Best Phono Cartridges Under $200

Best Phono Cartridges Under $200


Many people love listening to audio Vinyl Records in their free time, and they know how crucial magnetic cartridges are. However, sometimes it isn’t easy to choose the Correct Phono Cartridge, which fulfills your requirements, so our expert team has listed some excellent phono cartridges for under $200, and these cartridges have superior quality. These high-quality cartridges will satisfy your audio quality needs, and you can easily buy these cartridges for a $200 budget.

Our Top 3 Recommendations

Best Pick  Ortofon 2M Red MM Cartridge Ortofon 2M Red MM Cartridge

Pretty easy to setup

Upgrade from stock cartridges

No screws need (only little nuts)

Most Popular Ortofon 2M Blue MM Cartridge Ortofon 2M Blue MM Cartridge

Ease to use

Fit with most turntables

User-replaceable

Budget Pick Ortofon 2M Bronze MM Cartridge Ortofon 2M Bronze MM Cartridge

Replaced with 2M Black stylus

Adds clarity and depth

Nude Fine Line diamond

The Best Phono Cartridge Under $200 Budget

By using these phono cartridges, you can enjoy your record collection sound through your Hi-Fi. These budget phono cartridges can produce accurate sound for you, are familiar with most turntables, and efficiently work in many types of turntables. Choosing a good-sounding phono cartridge for your audio vinyl records and smooth bass response is crucial, so, below, check the list of best phono cartridges under $200.

Best Phono Cartridges Under $200 Summary

Award Image Model Price
Best phono cartridge under $100  Ortofon 2M Red MM Cartridge Ortofon 2M Red MM Cartridge See On Amazon
Best Phono Cartridge For Rock Music Ortofon 2M Blue MM Cartridge Ortofon 2M Blue MM Cartridge See On Amazon
Best moving magnet cartridge Ortofon 2M Bronze MM Cartridge Ortofon 2M Bronze MM Cartridge See On Amazon
Best phono cartridge for heavy metal Sumiko Pearl MM Cartridge Sumiko Pearl MM Cartridge See On Amazon
Best phono cartridge for bass NAGAOKA MP-110 Cartridge NAGAOKA MP-110 Cartridge See On Amazon
Best Phono Cartridge For Jazz Shure M97xE High-Performance Cartridge Shure M97xE High-Performance Cartridge See On Amazon
Best phono cartridges for modern turntables Ortofon Concorde MK2 Mix Ortofon Concorde MK2 Mix See On Amazon
Best Dj Turntable Cartridge  Shure M44-7 Cartridge Shure M44-7 Cartridge See On Amazon
Best high output mm cartridge  Ortofon 2M Black Ortofon 2M Black See On Amazon

Best Phono Cartridges Under $200 At a Glance:

Best Phono Cartridges Under $200 Reviews

Ortofon 2M Red MM Cartridge (Image credit: Amazon)

Ortofon 2M Red MM Cartridge

Best phono cartridge under $100

SPECIFICATIONS

Output voltage 5.5 mV (Millivolt) | Type Moving Magnet Cartridge | Frequency 20 Hz to 20000Hz | Stylus Type Elliptical | Tracking Force 1.8 g (18 mN) | Load resistance 47kΩ | Load capacitance 150-300pF | Output voltage 1 kHz, 5cm/sec - 5.5 mV | Stylus/Diamond Elliptical | Interchangeable With Ortofon Stylus 2M Blue

REASONS TO BUY

Pretty easy to setup

Upgrade from stock cartridges

No screws need (only little nuts)

Sounds pretty good

Split pole pins

Slight touch of warmth

Tipped Elliptical diamond stylus

All-purpose cartridge

Entry-level Audiophile Cartridge

REASONS TO AVOID

Super-sensitive to any dust

The treble isn’t the good

Bit light headshell

First is Ortofon 2M Red, and the thing which is full of surprises is that it comes within the budget range of a maximum of $100. You get a stylus brush and a tiny screwdriver tool in a small plastic packet, an instruction manual, and a 2M Red phono cartridge inside the box. It is a moving magnet and all-purpose cartridge which can easily fit with most turntables. By using Ortofon 2M Red, you will get a fantastic dynamic sound, and the cartridge comes in Elliptical diamond style.

