I've never heard a pickering/stanton but have tried many other carts and extrapolating from the sound clips from this site, I can estimate what it will sound like, and it seems like the stanton sound has the most 'body' with a slight emphasis on the low mids which is what i'm looking for. A basic natural sound with a slight warmth and fullness. I find most 'hifi' carts and high end stereo gear in general a little too thin and clean. I guess i'm more a midfi type. Just want a balanced natural sound and do not need 'ultimate extension', 'resolution', soundstage etc. So if the stanton fall short in some areas, it may be fine as long as it's accurate and natural.