The Rega Planar 10 is an excellent turntable, utilizing the latest technology in the world of turntables. But as an upgrade from the recommended Apheta 3 cartridge, there are several options that you can try to enhance your audio experience.
Because we understand how the correct cartridge can make or break your turntable experience, we decided to prepare this buying guide to tell you about the best cartridge for Rega Planar 10. So, let’s dive in to learn about the best products on the market and how to pick the right one for your setup.
In addition to compatibility with the impressive Planar 10 turntable, we wanted to focus on suggesting high-quality and long-lasting cartridges that would allow you to enjoy the best audio experience from your LPs.
With too many products on the market, we wanted to focus on products that would bring out the details that shine with your high-quality turntable. We also wanted to suggest a decent choice for every price range so you’d find a good cartridge to upgrade your turntable regardless of your budget.
The cartridges on our list can be used to replace your fitted cartridge when it wears out or when you want to upgrade your audio experience.
1. Ortofon 2M Black Moving Magnet Cartridge – Best Overall
The Ortofon 2M Black Moving Magnet Cartridge is a top-of-the-line product from the Ortofon brand and a worthy upgrade from the 2M Blue, Red, and Bronze models. Although it comes with a hefty price tag, it’s designed to deliver outstanding audio performance, highlighting the smallest details of your LPs.
As a matter of fact, a lot of audiophiles compare its outstanding performance to the performance of MC cartridges. Nevertheless, you won’t have to invest in a transformer, which will help you save some cash and make your setup simpler, even though this cartridge is more expensive than other models on the market.
The needle delivers a weight of 1.5 grams for showing off the full body of the audio you’re listening to. It’s a nude Shibata needle that outperforms most of the other needles on the market, including the one your Planar 10 comes fitted with. It also lasts for more than 500 hours of playback, so it’s good value for money.
The highly polished design delivers a wide range of audio details that other needles might fail to highlight. Moreover, this design reduces the wear of the needle and your vinyl records with repetitive use.
As a matter of fact, you can upgrade your 2M Bronze cartridge by replacing the needle and keeping the housing. But because it’s pretty sensitive to VTA, using 4-mm spacers is recommended, or you won’t enjoy the desired audio performance from your cartridge.
Yet, once properly fitted, this MM cartridge will deliver rich bass, clear midrange, and smooth treble. Moreover, it complements the aesthetic profile of your turntable for the perfect picture.
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2. GRADO Prestige Gold3 Phono Cartridge – Best Runner Up
The GRADO Prestige Gold3 Phono Cartridge is a hand-made cartridge for those who need a high-quality cartridge with exceptional performance. Made of copper, it’s designed to last for long, highlighting the audio details with streamlined performance.
It features a standard mount, which makes it quite easy to install and adjust, whether you’re using the Rega Planar 10, or any other turntable. Moreover, it looks elegant, in addition to its impressive audio performance.
Featuring an elliptical diamond stylus, this will be the perfect addition to your vinyl turntables. This needle’s design covers a bigger groove area, highlighting more audio details in your vinyl records. It also delivers better frequency response with less distortion compared to other needle designs.
In addition, you can easily replace your needle by yourself, so you’ll be saving more money in the long run when the stylus wears out, and you won’t have to replace the cartridge as a whole.
As a result, you’ll enjoy a warm audio image with deep bass that most cartridges won’t be able to deliver at this price range. However, in some cases, you might hear a hum, which could jeopardize your audio experience. Moreover, you’ll need to use 2-mm spacers to install it properly.
3. Audio-Technica AT-VM95EN Dual Moving Magnet Turntable Cartridge – Best Budget Choice
The Audio-Technica AT-VM95EN Dual Moving Magnet Turntable Cartridge proves that high quality doesn’t always have to come with a high price tag. Just like other models from this brand, this MM cartridge is designed to cater to the needs of those who need to enjoy the best audio details without breaking the bank.
It’s made of a durable polymer housing that protects the cartridge and guarantees that it will last for long. At the same time, it minimizes resonance to eliminate any distortion that you might deal with while listening to your favorite vinyl records.
The threaded inserts allow for easy installation using screws. No nuts are involved, making this a suitable job for a beginner user.
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The cartridge comes with an elliptical nude stylus that doesn’t miss any groove detail to create the perfect audio output, and at the same time, it’s replaceable, so you can always upgrade your cartridge.
Its round shank will protect your vinyl records and keep them in perfect shape by reducing the wear of the needle regardless of extended use. But even when the needle eventually wears out, you’ll easily be able to replace it in no time.
Given its price, this is actually one of the outperformers on the cartridge market, and you’ll hardly find anything that beats it at this price range. However, some users might think it’s not as warm as other high-end products, as it tends to be a little harsher. Yet, for an affordable cartridge, this is definitely a great addition to your Planar 10 turntable.
Several criteria can set cartridges apart. We wanted to highlight them in this section to help you pick the right one for your turntable.
When picking a cartridge for your turntable, you want to ensure that it’s built of durable and high-quality materials. Some materials are more affordable than others, but you need to ensure that the material will reduce vibration and resonance to improve the audio output.
A Rega Planar 10 comes fitted with an MM cartridge, so you can always pick one as an upgrade or replacement for your old one. MM cartridges are always easy on your vinyl records, reading the grooves while minimizing the wear and tear on your LPs for an excellent audio experience.
At the same time, they’re quite easy to fit and adjust, so you won’t spend much time before you can listen to your favorite tracks. Moreover, the stylus is usually replaceable, so you can always replace the needle when it breaks or gets damaged.
However, there’s also an option to fit your turntable with an MC cartridge, although we didn’t pick one for our guide. MC cartridges are more expensive, and they also deliver more audio details from your vinyl records. However, you need to invest in a transformer to listen to the best tunes.
A high-quality stylus is a crucial component of the cartridge, so you need to make sure that you’re using an excellent one. Square shank styli are more securely fit and won’t malfunction while you’re listening to music. A round shank stylus is replaceable and is more affordable. It also protects your LPs from damage while reading the grooves.
The design of the stylus affects its wear and life. A conical stylus is the most affordable and will last for about 150 hours of continuous use.
An elliptical stylus will last 250 hours, while the Shibata needle will last up to 400 hours of use. Microline needles are the most durable ones and are designed to live for more than 500 hours. Picking a replaceable needle is also a plus, as you can replace it later if it breaks.
Q: How Long Does The Original Rega Tonearm Last?
A: The original tonearm will last between 150 and 200 hours of continuous use. You can easily replace it with a better one that lasts for years to come.
Q: How Does The Cartridge Affect Your Audio Experience?
A: The needle on the cartridge reads the grooves on your vinyl records. Investing in a high-quality one will provide an excellent audio response with minimum distortion.
You need a cartridge to enjoy an unmatched audio experience from your precious vinyl records. We chose the Ortofon 2M Black Moving Magnet Cartridge as our top choice, but if you want an affordable option, you can pick the Audio-Technica AT-VM95EN Dual Moving Magnet Turntable Cartridge.