridge with an elliptical cartridge is a lot easier than doing the same with a cartridge that uses a fine-line stylus.
Manufacturer recommendation for Shibata or LineContact or whatever is the same (tonearm must be parallel to the record surface when the needle is on the record ...
I’ve never seen any phono cartridge manufacturer use the height of the pickup arm to specify how its cartridge should be aligned. Typically, a spec is given for VTA and/or SRA - that’s what should be measured to ensure correct alignment.
A tonearm with VTA on the fly is great, fine tuning by ears ...
I think that’s an over-rated feature. When you change VTA, you also change overhang, SRA and VTF - even if only by a small amount.
If you're set on trying a moving coil cartridge, one of our poster above have already mentioned the Audio-Tecnica ATOC9/II, this would be my choice if I were looking for an MC in this price range.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Audio-Technica-AT-OC9ML-II-Cartridge/202821207107?epid=2255378245&hash=item2f39160443:g:4VgAAOSwFNBdw1ob  
@cleeds

No difference in alignment of the Elliptical or LineContact or whatever profile. I do the same steps when i need to mount a cartridge and align it (no matter what type). Conical is less sensitive to alignment and this is the reason it was used by professionals (radiostations, discotheque etc) where people have no time to align anything and where spare styli must be very cheap to replace when it’s broken.

Cartridge designed for use on a headshell which is flat, in this position the stylus tip already aligned correctly, tonearm designed for use in parallel to the record surface when the needle is on the record, headshell is a part of the tonearm. If headshell, tonearm are parallel to the record then cartridge is also parallel to the record and then the stylus is just fine in this position. This is a starting point. But fine-tuning is always possible!

Everyone can check it without any special devices.

If someone prefer to spend time aligning a cartridge with some computer devises, microscopes, analyzers, apps ... instead of enjoying the records after visual alignment with some nice protractor, then i think this category of people belong to a very small group of audiophiles.

I trust my ears and this is my advice for anyone, especially for those people who ask about cartridges here, if they can’t decide about cartridges and someone willing to drop all that BS on them about some special devices, some difficulties in alignment of everything on turntable, i want to say this is all false in my opinion. It is easy to learn and very easy to use a turntable, cartridge etc. Loads of tutorials are on youtube for free (Mr.Fremer even released a DVD about it, but it’s not free).

It is very important to buy a cartridge with the best profile, not with the worst profile! This is a progress in analog reproduction and millions of people using those cartridges and styli, because they are better in terms of sound (also better in terms of recordwear). If someone prefer to use the worst stylus on the planet (like conical) just because this type of stylus does not require alignment at all (it’s conical) then i don’t think they have much interest in analog or high fidelity.

Everyone can use and align the most complicated stylus following step by step tutorial and verify by ears. It makes sense to use them on better tonearms.

Not everyone can detect a tiny difference in VTA and VTF, also not everyone can detect any difference between alignment methods. That’s for sure.

But everyone can hear the difference between Conical tip and MicroRidge tip on the same cartridge. Even if the Micro Ridge is not 100% perfectly aligned (in theory) it will be a better profile in detail retrieval, soundstage, resolution, depth etc. I’ve heard it million times in the headphones using two identical average turntable connected to the average phono preamp. In the main system the difference is huge even for my guests (not audiophiles).

Fairy tales about difficulties in alignment of the cartridges with advanced profiles must be ignored. Having over 50 cartridges my experience is different. Advanced stylus profile is always better than conical and elliptical if you can compare them on the same MM cartridge (where you can swap then in a 10 seconds) to make sure. 
I do had an opportunity to compare on the same design several stylus profiles on LOMC. So I can agree sometimes fairy tales about superiority of advanced profiles can be ignored also.
Profile is foreseen by design and engineer. SPU Wood A for example has conical stylus.
Would the AT OC9/II be considered a step up in sound (even tho it is cheaper) from my Dynavector 10X5 homc?
I do had an opportunity to compare on the same design several stylus profiles on LOMC.


