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...



Depending on your preferences and system, Nagaoka MP200/MP300 or AT-VM740ML/750SH.

If you prefer the open midrange character and clarity of something like the Nag, IMHO the hot deal near budget is to grab an MP150 ($310 on Amazon, and add a JN-P500/MP500 stylus for ~ $250, and gain the benefit of the nude fine line and boron cantilever (It made a huge improvement to my modded LP120X...I think it’s wonderful), plus end up with an extra nude ellitpical stylus with tapered aluminum cantilever. To stay within budget, you can add the JN-P/MP200 nude ellitptical/boron cantilever stylus instead for as little as ~ $170 and end up with an extra MP150 stylus for about the same price as the MP200.)

I’ve been pleased with a cork/rubber combination mat by Record-Happy.



I would recommend ADC TRX series. Designed for ADC by 

Nakatsuka san who also designed Madrigal Carnegy and

Ortofom MC 25 MC 25. before starting his own company ZYX.

Designer is the most imortant ''part'' of any cartridge.


Thanks for the responses, so far. Much appreciated...

So far, I've received a mix of vintage and current cartridges. If you recommended vintage, just curious why? Does the possibility of receiving a worn out cartridge, or a stylus that is past it's prime, concern you? Seems like replacement stylus for some of these older cartridges might be hard to find, and expensive. Is it worth the risk?

Lastly, with and of these recommendations, do I need to be concerned about compliance with the stock tonearm on this new Pioneer PLX1000?

@chakster - Thanks for the reply. Regarding the SAEC Mat: Per an eBay classified I found, it says it is 298mm diameter. That means it is going to sit up in the raised lip of the platter. Considering it is a solid Mat, only the edge on the mat, and the inside of the spindle hole, will be touching the platter. It would not fit down inside of the recess in the platter. Is that typical with the "Super-OEM turntables, or even the original Technics tables? Just curious.

Pioneer platter is a clone of Technics platter.


This is SAEC SS-300: