If you are a fan of vinyl records, you will be aware of the importance of a high-quality phono cartridge. However, it’s not always easy to look for one which can meet your needs as well as your budget. Therefore, we’re here today to help you. We are going to give you a list of top 5 best turntable cartridges under 200 on the market today. Keep reading this article to get a comparison between them to make the right choice.
Turntable Cartridges Comparison Table
Top 10 Best Turntable Cartridges under $200 Reviews
Are you finding the best phono cartridge under 200 dollars? Today we have reviewed the top five best Turntable Cartridges Under $200.
NAGAOKA MP-100 MM Cartridge From Japan
At about the cost of 100 dollars, this cartridge is still one of the most affordable options that you can go for. The sound that you will get through this one will be fine, but if you are one of those people looking for precision to little sounds, might not be very happy with it. It is a good choice for people that are hobbyists and listen to their old collection of vinyl records with good quality. And the affordability of the product is also something that a lot of people will be happy about. You can see this cartridge as one in the entry levels.
Something made for an individual that loves vinyl but doesn’t have a huge budget to spend. The NAGAOKA brand has done a wonderful job in making sure that this cartridge works well with most of the record players that you find in the market.
There is not much on the negative side that can be said on this one and it has been made for people in search of an economical option. Although keep in mind that when we talk about the sound clarity, this one won’t be as great as the ones that you get for double this price. But also it’s not a bad sound either. The weight of this cartridge is less so the stylus isn’t always able to get in deep and for achieving the best possible audio. But at this budget, I feel this is a simple thing that can be overlooked for an individual that decides to buy it.
- The design is pretty cool.
- This cartridge will work well with most of the record players.
- Provides ease of usage.
- The sounds are good.
- An excellent choice for beginners.
- It’s light in weight.
- You don’t get top-notch sound.
Rega – Carbon MM Phono Cartridge
When you take a first look at the Rega Carbon MM cartridge, you might be reminded of the one from Audio Technica, the AT-91. And you are not wrong. This cartridge isn’t similar in design but also provides excellent sound performance when compared with the Audio Technica one. The simple design is of just two colors white and black.
Although this one isn’t extremely high in the price range, there is no compromise made by Rega on performance. You get the 2.5 mV of output and half-inch mount at 1 kHz that will be compatible with most of the RP1 record players. It has a square design and the right angle frontal part in the cartridge offers simplicity with its protractor line. You will be saving so much time for installation and also focus better on enjoying the excellent audio performance.
The main difference between these two is that AT-91 has a carbon cantilever as you can get from the name. However, this does not affect the performance of the Rega cartridge.
- Reproduces accurate music.
- Good for all RP1 record players.
- The bass highlights are great.
- Installation can be a bit tricky.
The Vessel A3SE Phono Cartridge
Next on the list is one of the descent cartridges that has received so much praise and has been evaluated by several professional audiophiles. The Vessel phono cartridge provides excellent performance. This was named as the product of the year in Sound Advice in 2017 that’s a popular show in CBD Radio. This is also a great choice to get an upgrade from the original cartridge that will work with most of the entry-level record players. You are also going to experience a significant transformation in the fitness and clarity of the music.
There is a production of 3 mV of output voltage and has a 2 g tracking force. Apart from this the cartridge also has a specific kind of pipe made of aluminum that is sure to level up the musical experience. The price range falls in the category of under $200 and offers detailed audio without any fatigue. This is amongst the several cohesive cartridges that have received excellent reviews by users across the globe.
- The record player provides natural sound quality with details.
- Value for money investment.
- Has got some of the best reviews from users.
- There is a need for spending a bit more time on little adjustments.
NAGAOKA MM (MP) Cartridge MP-110
Another one from the company NAGAOKA, even though it’s strange how after producing such great quality products, the brand isn’t that popular. Although the price of this one is a little bit on the higher side, it does deserve all of the attention. It is one of the high-end cartridges that you go for. The sound quality that you get with this one makes it worth a mention.
Two main features make this one unique in terms of the fact that it has an extremely fine and polished diamond stylus that’s elliptically bonded. And one of the things that are clear with this is that you certainly get a sound of much better quality. Then the second feature is that you will appreciate the inclusion of the accessories and mounting tools with it. It means that you get nuts, rods, and also a tiny screwdriver.
- It is a stylus that’s brand exclusive.
- You get supreme sound quality.
