E&OE Copyright 2010-
Cartridges up to £499
The Rega Carbon is a new budget cartridge from Rega. Like the fractionally cheaper Edwards Audio C50 this design features a carbon cantilever and a spherical stylus. Another cracking budget cartridge!
Rega Carbon MM cartridge: £27.00
Edwards Audio Zephyr C50
The C50 is a great budget cartridge, perfect for entry level turntables. If features a carbon cantilever and a spherical diamond stylus (which makes it much less choosy about setup than some other cartridges). Its sound is warm and weighty, and it’s remarkably forgiving of surface noise too. It is very well packed (see picture below) and comes supplied with quality non-
Edwards Audio Zephyr C50 cartridge: £29.95
Audio Technica AT-
Audio Technica AT-
Audio Technica ATN-
Edwards Audio Zephyr C100
The C100 is an excellent low priced cartridge with quality elliptical tip. As is obvious from the appearance this is based around the excellent Audio Technica AT-
Grado Prestige Range
The Prestige range of cartridges features 6 models all based around the same basic design but with different grades of materials and tolerancing marking out each model. They all use the moving Iron principle which essential behaves as a Moving Magnet in that it will plug into any conventional MM phono stage. This unusual design uses fixed coils and magnets, relying on a moving iron armature working inside the field generated by the magnets to induce a signal in the coils. This results in a low moving mass giving excellent high frequency extension. The cartridge pictured is the Prestige black which is the introductory model which offers a sound that is surprisingly refined and smooth at this price point.
Grado Prestige Black: £79.00
Grado Prestige Green: £99.00
Grado Prestige Blue: £129.00
Grado Prestige Red: £169.00
Grado Prestige Silver: £199.00
Grado Prestige Gold: £219.00
Rega MM cartridge range
The Rega range of MM cartridges are all housed in the same moulded plastic body, with different colours differentiating each model. Each is a variation on the same theme, a MM design whose coils, tolerances and diamond profile change throughout the range.
Please note that the Rega cartridges are unusually short in height, so they can be difficult to fit to some non Rega turntables, please contact us for more information.
The range starts with the red coloured Bias 2 which offers superb performance in something like the Planar 2 or RP1 turntable.
Rega Bias 2 cartridge: £83.00
The blue coloured Elys 2 works very well on Planar 3 turntables and utilise a three point fixing when used on any modern Rega tonearm.
Rega Elys 2 cartridge: £125.00
Thh yellow coloured Exact is their top of the range MM model (pictured below) and uses a Vital diamond profile.
Rega Exact cartridge: £269.00
The Rega RB78 is a mono version of the Bias cartridge designed specifically to play 78rpm records only. It has a standard mono output (two terminals, so most tonearms will need slight modifications to the wiring). Like the rest of the Rega range it is designed to track at a light 1.75gm.
Rega RB78 78 RPM cartridge: £70.00
The Elektra is an excellent affordable cartridge, it is lively sounding but still nicely refined with impressive resolution at its price level.
Goldring Elektra MM cartridge: £95.00
Ortofon 2M Series
The Ortofon 2M series is a range of four moving magnet cartridges. The range starts with the Red which has a tipped elliptical diamond and is followed by the Blue which has a nude elliptical diamond but is otherwise identical.
The top two models share an improved generator assembly featuring silver plated wiring which is housed in body made from a Noryl plastic/glass combination material which is especially dense and resonance free. The 2M Bronze uses a fine Line diamond and the 2M Black has a Shibata diamond stylus.
Ortofon 2M Red: £95.00
Ortofon 2M Blue: £185.00
Ortofon 2M Bronze: £295.00
Ortofon 2M Black: £495.00
Edwards Audio Zephyr C200
The Zephyr 200 from Edwards Audio is an MM cartridge that features an elliptical diamond on an aluminium cantilever. More details to follow as soon as we’ve finished running in our demo model, but this looks like it could offer extremely good performance at a very reasonable price.
Goldring 2100, 2200, 2300, 2400 & 2500
The 2000 series is evolved from the ever popular 1000 series detailed below. The first thing that will strike a positive note is that these have threaded bodies, making fitting much less fiddly. They feature Samarium Cobalt magnets, Permalloy cantilevers and Super Permalloy shielding for low noise pickup.
Compared to my favourite 1000 series the sound is brighter and a little less natural through the mid band, it will certainly add some pep to lacklustre systems, but for me I still prefer the 1000 models for their all round abilities.
As you progress up the range it’s the detail changes that affect the sound and tracking performance, the 2100 is the entry level model, above that the 2200 features an improved elliptical diamond. The 2300 uses a Gyger II fine line diamond and the 2400 has a complete metal body, vital diamond and tapered cantilever. The top of the range 2500 has a ‘2 SD’ diamond.
Goldring 2100: £145.00
Goldring 2200: £195.00
Goldring 2300: £295.00
Goldring 2400: £395.00
Goldring 2500: £475.00
The MC1 Turbo is classic high output cartridge from Ortofon, recently reintroduced into the range for those people that want a very affordable high output moving coil design. It uses an elliptical stylus profile and outputs a healthy 3.3mV output so can be plugged into any MM (Moving magnet) phono stages.