The output voltage of the 2M Red cartridge is 5.5 mV. The 2M Red has colour-coded pin terminals and has a maximum frequency is 20 Hz to 20000Hz. It cares about your stylus, gives you the best performance without lagging up to 1,000 hours, and sounds pretty great. The 2M red has a 1.8 g load resistance and can easily replace with a 2M blue Ortofon cartridge.

The 2m red cartridge sounded warmer, is very long-lasting, and seems a hi-fi cartridge with excellent performance. Without screws, the Ortofon 2M Red weight is 7.2 g, and load capacitance is 150-300pF. The Ortofon 2M Red is a budget-friendly cartridge and can be bought easily. The cartridge can easily use with ATLP 1240 tracking at recommended 1.8 grams. Overall the Ortofon 2M Red provides outstanding music and is the best phono cartridge under $200.

Ortofon 2M Blue MM Cartridge (Image credit: Amazon)

Ortofon 2M Blue MM Cartridge

Best Phono Cartridge For Rock Music

SPECIFICATIONS

Output voltage 5cm/sec,5.5 mV, 1kHz | Interchangeable With Ortofon Stylus 2M Red | Frequency Range 20-25,000 Hz +2/-1 dB | Stylus Type Nude Elliptical | Tracking Force 1.8g (18 mN) | Replacement stylus Ortofon Stylus 2M Blue | Cartridge Weight 7.2g Without Screws | Stylus/Diamond Nude Elliptical

REASONS TO BUY

Ease to use

Fit with most turntables

User-replaceable

Adds more dynamics

It sounds more open

It's well-built

Pre-threaded mounts

Hi-Fi Choice

Looks really cool

Has great highs

Sold bass!

Mid-level Audiophile Cartridge

REASONS TO AVOID

Slight record wear

The 2M Blue does need a little warm up

The cartridge cost over 200 bucks

The next cartridge is Ortofon 2M Blue, which comes in nude elliptical style and has stylus replaceable features. The cartridge is easy to use, and its weight is similar to a 2M red cartridge, which is 7.2g. You will get the brush in a small packet in the box, which will use for proper cleaning of the stylus. The stylus features split pole pins, and the manufacture of Ortofon 2M Blue cartridge’s body is Hopelex.

The 2M Blue tracking force is similar to the 2m Red cartridge that is 18 mN and can easily replace with a 2m Red phono cartridge. The 2m red and blue cartridges share the same cartridge body, and it takes only a few seconds to swap 2M Red cartridge with 2M Blue. Both 2m red and blue cartridges have the same structure, and the only difference between them is the stylus, which is highly polished of Ortofon 2M Blue and gives you excellent tracking and significantly quieter reproduction. So, overall, the 2M Blue is the best phono cartridge under $200.

Ortofon 2M Bronze MM Cartridge (Image credit: Amazon)

Ortofon 2M Bronze MM Cartridge

Best moving magnet cartridge

SPECIFICATIONS

Output Voltage 1kHz, 5cm/sec - 5.5 mV | Frequency Range 20-29,000 Hz | Stylus Type Nude Fine Line | Tracking Force 1.8 g (18 mN) | Replacement Stylus Ortofon Stylus 2M Bronze | Interchangeable With Ortofon 2M Bronze MM Cartridge | Cartridge weight 7.2 g | Stylus/Diamond Nude Fine Line diamond

REASONS TO BUY

Replaced with 2M Black stylus

Adds clarity and depth

Nude Fine Line diamond

Slim profile cartridge

Larger footprin

Advancements in Sound

REASONS TO AVOID

Proper installation required

Bass is a little lacking

Next is 2M Brozen, a moving magnet cartridge featuring nude fine line diamond and can be easily replaced with a 2M Black stylus. Let’s compare the 2M Brozen cartridge with 2M red and blue cartridges. The 2M Brozen cartridges will give you more details and resolutions than Ortofon’s previous reviewed cartridges. The 2m red will provide you more warm sound, and on the other hand, the 2m blue cartridges will offer you a neutral sound. But, you can upgrade your phono cartridge to 2m Brozen, which is so different in structure, performance, and sound compared to both 2m blue and 2m red cartridges. The proper installation of a 2m Brozen cartridge is a little tricky, and unlike 2m red and blue cartridges, you have to install the entire cartridge, and for this purpose, you need a needle nose plier.

