New Phono Cart with Character Needed

I want to replace a Rega Ania MC phono cart on a Rega P3 because the current setup is lifeless, flat, and un-engaging. Phono stage is a Pass Labs XP17. The music produced currently is full of detail, very lifelike, instruments all sound very real, good upper end extension, but there is no there there. I can plug my phone into my multibit DAC and stream Jazz Groove and have a better experience because the sound is richer and has more oomph. I want warmth, oomph, texture, and wows from my analog. The Ania is just too flat, clinical and dry. I want to trade that for some color and a little more strength behind the notes. Budget is $1000. I mostly listen to Jazz. All suggestions are welcome.

Rega Ania MC Cart specs: Input Load Impedance 100 Ω, Output Impedance 10 Ω, Nominal output voltage 350 μV, Tracking Pressure 1.75 - 2.00 g

Rega P3 has been upgraded with GrooveTracer delrin platter and subplatter. 


Hana SH high output MC. Hanas have the dynamic punch that MM carts just can't quite deliver, without the exorbitant cost of most MCs. Grado Sonata is another good choice, but they are prone to hum in some rigs. Soundsmith Carmen, like Grado, is a moving iron design, and both offer different takes on what you're looking for. Finally, the Dynavector 10X and Sumiko Songbird are worth considering, although the naked stylus of the Songbird makes many folks nervous, myself included. All these are high output, so no additional expense in Step Up devices and extra cables are required.

What kind of "wows"?  The Denon DL-103 is a very musical warm enjoyable cartridge but it isn't going to blow you away with its 3D soundstage.  I never used it with my P6 and it might not be a good match for the P3 tonearm but there is a reason why people have loved it for decades.  The Ortofon 2M Black is very dynamic and punchy with more of what I consider a "wow" factor but arguably less musical.  The AT-ART9XI is a better, more nuanced, more 3D sound vs the 2M Black and it is musical while having great top and bottom end extension.  It is above your price point but you should be able to get a lightly used one for <$1000.  That would be my first choice.  And if you wait around you might be able to pick up a lightly used Ortofon Cadenza Bronze for just over $1000 that would be the best of all worlds, warm, resolving, dynamic, huge soundstage and generally full of goodness.  I also own the Ania and I like all those cartridges better than it.

Word of caution. Be careful chasing a sonic characteristic that does not exist on the recording. 

Nuff said. 

Lots of great recommendations here. I’m looking forward to putting this list together and researching each one. 
Pinwa asked what kind of wows I’m looking for.  I think I’m after the wow factor you get when you buy a new pre-amp or other component and it juices up the music with a little electronic color.  It could probably be described as euphonics as well. I think my current setup would really please the flat response crowd but it’s so boring I just say “yep, that was music” at the end of an LP and put it away. A new cart might not be the best approach, but it is the most budget friendly and the right size move for me at this time.  A new cart might also pair better with my XP17 and produce some magic that way.  I’ve tried every load and output and tracking weight combination under the sun with the Ania and just can’t get the sound to go where I want it to.  My analog doesn’t sound like analog. It sounds more digital than my digital. 

I just upgraded to a Hana Umami Blue cartridge since Hana was running a 20% off promotion and I was surprised how impressive the change was in bass and treble extension as well as immediacy, color and imaging. Even with the discount I'm sure $2K is outside of your budget and not the right match for a P3. But I did find it interesting when I recently read that Ortofon just released a new version of their MM cartridges that are made to fit on the Rega turntables. I haven't owned an Ortofon cartridge, but I thought that it was exciting that there is another choice for direct replacement cartridges for Rega turntables now that don't require shims: