Need help with phono cartridge selection

Hello all,

Hope everyone is having a great weekend. I am finally getting around to upgrading my phono cartridge and looking for some advice. I mostly listen to rock and jazz using the following setup:

Receiver - denon AVR 4306
Speakers - Polk audio 
Record player - Pioneer PL-630 with medium mass arm.

With all the reading I have done I am in information overload and not sure which direction to go. Current budget is roughly 500 or less. 

Current cartridge considerations:
Denon dl-110
Ortofon om20
Ortofon 2m Bronze
Nagaoka mp-200 or the 150
AT VM95E or ML
Hana EH
I am open to other suggestions as well 

Again, I am new at this so I appreciate your patience and your help. 



What are you using currently? What type of sound do you like? The Goldring is a bit warm while the ATs are more neutral–maybe a little bright–but not harsh. I use a VM750SH as a spare or when not in the mood for my more dynamic and nuanced Deccas. It’s decent and does everything well. It will need 10-20 hours to settle in, being a little bit brittle and thin at first.

noromance's avatar


9,415 posts


What are you using currently? What type of sound do you like? 

 Noromance, I bought the player used.  No idea how many hours are on the cartridge.  Listen to mostly 70’s and 80’s rock along with jazz.  

Anyone heard a Garrott Brothers p77i from Australia? They get Chakster's endorsement for the the best New cart value which has me intrigued.

I have a nag mp-200 and I am continually stunned by how amazing it sounds... I've had it for coming up on a year now and it remains outstanding (even more now that it's broken-in). 

My plan was always to start with the mp-200 so I could save a little money by using my Technics 1500's on-board phonostage (which is actually pretty decent). I always thought when it was time to replace the cart, I'd upgrade to a tube phonostage that could handle a LOMC cart and get a Hana. HOWEVER, the mp-200 sounds so good, I'm STRONGLY considering keeping my system as is and just upgrading to the MP-500. I might be Nagaoka for life...