Ortofon MC1 Turbo high output MC cartridge: £179.00
Goldring 1006, 1012, 1022, 1042 series
The Goldring 1000 series is a modern day classic MM design and one of our best selling ranges as it has been a firm favourite of ours for many years. The range all share the same body, with differing grades of stylus assemblies as you go up the range (and all of which are retrofittable, so you can upgrade from the lower models to the higher grade versions just by changing the stylus, 1006 has an elliptical stylus, the 1012 has a Gyger-
The whole range are extremely well balanced, with good bass power and extension combined with mid range tonality that few cartridges can match. As you go up the range the treble quality is the greatest gain, and whilst it’s certainly not lacking with the excellent 1006, by the time you get to the 1042 the extra resolution, high frequency extension and openness, transient attack and improved tracking all take big leaps forwards.
Goldring 1006: £195.00
Goldring 1012: £275.00
Goldring 1022: £295.00
Goldring 1042: £325.00
The Denon DL-
Whilst it suits heavier and vintage arms exceptionally well (think SME 3009‘s etc), it can also work wonders when used in modern arms such as Rega’s, particularly with a little tweaking during setup.
This is the perfect cartridge for both the enthusiast on a budget or as a spare cartridge for the more wealthy audiophile to use when their hi-
The Quintet Range of cartridges spans several models including one mono and four stereo models. They are all housed in the same (apart from colour) rigid ABS injection moulded housing and use Neodymium magnets.
The Quintet Red uses an Elliptical stylus profile, the Blue a Nude Elliptical (i.e. one piece diamond), the Bronze a Nude Fine Line and the Black a Nude Shibata on a Boron cantilever with gold plated copper windings.
Please note that these cartridges are unusually wide at the rear which can make them difficult to fit into some headshells -
Ortofon Quintet Red MC cartridge: £249.00
Ortofon Quintet Blue MC cartridge: £349.00
Ortofon Quintet Bronze MC cartridge: £515.00
Ortofon Quintet Black S MC cartridge: £679.00
Ortofon Quintet Mono MC cartridge: £349.00
The Denon have finally announced that they are bringing in the ‘R’ version of this classic cartridge into the UK. This features higher quality wiring, a lighter coil assembly and a slightly lower output and is considered to be the finest current production version of this classic model. The main sonic improvement over the standard version is a more refined and extended top end (with less grain) whilst still retaining the dynamic and involving sound of the DL-
Hana cartridges are made by Excel Sound Corportation, a Japanese company who have been making cartridges for other manufacturers for 50 years, but this is the first ever series to bear their name.
Two version of this Elliptical tipped cartridge are available, a conventional ‘Low’ output MC (0.5mV) and a high output MC (2mV) for connection into an MM phono stage. Invariably there will be losses when making a high output MC cartridge, but with the Hana a good compromise appears to have been struck. There must be greater moving mass from the extra turns of wire necessary to produce the greater output level, but there is only trace elements of the usual sonic downsides evident, a little loss of transparency and just the lightest touch of additional grain. What this means in reality is that you do not have to have a costly step up transformer or MC equipped phono stage to enjoy these cartridges do, so whilst the low output version does have the edge, in real terms you do not feel like there is anything missing with settling with the easier to run high output version.
The Elliptical series might not have quite the treble quality of their more expensive Shibata versions (detailed elsewhere on these pages), but then these models are an awful lot more reasonably priced. What you get here is a great no nonsense entry level Moving Coil that’s colourful and musical to listen to, and just a really nice all rounder. For the price they represent excellent value for money.
Hana EH Elliptical stylus, MC cartridge: £384.00
Hana EL Elliptical stylus, High Output MC cartridge: £384.00
Audio Note IQ2
I’ve been guilty of overlooking the IQ2 in the past, it’s more expensive brother (the IQ3 seen elsewhere here) has always taken centre stage offering truly stunning performance and has rightly earnt its place as one of my all time favourite cartridges. The IQ2 has an awful lot of similarities, hardly surprising when you consider that the main difference being that it has an aluminium cantilever and not a Titanium one, it even has the same diamond as the IQ3 and can even be retrofitted with the IQ3 stylus assembly when you want an upgrade.
Sonically it hits the spot, with great dynamics and speed, plus a sense of rightness that few other cartridges manage, regardless of price. It’s also a very easy cartridge to use, the only downside is it requires extended running in to lose some initial brightness, but it’s well worth it the wait!
Audio Note IQ2 cartridge £POA at manufacturers request
Audio Note IQ2 replacement stylus £POA at manufacturers request
The most affordable MC cartridge from Rega. Following in the footsteps of its big brother, the Apheta, the Ania shares a lot of common design aspects. One of the key differences is the body is not milled from aluminium, but is instead moulded from a very hard material called Polyphenylene Sulphide (PPS-
Rega Ania MC cartridge: £499.00
There’s no mistaking the 10x5 from any other cartridge, its vivid red appearance stands out a mile, yet the sound it produces is remarkably refined for the price, with a good sense of drive and purpose. It is a high output MC design so can be used straight into any MM input on a phono stage.
My previous reservations about not having a stylus guard and untapped mountings have now been resolved (please note the picture above is of the earlier version) making this a much easier cartridge to install, which is a real blessing with such an exposed cantilever.