How can you do that with LOMC? Please explain.
You cartridge must be re-tipped if you want to add another profile, retip is degradation in sound, this is why your experience is not positive. 

So I can agree sometimes fairy tales about superiority of advanced profiles can be ignored also.

Give us an example when Conical profile is better than anything else, or please recall an elliptical that better than MicroRidge or similar profile. 

Profile is foreseen by design and engineer. SPU Wood A for example has conical stylus.

SPU is oldschool cartridge designed in the 40's, maybe you like cactus stylus or those steel needles for gramophones too ?

I owned SPU Classic with conical tip and this is an awful cartridge just liek Denon 103, next one was SPU Spirit LTD with Elliptical and it was much better cartridge, last one was SPU Royal G mkII with Replican 100 and this is the best SPU i have ever heard in my system. 

If you want to re-tip your MC cartridge every 600 hrs you can use Elliptical, life span of the conical tip is shorter. But if you want to use your SPU for 2000 hrs then Replicant 100 is the best (the finest quality). 

What is your argument ? 

I want to tell you that nobody uses a conical tip anymore on any high-end cartridges, it is inferior profile by default, it's obvious for any cartridge designer today and it was obvious even in the 70's/80's. Since JVC invented Shibata. 

Even Ortofon claimed that conical is the worst stylus profile and you can read it in their books, catalogs etc. Check this for example. 

If you don't know the basics about diamond profiles please find a valid source and read about it. 
@bajaed 

In my opinion and personal experience....  

I haven't heard a Dyna 10X5.  I know some audiophiles whose opinion I trust that say the OC9/II is as good as it gets under $1,000, but there have been a lot of advances in cartridges in the last few years and would question that opinion today.  I also know some audiophiles whose opinion I trust that say the Dyna carts flesh out musical instruments better than the better AT's.  But there are new AT's that they haven't heard.  

Comparing the 10X5 HOMC to the OC9/II is also comparing a HOMC to a LOMC.  IMO, the LOMC would have an advantage, everything else being equal.  But the LOMC requires a phono stage with higher gain.  

My ears say that the only cartridges I'm happy with besides the AT's (and not all those) are the Lyra carts (and not all of those).    

I suggest that when it's time to replace your 10X5, you consider An OC9.  Maybe even one of the new ones.  There's even a new one with a Shibata stylus profile.  


The Ortofon Quintet Red is a great sounding MC cartridge. It just is. 350 bucks or so.
Chakster,
Somehow in Lithuania we do have 2 masters who works with cartridges. I do know both in person. And had an opportunity to listen of some of their works. One of them is my friend and once he did prototype in two versions one nude 0,5 mil conical another is contact line. Manufacturer was the same Namiki as I do recall from my memories. And CL version was inferior from the first shot. So it's not so easy to get into. It's like a cuisine in which you are extracting taste with different additives. 

And if you'll look into low compliance and LOMC cartridges sometimes cuisine leads conical profile. Perfect example is Denon DL103 with 0.65 mil conical. Weakness of Denon DL 103 isn't the conical tip itself but as it mass product it has huge variation of quality from sample to sample. Some of these are really good ones, some of them are bad ones. All is the matter of taste, like in cuisine.

As about lifetime of tip you are right. But better to check is it nude polished one or bonded one, it gives better quality idea. I won't change 0.5 mil nude conical into 0.2x0,7 elliptical bonded in any case.
Chackster is right, your budget, go for MM with advanced stylus shape.

