Next upgrade-phono cartridge

Curious on what you might suggest. Right now I have a pioneer PLX-1000 WITH an Ortofon 2M Blue. Thinking of going up the chain to an Ortofon 2M Bronze. Is staying in the family a good plan, or should l look elsewhere with my roughly $500 budget? Grado? Something else? Or “screw, vinyl, man, save for an SGCD”?

If you have phono that can take in MC, I would highly recommend considering Hana SL or EL, these are very musical carts;

You beat me to it @RedRiver. I was going to recommend Hana. I have the ML which is a steal at $1200. But my buddy has the SL which sells for $750 and it is maybe even a better value than my ML. I feel my ML has a slight edge, but maybe not worth the extra $500 spend for some.
I have heard a lot of cartridges, but none with as good a Price:Performance ratio.

I’ve just replaced a Koetsu Urushi with a SoundSmith Zephyr MkIII.

Does that make sense? It all depends on your tonearm and listening choices.

I have a Grado 2500 which is a good MI cart.

Going to a demonstration on Saturday: “Matthias Luck, co-owner of Brinkmann Audio, will be presenting the new Taurus Direct Drive turntable. This design is an advancement over the Bardo / Oasis. The Brinkmann Edison II will also be on demonstration.”.

MANUFACTURERS demonstrating NEW STUFF at DEALERS. Just saying …

Yeah the Koetsu (I also had an Urushi Vermillion long time ago) can be a damn mismatch. In my SME V at the time it sounded dull and slow.