I am afraid there is no straight answer to "Which cartridge under $ 200 (approx) should I get? " Let me explain. A stylus is a precision component and in BCD times (before CD ) every ad for cart/stylus stressed the point signal can nowhere be better than at the source. True. Even more conscious manufacturers stressed the point while extracting as much as possible out of the groove, it should be done with minimal wear too. Now, younger generations considering analog - did you EVER happened to se a phono equipment ad highlighting the low vinyl wear ?
I did not randomly choose which styli to showcase for the Glasrubber cleaning treatment. Shure M97xe is a good example of a run of the mill stylus at about the price point - not particularly good, not particularly bad. Shure V15VxMR, with its tiny Micro Ridge stylus and even more incredible thin walled berylium cantilever was, and still is, one of the analog's top achievements. Currently, there is no stylus/cartridge manufactured today, that has equal or lower effective mass - regardless of price. At least to my knowledge.
Denon DL103 IS the cartridge with the most staying power in audio - it is roughly 50 years old. It sold in many versions, most fabled one was DL103D.
Because it was NOT conical stylus tip profile and did have quite a bit better cantilever etc. With quite a bit higher price tag attached. But market demanded incomparably more basic DL103s - and Denon obliged. The fact that a conical stylus tracked at approx 2 grams can not retrieve high frequency information from the inner grooves and even worse, willl erase/wear out higs fast, be damned and swept under the rug as fast as possible.
Denon did produce one of the best carts ever. Denon DL-1000A. Tracking at 0.8 - 1.1 gram IIRC. With incomparably better performance than any 103, accompanied by equally incomparably "better" price.
Have you, younger generations, EVER read that reproduction of an LP deteriorates with each play? That it can get appreciably worse only after 5 plays ? Due to the way the signal is recorded on the analog record and due to physics, it boils down to the stylus tip profile and effective mass. Better and more precisely executed stylus tip profile, with lower effective mass, the better the reproduction and less wear.
And those two requirements and low cost did not go, do not go and will NEVER go together. Analog, unlike digital, can not be mass produced using some new invention with incomparably better characteristics than just a ( digital ) generation ago. In fact, at the moment no one can match the achievements in analog that peaked around 1985. Technics EPC P100CMK4 cartridge achieved incredible effective mass of 0.055 mg - compare that to anything available today at any price - this value hovers around 0.2 mg these days, even in 5 figure price carts. Shure best V15V / V15VxMR offerings were approx 0.17 mg - at least equal of anything available today.
Pressure by the consumers on the manufacturers to produce "Ferraris at Fiat price" has always been tremendous. Back in the day, late 70s, Grado cartridges looked EXACTLY the same - save the colour of the plastic housing, from the lowest to the highest price. FTE+1 at 13.00 $ ( with price PRINTED on its famous paper tube box ) - to $ 500 for Grado Signature 2 ( it was the most expensive cartridge on the market at the time ). There were minor differences in cartridge itself, but lion's share in price difference went into the stylus - which gets incomparably less attention/looks than the cartridge, which again gets far less attention than say speakers, by even quite conscious audiophiles, let alone general public.
So what does it mean for someone that is in the market for phono cartridge in 2013 ? By being informed and knowing what is the difference between shank mounted and nude mounted stylus, by understanding stylus tip profiles etc, you will be able to weigh your buying decisions properly. For example, let's take Ortofon 2M range under scrutiny. 2M Red is an alliptical shank mounted stylus at $ 100, 2M Blue is a nude mounted elliptical at $ 200, 2M Bronze is a nude mounted Fine Line at $ 400 and 2M Black is nude mounted Shibata at $ 700. I know Bronze and Black are too expensive for novices and lots of people in general - but your records would be far better off in the long run with Blue than with Red, even if direct sound comparison is not that much different as the twice the price difference would suggest. Remember, once the demage to your records is done, no cartridge/stylus can bring it back to original condition - if that is not a sufficient deterrant from using inferiour styli, I do not know what is is.
A couple of posts ago, I suggested a Digitrac 300 SE, at 100 EUR + shipping. Its stylus is directly comparable to 2M Bronze - not only comparable, it IS the same stylus, produced by the same company ( Ortofon ), but is a p-mount cart and has higher compliance, which may not suit medium/heavier arms.
Take the Jico's SAS styli. They cost dearly at $ 170-180 - or measly peanuts, lf you know it is for all practical purposes the equivalent of anything you can buy for under approx $ 5000 - or 25 times its cost ! Jico's Shibata stylus is also very good and can be had for approx $ 80 - bringing your old(er) (AT) carts back to life at very reasonable cost.
As you can see, buying a cartridge/stylus solely on the grounds of absolute price would be, politely put, not the most clever decision. You should opt for the most performance for your hard earned cash - and that usually is not the most inexpensive model in the line.
Or you can play "how low can we/they go" : Red Ed at ultra rock bottom price : http://www.ebay.com/itm/280238098142?ru=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.com%2Fsch%2Fi.html%3F_sop%3D15%26_sacat%3D0%26_from%3DR40%26_nkw%3D280238098142%26_rdc%3D1