Are they really the only option????
I agree with you that the Ortofons have a harder sound.
It's not that I wan't to avoid grado's completely but a friend of mine told me that the ones he got more or less didn't "like" back-cueing at all. I think he has the DJ-200.
If Grado's really are my only option for good sound I will try them. Reason I asked the question was just to find out if there were alternatives if considering both factors. Sound and cue-ing.