How To Install Ortofon 2M Bronze Cartridge

  1. Things you need are nose pliers, and remember that your hand will remain very steady while installation.
  2. Carefully Remove four-colour leads from the back of your currently installed cartridge with a nose plier.
  3. Remove two screws that are keeping your cartridge connected to the tonearm.
  4. In the 2m Brozen packages, you will find no screws, so you have to attach your screws while connecting the 2m Brozen cartridge to your tonearm.
  5. Tight the screws, and that’s all.

Sumiko Pearl MM Cartridge (Image credit: Amazon)

Sumiko Pearl MM Cartridge

Best phono cartridge for heavy metal

SPECIFICATIONS

Cartridge Type MM | Frequency 12Hz – 30KHz | Channel Separation 30db | Size of Stylus 0.2µx0.8µ | The shape of stylus Elliptical | Name Sumiko Pearl MM Cartridge | Installation Easy | Compatibility Fits Any Standard Tonearm

REASONS TO BUY

Strong Elliptical shape

Good performance at rendering

Pretty crystalline sharp

Characteristic and real sound

Fits with most turntables

Exquisite tracking

Price is very low

Simple to setup

Exquisite tracking and output

REASONS TO AVOID

The cartridge only works perfect when used on a high-end system

A little on the large side

Good not great

The Next is the Sumiko Pearl MM Cartridge, and this elliptical phono cartridge comes with a separation channel of 30 DB and 12Hz – 30KHz frequency response. The cartridge can easily fit and works well on any standard tonearm and digital stylus. Throughout the entire spectrum, you will get a very balanced and detailed sound. The cartridge is beautifully designed by an audiophile company and gives you a high level of performance. The cartridge can perfectly fit with most of the turntables, and installation is relatively easy overall. The Sumiko Pearl Cartridge will give you outstanding performance at rendering and good details from the distorted electric guitar. The Sumiko Pearl MM is an easily replaceable stylus that has a robust Elliptical shape. The Sumiko Pearl ( MM Cartridge )vocals and upper mids were more straightforward and provided rich mids and extraordinary airy highs. The cartridge creates a vast and open soundstage and does need time to set up correctly.

NAGAOKA MP-110 Cartridge (Image credit: Amazon)

NAGAOKA MP-110 Cartridge

Best phono cartridge for bass

SPECIFICATIONS

Output Voltage 5mV (5cm / sec) | Frequency Characteristics 20Hz ~ 20kHz | Channel Separation 23dB (1KHz) | Channel Balance 1.5dB Below | Load Resistance 47KΩ | Load Capacity 100pF | Cantilever Aluminum Alloy | Needle Tip 0.4x0.7mil Ellipse | Weight 6.5g

REASONS TO BUY

High cost performance

Calm of the sound

Ellipse chip adoption

Blockbuster MP-11 successor model

MP type stereo cartridge

Offers well rounded sound

Dual magnet cartridge

It has excellent stylus

Diamond tip needle

Standard size cartridge

Vocals really stand out

Ideal for rock and metal sound listening

REASONS TO AVOID

For the price

Require some breaking in

The Next is NAGAOKA MM cartridge, and this cartridge is only used with MM phono inputs of your amplifier. Nagaoka cartridge output voltage is 5-megavolts and comes with the pre-installed headshell, which is made of high-quality material and has an ergonomic finger-lift, which seems beautiful for this head shall. For superior quality audio music, the NAGAOKA MM cartridge is a beast for you, and if we compare NAGAOKA MM with Ortofon 2M Red cartridge, then this one provides excellent quality audio and is better than that cartridge and overall the NAGAOKA MM cartridge is the best phono cartridge under $200.

This is a wonderfully involving, sweet-sounding cartridge, and if you are cartridge shopping, immediately skip past the prominent brands who have models costing around $100 and get this Nagaoka for just a little more dollars you will not be disappointed. Its performance equals one or two prominent brands I have heard costing in the $300+ plus range. It somewhat suppresses clicks and pops of record surface imperfections but still delivers an abundance of accurate undiminished treble responses. It tracks at 1.6 grams accurately on my turntable. It plays out solidly in the bass range and reproduces vocals superbly as well. It accurately replicates cymbals in jazz selections, with a subtle, breathy sounding decay dripping with detail. It has excellent channel separation. It sounds better and better as I accumulate listening hours this week.

