Thoughts on a $300-400 cartridge

I'm currently running a Denon DL-160 into the MM section of a new Cambridge Audio 640p phono section. I'm extremely pleased with the Cambridge, and based on what it does on the MM side, I'm optimistic about how it might handle LOMCs with the other input.

So the question is, there are some cool $300-400 carts out there, and I wonder what might be the best for the money.

Here are the candidates:

Audio Technica OC-9 MLII: Lists at $599 but currently available at $299

Audio Technica AT33PTG Prestige at $399

Denon DL-103 (about $250)

Zu-103 ($400)

Denon DL-301 II ($299)

Then there are the Sumiko Blue Point #2 ($299) and BPS EVO III ($399) in the HOMC category

Ortofon 2M Blue ($199--HOMM)

Ortofon 2M Bronze ($350--HOMM)

I have a Technics SL1210 M5G with KAB fluid damper. I've done the math and the resonant frequency with Sumiko headshell and the AT-0C9-MLII would be 10 Hz; the Denon 301 II would come in at about 9.3 Hz, both pretty ideal.
the audio technica AT150 mm ia the best cartridge i've ever used that sells for under 1k. it can be had for around 350 dollars, and rivals literally anything around the thousand dollar mark. i prefer it to their mc's too.
I've had good experiences w/ the AT OC-9ii and the Dynavector 10x5, both in similar setups (SL1210 mk3) as yours.

...lots of really good choices!
I have the same table. Kevin at KAB recommended I give the Goldring1042 a try at $399-. This is a sleeper in this price range, not as fashionable as the Denons but everybit as revealing. The difference is in the liquid mids that the Gring brings which is often overlooked. It is known to go deep into the grooves revealing notes and music that was hidden by others carts. I have been fairly impressed so far. Kevin will give you some help in deciding also, he is a great source of info on these tables. It would be nice to hear what you decide and how it works out.
All the best,
Thanks for some great recommendations. Although I was originally looking for a LOMC, Jaybo's recommendation combined with various reviews and comments convinced me to try an Audio Technica AT150MLX MM.

I considered Zenblaster's recommendation of a Goldring 1042 (or 1022 to save a little money), but a Sensible Sound review compared an Ortofon cart with Fritz-Geiger stylus vs. AT150MLX with MicroLine and concluded that while the Fritz-Geiger is great on fresh vinyl, the MicroLine is better on used, even beat-up vinyl as it finds unused parts of the groove.

Since I've hastily cobbled together a record collection from thrift shops and bargain bins of used record stores, I decided that the AT150MLX would be more practical for my situation.

I also hear good things about the 150's balance of detail against musical cohesiveness, which is important to me.

Jaybo sings the AT150MLX's praises in the context of it being a $300-400 cartridge; yet I got it at lpgear for $259, and if I'd shopped a little more, I would have found it at J&R with free shipping for $249. I'm getting a 12-gram LPgear headshell to go with it.

Allowing .5g for mounting hardware, the AT150MLX (8.3g, compliance 10) mounted on an LPgear headshell (12g) on a Technics SL12x0 arm (4.5g w/o headshell) provides a resonant frequency of 9.96 Hz, which is about as perfect a match (on paper) as can be.

I'm sure looking forward to seeing what happens.
Thanks to everybody for your advice. I am sure they would all sound great. But I had to pick just one so I went with Jaybo's advice (even though I'd mostly been thinking of an LOMC) and just took delivery of an AT150MLX today and mounted it on an LPgear Zupreme headshell that I ordered with it.

Dang! It's not even broken in yet and sounds wonderful. I'm breaking it in on some 45rpm 12" records. It has both a lushness to the sound and yet more resolution, more air, more separation, more delineation, not just in soundstage, but in timbres.

On "A Meeting by the River," with my previous cartridge I could tell when playing slide, VM Bhatt's guitar had a fuller, richer sound than Ry's thinner-sounding slide technique. But with the new cartridge, Bhatt sounds even richer and Cooder sounds tinnier. More differentiation while maintaining a cohesive whole. It's fast, too, and will probably get faster yet when it breaks in. The sound of the tablas on this combo is to die for.

Thanks again, everybody, and special thanks to Jaybo for speaking up for a MM cart!