Help me choose a mono cartridge

Hi all.

I just got myself a Black Friday gift. The Beatles in mono box set at a very affordable price on Amazon.

I do not have a mono cartridge but would like to get one to take the full sonic advantage of this box set. I do not have very many mono records. Approx. 50 out of a collection of 2000 lp's.
Which mono cartridge would you recommend in the $500.00-$800.00 range new or used.

My analog front end consist of:

Sota Cosmos IV with Graham Phantom II
Stereo cartridges are Ortofon A90 and Dynavector XV1's
Audio Research REF3 LE with GNSC reference mods
Audio Research REF 2 Phono (not SE version) with GNSC reference mods

Any recommendation much appreciated.
Thank You.

I really like my Ortofon 2M Mono. I bought it at the same
time I bought my Beatles Mono Box Set when they first came

You are going to LOVE the Beatles Mono Set!!! It's
I am also a fan of Ortofon cartridges. The 2M SE Mono was designed especially for the Beatles Mono Box set - - Here's a link to Ortofon's mono cartridge page that may be of interest to you:

I plan to replace my Lyra Helikon Mono cartridge with an Ortofon mono - just haven't decided which one to get yet, as my collection of monaural LPs includes 1950's originals up to current mono reissues from APO and others.
Is the SE model still available?
I can't seem to find it anywhere from the big online stores like Music Direct, Elusive Discs and the likes.

Thanks guys.
Smoffatt - I don't know for sure - but suspect - the SE model is still available. You may want to check with Ortofon directly to find out. Or you could contact Acoustic Sounds or Needle Doctor.

I was in Austin a few weeks ago and visited Whetsone Audio. Brian DiFrank had a 2m in stock, but I don't know if it was an SE. He's a very accommodating fellow, and you might want to contact him at:
The SE version can only be purchased through the Ortofon WEB Store in Denmark as stated on their website. The SE is not sold through a dealer network brick and mortar or online.
Has anyone heard the non-SE 2M Mono against the AT-33MONO? They're reasonably close in price; seems like someone might have checked out both before deciding which one to get.
The standard Ortofon 2M Mono runs about $350, and being MM, is high output. The AT-33MONO is low output. However, the AT-MONO3/LP is very similar but with relatively high output--1.2mV. I have that one and it doesn't need a step-up transformer.

The Ortofon 2M Mono, AT-33MONO, and AT-MONO3/LP all have spherical styli.

I know it's below the budget range under discussion, but I got my AT-MONO3/LP from Amazon for $112.65. It's a no-brainer at that price.

I really like the way this cartridge improves mono playback. Not only did it amp up the transparency and dynamics of my 2014 Beatles Mono LPs, it makes thrift shop mono pressings from the '50s and '60s sound excellent. Several were unplayably noisy with a stereo pickup, but are really quiet with the AT-MONO3/LP.

You will find a wide price range of mono carts on Acoustic Sounds, including Koetsu, Benz Ace, Denon, Shelter, Grado, Ortofon 2m and Quintet Mono versions, and Lyra Kleos.
Rshak, I was interested to read that you contemplate replacing a Helikon Mono with a 2M Mono SE Ortofon.  Would you care to amplify on the rationale for that?  I ask only because the Helikon Mono is much more expensive and has been highly praised. 
lewm - - Sorry if I was unclear in my post:  I said I was thinking of replacing the Helikon mono with an Ortofon mono but wasn't sure which one would be best.  I would not go with the 2M but am looking at either the Cadenza or Quintet. Or . . . perhaps I should get the Helikon repaired.

Trying to get a handle on conical vs elliptical vs fine line and match all that up with my mono collection (1950's originals up to current reissues) is a bit daunting.  Then there's the "best bang for the buck" angle to take into account.  

I agree that all those are issues associated with choosing a mono cartridge or even just choosing to buy one at all.
I finally decided on a new mono cartridge:  ordered an Ortofon Cadenza  mono from Needle Doctor.  They're giving me a $320.00 trade-in credit on an old, worn out Ortofon Jubilee, so the net price for the new cartridge is $960.00.  I'm looking forward to its arrival.
Hi all.
Since i have a somewhat limited budget now that i am retired, i have decided to go with an Ortofon Quintet mono (white body). I ordered it thru a dealer in Montreal for $540.00cnd but the distributor in Canada is out of stock and the factory in Denmark is shut down for the Holiday Seasons. I should get it by mid-February or so. Love the sound of my Beatles mono set thru my REF3 with mono switch but i just can't wait to hear the same set with a true mono cartridge. 
Happy New Year to all.

