Replacing Phonograph Styli and Cartridges

I will be the first to admit, I’m on the ground floor when it comes to being an audiophile and/or a vinyl record enthusiast. It’s so much fun though. Buying records at local shops, finding good deals on Ebay, or just looking for vinyl copies of favorite albums – it’s become something of an addiction.

I have a turntable from audio-technica. An AT-PL120. Thankfully my turntable is not USB supported, I have those trusty red and white audio cables.

The one thing I’m unsure of is how to go about replacing my stylus/cartridge. I’ve done my homework. I’ve been to needle doctor.com and have seen their cadre of different options. I had no idea one could fork over $15k for phono cartridge? I mean, is there any true reason to spend that kind of money on cartridge?! What I’m really getting at is this. Since I have an audio-technica table should I buy their cartridges, or go with another vender/brand name?

Here’s what I’m really after. I want to replace my stock cartridge with something more “upmarket” as it were. However, I’m a college student on a budget – thus I can’t go out and spend more than $100 on a new cart. I want something that brings out beautiful lows and lush highs and has can balance treble and bass appropriately. I usually rip vinyl so I can listen to it on my iPod (I know vinyl experts will laugh reading that.)

Thoughts and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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