How Much Would You Pay For This Cartridge?

The picture purposely obscures the moving magnet cartridge installed in the Rega Planar 8 tonearm plugged into the Graham Slee Accession. That's because I don't want you to know its identity. Rather, please listen to the file and tell everyone how much you'd be willing to pay for it and how you think it sounds.

The Lucky One

MalachiLui's picture

$700-800 list price. And by the way, can you identify what the music is? You forgot to do that...

Michael Fremer's picture
Allison Krauss and Union Station
MalachiLui's picture

Which album?

Michael Fremer's picture
"New Favorite" released by Diverse Records in the U.K. on vinyl before you were "released"—in February of 2002.
lecorbu's picture

Strange how similar Allison Krauss’s....”The lucky One” sounds in melody and chord structure to an unrecorded master: (Blaze Foley...Clay Pigeons)

Cart maybe Hana E series MC? $475

Lazer's picture

Like its in the same price range as a 2m black. But I’m guessing it costs less.

Nightfly3000's picture

There's no sparkle in this pass so unless there is something "wrong" with this clip I would not be purchasing this cartridge.

Jim Tavegia's picture

my rig here are the house, so I'm guessing about $200. I'm probably way off, but I've been told that many times before.

Jim Tavegia's picture

I have this album so I know it pretty well.

vinyl listener's picture


vinyl listener's picture


cdvinyl's picture

From that sample size it sounds to be in the $600-$750.00 range.

ao's picture


Chemguy's picture

I’m not sure. Was it the only thing playing the record?


Anton D's picture

65 dollars, MM, variant of a Rega Carbon?

mtemur's picture

I guess it's a sumiko moonstone. 300USD.

Anton D's picture

I will cheat and add Sumiko Amethyst to the guesses, but you get the Sumiko credit!

mtemur's picture

maybe you're right but small amount of vocal sibilance made me think that it has an elliptical stylus.

Anton D's picture

The price point seems right for your guess!

Slammintone's picture


JohnnyCanuck's picture MSRP of $200 USD.

gMRfk6LMHn's picture

Considering that I am listening to this file on my PC, I would say around $300. When the track started I really liked the sound of the acoustic guitar(s) and the bass was nicely defined, but as soon as I heard the voice I thought it was pinched and restricted.

JohnnyRasheed's picture

I like this sound. It's warmer, or darker, than the iTunes version, however the iTunes version though bringing out the sparkle/top-end exacerbates the compression and sibilance in her voice.

If you want to emulate the iTunes version then clearly this combination of cartridge and phono stage isn't for you.

I would be surprised if this cartridge is a high-end (for me high end would be eg a Quintet black) but otherwise haven't got a clue how much it might cost!

At the same time I am intrigued as to how much warmer this version is, and perhaps a Trichord Diablo phono stage would be a better match for this cartridge to bring out top-end sparkle.

((Am assuming digital conversion faithful))

my humble two-penneth :-)


Tom L's picture

Sounds OK, but...for a cartridge I can't see, I would pay exactly ZERO dollars.

abelb1's picture

I'm not familiar with this album but I thought this presentation sounded well balanced with no obvious flaws. If I spent under $150 on this I'd be happy with my purchase.

Lemon Curry's picture

It's an under $500 cart, perhaps even less

atomlow's picture

I'll stick with my Shure m97 with JICO SAS needle. For something that needs to be replaced every 1000 hrs I can't imagine, I'll ever want anything more than the JICO. At times, it does have sibilance problems but generally delivers magical sound. I recently tried the Denon DL-110 MC and at first, I really liked it but it became too boomy for me at higher volumes. Changing back to the JICO made everything right.

My guess is the hidden needle/cartridge is $39.

I'll leave cartridges $500-$20,000 for anyone who has the money to replace every 1000hrs. I already spend too much on records :)

GruvyWade's picture

The tonality is rich and warm, and the reproduction of the guitar is gorgeous, with excellent midrange detail. The bass isn't as well defined as the mid-range, but its still quite nice. The vocals seem a bit recessed- but that could be the recording. Sometimes there is a flaw with the "s" sound on her vocals, which probably limits the price to under $250. If you invited friends over to listen, though, they be spellbound.

alucas's picture

you guys are really close, good ears!

AnalogJ's picture

It's nice, smooth, but none of the instruments or her voice are particularly juicy or fleshed out harmonically. The sound is nicely balanced, but not something I would spend a lot on. I would have guessed not more than a couple hundred.

Ivan Lietaert's picture

There's a nasty, wormhole dark matter whatever, twist in this question. Why would I even consider buying this cartridge if I can judge its quality by listening to a digital recording, played back on lousy laptop speakers?

At one point, her 's' hurts a bit, but is that due to the needle? The recording? The digital file?

It could be valued between $1 and $20,000

Jeroen's picture

I wouldn't pay anything for it since I have too many cartridges already. ;-) I know I'm late to the party (just registered for the first time) but I didn't look and I'm going on what I heard.
I would guess it's a basic well designed mass produced cart with a bonded elliptical stylus on a very good 'table.
Since I already have an At95e modified with a wood body and HE stylus, I'm not tempted. I also have an AT91 carbon that sells for the same price as 4 bags of peanuts (literally) and sounds awesome.
This sounds ok, clean some dynamics, not much spatial clues. A bit 'mèh'. But I'm spoiled. :-P

shawnwes's picture

What's the cartridge we were listening to? Inquiring minds want to know...

Boomer's picture

Well, it's been over a year and a half since Mr. Fremer wrote the article so how about spilling the beans on how much the cartridge cost?

dial's picture

ZYX Ultimate Astro at 12 495 $.