New Pioneer PLX-1000 Turntable - Need recommendation for MM Cartridge and Mat

Hello A-goN'rs,

I just picked up a nearly new Pioneer PLX-1000 Turntable from a local seller. It came with an Ortofon Concorde MkII Mix cartridge and a Fluance PA-10 phono pre-amp. I set it up in my system, played around a bit with VTA and I've listened to a few records. My initial thought is that it sounds pretty darn good, especially since it is using a $99 DJ cartridge. I'm using the built-in phono pre-amp in my Rega Elicit-R integrated amp, not using the Fluance.

My reason for buying the Pioneer is to have a robust TT that I can take out of the house for an occassional music night with some local friends. It is going to work very well for that purpose. However, given how good it sounds in stock form, with the cheap cartridge, I'm wondering if a couple of minor upgrades might promote it into my main system to replace my current budget-priced belt drive table.

Does anyone have a recommendation for a <$500 MM cartridge for this TT? Also, any recommendations for a Mat that might offer an improvement in Sound Quality? Lastly, I've never owned a DD table. Regarding the platter/mat: do aftermarket mats get placed on top of the stock rubber mat? If the stock rubber mat is removed, the platter has a recess where the stock mat sits, and an elevated ring around the outside of the platter. Curious if an aftermarket mat sits on top of the stock rubber mat, or do I need to buy a replacement mat that fits in the original recess?

Thanks for your thoughts and recommendations...



I added the PLX1000 to my TT collection. I am using the Denon 103R mc cartridge along with a Bellari SUT into the RGR 4 preamp. I prefer a mc over any mm. Superior transient response and lower noise floor. Better detail retrieval from LPs - more dynamic too! At around $300 the Denon 103R is an easy budget choice.

@jasonbourne52  - Thanks for the reply. I'm think I'm going to go with MM, mainly just because I don't want to buy an additional phono pre-amp. I actually have a Parasound Z-phono I could us, if needed, but I like the simplicity of just using the built-in phono section of the Rega Integrated.

Do you use an aftermarket Mat on your PLX1000? If not, do you put the record directly on the stock rubber mat? If yes, do you place the aftermarket mat on top of the stock rubber mat?

I use the stock mat. It is high quality. Any change will be a sideways move! If you still want to try a different mat then remove the stock mat. 

Regarding the choice of cartridges I prefer the Grado moving iron (MI) cartridges over MMs because they are immune to capacitive loading. They also have superior transient response, being low-inductance.

Hey reubent,

There is a Empire 2000Z on US Audio Mart for $300 (Canadian). The seller states it has a NOS stylus with only 3 hours on it. A very nice cartridge for the money. Kind of tempted to buy it myself but already have that one as well as their model 4000.