Table of Contents
- Audio-Technica AT-VM95E Dual Moving Magnet Turntable Cartridge
- Ortofon Super OM10 Phono Cartridge – Black
- GRADO Prestige Black2 Phono Cartridge w/Stylus – Standard Mount
- NAGAOKA MP-100 MM Cartridge From Japan
- Sumiko Black Pearl High Output Moving Magnet Phono Cartridge
- Buying Guide for Best Phonograph Cartridge
If you want to update your turntable and you are on a budget, getting a new cartridge can help you with this. Many times, the reason for a turntable malfunction is a faulty phono cartridge. This is why we bring a review of the best phono cartridge.
With our best phono cartridge review, you can explore various high-quality phono cartridge. Phono cartridges come in different shapes, sizes, and configurations. With this in mind, we will explore the best phono cartridge using multiple criteria like the customer experience, user review, price, ease of use, and durability. With this, you can be confident that you will have only the best from us.
In addition to our review of the best phono cartridge, we also have a detailed buying guide that will take readers by the hand on the getting the best and most fitting phono cartridge for yourself. Sit back, relax as we explore the top five phono cartridge review.
Audio-Technica AT-VM95E Dual Moving Magnet Turntable Cartridge
With a dimension of 0.3 by 0.7 mil, this is the perfect phono cartridge recommended for half-inch mount turntables. The cartridge comes with a unique coil that delivers a powerful output of 4.0mV. You get superb channel separation and low distortion. It is durable and comes with a distinctive design which gives a rigid and low resonance housing. The cartridge can be mounted on an integral tonearm with screws without nuts.
If you replace the interchangeable stylus, you can use the VM95 series dual forever. There are six models of VM95 that are perfectly interchangeable because they use the same electromagnetic engine-body. With our VM95, you get to enjoy the experience of upgrading your cartridge with a distinct stylus.
The VM95 series suspension design was designed for optimum and superb audiophile reproduction. It features an Aluminum cantilever. There is also a unique wound coil, which helps boost the output voltage. The polymer housing is durable and low resistance.
Ortofon Super OM10 Phono Cartridge – Black
Also, in search of the best phono cartridge, we have Ortonfon super OM10 phono cartridge. This is a versatile cartridge with the necessary features to make you have a good time on your turntable. All OM series come with the same cartridge body, magnetic circuitry, and internal structure.
The OM 10 phono cartridge is reasonably priced and comes with Ortofon’s distinctive cut-out nose. With this, you can have a high quality record with low damage and reduced damage. This is an excellent cartridge with tremendous improvement in warmth, separation, clarity, and audiophile buzzword. Users get a consistent and reliable sound improvement with the cartridge.
If you want your records to be sounding better, this is the right phono cartridge to buy. It comes with a sleek design and an excellent tracking ability, delivering fantastic output. It is your ticket to a friendly and warm music
GRADO Prestige Black2 Phono Cartridge w/Stylus – Standard Mount
Grado Prestige Black2 is a top quality phono cartridge that comes with unique Alnico magnets that are high quality, smaller and heavier. With this Phono cartridge, you will get a reduced distortion, better dynamics widens, reduced phase ambiance. The stylus receptacle chamber comes with a putty-like substance. This improves the quality of the sound and tracking as well.
Grado Prestige Black2 does not produce any lump or bump in any frequency. The performance is superb and does really good at its price. This is the ideal phono cartridge to break the sound barrier at a reasonable price. It comes with four high purity copper wire coils alongside a twin magnet system.
With this Grado Prestige Black2, you get a superb tonal balance and dynamics. This gives you a rewarding reproduction of vocals and instruments.
NAGAOKA MP-100 MM Cartridge From Japan
This is an entry level phono cartridge from Nagaoka. It is one of the top quality cartridges with amazing features that are meant to spice up your turntable experience. It is a balanced cartridge with smooth and full mids. It features a full and impressive tonal balance without many wrong sides.
The male and female vocals are superb, and this is the cheapest series from the company. It features a conical stylus that was developed by Nagaoka, a Japanese country that specializes in precision Engineering.
Nagaoka MP 100 cartridge delivers a secure and entertaining musical experience. The cartridge was precisely made such that the sound coming from it can bring you closer to the artist, whether male or female.
Sumiko Black Pearl High Output Moving Magnet Phono Cartridge
Over the years, Sumiko has developed into one of the top phono cartridge available in the market. Even though they come with a small moving magnet range, their performances are of high quality. It features a channel separation, which makes it stand out. Coming in the strength of the Oyster, Sumiko Black pearl enjoys the addition of a minute diameter spherical stylus.
With this, users enjoy a significant separation and wide frequency range. This way, every recording played gives a complete sonic picture. With the backing of Oyster, users experience a top quality construction with superb audio quality, which offers a real-world performance on every music played.
