High end cartridge

I post similar question in other forum, but didn’t get help I need.

I want buy high end cartridge to replace my old one, I have very little experience with cartridges, only entry level of Ortofon, Denon, and Shelter, the last two brands I didn’t like them. So I like ask folks here who have great experience with cartridges, and with VPI FB Gimbal tonearm.


I’m concern very much about SQ differentials, I like full body sound, live, punch, authority, and neutral. My first choice will be Ortofon Cadenza black, but before go for it, I want check other brands for better alternative.


I see many people go for Lyra or Dynavector, I’m aware they are high end, but I have doubt the sound charastric of these cartridges not close to what I want, but more similar to Denon, and Shelter.


I wonder if my assumptions are correct?


And about Soundsmith, Benz, Van Den Hul, how good are these? And compare to Ortofon?


And will be other brands worth to check?


Thanks to all.


Hana yes all day long! SL and Umami are just amazing. But..... I have to say I really love the AT-ART9xa, definitely worth looking at.

Include the Audio Technica ART9 for the $1K MC cartridge catagory.

Search the archives to see all the praise from the users(including myself) and how it performs well above its price point.

The AT OC9 series(a step down the line) is also worth a look, and like the ART series, performs above the price points.


On my FB arm (I have both gimbal and dual pivot), I have Lyra Etna.  It sounds superb.  Might be something to consider.

I just have to say, in general, if you pick a cartridge that has the sound characteristics you are looking for… you get what you pay for. I have owned a number of cartridges over the last fifty years and only those over a couple grand were really impressive. You have a great turntable and it definitely deserves a first class cartridge and phono stage. 

I have loved my Van den Hull and Koetsu cartridges. Your description of the sound you want doesn’t make me think I could make a recommendation. But do the best you can at choosing something that matches your sound preferences and assume the higher the price the better the sound (assuming you have researched it fully). You will likely love the result. 

Make sure you have an equaly great phono stage.. or you will not be getting the sound that your TT is capable of.