dbx, if you want maximum interchangeability and flexibility in a single cartridge, and you like Stantons, then by default the 881 wins. It's generator is better than the 500's, it has far more stylii available off-the-shelf for it, and if you were to get a re-tip done, the 881's generator should give more channel separation, and show the effects of a re-tip better. If my brain and fingers will work together, there are some NOS Stereoheadron stylii still for sale for the 881EE (on feeBay according to the sellers) for about $300. This was supposed to be the high-water mark for Pickering/Stanton stylus shapes. It was their design to trace the old Quad and CD-4 LP's instead of the Shibata. It's quite similar where the tip meets the groove, even though it looks different. I'm supposing the Paratrace is more of a line contact type stylus (Micro-Line-A-T, SAS-JICO, etc.). To be brutally honest, I guess time and technology has caught-up with the entire Stanton line, as cartridges and stylii have become more specialized and sophisticated, but that doesn't mean many of us don't still enjoy their sound. I'm not certain that a cartridge like the much more modern Audio-Technica AT-440MLa with it's Micro-Line stylus for about $150 for your LP's and a separate 78 cartridge like the Shure M78S for $40 (and we can go down to about $27 for a 78 cartridge) might not be a better and more economical solution. If your arm uses a "universal" headshell (it detaches with about a half turn of a collar from the tonearm), not considering separate cartridges is quite self-limiting. Just my take on this, and it and $2.50 will buy you a small cup of coffee most places.