The cartridge is the housing part that carries the needle on your turntable, transforming the grooves on your favorite vinyl records into electrical signals that can be amplified to produce music. But even the best cartridge will last between 200 and 1000 hours of playback in the best-case scenario.
So, we’re here to help you find the best cartridge for Rega Planar 8 to enjoy an unmatched audio experience for years to come. Keep reading to learn more about the best products on the market and how to pick the right for your turntable.
When it comes to choosing a cartridge for a turntable, you need to focus on the long-term investment. These products are designed to last for long, so choosing a high-quality one is a must.
We wanted to offer products of various price ranges to help you pick the most suitable one. So, regardless of your budget or preferences, you’ll find a good cartridge that won’t disappoint you.
Rega planar turntables provide excellent value for money and deliver outstanding performance. Yet, they also offer you an opportunity to upgrade the cartridge for better sound quality.
Moreover, after a while, you’ll see that the stylus or needle is bouncing, so changing the cartridge will be a must. Here are the best options to consider for a replacement.
1. NAGAOKA MM-Type Cartridge JEWELTONE JT-80BK – Best Overall
The NAGAOKA MM-Type Cartridge JEWELTONE JT-80BK follows suit with other products from the company that promises to deliver excellent performance from a low-moving mass. This particular model is the top-of-the-line of the new series, with unique performance and a stiff boron cantilever. As a result, it’s exceptionally louder when used with integrated amps and preamps.
Thanks to this cartridge, you’ll enjoy a velvety sound quality with crisp results that improve your listening experience. It doesn’t cause much damage to your vinyl records, as the oval diamond stylus weighs between 1.3 and 1.8 grams.
Compared to other models, this one produces extremely detailed audio output, but it’s more expensive. Yet, if you’re looking for a reliable choice, you should give it a try.
2. Ortofon 2M Bronze Moving Magnet Cartridge – Best Runner Up
The Ortofon 2M Bronze Moving Magnet Cartridge is one of the most versatile cartridges that you can use with your Planar 8 and any other turntable. It’s an MM cartridge with a nude fine-line stylus for a streamlined performance with minimum distortion.
Compared to the original cartridge of the turntable, this one offers a more open and relaxed experience. However, 3 to 4-mm spacers are recommended for a better fit to eliminate sibilance issues while enjoying the best audio experience.
Using this cartridge will offer a detailed and reliable audio experience, as it’s an upgrade from previous models of the same brand. With the nude fine line diamond needle weighing 1.5 grams, the stylus will move properly to read the grooves and deliver the best audio experience. It’s pretty easy to install and can be upgraded with a better needle.
3. Audio-Technica VM540ML MicroLine Dual Moving Magnet Cartridge – Best Budget Choice
With a microline stylus, the Audio-Technica VM540ML MicroLine Dual Moving Magnet Cartridge is a great enhancement for your Rega Planar 8. Nothing compares to the performance you get from this MM cartridge at this price range, so it will be an excellent choice for your turntable when your cartridge doesn’t perform as it should.
It features two magnets on the left and the right to fit your turntable perfectly with no spacers or any adjustments. The microline stylus moves to read the grooves accurately, providing an excellent audio experience for a reasonable price. Moreover, the multi-level stylus wears evenly, so it lasts longer than other cartridges on the market.
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Yet, this cartridge tends to pick up more noise than others. In addition, it extracts more information from the groove, which isn’t always a good thing, especially if your vinyl record is a bit old and scratched.
You might later consider upgrading to a better cartridge, especially if you’re an avid LP lover. In addition, a weight of 2 grams can press too hard on your records.
4. Rega – Exact Mk2 Mm Phono Cartridge – Best for All Rega Models
The Rega – Exact Mk2 Mm Phono Cartridge won’t disappoint you, regardless of the Rega turntable you own. It features a reliable vital stylus with a decent output level, so it won’t disappoint you while you’re listening to your vinyl records. Weighing 1.75 grams, the needle features a sweet spot that reads the grooves on any LP for an exceptional audio experience.
You can easily install this MM cartridge because no spacing is needed to deliver a decent audio output. This is what makes it a good choice for less experienced users because it doesn’t have to be adjusted.
Thanks to its design, this cartridge will deliver a solid bass for warmer sounds. However, the treble can be too muted. Moreover, the stylus can’t be replaced.
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5. Denon DL-103 Moving Coil Cartridge – Best MC Choice
Although most audiophiles prefer moving magnet cartridges, the Denon DL-103 Moving Coil Cartridge is a decent choice if you want a good moving coil one. It’s an industry standard that has been around for decades, producing good sound quality from any vinyl record. It sounds very good, even before it’s broken in, so it will be an excellent choice if you want to upgrade your turntable listening experience.
The cartridge is designed to provide warm trebles without missing any of the audio details in the midrange and bass. It’s pretty easy to install, and the needle’s weight will be easily set to 2.5 grams, which guarantees that the stylus won’t jump or skip.
However, if you have older records, you could still listen to the pops due to the imperfections on the grooves. And just like all moving coil cartridges, you’ll need a transformer to strengthen the audio quality.
When it’s time to upgrade your Rega Planar 8 cartridge, there will be a lot of options to pick from. Here are some criteria to look out for to help you choose the right one.
Most audiophiles would go for a moving magnet cartridge as an upgrade. This model features a magnet that sits between two coils creating a stereo output, while the stylus creates a magnetic field. The cartridges are lightweight and feel easier on your LPs, so they will work for you if you have older, worn-out vinyl records.
A moving coil cartridge features a magnet and a coil, just like the MM one, but the field is created when the coil moves. Since the coil is lighter, the overall audio experience feels more fluid and smoother, showing more details. Nevertheless, replacing the stylus is quite challenging, and you’ll have to invest in a transformer to strengthen the produced signal.
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You need to think wisely about the weight and quality of the stylus. This is something that you can experience once you install the cartridge, as some are made in a way to improve the audio output. You should also think about picking a model with a replaceable stylus, as this will guarantee that your cartridge will last for a long.
Each stylus is designed to produce a certain audio quality. Some of them will work for you if you want to focus on rich details, while others will highlight the bass in your records.
Cartridges come in different shapes and sizes, and while some of them will fit your Rega Planar 8 with no issues whatsoever, you might need to make some adjustments to enjoy the best quality from your new purchase. Make sure that the cartridge is designed to fit, or you’ll have to use spacers to make sure that it works with your LPs.
You need to think about the value you receive when you buy the cartridge. Some cheap models aren’t flimsy, but in general, you might have to spend some extra cash to guarantee that you’re buying a reliable product that won’t break or malfunction.
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Q: Are Rega Cartridges Good?
A: Yes, Rega turntables come equipped with decent MM cartridges that deliver exceptional performance. They’re easy to install and adjust, but they can be upgraded. Moreover, after a while, even the best cartridge will have to be replaced.
Enjoy an impressive audio experience from the best cartridge for Rega Planar 8. We chose the NAGAOKA MM-Type Cartridge JEWELTONE JT-80BK as it delivers excellent sound quality and won’t disappoint you with extended use. It also feels easy on vinyl records while delivering a velvety and rich sound.
If you’re looking for an affordable option, we recommend that you take a look at the Audio-Technica VM540ML MicroLine Dual Moving Magnet Cartridge.