Many people, when the sound quality of their vinyl begins to fall, immediately jump to the conclusion that the best thing for them to do would be to invest in a new turntable. That’s the obvious answer, right? And while this wouldn’t necessarily be the wrong option, it is an option that could end up with you spending hundreds of dollars more than you actually need to if you want to keep enjoying the sweet, crisp sound of your vinyl records – and the answer to the problem could, in many cases, be as simple as changing out the cartridge for your current turntable! As such, we’ve come up with our list of the best turntable cartridges for you to consider so that you can make the right choice for your needs!
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The Best Turntable Cartridges
When choosing the right cartridge for your turntable in order to keep the sound quality crisp, clear and enjoyable from your vinyl records, there are a few different things which you may want to consider to make sure you get the best for your money. Factors such as the price of the cartridge, it’s performance and durability, and past customer reviews are all things that you may wish to consider.
The Goldring E3 cartridge is a moving magnet cartridge which weighs in at 6.9g and is a great option as an allrounder that you might want to consider. It is also incredibly easy to fit into your machine and is designed to work well with a wide range of different turntables, making it potentially a good option for you to consider when looking for the right cartridge option for your needs.
Priced at around $130, the model has achieved a very impressive score of 4.8 out of 5 stars on Amazon, with past customers rating it 5 out of 5 for both value for money and accuracy; oftentimes, the great quality sound that this cartridge produces and the value for money are often mentioned in past reviews too.
Project Pick-it DS2
When it comes to top quality cartridges for your turntable, this moving coil cartridge – weighing in at 9g with a nominal tracking weight of 2.2g – is a great choice for many people. It provides high quality sound and audio and is well suited to most genres of vinyl music, making is a very versatile option for the majority of vinyl lovers and turntable owners to potentially consider. It is also incredibly easy to install, as well, which is owed to the square body shape of the model making it easier to use. However, with prices ranging well over the $600 mark, it is fair to say that this model is probably best suited to the very best turntables, and anything else might simply call for a whole new turntable instead from an economics and costs perspective.
Ortofon 2m Blue MM
- 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 Ortofon 2m Blue MM is one of the pricier options for cartridges on our list, clocking in with a final price of $230, however for many people this cartridge will offer everything that they need. As a moving magnet cartridge, it is particularly good for helping to boost the dynamics and resolution of sound from your vinyl records and comes with a replaceable stylus, too, for added bonus! This model will also fit the vast majority of turntables and so is generally a good option for any type of turntable that might ned a little bit of a boost for its sound quality – however, past customer reviews do mention that this model can be a little noisy in terms of background noise, and so this might want to be considered.
- Produces crystal clear clarity over every sound frequency
- Fluidity across the frequency spectrum
- Up-to-date modern construction materials
- Full dynamic range
When it comes to buying a top quality cartridge, there are a number of different factors which you should consider – but the Nagooka MP110 is generally a high quality cartridge that you can rely on to give a bright and breezy sort of sound with good detail and insight. It is a moving magnet cartridge and weighs in at 6.5g, and is another option that is not only easy to fit but which will also suit a vast range of different turntables.
This cartridge is priced at $130 and has achieved an average rating on Amazon of 4.7 out of 5 stars with over 300 past reviews. Customers generally point to the cartridge being incredibly easy to install and providing good quality audio, with sound quality being the top ranked component of the cartridge with a score of 4.8 out of 5 stars.
Ortofon 2M Red
- Universal fit for most turntables
- Upgrade from stock cartridges
- The Ortofon 2M Red is an all-purpose cartridge that delivers open, dynamic sound with a slight touch of warmth
- The Ortofon 2M Red features an Elliptical diamond
- Can be upgraded with an Ortofon Stylus 2M Blue
If you want a cartridge that is a great option for the majority of turntables, which provides a great level of resolution for your music as well as a decent midrange and insight, this particular model could be great for you – and at just $100 or so, it is also one of the more affordably priced cartridges on our list too.
Indeed, this cartridge is a great option for many reasons, and it is particularly well suited to vocal music. The only real drawback that this particular model of cartridge has is that its power consumption is on the high end compared to some other cartridge models, however, it could be argued that this is somewhat offset but the incredibly high quality music that it can help to produce.
The cartridge is priced at around $100 and has achieved a high average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars from the over 700 past customers on Amazon, who often speak of the cartridge being a great budget option offering premium quality sound and great accuracy, as well as good value for money.
If your turntable isn’t producing the same premium quality audio that it once did then the cartridge could be to blame. Before you resign the fact that the turntable is too old to be used anymore, why not try replacing the cartridge to see whether this can give the turntable a new lease of life once again? It might just make all the different to the audio quality that you need!