- Easy to use.
- Installation is fast.
- It will work with ½ inch standard mounts only.
Audio-Technica VM520EB/H Turntable Headshell/Cartridge Combo Kit
This cartridge comes from one of the most famous brands in the world of record players, Audio Technica. It comes with dual magnets that have been positioned well for matching both right and left channels. You get all of the mounting hardware as well. It will work well with most of the record players through the ½ inch mount head-shell. The channel separation that you get with it is outstanding and there is frequency response is extended well.
- It has an Aluminum cantilever.
- For reducing crosstalk there is a shield plate between the two channels.
- The Paratoroidal coils immensely improve efficiency.
- This won’t be good for DJ usage.
Audio Technica AT440 MLB Phonograph Cartridge
If you are looking for a fantastic cartridge for your budget, don’t miss this model. You can install this one with ease. It promises to give you fun. It also offers you good sound. It can make your old records amazing.
The cartridge is made to bring all the subtle sounds to life. Many people choose this model because of the high-quality sound it offers. However, some customers said that its sound seems to be a little tinny. If there are any scratches with your record, this cartridge will allow you to know about it.
Ortofon 2M Red Cartridge Mounted on SH-4 Headshell
If you are looking for the best turntable cartridges under $200, we recommend you to choose this model. Actually, it costs over $100 a bit. This unit is known for one of the cheapest models out there. It’s ideal for an older record player.
It promises to make your vinyl great. It ensures to give you high-quality sound. It is also a good choice for those who want to get a good looking model since it looks so cool thanks to its red style. The only downside of this turntable cartridge is that its headshell is light a bit.
Sumiko Pearl MM Cartridge
This cartridge brings an old school type of style. It is aimed at audiophiles. It is known for its sound spectrum. Also, this model is able to keep the noise down.
Actually, the Sumiko operates well on not only old but also newer style record players thanks to its classy design. In addition, it also offers a greatly cut stylus. It’s also simple to set up this cartridge.
In spite of its good sound, it also has a bit negative comment. Indeed, the cartridge lacks the inspiring sounds you may want in a phono cartridge. Plus, this unit is bulkier a bit in the overall size compared to other models.
Denon DL 103 Moving Coil Cartridge
The Denon DL 103 is designed to offer you great and high-quality sound. Moreover, this is an affordable choice. You can get an excellent sound while you needn’t take a lot of effort to set up. You can install it without any hassle.
It is known for its smart design. Also, it features an awesome bass. With this cartridge, you can use it for years to come. However, with this unit, you have to break it in. We recommend you to provide the cartridge with a solid between 8 and 10 hours of use. This aims to let it be at best.
Nagaoka MM Cartridge MP-110
This turntable cartridge is the lower cost one on our list today. It offers you very good sound quality. Its design makes it great for your loud music, such as your metal or rock. Many people choose this cartridge because of its quality, as well as its great vocals.
This unit works best for rock and loud music. It’s ideal for those who are trying to put an album on in one room. However, some people call into question the quality of the sound. Plus, some breaking in is required.
Phono Cartridge FAQs:
When Do I Need to Replace a Stylus?
You will pay attention to turntable music, including creaking and noise. Then, it’s time to replace a stylus. This aims to decrease the need to purchase a new record. You can notice some basic indicators such as the skipping on records of the cartridge, sibilance, making distortion, as well as different unpleasant effects. Then, it’s important to look for the best phono cartridge to replace it early. This purposes to prevent serious damage.
What is the stylus’s operation life?
Normally, it is able to reach up to 800 playing hours. In fact, the ratio may be decided by the right diamond alignment the whole calibration process performance, as well as the installation of the skilled tonearm. You should use the model carefully since accidental damage may break every gained benefit.
What is the difference between the stereo and mono cartridge?
Actually, there is no vertical compliance found in a mono record player cartridge since the stylus is able to only move in a horizontal plane. However, we will find a modern elliptical stylus used in stereo cartridges. Both of them ensure to give you very clear music, while you haven’t to concern about any annoying noise.
Now, you had our detailed reviews of some great turntable cartridges today. They cost less than 200 bucks. All of them are worth the money. Actually, some models are designed to make a rich sound in the bass. The fact is that not all expensive products are the best choices. They are not always necessary. If you have a tight budget, you should consider our reviews. Then, choose the ones which suit you best. Hopefully, our article is useful and can help you. Happy shopping!