Help with Cartridge choice

Fellow audiophiles, my first time posting here and I will appreciate your help in choosing the right cartridge as part of my broader journey to put together an end game system. My upgrade path may not be very logical because it is opportunistic.

I use an old Pro-Ject Perspective turntable from early 2000s with the 9" aluminium arm (not the carbon one). I will make a significant upgrade in next couple of years but thats what i have for now.

I recently bought a Zesto Andros II phono stage to match my Zesto Leto 1.2 pre.

For now I am trying to upgrade from my Ortofon Bronze (MM) cartridge to something finer. Based on my research I am considering Hana ML ($1200). I have to stay below $1500. I have never used a MC or LOMC and not very analog savvy, and will appreciate any and all recommendations. 

Thank you!


You got good advice here. I’ll just second TableJockey and suggest Audio Technica. I just put the 0C9xsl on my VPI table and am very pleased. Around $800 and all that I wanted. Best of luck choosing. 

Many great suggestions, thank you all.

If my description of "not analog savvy" misled anyone, i should clarify that i have 100s of records collected over years, I do use a Nitty Gritty record cleaner and zero dust to clean, and i have used TTs for at least 15 years. Its just that I have not invested big money on the analog chain until now, while focusing on improving my digital/roon playback chain. Now i am trying to focus on the analog domain.

Based on all the feedback I am aiming to do the following:

- buy a HANA SL to gain some sonic benefits as well as to spend some money that i feel like spending :)

- next year I will try to expedite an end game TT purchase and then upgrade to Hana ML thru the upgrade program.

@rmdmoore  thanks for the advice on Hana program

@artemus_5 thanks for your perspective on Origin Live. Fremer seems to be a huge fan and i will be auditioning it next year along with Kronos Sparta, Merill Williams etc. I saw/heard the latter two at Cap Audio Fest a few weeks ago. 

- and when I upgrade i can keep the Pro-Ject Perspective TT for my basement system, as it is a visually stunning table and is a decent performer.

Again many thanks to all for the help here, really appreciated.


I have both an ART9XI and a Hana ML that I use with my VPI Prime and, much to my surprise, I slightly prefer the Hana.  They’re very, very close however, so you really can’t go wrong with either.  I do notice that the AT certainly needs less gain from my phono stage than the Hana for whatever that’s worth.

OP. You are likely in for a real treat. I remember moving from budget stuff to a quality analog rig. It was truly jaw dropping… all the surface noice disappeared… it just wasn’t diminished… completely gone. The bass when up to slap me in my face… the soundstage expanded beyond my speakers. The step up from real budget or mid-fi gear is simply transformative. The VPI 21 and a well chosen cartridge with the Zesto should be a completely overwhelming change. Likely to shame your digital end.

Your extended description of your experience with a vinyl source is appreciated.

I have to agree that your encounter with a Upgrade is going to be quite a surprise.

Prepare to be propelled into having to listen the the entirety of the Album Collection, it will become infectious.