I had an existing Shure body, so I added a new Stylus: Jico SAS stylus shape/boron cantilever. Nice MM with decently high 3.0 mV output. You could look at finding a vintage cartridge body (with or without stylus), and replace the stylus. With stylus? don’t plan on it, but you might get lucky

I also have and very much like Audio Technica 440ml, Advanced MicroLine shape. I agree, currently available Audio Technica VM540ML is a great choice, only $250. 4.0 mV output, user replaceable stylus.

https://www.audio-technica.com/cms/cartridges/e7a3d4bc8b248b64/index.html

Cantilever is aluminum, a reasonable compromise to get in budget
So after further review, and having a bit of extra money in my pocket from some unused cash bonuses from work, I am going with the following:
  • Fluance RT84 turntable: $449 (USD) - I couldn’t justify spending an extra $50USD on the acrylic platter.
  • Ortofon Quintet Red: $274.00 (USD) - It was a toss-up between this and the Denon. But since the bulk of my music is jazz bass/guitar, this seemed like a best choice.
  • Marantz CD6006 CD: $465.00 (USD) - Sadly, this is the only piece of gear available locally.

Total cost: $1188.00
The Fluance comes with an Ortofon Blue 2M cartridge (MM Elliptical). Ebay will be a good place to recoup about $100.00
Now all I need to do is figure out how to hide the boxes from the CFO when they arrive on the doorstep. The things we do for our obsession.
My advice. 
Get the Soundsmith Otello. This guy knows how to build a cartridge! You get US made hand built for mass market price!
If you want another high value cartridge and don't care about US made, get the AT740ML or AT750SH. I can testify that are very good. 
I wouldn't bother with an MC cartridge at this price point. Don't get hung up on architecture.  Just SQ for the $$$


The Sumiko Blue Point #2 got the "Gruvy Award" from "Analog Planet" and garnered this positive review:
"One of the least expensive moving coils I know of. Its high output (2.5mV) means it’s MM phono stage compatible but will give you a taste of what moving coil cartridges are all about. It features an elliptical stylus and tracks between 1.6 and 2.0 grams. Lots of detail, power and punch. Better for rock than for classical."

The Blue Point series was very popular some years ago. List price is ~$450 but doubtless it’s available for less money and brand new, too!
*sigh*

i was going to get a bit pissy, but i see i left out some information.
  1. i already have a JVC QL-A2 w/Grado Blue (MM) elliptical cartridge
  2. The new turntable will become the reference/preferred TT for new/cherished recordings.
I have the choice of sending the Bryston 1-B to be factory modified to remove the MC option, but with shipping and labor, i am approaching $500.00 w/insurance.

i certainly did look at the Hana, but wasnt sure if i could convince the CSO of te additional cost. 
Ortofon Quintet Red: $274.00 (USD) - It was a toss-up between this and the Denon. But since the bulk of my music is jazz bass/guitar, this seemed like a best choice.

No it’s not the best choice at all.
There is NO such thing as a cartridge for certain genre of music, this is a pure snake oil and everyone who telling you "this cartridge is better for this genre or that genre" know nothing about cartridges.

I think you made a bad choice with Quintet Red (Elliptical) and it will not be better than MM (especially those MM with advanced profiles).

You ortofon will be dead/worn after 600 hrs of use (like like any MC with Elliptical tip), not sure how are you gonna fix it then and do you realize the cost of retip ?

Why not just buy a better cartridge with replaceable stylus and advanced profile ?

It's quite often when people trying to help with information about weak point of the cartridge design or styli, but people just buying mediocre cartridges ignoring everything, just because some reviewer said it's great. What a kindergarten.


Chakster is right again. You are better off with a MM cartridge at this price point. To get a decent MC cartridge you have to spend upwards of $1000
IMHO Grado rules at the price you are looking at.
Chakster,
Somehow in Lithuania we do have 2 masters who works with cartridges. I do know both in person. And had an opportunity to listen of some of their works. One of them is my friend and once he did prototype in two versions one nude 0,5 mil conical another is contact line. Manufacturer was the same Namiki as I do recall from my memories. And CL version was inferior from the first shot. So it's not so easy to get into. It's like a cuisine in which you are extracting taste with different additives.

I want to say i love Lithuania and been there many times in Vilnius, Klaipeda, Nida.

