The Rega Carbon is a new budget cartridge from Rega. These are now in stock, a write
up about the sound will follow shortly, but for the price this already seem something
of a bargain!
Rega Carbon MM cartridge: £25.99
Audio Technica AT-95E
The AT-95E is a classic entry level cartridge with an involving and punchy sound
which is perfect for many classic and budget turntables.
Audio Technica AT-95E cartridge £39.00
Audio Technica ATN-95E replacement stylus for above £25.00
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 phono stage. This unusual design which
uses fixed coils and magnets, relying on an 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: £58.00
Grado Prestige Green: £70.00
Grado Prestige Blue: £82.00
Grado Prestige Red: £94.00
Grado Prestige Silver: £117.00
Grado Prestige Gold: £153.00
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: £59.50
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
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: £65.00
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: £119.00
Thh yellow coloured Exact is their top of the range MM model (pictured below) and
uses a Vital diamond profile.
Rega Exact cartridge: £255.00
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: £68.00
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: £85.00
Ortofon 2M Blue: £170.00
Ortofon 2M Bronze: £295.00
Ortofon 2M Black: £495.00
Goldring 2100, 2200, 2300, 2400 & 2500
The 2000 series is an evolution of the every popular 1000 series detailed above.
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
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: £112.50
Goldring 2200: £132.50
Goldring 2300: £215.00
Goldring 2400: £295.00
Goldring 2500: £325.00
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-2, the 1022 a Gyger-1 Fine Line and the 1042 the Gyger-S).
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
Goldring 1006: £145.00
Goldring 1012: £225.00
Goldring 1022: £250.00
Goldring 1042: £265.00
Ortofon MC1 Turbo
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: £160.00
The Denon DL-103 Moving Coil cartridge is a true classic, not just because its been
in production since 1963 but because it still offers a performance to rival designs
costing much more than its low price tag would suggest. Don’t let its classic look
and spherical profile fool you - this is still one seriously musically rewarding
design. It produces a rich dynamic presentation, with much more conviction than any
other budget moving coil we’ve heard.
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-end design is away being retipped!
Denon DL-103 MC Cartridge: £219.99.
The DL-110 is a high output coil design (1.6mV output) which can be plugged directly
into conventional MM (Moving Magnet) phono stages that offers quite superb value
Denon DL-110 high output MC cartridge: £179.99
The Vivo is the entry level MC cartridge range from Ortofon and uses a body made
from a special resin (called Lexan DMX), chosen for its rigidity and damping. The
coils are wound from very high purity copper wire and output 0.5mV output (i.e. a
healthy but fairly standard low output MC level). The difference between the two
models is the stylus profile, the Red uses an elliptical diamond and the Blue a nude
elliptical tip (nude means the whole stylus is made from a single piece of diamond,
non nude means that only the profile is diamond and mounted on a support made from
a different material, Nude cartridges have greater mechanical integrity and lower
mass, allowing greater high frequency response and improved tracking).
Ortofon Vivo Red MC cartridge: £210.00
Ortofon Vivo Blue MC cartridge: £275.00
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-103. Detail retrieval also increases as does
the solidity of instruments, especially in the lower mid when voices and instruments
sound almost as substantial as the real thing.
Denon DL-103R MC cartridge: £329.99
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
Dynavector DV-10X5 cartridge: £329
Dynavector DV-10X5 exchange: £263 (plus return of old DV-10 cartridge)
Ortofon Rondo series
The Rondo series cartridges are novel in their use of cartridge bodies made from
a composite of wood and resin. The main changes between models are that the Blue
has a Nude FG70 diamond profile whereas the red (pictured above) has a Nude Elliptical.
The top of the range Bronze has a Nude FG80 profile and a tapered (rather than cylindrical)
-Ortofon Rondo Red MC cartridge: £375.00
-Ortofon Rondo Blue MC cartridge: £525.00
-Ortofon Rondo Bronze MC cartridge: £675.00
This is a wonderfully transparent sounding MC cartridge and whilst there are designs
with more dynamic grip, others with more extended bass, few (and none that I’m aware
of at this price point) that can match it for its faithful midband. Giving it a real
taste of hi-end cartridges without the matching price tag.
It’s quite unusual as it tracks securely at a very low 1.2 gramme's and has a fairly
low output (even by MC standards) so requires a quiet MC stage or preferably a good
step up transformer to get it working at its best. It also has provision for 4 bolt
fixing on most tonearms and the extra rigidity pays dividends with a slightly more
dynamic and powerful presentation.
Denon DL-304 MC cartridge: £429.99
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
This is the replacement model for the classic DV 20X. This moving coil cartridge
is available in two versions a high output version for use into MM phono stages (outputs
2.8mV) and a ‘low’ output version (or what I would consider close to normal MC level
at 0.3mV). It uses a 6mm long aluminium cantilever and Micro Ridge stylus, and the
generator is housed in a rigid aluminium body.
Dynavector DV-20X2 cartridge, low and high output versions are the same price: £549
Dynavector DV-20X2 cartridge, exchange price: £439 (plus return of an old Dynavector