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Felt it was worthwhile spending some lock-down time getting even better acquainted to some of the numerous Moving Coil cartridge options that we have available here at Basically Sound, especially those in the more affordable £500 - £1000 price range.
Having selected four examples, we gave them all a spin on Rega's excellent Planar-6 turntable whilst feeding their outputs through the equally superb value for money Rega Fono MC.
So what did we find?
First up, the Hana SL (SRP £599). With its Shibata stylus profile offering excellent tracking ability, the SL certainly shows what can be achieved at this level of affordability. Offering detailed separation and a dynamic sense of scale, albeit the SL can be a little reserved and polite at times. A great performance for the money.
Next up, we have the Dynavector 20X2-L (SRP £749). This 2nd gen version of one of their best selling cartridges, the 20X2 has a Micro-Ridge Nude stylus and an open body design similar to that of the more expensive XX2-II. As a result, the 20X2 offers great separation and a toe tapping sound, but it can be a little lacking in the deeper bass department and a little bit rolled off at the top end. But, this classic design is still showing itself to be a more than capable performer.
Then we move on to the newest design in this line-up, the Rega Ania Pro (SRP £749). Only introduced by Rega at the beginning of this year, this cartridge takes its design lead from the more expensive Apheta-2, but is kept more affordable by using a PPS moulded body, is fitted with a Vital stylus profile and has a distinctive red outer shell. Performance is similar in some respects to the DV20X2-L with a smooth, rich sound. But it can lack a bit of detail and certainly doesn't suffer from any edginess to the top end. A competent & polite performer, the Ania Pro is certainly a worthy contender at the price.
Finally, the Hana ML (SRP £995) with its Micro-Line Nude stylus and built-in copper anti-resonance plate, this design is a classy performer for sure. With a real sense of scale to the soundstage, leading edge attack to guitar notes along with excellent separation and overall detail, this is a sub-£1k class leader for sure.
So, the only challenge here is deciding which one to select, especially in these unusual times...
...talk to us and we can assist, even arranging home listening demos &/or undertaking to fit and set up your selected cartridge, at all times taking suitable measures to cater for everybody's health & safety.Find out more