Best mm cartridge sub £500

I’m not at all up to date on the current mm cartridge scene, so wondered if there was a stand out cartridge in the sub £500 bracket ?

Have you heard anything you like, or is there a consensus on a stand-out cart ?


Short stylus life aside, I think the Nagaoka MP200 is a bit of a bargain. It was comfortably the best MM in a group test of the things I did a while ago despite being the cheapest. Honorable mention to the Gold Note Vasari Gold too although that’s very heavy.

Ortofon 2M Black was very nice and probably at the top end of your budget but I would be considering a Goldring 1042 at very much sub £500

Edit : Tons of Fun is a lot closer to this than me as I haven’t really listened to MM carts for quite a while

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The Goldring suggestion is a good one- how much are the Audio Note versions these days? It’s almost worth it for the threaded body alone.

That’s interesting. I always thought NAG’s were a bit pipe and slippers Ed.

Any thoughts on the Goldring 2500 ?

It’s pretty good but (whisper it), it’s built by Nagaoka, has the same spec as a Nagaoka but comes in a massive, unwieldy body at a higher price. If you are looking at Goldring, the 10xx series are the better carts.

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I’ve owned a couple of 1042’s and they are OK. I really liked the IQ2 and IQ3 though and hated the 2M Black; too clinical and a bitch to set up correctly.


The IQ2 is in Deco Audio’s list of sub £500 carts but of course has poa as the price

2M Bronze is a good alternate, I liked the Black on my WT table but not on the Rega.

Audio note IQ3

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Think I was quoted around £625 for an IQ3 a few years ago.

Been using a MP150 on my 1200gr for around 2 years now. Decent cart, can’t fault it for the money really.
I’d take note Tons’ comments about MP200 being a good buy.

I’ve had the MP500 in the past and the 2m black didn’t get on with either. 1042 is too high res ime. For £500 a used MC from a trusted source is probably a better bet imo.

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I already have a Hana SL, and can’t fault it for the money, but I was thinking of taking advantage of the mm input on my amp, so that I could have both TT’s permanently set up.

For under £500?

Has anyone tried the high output hanas?


Not me, but like the way you’re thinking

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I tested the SH ages ago. It was very good too. Like most HO moving coils, the output on offer is less than a normal MM so depending on the amount of gain you have in reserve, they can sometimes come off as a little feeble. Whenever I get them in, I habitually use a 50dB gain setting rather than 40dB to get around this.

Interestingly, if you’re looking at a HO MC cart, THIS is really, really good. It’s another Excel Corporation design and it sounds excellent.

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Exposed cantilever :scream:. Best not wear a woolly jumper when you go near that one!

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Well it would have to be used at under £500.
I think I was just really thinking about my fav MM cart didn’t really apply the £500 limit. :exploding_head: