Turntable cartridge opinions needed

I have just completed the repair of a Luxman PX-101 turntable. A New tonearm belt, clean and lube the few moving parts, and now the mechanics are as good as new. Even the pitch is rock solid according to the platter strobe.

Unfortunately, the stylus on the turntable has no jewel. The cartridge is a Sonus Gold with a Sonus Blue “S” stylus. I’ve looked for a reasonable place to get a replacement, but am not coming up with much luck.

I also have a Project RPM-3 Carbon turntable as my main spinner for several years. I’ve been considering upgrading the cartridge on that to something better. With the need for a cartridge on the Luxman, perhaps I should move the Sumiko Blue Pt No.2 from the Project to the Luxman and finally get a new cartridge for the Project. I would love to get your thoughts on this idea, and most importantly, if I do go this route, what cartridge would you recommend that I upgrade to on the project?

I should also mention that I have the PSA Stellar phono preamp and a budget of less than $1500.

I’m looking forward to your thoughts.

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Oops, good point, Ron.

The budget is less than $1500. But the higher the price, the more I wonder if it is worth putting that expensive a cart on a Project RPM-3.

I really like your Blue Point. And the Zu Audio upgraded Denon DL-103MK2 is also excellent.


The Hana carts appear to be the affordable darlings right now. There are different models available below $1500, some well below that price. The Nagaoka MP-500 is a nice MI cart. I’d say go for a new cart on your Project. If you have an excuse to further your best gear, do it. :grinning: If you already know how to do this sort of thing, you can ignore this next item, but be sure to check the weight and compliance of an intended cart against the effective mass of the arm. Vinylengine has some handy tools to help you do the calculations.


Only because I’m using my Ortofon Quintet S Black for ripping Vinyl to DSD64 files (until I run out of LP’s to borrow :joy:) that it’s my under $1500 recommendation,

I’ll remount my over $2k Benz Micro Wood Body Cart. once I’m done ripping (one day).

The Ortofon is more “analytic” to my ears, whereas the Benz is a bit warmer which to my ears is great for playback but not for archiving.

My 2 Canadian cents (which ain’t worth that down here anymore).



Depends on you sonic preferences, but the Denon 301 Mk II is a fine cartridge at $450 here. It is a bit leaner and offers more detail than a tricked up Denon 103 IME. For more money at its price the Hana ML at $1200 is hard to beat.

Denon 301 Mk II


I believe the new Quintet utilizes a sapphire cantilever vs the boron of the previous Quintet Black, I haven’t heard the new version but supposedly it produces a warmer, more fluid sound.

This is based on nothing but some talk over coffee at the local audio shop. The Quintet series were also on sale when this discussion took place a couple weeks ago, before the latest blizzard in Buffalo🙂


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Thank you all for your input.

Based on your suggestions, I’ve been doing more research, and I think I will open up the budget to 2K.

So far, I’m partial to the Sumiko Starling

When compared to the Hana ML or MH, what I like better about the Starling is the “boron cantilever finished with an ultra-low-mass Microridge stylus.” Since the atomic mass of Boron is less than Aluminum, and the Microridge stylus is better shaped to extract finer detail from the grooves it is my thought that it will be able to extract more detail, thereby taking things to another level.

What do you all think?

John, what arm is on that Project table?

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Hi Tony,

It’s the 10" carbon tonearm that came with it. It came with the Sumiko Blue Point No. 2 when I purchased it.

RPM 3 Carbon – Pro-Ject Audio Systems (project-audio.com)

I think that the boron cantilever will make a difference; Hana ML is very musical but more details will help. If I were looking for cart today for long term listening, I may consider Hana Umami Blue; It is a bit up and up from $2K but checks all the boxes.

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LOL, It is definitely a bit up and up. Another $500 more than the current budget and $1K more than the prior budget is a little to much for where I wanted to go at this time.

I did watch that video as part of the research that I have been doing.

That tonearm has an effective mass of 16g, according to what I found online. If this helps, I Rand the cartridge resonance calculator on vinylengine and came up with this:

It provides some boundaries for helping make sure a cart will work well with the arm. What phono pre are you using? Ah, I see. The nuWave. I haven’t heard one of these in a few years, so I don’t recall how it does with low output carts. But for the money you’re now looking at maybe a Soundsmith medium output cart might be an option?

Sorry, I felt a bit bad to suggest, I always overrun the initial budget since starting of this hobby:-)

I have a Starling that I use on a VPI Classic 1. It’s very detailed, dynamic, musical. There’s nothing to dislike about it.


I tend to agree with you. The difference between the two Cart’s is subtle But Benz is 34 years old (but not used in 20 of those 34 yrs. by the previous owner of the Linn). The Quintet Black only has 500 or more hrs. between my previous MoFi Studiodeck & the LP12.

Music Direct here in the U.S. gave me discount as well when I bought the Cart prenounted on the Mofi TT.

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Hi Tony I need to update that part of my profile. I’m using the Stellar phono preamp now. I don’t think there will be a problem with the low-output cart.

Thanks for the chart. Are the orange and yellow the frequencies that would be an issue? Is there a web page that I can go to for more info on how to interpret the chart? EDIT: Never mind I found the resonance calculator and the explanation. The resonant frequency is 8hz, which I think should not be a problem.

I know you recommended Vinlyl engine I will see if I can find it.

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Not a problem, I do appreciate the help, and with my raising the limit, you couldn’t know how much further I was willing to go. Were you an audio sales person at one time? :wink:

haha I have never been in audio sales business; when comes to music and hifi, cannot help being a bit passionate about it.

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