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...



What Headshell?

So, the AT-VM740ML has broken-in nicely and is creating some great music in my system. Was planning to go back through the setup again, just to verify everything is good. Got me thinking about first buying a new/different headshell that has azimuth adjustment. Also, on the stock headshell, I'm maxed out at the full open position on the cartridge screw slots in order to get the recommended 54mm (from memory) of overhang.

Anyway, looking at the Jelco headshell that is sold through LP Gear as the Zupreme Headshell. But, they have a choice of a 10G version and the standard 12G version. Anyone know what would be best with the Pioneer PLX 1000 and AT-VM740ML combination? LP Gear says 10G "should be" correct, but the person who sent me the response from LP Gear did not exactly instill confidence.


Another plus for Nagaoka. Compliance, while not unimportant, can be over rated. Low compliance Nags, will work perfectly on your arm.

Been there, done that...

Beyond doubt , Nago 200 .  I have all old cart mentioned .

As much as I love them , they are just that, old . 

Guys, I already have the new cartridge - Audio Technica AT-VM740ML. Current question is which new headshell? LP Gear (Jelco) Zumpreme 12G or 10G?