Whats the best MC cartridge for my new VPI SCOUT?

Finally bought one and am looking for a good cartridge. Say under $800.00...or is that too much for a SCOUT with the stock 9" arm? Also, I will need a step up device to use into my MAC preamp. I awaite my enlightenment with baited breath.

Hi, Well, if it was 8 years ago, I'd probably recommend the Benz Glider Cartridge, but since then, there are many good cartridges around this same price level that will compete with the Glider, and most likely, many here will tell you will exceed the Glider's performance.

Still, the Glider no doubt continues to sell quite well, and I hope other will give tou good altenatives in this price range.

I suppose there are good step up transformers to be had, but you probably won't find the versatility of one versus a good external Phono Pre-Amp.

To get the goodies, and the sound one seeks, one sometime has to spend more than what they first originally estimated.

I highly recommend using A-Gon to purchase goods from other members here. Many of the hi-end gurus here change equipment like I change socks (God bless them!)

Mucho equipment trading hands here every day at a great savings. I myself have already spent $1,000's on a few purchases, and they were all great buys, with great, honest sellers. Mark
I don't know about the best but I use a Dynavector Karat 17D2 MkII, (could they come up with a longer name?), with excellent results on my Scoutmaster, (used it on my Scout before I upgraded). It's fast, tonally neutral and very quiet. I use it with a Dynavector P-75 phono stage in phono enhancer mode. Very nice from my perspective and I think it's in your price range. Good luck.

Lyra Helikon .... You may have to spend just a bit more!
I think the Dynavector line would be a very good place to start, look at your phono stage as this will also play a part in your decision. I used to have a Dynavector 10X5 and it is a great musical cart. if you need higher output, the 17D2MKII is also a nice cart. I did go from the 10X5 to a shelter 501 which I like a lot more but was very happy with the dyn. VPI also seems to like dynavector with their tables.
At the $800 (new) price point, I suggest you put the Shelter 501-II on your short list. It's a hell of a cartridge for the money. You could also consider the Grado Master (the one that sells for about $800).
I would not recommend a high compliance cartridge like a grado. The shelter works ok even though it is high compliant. you did not mention how much gain your phono amp has. Is it MM only? Cartridges I like (Lyra Dorian)detailed but not too much, Benz ACE or Glider nice midrange, Sumiko blackbird also detailed. Depending on model you may not need a step up (my recommendation).
I also suggest the Dynavector 17D2MKII. I'm using it with the Dynavector P75 and Scoutmaster with great results.
Get one of the ZYX carts!
Before offering suggestions the following questions should be asked:

1. Which Mac preamp? Does it have a phono stage? If so, what are its gain and input impedance?

2. What kind of music will you be playing?

3. What kind of sonic results are you after?

Rattling off some cartridge we happen to like without any effort at qualification won't help Dean_fuller know whether it will suit his system, his music or his sonic priorities.

Dean, the ball's still in your court.
having lived with the scout, jmw 9 and shelter 501 for the last 2 months or so, i'd say the combo is very good!!!

Its hard to go wrong with the shelter 501II.

good luck.
Dear Dean: If your Mac has a phono stage you can use the Sumiko Blackbird that is a very good performer and you don't need any step up device with it.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Dyna Karat
I used a Dynavector 20X-H to great effect..highly musical!
I just recently upgraded from a Dyna DV-20XH to a Sumiko blackbird. I have really enjoyed it a lot over the 20XH which was no slouch. The blackbird would have to make the short list and as stated no step-up needed. It also works very well with the JMW-9.
Thanks for all the advise...All this brings up a new question I will post in awhile.....thanks again.