Technics SL 1200GR with What Cartridge???

I'm starting yet another thread on a similar topic, because I don't want to hi-jack someone else's thread, and I haven't found the answer to my question in other threads.

OK... I'm considering returning to vinyl for some of my listening and I need a Cliff's Notes version of what cartridges I might want to use.  

I've had a Linn Sondek LP12 for years, which I've barely used... but... it's been in storage.  As I recall it was pretty "finicky" and required a lot of attention to perform it's best (which was/is good).  I don't have enough patience anymore to deal with that, and am planning on moving to a Technics SL 1200GR, because it seems simple to operate, gets good reviews and doesn't seem to require a lot of attention. 

It appears that you can get great sound quality from the 1200GR with a good cartridge.  I'm just not sure what might be optimal / best for the money.

I also do not want to go crazy with esoteric cartridges that cost a mint.  My budget is probably in a range of... say... $300-400 to maybe $800-900 (if the cartridge is noticeably better than the more modestly priced cartridges).  

My Linn cartridge is a MM cartridge, I think (Basik or K9) in an Itok arm.  

That's about it.  

I'm not really interested in considering a lot of alternatives either in a turntable, or cartridges.  

Any guidance in this context would be appreciated.


@jagjag how are you liking those jbl 4309's? Do you find them fatiguing in anyway? Also, how is the sibilance on vocals? I'd imagine that with the AT540 and the 4309's it would be quite bright....been reading about those 4309's...the price is reasonable. I don't need  them whatsoever, but I would not mind trying a horn speaker. Alternatively, I could cheap out and buy the klipsch 600m's, but I like the looks of those Jbl's....

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Good day @audioguy85,

I am very happy with the 4309's. My room is small (3m x4m) . Placement is easy. They were AB-ed with a pair of ATC SCM20's. The JBL' s were chosen in 6-0 score in my set up. I used Metallica -Black Album, ACDC -Razors Edge, Loreena McKennit -Visit and Kari Bremness - ?Name for reviewing.  My 4 daughters, wife and myself preferred the JBLs

The signal chain results in a sound I like. I have not detected sibilance, but, maybe its the music I listen to, lots of old school rock and metal. However, not detected on on Loreena McKennitt either. The Klipsch are good for the money but the price difference is reflected in the JBL. Also, in my small room, the back firing port of the Klipsch caused placement issues, even in my heavily treated room. Finally, tested the Klipsch against the JBL to see the benefit of the additional cost.

Speaker cables are a 4 wired Canare and split to biwire at the speaker end. It made a clear difference in sound. The AT 540 cart is very good in this set up. Phono stage is the built in MM stage in the Parasound Hint 6. TT is a KAB modified SL1200MK5 with Cardas tonearm wire, external PSU, strobe off function and and silicone damped trough.

As a second speaker, the Klipsch would do if a back firing port is not an issue. 

Personally I think you should just get your Linn serviced ( not upgraded ) - just cleaned, set up, new oil.

If you have the Linn K9 it is an upgraded Audiotechnica AT95.

You can buy a replacement stylus for the K9 from Expert Stylus that is outstanding and takes the cartridge up significantly in performance.

The Linn Basic cartridge is also an AT95 variant.

For a new cartridge at your price points I would go Grado moving iron - musical and very easy on the ear ( no grain ). MC's will be more demanding on the phono stage.

@ dover

Yes... that's prolly what I'll do initially, until I've decided on the cartridge and phono stage... and... whether 1200GR or 1200G.