As i expected you compared re-tipped samples, so no comments. 

And if you'll look into low compliance and LOMC cartridges sometimes cuisine leads conical profile. Perfect example is Denon DL103 with 0.65 mil conical. Weakness of Denon DL 103 isn't the conical tip itself but as it mass product it has huge variation of quality from sample to sample. Some of these are really good ones, some of them are bad ones. All is the matter of taste, like in cuisine.

In my opinion a conical tip can satisfy people who are using some horn systems where the extended highs of the modern high-end cartridges can be too much for the nature of horns. In this situation rolled-off highs is a compromise. In conventional systems people normally looking for extensions.   

As about lifetime of tip you are right. But better to check is it nude polished one or bonded one, it gives better quality idea. I won't change 0.5 mil nude conical into 0.2x0,7 elliptical bonded in any case.

Bonded is for very low quality cartridges
I am happy that you liked my country.

No  both Lithuanian masters now don't retip, mostly both do new cartridges. To whom and how it's another story.

You are right about horns. Most of the horns users can't bear rolled up HF as horns do shout too much. 

I am always testing cartridge for artefacts in sound. I mean I am starting to listen music which a like quite loud and if my ears is still happy after 2-3 records it's good one.  If my hand wants to crank sound down or I am finding myself somehow in the kitchen drinking coffee it goes away from my system.  Spectacular sound doesn't mean good one. 
There is no difference in aligning an elliptical as opposed to a micro line or shibata or what have you, yes. But you will need to spend extra time and care aligning the line contact type stylus than you would with an elliptical. Elliptical stylus are a bit less fussy etc...line contacts will most certainly require a more precise VTA and zenith adjustment not easily done without proper tools. Watch fremers video, there is a lot more involved....a good usb microscope and very good lighting would be good first step. And BS to the guy who said you can't get a good MC cartridge unless you spend over $1000! The Hana EL is a superior cartridge at only $475. Herb Reichert loved it so much, he uses it as a reference cartridge. I agree with Herb. Yea if you are hell bent on a line contact or shibata etc then yes spend $750 and get the Hana SL. 
Fremer always goes to extreme with his alignments, his method is not for everyone, his own system is also not for everyone with that $30k SAT tonearm, i remember hot discussion about this tonearm alignment null points etc (some members claimed they are way off).   

Hana made by Excel Sound who released so many cartridges back in the days, no one mentioning them. They made cartridges for SAEC, Argent and many other companies in the 70s/80s.
I've been MC curious for a few years now but have been put off by the high prices and all the talk about how you don't really experience what a true MC cart does until you get above the $1000 price point. So it's always been on the back burner as I will never be able to spend that sort of money for a cartridge.
Of course I still read post about them and wondered if a lowly Denon DL-103 might make me happy. Along the way I picked up a Denon AU-320 SUT, just in case, it was on a gear trade.
I finally bit the bullet after reading several post by audio geeks that had gone down the rabbit hole and worked their way up to multi thousand dollar MC carts.
Seems several of them over the years had started on the lowly DL-103 and still had one in their stash so when their expensive high dollar cart when in for service they put the DL-103 back on to keep their TT up and running.
Not one of them had anything bad to say about the DL-103 after mounting it. Sure it didn't offer the super high resolution of the mega dollar cart but they all said it was just so much more musical and really enjoyed it.
After reading several accounts of this over the years I finally purchased one and am glad to say that I'm delighted with it. It make music sound the way I want to hear it, very musical, not sterile.
My MC "Rabbit Hole" is getting a few broken DL-103 carts and modifying them. I have a DL-103S with a fine elliptical and a wood bodied DL-103 with a hypereliptical sitting here to play with.
I've been using this DL-103 on a fairly new to me JVC QL-A7 TT. That was a revelation switching to that TT in itself.

BillWojo
For $200-300 MC????
Save your money and time until you will have around $1000
For now get Goldring 1042 and I think you will be happy