Lowest priced MC thats better than a Premium MM?

I’ve only used MM’s with my Technics 1200Gr with Luxman Phono Pre. I’ve used a couple AT "540ML" series, a Ortofon black, KAB Concord with 40 stylus (very close to Ortofon Black in sound) and my current Nagaoka JT80BK (which I love). I tend to change cartriges (and keep them with headshell intact) at a point to where the stylus still has around 40% -50% life. I sometimes I switch out and listen to my older ones for a change of flavor.

I’m now wanting to try a MC however, I want to keep it under $1200 or so. An Ortofon SPU would be fun to try, however, from what I've read, I do not think its a good match for my tonearm. For my 1200GR, can anyone recommend a good MC Cartridge. I’m tempted to try a ZU modified 103r. Thoughts?


I’ve been playing a Benz Micro Glider SL through first a Musical Surroundings Nova III phonostage, then a Quadratic MC-1 SUT (for reasons). For over a year now I’ve been enjoying its reproduction of sound.

I bought mine through Kron out of HK some time ago (actually pre-covid, then forgot about it for well over a year - seriously ill from covid), It was $600 well spent.

I’ve seen them advertised for around a grand lately and I can’t recommend it highly enough.


I would just get a grado cart like a $1000 Master3 it has a new elliptical diamond that is way easier to set up and less fussy!

You may want to consider a Hana ML. Read some reviews. Available new around $1200. 

The Hana ML was on 20% sale from $1,200 to $960 before 12/31. It might be worth calling a few stores to see if they'll give you the sale price. I bought one at the sale price but haven't yet set it up. See, e.g.,