Still looking for a new Moving Coil Cartridge

I noticed that Music Direct has 20% off cartridge sale on select cartridges. I am still using a ZU/Denon DL103 MC cartridge Series 1 with the cartridges tightest tolerances. I purchased it here from “Audiofiel” back in 2010 and have used it sparingly since. I had been using a Dynavector DV20XL cartridge which I bought a couple of years ago but my 6 yo nephew destroyed it (that’s another story) so I am back to the ZU/Denon.

My table is a Technics SL1200G which I truly love. I have been looking at the Hana Low out put MC cartridges. I am interested in the low output “S” series as the $600.00 price is right where I want to be. Now, the million dollar questions: I listen to 95% 60’s, 70’s and 80’s Rock and want whatever cartridge I purchase to make the records sound good without excessive surface noise. Will the Hana S be up to the task? My Mac C2500 tube preamp has cartridge loading from 50 ohms up to 1000 ohms so I should be ok. I just want to be sure this cartridge will be very musical and full bodied sound. I do no want a thin sound. So there you have it, yay or neigh?


The OP wants a reduction in surface noise.

+1 Nagaoka MP500.

Ortofon black mm with that technics. You will be blown away. 

The Zu/Denon cartridge was retipped by Andy at the needle Clinic in Washington state I believe back in 2018. I have less than 100 hours on the retip as I was using the newer Dynavector until it got ruined by a curious little boy.

My feeling is that the best bang for the buck is a Denon 303, even if you pay to retip (301, 302, 304 likewise, or new 301 mkii). Bang for the buck, that is. I have two Grado Ref Sonata 1's, one with a micro re-tip...both sound very good, second best bang for the buck. I spent 3 months with a Nagaoka MP500, trying all sorts of things, and never liked it as much as either Grado--stock or retip. Could be my system (Denon 47F and Denon 60L).  I thought my Stanton 881s, even with replaced stylus, sounded better. The other MM I also like better is a Grace F9e if you can find one reasonable, with soundsmith stylus....although slightly finicky for setup (much affected by proper VTA I thought). I was very surprised how good this sounded. The other bang for buck, mc-wise, other than Denon, may be a new Hana SL, on sale. I also use a Benz micro ruby HO (wood) in a different system and it is best of all, but pricey and but needs higher mass tonearm. I wouldn't worry about wood one way or another.