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.