This page contains short reviews in the form of notes of cartridges that I have spent less time with than those in the main reviews. Currently, they include:

Audio Technica AT100E
Audio Technica AT-VM520EB
Nagaoka MP-100
Ortofon Super OM10
Shure M91ED
Shure M95HE

Audio Technica AT100E

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Great dynamics. Bass is deep, firm and agile. Midrange is nicely balanced, reasonably textured and sounds natural. Treble is crisp and focused, even refined. Balance is relatively neutral. Good at the frequency extremes. Pretty clean, tight delivery with nice level of detail. Attractive overall sound but perhaps lacking a little charm. Fabulous, accomplished sub-£100 cartridge but was unfortunately replaced by the AT-VM520EB.

Audio Technica AT-VM520EB

Modest dynamics. Bass is adequate in quantity but lacks texture with a lumpy quality. Midrange is fairly textured but quite thin without a great deal of body, having an unattractive rise towards the top end. Treble is nicely refined and reasonably crisp without being overly bright, and is the cartridge’s strongest asset. Fairly neutral overall balance but the frequency bands do not combine into a very listenable sound. Not as good as its predecessor, the AT100E. Prefer the sound of the much cheaper AT-VM95E.

Nagaoka MP-100

Highly dynamic sound. Firm and punchy bass. Forward and open midrange. Good treble clarity for a conical stylus. Solid sound with neutral overall balance. Very good separation of instruments. Can sound impressive but often let down by midrange, which has good projection but tends to dominate and has a hard/harsh texture on some material. Lively dynamics and strident midrange/lower-treble combine to make an unsubtle ‘in your face’ kind of sound that can prove tiring. For a cartridge with a conical stylus, the AT3600L offers less detail but a much easier sound at a fraction of the cost.

Ortofon Super OM10

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Impressive dynamics. Well-extended, punchy, tight bass with great agility. Open, textured midrange. Clear treble striking a nice balance between sparkle and delicacy. Well-balanced overall sound, but keep ‘load capacitance’ low to avoid brightness. Attractive, vivid sound. Detailed for the price. Works well with rapid bass rhythms. More exciting than the standard OM10. Stylus 10 seems to work more harmoniously with the Super OM body than the 20 and 30 styli. A superb high-compliance cartridge on a budget.

Shure M91ED

Entertaining dynamics. Forward bass with considerable punch and weight. Fairly open midrange with good body but prone to hardness and lacks refinement. Soft treble lacking in focus but not unattractive. Warm overall balance due to enthusiastic bass. Has a big, solid sound that can be fun but has a tendency to sound unsubtle. Generally short on detail. May be well suited to budget systems.

Shure M95HE

RECOMMENDED

Fair dynamics. Bass digs deep and is quite generous with a slightly soft feel. Midrange is open with reasonable texture – vocals sound natural. Treble is relatively restrained but well-resolved and refined. Warm overall sound balance. Avoid using in a dull system. Favours light arms (original stylus). Not as spectacular as the M95ED but more offers more in the way of finesse. Classy cartridge in the right system.