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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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.