Owners of this wonderful cartridge have said the Shelter 501 III easily fills the sonic shoes of cartridges costing two or three times as much. The 501 III blends its musical presentation with a warm, extremely musical midrange, deep, authoritative bass and a smooth as silk top end. Instruments shine and are easily placed, showing plenty of soul. With a .4mV output and great tracking, the 501 III is stunning.
"Each of this Japanese manufacturer's products offers superior sound at a reasonable price. Shelter's 'low-end' model, the 501 Mk III, does everything well - and some things spectacularly well. Its superb three-dimensionality adds spaciousness to recordings seemingly lacking in air and bloom, while its neutral tonal balance, audiophile virtues (resolution, focus, transient speed, extension at both frequency extremes), and cohesiveness make its sound always seem as if it is cut from whole cloth. Shelter's top-of-the-line 90x is ever more impressive, as it should be at its higher price point. What the 90x does better than other high-end cartridges is combine transient speed with rich, fully articulated timbres, so, for example, on plucked violin and guitar strings you don't hear more of the starting transient than you do of the note's steady-state tone and decay. With the 90x you hear each with equal clarity and realism." - Jonathan Valin, The Absolute Sound, February/March 2005