Best Phono Cartridge Under $500 in 2021

Denon DL-103R Moving Coil Cartridge

Although at first glance it is quite modest, I really like the classic and elegant look that it has and for a true audiophile who has a fairly elegant turntable this will look fantastic. Denon makes some really nice phono cartridges and this is one of the best.

Of course, at this high price, I would expect incredible sound and let me tell you that he does his job so well that it goes unnoticed after a while. I know it doesn’t sound very good, but it is a testament to the quality of the design of this phono cartridge. I took a closer look and since this is a moving coil phono cartridge, the way the bobbins have been wound seamlessly allows it to slide along your records and really give them the feel of the is listening for the first time. hour.

I’m in favor of this one for all studio producers and all audiophiles obsessed with sensitive ears. From the beginning, the Denon DL-103R has been a classic, killer voice coil for listening to pure vinyl music. And for the fact that there was an upgrade to the old spool with a 6N spool replacement on the cantilever shaft, you can expect a lot of value for your money. Delivers smooth sound and excellent low and low frequency details. However, the only downside to this setup is that if you have scratches or dirt on the disc, you will be able to hear it more than with any other cartridge. But as much as you keep your beat clean and new, nothing beats that baby on your studio turntable setup.

Ortofon 2M Blue Moving Magnet Cartridge

Ortofon 2M Blue Moving Magnet Cartridge
  • Universal fit for most turntables
  • Upgrade to the Ortofon 2M Red
  • The Ortofon 2M Blue adds more dynamics and resolution, sounds more open and reproduces more details
  • The 2M Blue features a Nude Elliptical diamond
  • Stylus is replaceable

The mm phono cartridge was manufactured in an angular plastic housing with a replaceable bare elliptical stylus. The needle is not just a diamond point, it is completely diamond all the way to the end of the overhang. The cart has a typical output (5.5mV) and track power (1.8g) to be compatible with any turntable and phono preamplifier. Their shape blends perfectly with the arm due to their similar shapes. The Ortofon 2M Blue reveals all the peculiarities of the voice and the passages in harmony with the melody and the bass. The sound is detailed, but the highs are a bit harsh. The carriage requires very careful anti-skid adjustments to avoid hum in the left and right channels.

At under $ 250, it’s well below the $ 500 price range we’re talking about, so it gets two big thanks for that. I found out that this phono capsule was the work of a famous designer named Møller Jensen Design, who is quite well known in the music world. If you are the type of person who, in addition to wanting great sound quality, you want your turntable to look great too, you will really appreciate how amazing this phono cartridge looks.

The Ortofon 2M Blue moving magnet cartridge is a universal fit for all turntables. As an update to the 2M Red in recent times, this new blue version not only retains the tracking stability of its predecessor, but also adds more resolution and dynamics to the open vinyl sound. In the same light, you get completely close to the beat, picking out whatever signals come up for a deeper, more detailed sound. You can easily replace the nude color diamond elliptical stylus when it wears out as it is widely available in the market. See the full features below.

Audio-Technica AT440MLB Phonograph Cartridge

Audio-Technica AT440MLB Phonograph Cartridge
  • Micro-Linear, stylus mounted, VM cartridge.
  • VM type dual-magnet system and high performance par toroidal power generation system.
  • Adopted PCOCC for the coil.

Audio Technica AT440MLB phonograph cartridge is one of the first moving magnet cartridges in the Audio Technica VM series. This series of phono cartridges is essentially a response to the detailed sound demand of audiophiles in the studio. Therefore, the AT440MLB phono capsule is a specially designed phono capsule for deeper penetration into the groove of each sound. To achieve this, the AT440MLB phono cartridge is designed as a dual-magnet cartridge capable of tracking both channels of its groove, producing a more complete range of frequency response. In addition to this, the choice of material per toroidal integrated static coil is super sensitive, opening the doors to more signal generating power and finally placing the AT440MLB phono cartridge in the high-performance category of the Ortofon 2M phono cartridges. Bronze.

The Audio-Technica phono cartridge is an affordable, high-performance cartridge that offers clear sound (including bass) and good stereo separation. Tracking is excellent even if the traction control is not calibrated. This may be the best cartridge under 100 to play very old discs in order to reproduce each of them as accurately as possible, but it may not be suitable for those who mainly want to improve bass (improves mids better) . The balance between highs and lows is not a problem, and dynamics are everywhere when it comes to all genres of music. The unit removes most of the surface noise from recordings. Better to calibrate the weight to 1.7 grams to eliminate scraping and dragging noises.