Shure V15Vmr or Ortofon OM20 Super?

I need a fresh cartridge for my backup table. I can purchase a new stylus for my older Shure V15Vmr (note, this is not the more recent V15Vxmr), or a new Ortofon OM20super. I enjoy the sound of the Shure very much but find it a tad lean at times. Budget is around $120.00. Thanks for any input and happy holidays.
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If you think that the Shure is lean, you won't like the Ortofon at all. The Ortofon is much quicker sounding with better definition whereas the Shure is slower with less separation. If the Ortofon were an active component, it would remind of Musical Fidelity gear. Nice to listen to but lacking in body and warmth.

Depending on the mass of your arm and versatility of your phono stage, you might want to check into some of the various Grado cartridges. Grado's are to cartridges what Cardas are to cables i.e. warm and smooth while still retaining a good portion of high frequency articulation. Sean
Hi Marty, I recently restylied two 20 plus year old carts, a Shure M91ED and Ortofon TM20U, at the same time. Useful Shure info/facts at:

Good service and OEM styli from authorized Shure/Ortofon dealer at:
Guaranteed genuine and ten percent off the second stylus was hard to beat. Good people too, no relation.

Having only one headshell I ran the Ortofon first because in my case it has the higher pedigree/cost more. Of the two the Ortofon has a more refined and extended sound. The Shure is more robust and dynamic with a deeper midrange. Plus the M91ED is higher output at .5v than the .4v of the TM20U.

FWIW and all things considered, especially the phono stage in the Threshold FET nine/e which has extension to spare, the Shure works better for me. It simply has a rightness the Ortofon lacks. The Ortofon might be smoother but it's drier too, close but not quite limp in comparison to the bold Shure. Once again system matching is the key.

So, for the moment the Ortofon is back in it red velvet casket for the day my system returns to the dark side and its lighter tone is once again required. According to Shure their MM carts don't wear out. Yep, sounds unbelievable but mine sounds better than ever!
Great input, description and analysis from the pevious two, agree entirely, for what that's worth. If you find the Shure already lean, then definitely look at the Grados. In your budget range is also an NOS cartridge which appears quite often at your price, the ADC XLM MKII, which would actually be up in Grado Platinum territory in terms of ultimate sound quality, big, bold, detailed and warm all at the same time. Check ebay, and good luck.
Ortofon om20 super?? why? That would be a downgrade!! I replaced my om20 super with a shure m97xe and couldn't be happier. much more body and a more natural tone and presentation.
Thanks for all of the input. I have owned various Grados over the years and still have a Black. I bought a Platinum and used it in my main rig for a while, both sound a bit thick to me and not really pacy enough. In all fairness, I have also had a Shure V15Vxmr in this system and it was quite a bit fuller than my older V15Vmr is. Funny enough, I still have an original ADCXLMII Improved in my box and brought it out and tried it today; nice, but not resolving enough. It's probably twenty years old, so current production will probably sound much better. It has low hours though. Looks like it is back to Shure land. A happy and prosperous holiday to all.
Marty: Did you ever experiment with the loading that you were using with your Grado's? It is possible to play games with tonal balance and transient response by doing so. Having said that, i still find the Grado's to be a bit on the "warm & smooth" side as noted in my above post. As one climbs in price, this becomes less of a factor i.e. the higher that you go in the Grado product line, the more open and spacious the sound becomes.

You should try running a Stanton 881S Mk II with the original D88S stylus that is available from KAB Electro-Acoustics on their Stanton page.

Adjust your phono loading for appr 47K and experiment with the total capacitance, taking into account the tonearm cabling and interconnects used. Depending on your personal preferences and system traits, you should find that this cartridges likes somewhere around 180 - 225 pF of TOTAL capacitance. Running this cartridge at Stanton's recommended 275 pF's doesn't work as well as they think it does.

Using this approach, the original 881S or 881S Mk II with the D88S stylus provides very even response across the band. Even though treble response is pretty clean ( this is NOT a high dollar MC cartridge ) and extends to well beyond 20 KHz, it is not "sharp" or "etched" sounding in the least. In this respect, the Ortofon OM series will have more treble "zing" or "attack" if that is what you are after. This cartridge demonstrates good lateral spread and better than average depth. On top of that, it is an excellent tracker and the stylus shape is very good at preserving your precious vinyl, keeping the noise floor nice and low.

Before buying an 881S Mk II from anyone else, try calling Kevin at KAB and see if he'll get you one. He used to sell them, but for some reason, doesn't stock them anymore. Either way, i would HIGHLY recommend picking up the D88S stylus from him and using that. The D88S is a FAR superior stylus to what comes stock on the current 881S Mk II. This would give you a brand new cartridge with a spare stylus for somewhere around $225 or so.

The Stanton works best in a low mass arm as it is quite high in compliance. In this regards, Shure's are more "universal" cartridges as they are lower in compliance. This allows them to work in both low and medium mass arms a little better. Given that i don't know what arm that you are running, i thought that this might be kind of important to know BEFORE spending any money : ) Sean

PS... The Ortofon OM series are all identical in terms of their cartridge body. One can buy a used OM-10 for next to nothing and then upgrade to an OM-30 stylus for less than the cost of a new OM-30. I also remember Agon member Zuki selling Ortofon OM series cartridges at VERY reasonable prices if one liked the Ortofon sound.
Thanks so much on the 881s lead; I will check this one out. It sounds like a winner, though may end up being out of my budget. Arms are mostly the Micro Seiki MA404L on a MR-711 turntable and sometimes an older Technics, both use universal headshells so that it is easy to switch them out. I also have a Rega P3 that I occasionally use in this system. The Stanton may not be a good match to the more massive Micro arm, but we are talking a second, bedroom system here. The Ortofon's are on closeout and Jack's Music Factory has the OM20 for $109.00 delivered, though feedback indicates that this is probably not the right direction for me right now. Phono stage is the original Musical Fidelity XLP with XPSU power supply. I can't even get the thing open so any loading and capacitance issues are probably not addressable, or I am just too damn lazy. The MM stage on the XLP is pretty good, but the MC stage sucks. I have a Denon AU-320 transformer, but, for simplicities sake, I decided to forego the MC, though the Denon 103D from my main rig sounds OK through this setup. Thanks again for all of the input.
I would skip the Stanton for use with these specific arms and not being able to alter the loading wouldn't help either. Off the top of my head, i can't think of another inexpensive cartridge to go with. Sorry i'm not much help on this one : ) Sean
Shure all the way: sound accuracy due to the high tracability!
bought my first high quality cartridge in 1987 - Shure V15-V MR and never regretted that. couble of years later after this changed it for Shure Ultra 500 and have lived happily since!
Obviously, this questionis now moot, as replacement stylii are in the $200.00 plus range.