Buying Guide for Best Phonograph Cartridge
There are some essential things to consider before buying a phono cartridge. This section will hold your hands in making a wise buying decision. Before then, however, we will explore what a phono cartridge is.
What is a Phonograph Cartridge?
A phonograph cartridge is an electromechanical component that is used for converting the data in a record groove to electrical signals. This can be further amplified for music playback. Turntable cartridge comes in various types; however, the most popular ones are the MC and MM cartridges.
The cartridge comes with a diamond stylus that makes contact with the record. As the stylus follows the groove’s motion, a cantilever vibrates. The cantilever is a rigid tube located on the turntable cartridge that is fixed on one end, while a magnet is on the other end. There is a rubber suspension which allows the cantilever to pivot. This way, the stylus tracks the groove effectively. When the vibration gets to the magnet, it causes a varying of the magnetic field. It leads to a small voltage which travels through the phono, creating the sound.
Other important things to consider before buying a phono cartridge are:
Frequency: this determines the clarity and preciseness of your audio. Hence, be sure to buy a phono cartridge with a high frequency as it delivers the best output
Type: Phono cartridge comes in many varieties. Before choosing a specific one for your turntable, we recommend that you know the particular type of cartridge that your turntable uses. It comes in two types: the p-mount and standard class. Be sure to pick the most suitable one as it will determine the performance and lifespan.
The shape of the stylus: thanks to the advancement in technology, stylus now comes in various configurations. It could be Shibata, elliptical, or conical. It is the stylus that determines the preciseness, depth, and richness of the sound. With this in mind, we recommend going for the best one to maximize efficiency.
Choosing the Best Phono Cartridge
With the best phono cartridge, you can transform your ordinary record player into a high-level player with beautiful sound. This is why you should be serious and diligent about choosing the best phono cartridge. To have the best selection, we recommend taking the following into account:
- Your budget for the phono cartridge
- The type of cartridge you want to buy is also important. It could be the standard type of the p-mount type.
- Also, you should know the type you are interested in. It could be the moving magnet type or the moving coil type.
- Bear in mind that shape is pretty important, as we discussed in some paragraphs above. With this in mind, we recommend choosing a stylus with the elliptical shape.
Setting your budget for a Phono Cartridge
It is essential to determine your financial capacity before buying a phono cartridge. This is because there is an abundance of phono cartridge in the market with price ranging from a hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. Bear in mind, however, that should you get an expensive phono cartridge, you will also need high quality and costly needle to get better sound output from it.
The good news is that all the phono cartridge we have in our review are of high quality and under $200. They have been tested; hence you are guaranteed of the condition.
Chose the Cartridge Type
The type of cartridge you can use with your turntable varies, and it depends on the specification of your turntable. This can either be the p – mount type or the standard type. You can check your turntable’s manual to determine the one that works with it.
You can easily identify the type of cartridge that your turntable will be used without any particular ritual. You will put a standard unit under the tonearm of the turntable, which you need a special vertical screw to hold it tightly.
If you want to use a p mount cartridge, you will put it on the end of a tonearm. It needs to be screwed with a horizontal screw.
Identify the type of cartridge
There are two basic types of cartridge called the moving coil cartridge or the moving magnet cartridge. While the moving coil cartridge has two permanent electromagnets at the tip of the needle holder, the moving magnet cartridge has the shape of a small electromagnet generator.
The moving coil magnets are a little expensive. When it comes to sound quality, however, the moving coil cartridges are better and preferred.
When Should You Make a Stylus Replacement?
When you get a creaking noise from your turntable, that is an indication to get a new stylus. This could be a signal that you need a new record. Although the surefire signs you will see are records that will be bouncing, cartridge speaking, hiss, sibilance, excess distortions, and other unwanted effects.
Also, if the needle head is deformed or covered with dirt, you might need to replace the stylus. The reason for this varies and ranges from bad maintenance to age. When you notice these signs, it is important to select the best phono cartridge as a replacement immediately. This is primal to preventing further damage to your turntable.
Chose the Best Stylus Shape
One way to reduce distortions and other problems experienced in a turntable is by the type of stylus you chose. There are many types of the stylus, and they come in various shapes.
- Spherical styluses are also conical in shape
- An elliptical stylus is also bi radial
- There is also Shibata
The type of stylus you use is critical because how the surface makes contact with its tip and groove influences the type and quality of sound you get.
We have considered the top 10 phono cartridge recommended for you. We have selected varieties of brands, all with distinct materials and superb quality. While we selected various brands, you can be confident that they will deliver high quality sound to you.
They are all reasonably priced, all below $200; hence you will not have to burn a hole in your pocket before getting a good phono cartridge. All in all, be sure to consider your needs before making a selection.
Last update on 2020-10-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API