Shure M97xE High-Performance Cartridge (Image credit: Amazon)

Shure M97xE High-Performance Cartridge

Best Phono Cartridge For Jazz

SPECIFICATIONS

Stylus Mass Very Low | Diamond Stylus Tip Elliptical | Sound Accuracy Very High | Record Wear Very Low | Key Features Dynamic Stabilizer Brush | Cantilever II low-mass, aluminum alloy | Installation Easy

REASONS TO BUY

For mixing and spinning

It has versatile needles

Low record wear

High skip resistance

Reliable record cueing

Has standard headshell

Very high sound accuracy

Dynamic Stabilizer

REASONS TO AVOID

For best sound quality, you must have functions it correctly

The Next is the Shure M97xE cartridge, and it has an elliptical diamond-designed cartridge with a finely polished tip. The cartridge will give you accurate musical passages in the high-frequency range. The Shure M97xE phono cartridge will give attachment on the tonearm, which is full of free with any vibration and will provide you superb smooth sounding.

The cantilever of the M97xE cartridge is made of aluminium alloy, and the cartridge tip style is in Elliptical shape. It gives low record wear, sounds very high accuracy, and comes in a very low weighted cartridge. Unfortunately, it is an expensive cartridge, and you cannot buy an M97xE cartridge within the range of $200.

Ortofon Concorde MK2 Mix (Image credit: Amazon)

Ortofon Concorde MK2 Mix

Best phono cartridges for modern turntables

SPECIFICATIONS

The next is the Ortofon CC MK2 cartridge, and it demands modern turntable-like DJs and can easily fit in top DJ turntables. The cartridge is an all-rounder groove and gives you excellent performance in price. For a better needle and incredible angle view, the wide stylus is cut out. The Ortofon CC MK2 has the most outstanding quality spherical stylus and has a substantial and stable cantilever.

The Ortofon also provides some other Elliptical, and Spherical DJ cartridges like Ortofon CC MK2 DJ, CC MK2 Digital, CC MK2 Club Elliptical, and CC MK2 Scratch comes in different prices and performance. I liked the sound when listening to my acetate disc, and the needle adapts well with another game that I have recorded as scratched the disc.

This Concorde to have this result, you have to put the ideal weight if you do not hear the sound hoarse. As for the volume, fix it on the turntable and compare it with another needle. Much easier to listen to without getting tired of the sound. They already want to move up to their 150 from the MP-110 and is a shockingly good value at the entry-level price.

REASONS TO BUY

New generation of Ortofon

Easily fit all DJ turntables

Tailored cartridges

Come with a removable headshell

Groovy all-rounder

Reinforced superior grip

High sound quality

Good tracking ability

Wide stylus cut-off

REASONS TO AVOID

Breaks easily

The next is the Ortofon CC MK2 cartridge, and it demands modern turntable-like DJs and can easily fit in top DJ turntables. The cartridge is an all-rounder groove and gives you excellent performance in price. For a better needle and incredible angle view, the wide stylus is cut out.

The Ortofon CC MK2 has the most outstanding quality spherical stylus and has a substantial and stable cantilever. The Ortofon also provides some other Elliptical, and Spherical DJ cartridges like Ortofon CC MK2 DJ, CC MK2 Digital, CC MK2 Club Elliptical, and CC MK2 Scratch comes in different prices and performance. I liked the sound when listening to my acetate disc, and the needle adapts well with another game that I have recorded as scratched the disc.

This Concorde to have this result, you have to put the ideal weight if you do not hear the sound hoarse. As for the volume, fix it on the turntable and compare it with another needle. Much easier to listen to without getting tired of the sound. They already want to move up to their 150 from the MP-110 and is a shockingly good value at the entry-level price.

Shure M44-7 Cartridge (Image credit: Amazon)

Shure M44-7 Cartridge

Best Dj Turntable Cartridge

SPECIFICATIONS

Skip Resistance ultra-high | Output ultra-high | Record Wear ultra-low | Sound Emphasis big bass | Tracking Force 1.5 to 3 grams | Frequency 20 to 20,000 Hz | Weight 6.7 grams | Installation Easy

REASONS TO BUY

For scratch DJs and turntablists

Unique wide-diameter

Ultra high skip resistance

Powerful resonant sound

It made for DJ scratching

Best for vinyl records

Loud booming output

Perfect for scratching

REASONS TO AVOID

Bit too bass heavy

The Next is Shure M44-7 phono cartridge, which comes with a type-s cantilever and has low record wear, which is excellent and gives you resonant sound. The installation process of the Shure M44-7 cartridge is straightforward, and its needle can work with most turntables and is purely designed for DJ scratching. The tracking force of M44-7 is 1.5 to 3 grams, and the resource frequency range is 20 to 20,000 Hz, which is less than a 2m black stylus. The M44-7 cartridge is much expensive, and we have just listed it p for providing you best information; and if your budget is reasonable, then the cartridge is best for you, and you can easily buy the Shure M44-7 phono cartridge for any DJ Music night for good quality audio so, overall the M44-7 is the best phono cartridge under $500.

