If you are trying to get into a new vinyl rig package as inexpensively as possible, but still trying to keep your options open for easy and affordable phono cartridge upgrade, you should explore the introductory cartridges from Grado and Ortofon. The Grado Black retails for just $60 dollars and has been hailed for decades as a stellar value. Likewise, the more recently introduced Ortofon 2M-Red retails for $99 and has also received many accolades for that price point.
What I think makes each an even greater value is the ability of each to accept replacement styli HIGHER in their product line. So, if you own a Grado Black, when you have the dough, you can spring for perhaps a Grado RED stylus at $70. No need to change/adjust your cartridge alignment, just slip the old one out and the new one in. So, rather than spend $140 retail for a new Grado Red, you just spent half that! Likewise, in the Ortofon line-up, the 2M-Red can be upgraded to BLUE stylus for $179, rather than spending $225 retail for a complete Blue. And once again, you won’t have to fuss with mounting a complete new cartridge or re-adjusting your alignment!