Rega RP8 cartridge?

I have a new Rega RP8, on which I am running a Denon301II, and I love the sound; I haven't been that impressed with Rega cartridges, which is why I didn't order the Alpeta. Can anyone out there suggest cartridge upgrades [budget under $2000].
If it being only around $500 doesn't bother you, the Nagoka
MP-500 is superb on acoustic music,from rock I can't comment.
I own a very similar TT and I use the Lyra Delos ($1650.00) with excellent results.

The Delos has a unique pre-angled damping system. The pre-angled dampers work together with the angle of the body structure so that, when tracking force is applied, the signal coils are optimally aligned with the magnet circuit.

Do some research:

"The Delos combines ultra-fast detailed and pristine transients with sufficient midband richness to avoid sounding overly analytical".

"It aims for tonal neutrality, particularly in the midrange and free of congestion".

"The cartridge’s dynamic expression, particularly on the microdynamic level, was beyond what is usually attained at this price point as was its ability to produce image and stage three-dimensionality".

For me...... it just sounds "right" and fatigue free in my set-up:

Rega RP3 (only the plinth w/double brace tech, 24V motor, bearing well, everything else is gone)
Rega RB808
Groovetracer package - zirconia bearing, reference sub-platter, sapphire thrust plate, delrin platter, 130 grams counterweight
Dayton Audio adjustable brass cone footers
Edwards Audio TT-LB little belter

This is, hands down, the best cart I have ever owned.
Happy listening!
I used to have a Delos and I like the EMT TSD15 better, although you'd have to research the arm for compatibility. I use it on the WT Simplex and I find it just a bit more like people playing instruments than the Delos, which I also loved.'ve been reading too many ads
I've owned the Clearaudio Maestro and Virtuoso, the Ortofon 2M Black, the Soundsmith Zephyr, and most recently the Lyra Delos and Kleos. More detailed reactions are posted here and there in various Forum posts.

The primary reason for me jumping around with the Clearaudio and Ortofon cartridges is because of equipment compatibility issues. I just couldn't get those carts to settle down when mounted on my VPI JMW uni-pivit arm.

The Zephyr is an ok cartdige at its price point and works very well with my VPI arm. I'm holding on to my Zephyr as a backup cartridge.

But the Lyra cartdiges are a whole "nuther" ball game. I tried the Delos and fell in love with it. It mated very well with my VPI arm and it really produced beatiful music. I loved it so much that I jumped to the Kleos. As good as the Delos is, ... and it's very good, the Kleos is even better.

The reason for the long story is to echo Kiko's and DHcod's favorable comments. I think both Lyra cartrdiges are very strong performers at their price points.

Of course I end with the usual caveats. I am reporting on my exeriences and sharing my subjective opinions. Also, one should be mindful that the output voltages of the Lyra cartridges are low'ish: .5 mV in the case of the Kleos; a little higher on the Delos. Also both Lyra are low/medium compliance rated. Tonearm compatibility is important.
At this point, Lyta cartridges are clear winners. Any other sub $2000 contenders [MC].
The Rega apheta is an excellent sounding cartridge, Big dynamics and resolution. Mounts well with the rp8. One of the best with rock and progressive music
I have a Zu 103 on my RP8 with a Groovetracer counterweight. I think that they sound fantastic together. I'm fairly certain that the Zu guys take that combo to most of the shows. That combo would come in well below your budget. It's a great match as long as you have a solid phono preamp.
The Delos is a very significant upgrade from the Denon, but you will have to raise the arm significantly to accommodate the extra height. As I recall, you may need 3-4 Rega shims. I personally had no problem with that, but some people don't like to change the Rega arm height for some reason. I'm not 100% sure, but I think the Goldring Eroica MC may well work in the Rega without shims or less anyway. It's a very nice cartridge for under $1K, IMO.
The Lyra Delos is certainly an outstanding cartridge in that price range, although I am using it on my LP12 and not on my RP8. For those who are using the Delos on a Rega turntable, how many spacers are you using? I suppose 2x2mm is the obvious choice although I have read that 3.5mm is preferable. The Delos (and Kleos) more than many other cartridges is particularly susceptible to correct VTA due to its design.

If you can find one, the Benz Glider is also a great match with the RP8 (with 4mm of spacers), although it is no longer made so may be difficult to find.

I sold the Apheta that came with my RP8 - I just didn't like the sound.