Ortofon 2M Black (Image credit: Amazon)

Ortofon 2M Black

Best high output mm cartridge

SPECIFICATIONS

Output Voltage 5 mV | Interchangeable Ortofon Stylus 2M Bronze | Frequency Range 20-31,000 Hz | Stylus Type Shibata diamond | Tracking Force 1.5g (15 mN) | Others Stylus brush, fiber | Replacement stylus Ortofon Stylus 2M Black | Cartridge weight 7.2 g | Stylus/Diamond Nude Shibata

REASONS TO BUY

Stylus is replaceable

Highly polished profile

Threaded Wholes

Color coded pin terminals

Flagship from Ortofon

Nude Shibata diamond stylus

High frequency groove information

Care of Stylus

Advancements in Sound

REASONS TO AVOID

Expensive

The Next is a 2M black cartridge, which is an expensive cartridge in our list, and we have just listed it to provide you only information. The cartridge is very slim and comes in the nude Shibata diamond style, which gives you breathtaking sound quality and exceptional bass.

The 2m black phono cartridge frequency is up to 20-31,000 Hz, and the output voltage is 5mV. The entire frequency spectrum of the 2M black cartridge is much precise in relation and is a high output moving coil cartridge. You will get fantastic quality sound if you have a Technics SL-1200G turntable with an installed 2m black cartridge. The 2M black cartridge provides excellent quality but expensive in the budget, so you can buy 2M black from amazon if you have a high budget.

What Is A Phono Cartridge?

It is the electro-mechanical small component which set up on the tonearm of any turntable. The performance of the record is wholly dependent upon the capabilities of the Phono cartridge.

Cartridge Mount: The us of a cartridge mount is for correctly mounting cartridges on the turntable’s tonearm.

Types of Stylus: In the market, you will find two stylus types.

  1. Spherical
  2. Elliptical

We have listed some Pros and Cons of spherical and Elliptical style phono cartridges.

Spherical

Pros

  • Less expensive.
  • A popular choice of a needle.
  • Have less drag.
  • Better for scratching.

Cons

  • Some Higher record wear.
  • Less responsive high frequency.

Elliptical

Pros

  • High-frequency response.
  • Less record wear.

Cons

  • More expensive.
  • Less popular.
  • Harder to find replacements.
  • Not suitable for scratching.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can Ortofon 2M Black easily fit on the audio Technica at-lp1240 Turntable?

Yes, Ortofon 2M Black can easily fit on the audio Technica at-lp1240 turntable. The supported cartridge weight for at-lp1240 is 3.5-8.5g without headshell, and with headshell is 13-18g. If we talk about Ortofon 2M Black, then its weight is 7.2g so, the cartridge will work fine with Technica at-lp1240 turntable.

What is the best phono cartridge under $200?

If you have not much budget to purchase phone cartridges like Ortofon 2M Black, which is much expensive, then no problem because in the market, there are many phono cartridges under the $200 budget like Ortofon 2M Red. The Ortofon 2M Red cartridge has an Elliptical diamond shape, and with most turntables, you can fit this cartridge.

Which cartridge is suitable for modern DJ turntables?

The Ortofon Concorde MK2 is the perfect DJ turntable cartridge under the $200 budget. The cartridge performance00 is excellent and fits easily with modern DJ turntables.

What is Bad VS. Good Needle?

It ultimately depends on the condition of the needle now most of us don’t have a microscope and yes some vinyl people actually have microscopes for this purpose so we can’t see the condition of our needle properly without microscope. So we have to go based off of our hearing. When the music is very sharp and much bright so it is a sign of good needle. When sound is muddy and bad then it is sign of bad Needle.

Charles Lyell
Hi, I'm Charles Lyell. As a gamer, I have lots of knowledge about gaming, computer hardware, software, and the latest devices. Also, my favorite hobby is learning programming and new languages. I am founder of Techikaya website. Here I love to review the latest products and write blogs about the newest tech information. I am from California, Los Angeles, US, and study BSCS at California Institute of Technology.
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