Technics SL 1200GR with What Cartridge???

I'm starting yet another thread on a similar topic, because I don't want to hi-jack someone else's thread, and I haven't found the answer to my question in other threads.

OK... I'm considering returning to vinyl for some of my listening and I need a Cliff's Notes version of what cartridges I might want to use.  

I've had a Linn Sondek LP12 for years, which I've barely used... but... it's been in storage.  As I recall it was pretty "finicky" and required a lot of attention to perform it's best (which was/is good).  I don't have enough patience anymore to deal with that, and am planning on moving to a Technics SL 1200GR, because it seems simple to operate, gets good reviews and doesn't seem to require a lot of attention. 

It appears that you can get great sound quality from the 1200GR with a good cartridge.  I'm just not sure what might be optimal / best for the money.

I also do not want to go crazy with esoteric cartridges that cost a mint.  My budget is probably in a range of... say... $300-400 to maybe $800-900 (if the cartridge is noticeably better than the more modestly priced cartridges).  

My Linn cartridge is a MM cartridge, I think (Basik or K9) in an Itok arm.  

That's about it.  

I'm not really interested in considering a lot of alternatives either in a turntable, or cartridges.  

Any guidance in this context would be appreciated.


I have a Technics 1200G.  If you are looking for an easy to set up and maintain table that will last forever, I think Technics 1200GR is a great choice.     

I have been using a Hana EL which is very nice.  Just replaced it today with a Grado Sonata 3 which sounds very nice as well but is a bit more expensive than the Hana.  ($450 vs $600)  Little too early to make any firm comparisons!

I used the Ortofon 2M Black on a 1200GR, later upgrading it to the 2M LVB 250 stylus, sounded very good on the GR and exploited the neutrality and dynamics of the deck. I use the 2M LVB on my 1200G now. FWIW Technics seem to have some relationship with Ortofon and often demo with their cartridges.

Under a grand is ( vintage / used carts aside ) pretty much dominated by Audio Technica. You did not mention what phono pre?

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