The Rega Exact phono cartridge
The Exact is a quality moving-magnet phono cartridge, one of the rare models with a profiled stylus that can play the sides of the groove, and not just a single point on each groove wall. That allows it to yield more signal and less noise. In many cases, this stylus can play the undamaged parts of the groove of a used LP.
The Exact's powerdul magnet gives it high output, around 6 mV.
Like most MM cartridges, the Exact has a removable stylus.
ORDER: REC Rega Exact cartridge, $649. Click to order one
The Rega Apheta phono cartridge
Rega's turntables years ago left behind the category of “entry level,” and of course Rega cartridges have followed. The Apheta is a moving-coil cartridge whose performance matches the fine workmanship, The powerful fixed neodynium magnet is matched to a pair of hand-wound coils (the work is done under a microscope). The stylus is profiled, to play the groove sidewall properly.
The Apheta has a nominal output of 0.35 mV and requires an input impedance of 100 ohms, which means it will be a good match for virtually all phono preamplifiers with an MC input.
ORDER: RAC Rega Apheta cartridge, $2199 Click to order one
The London Reference phono cartridge
It has “Reference” in its name, and it's UHF Magazine's reference cartridge, installed on our Omega system.
Based on the original Decca cartridge, the Reference is neither moving coil nor moving magnet. It has no cantilever, and its generating elements are just 2 mm above the elongated line contact stylus tip. The result is a level of direct contact with the music that is unmatched. We liked it so much when we reviewed it (read the review here in PDF) that we bought it. Can you believe we get paid to listen to products like this?
The Reference works well in most arms (except straight-line tracking arms that are very short). It tracks between 1.6 and 2 grams (we suggest 2 g), and in our tests it tracked even the most modulated test discs. It has 5 mV output, suitable for a standard MM phono input. List price US$5295.
ORDER: LRC, London Reference cartridge, $4695 Click to order it