The top 20 most expensive phono cartridges ever made

  1. Lyra Atlas Sl ~16000 $

  2. My Sonic Lab Signature Platinum Pickup ~14 000 $
    My Sonic Lab Signature Platinum Pickup

  3. Air Tight Opus-1 ~ 13 500 $

  4. Clearaudio Goldfinger Statement ~ 12 000 $

ZYX Ultimate Diamond - X/S/G ~12 000 $

  1. Kuzma CAR-60 ~ 11300 $
    Kuzma CAR-60

  2. Air Tight PC-1 Supreme ~ 9000 $
    Air Tight PC-1 Supreme

  3. Koetsu Rosewood Signature Platinum ~ 8600 $

  4. Dynavector DRT XV-1t ~7800 $

  5. Van den Hul The Colibri XPW ~7700 $

  6. Clearaudio Titanium V2 ~ 7500$

  7. My Sonic Lab Ultra Eminent EX ~7400$

  8. Ortofon MC Anna ~ 6300 $

  9. Dynavector DRT XV-1s Mono ~ 5300 $

  10. Soundsmith Sussurro Mk II True Dual Mono Coil ~ 4800 $

  11. My Sonic Lab Eminent Solo Mono ~ 4700 $

  12. Ortofon Xpression ~ 4500 $

  13. Sumiko Palo Santos Presentation ~ 4400$

  14. Rega Aphelion 2 ~ 4000 $

  15. Benz Micro LP/LP-S ~ 2600 $

  16. Sumiko Blackbird - MC ~ 1200$

We can discuss about these cartridges; what you feel about them, disadvantages and advantages, etc;

I found for example not many mono high price cartridge exist;

im surprise that there are not many mono cartridges at all, if we compare to how many stereo cartridges that exist.

Ps. what do you think of adding a koetsu in a 200 dollars turntable player?

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Back in my Vinyl days, I had a DUAL CS515 with Grado Red. In 23 years of playing Vinyl on that Table, it was the best Tracker and Soundstage/Sound Quality. Had I stuck with Vinyl, I’d put a $1000 Cartridge on a $150.00 (CDN in 1985) Turntable with Darren’s Preamp without hesitation. Personally, to me, the Cartridge/Preamp are most important, where the Turntable is just a Contest to see who has the biggest Ego,

The same can be said of the Digital world that I’m in now and very happy to be in. The DAC is the Vinyl Cartridge, the Preamp is the medium you choose (I2S, S/PDIF/Optical), and the Disc Transport, the Ego.

Great topic, I love Audio Pxxn !


I jumped from an Ortofon 2M Blue to Bronze this year. The Blue was nothing to sneeze at, but, oh, the Bronze! And it isn’t even broken in yet!


The Clearaudio Goldfinger, too is 16k in the US, not 12k.

But here’s the DS Audio Master 1 light technology cartridge with the necessary EQ unit for 22.500$ for the top of the list :wink:


$22.50…Twenty-Two Dollars and 50 Cents is deal :joy:

I guess the US punctuation rule is different from the one in my region :wink:
Seems my . is your , vice versa


It is an amusing cultural quirk.

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Harmann Kardon / Rabco straight line tracking with Decca Gold was my end game in 1980’s
The Decca had user adjustable magnet platforms that allowed one to tune the cartridge. I am all digital source nowadays.

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How much does the diamond cost that is encrusted on the ‘Clearaudio Goldfinger’?

What is the audio benefit for that? lol

I’ve been really happy with my DL103r. I’m sure there are better carts…but at that point…why not buy an awesome DAC instead?..sorry.


You want to ruin your lps?

I Wonder also how long you can use these cartridges? A year or 2? If you listen some hours every week!?

You can buy some reel to reel also whit that money😉

This message is for those who doubt the value of a better 'table. I think Rega defines their products with the best name “vibration measuring machines”. It’s important to understand the smallest physical features on a vinyl record are 0.4 mils! That tiny dimension must be transcribed into an electrical signal if you want the full experience of vinyl. To that end Rega (and I’m sure other better TT manufacturers) control tolerances of these critical measurement devices to an alarming level. The RB2000 tonearm on the RP10 has each bearing hand selected and fitted without adhesive to achieve this ability to measure tiny displacements from the cartridge.

And, one final thought for those that “don’t need vinyl anymore”. I look at having this option as just that. Imagine all the great recordings that are no longer available digitally (CD or streaming). I love having more choices when it comes to my favorite recordings. The recent Blue Note Tone Poet series on vinyl is fantastic. I’m sure those titles available on CD are great too, but it just wouldn’t be the same experience for me. YMMV and all that.


The standard rate for a replacement Goldfinger (whole cartridge replaced) is something like 40% I think to remember.

The benefit for a Goldfinger Statement is dynamics, transients, low bass extension and control a DAC would dream of …in combination with trackability, palpability, 3D soundstaging out of this world.

If you want all the advantages and more of digital minus its disadvantages combined with what makes analog sound, it’s the ticket. It probably needs a follow up of the TSS to reach that experience :wink:

I’m bringing up an old thread instead of starting a new one.

On the topic of Koetsu, does anyone here have experience with them? I’m particularly interested in the Urushi range and how it would work with a Clearaudio Tangent arm.

What confuses me is that each review I can find says that they are picky about tonearm matching and require a medium to high mass tonearm to function at their best.

Yet, the Mørch web site for recommendations on the arm tubes for different cartridges recommends Urushi to go with the red dot arm tube which only has effective mass of 7.5g (vs. the blue dot 14g).

In fact, a majority of the recommendations are for the low mass arm tube. My current cartridge (Clearaudio Stradivari V2) is also recommended to go with the red dot arm tube and I have no problems at all with the Clearaudio Tangent arm which probably is low mass but it’s hard to find definitive info on that.

Would appreciate any comments. Also, if anyone has comments on Mørch DP-8 would be interested in those as well.

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So which of the cartridges listed is the most popular (in terms of sales)?

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My guess would be the not-so-expensive ones, Benz and Sumiko. Of the more expensive ones it’s anybody’s guess but if I were to pull one from the hat I’d pull Clearaudio Titanium. Probably sells well packaged with their better players. It’s often said to sound as good as the Golfdinger but without the glitter. Personally, I find Goldfinger quite tacky. Plus, it weighs 20g, many arms can’t handle it that well.

All I can say is I owned an Urushi Vermillion many years ago and didn’t get it working any good with an SME V at the time, which was probably no surprise.

I’d suggest, in case you hear a Koetsu as you want it to sound, combine it like that. It’s not an easy cart for experiments, except if you have no problems to try and sell tonearms.

Was there an arm you got it to work with?

Are you familiar with Ortofon’s tonearm/cartridge resonance curve? You can find it on Ortofon’s support page. No need to guess about compatibility, given the cartridge compliance, cartridge mass and effective mass of the tonearm. You can calculate the system resonance yourself, or read it from the handy curve family Ortofon provides on that resonance frequency page. Follow Ortofon’s recommendation for the resonance band you need to stay inside. I’ve been using that chart for years to determine compatibility before I buy (I have a SME 309). I have never been steered wrong. Also, that chart is dead accurate. Using my turntable setup records I’ve found the resonance empirically to be just as the Ortofon curve predicts. A cartridge does quite a dance at resonance, it isn’t subtle.
I do have one beef about Koetsu, btw … it is hard to find the specifications for the cartridge line. Guess buyers are supposed to get caught up in the Zen that supposedly makes Koetsu special.