Smoffat, Please do report your results here.  Specifically, how does the Quintet mono cartridge compare to using just the mono switch?  And do you perceive an additive or synergistic effect for the better, if you use both?  Those observations would be very helpful.  From my reading and searching, I was unable to verify that the Quintet mono has been built such that it does not produce a signal in response to vertical modulation of the stylus, but neither can I say that it was not.
i just don’t get why anyone would want a mono cartridge. I’m using an Ortofon Winfield and was listening to a very old Frank Sinatra 10 inch Capitol LP.."In the Wee Small Hours"...and it was wonderful. I didn’t get a bunch of noise or extraneous issues....he sang to me between the speakers as though he was right there. What more can one want especially going from a multi-thousand dollar cartridge to a much lesser one.

  ..just as an aside...The Beatles never did anything for me....

@smoffat, I tried a Quintet Mono and an AT33MONO on my VPI Classic 3, using arms that were best matched to either cartridge. The AT33MONO is relatively light and of low compliance so it matched best with my SS black damped Classic arm; the Ortofon was matched to my aluminum Classic arm. I preferred (prefer - I chose it as my mono cart) the Ortofon. It is more neutral than the AT33 without meaning it sounds dull or lifeless; it rather has much less in the way of "tells" in how it reproduces the music. The AT is also a bit softer in the extreme low end, and a bit (only a bit) splashier in the cymbal range. The AT does, arguably, do a slightly better job in reproducing the upper bass and lower midrange.

All of those observations are small compared to what drove my decision. The big takeaway for me was that the Quintet Mono pulled me into the music much more, and actually got me into forgetting I was listening to my TT and sing along to what was playing. For a guy who goes out of his way not to sing I figured that was a pretty good sign. The Ortofon made it seem more real to me.

Stringreen - in answer to your question why anyone would want a mono cartridge,  a true mono cartridge picks up modulations in the lateral groove but is insensitive to modulations in the vertical plane.  If you have a less than perfect record with clicks and pops (which tend to reside in the vertical plane), they will be much more silent with a true mono cartridge.  I first learned about this from an old *Listener* article (Jan./Feb. 2002) in which Art Dudley reviewed the Helikon Mono cartridge.  I subsequently bought that cartridge and . . . hearing is believing.  

I have well over 1,000 monaural records in my collection, most of which are pretty old and many of which have clicks/pops that could be heard when played on my stereo rig, which employed an Ortofon Jubilee cartridge.  With the Helikon mono cartridge, however, the extraneous noise - clicks and pops - was much diminished, and my listening experience was more enjoyable.

You won't achieve the same benefits with a stereo cartridge that has strapped coils to simulate a monaural signal or by using the mono button on your preamp. 

Happy listening!
I didn't see the need for a mono cartridge ... until I got one. Brand new reissues have more focus and impact; old original mono pressings picked up from thrift shops and dusty garages sounded pristine and clean. I had many 50-ish mono pressings that were unplayably noisy that sound like new.

On one mid-'60s mono album, there was less inner detail with background vocals when played with the stereo cart, especially when compared to the stereo version. Switching to the mono cartridge, the situation was reversed, with the mono LP sounding clearer and even easier to hear into the mix.

So far I've found nearly 100 mono LPs in my collection, most of which are from the '50s and '60s. They are all in steady rotation when I have the mono cartridge installed. 

The only vintage mono LP that doesn't sound as good to me as the stereo reissue is the Mercury Living Presence set of Janos Starker's rendition of the Bach Cello Suites. Both versions sound like real cellos, but the mono version has more bow and rosin sound while the stereo has more body resonance. It must be how the original was mixed and cut, because it's the only vintage mono LP of mine that's a little short in rich tonal balance. 

Altogether a big, satisfying success.

Hope I will enjoy mono cartridge benefits. My install is scheduled tomorrow for a Soundsmith  Carmen Dual Coil Mono cartridge. The info sheet states that it is a Nude Elliptical stylus. I would guess it is not a "true mono" cart? There appears to be a metal strap. Was hoping that it might help with older mono records but perhaps I have made another mistake?