See Rega Bias and Elys 2 cartridge descriptions as they contain some duplicate information pertinent to the Exact 2.
The major difference between the Elys and Exact are the coils, measured quality, and the type of stylus. The Exact has a Vital fine line stylus which allows it to trace finer gradations of vinyl groove giving better resolution.
Compared to the Rega Elys 2, the Rega Exact's Vital stylus has a smaller profile contact area. The cartridge contact area is the very small part of the cartridge which touches the record during play. Because of this smaller contact area, a tonearm should also be a little better quality for good performance, otherwise you can get a higher level of distortion. This is because a lessor tonearm will have cheaper, coarser bearings which in turn means the cartridge will have a less firm and precise guiding hand holding it still while tracing the record. On a large contact area cartridge this does not mean as much, but the smaller contact area you go, the tighter the tonearm (and setup) needs to be. Imagine a very tired person driving home in a soft suspension, gradual steering Cadillac vs a precise-steering lightweight Lotus Elys.
In terms of performance gains from a smaller contact area when a needle is tracing a record, think of it as a person with size 6 shoes vs a person with size 18 shoes walking along a rocky stream bed. The size 6 feet will fit in between the many of the rocks but the size 18 shoes span over them, so the smaller footed person will be having a harder time walking with his/her feet going up/down more. This is similar to a turntable needle walking over the gradations of a record groove - smaller cartridge needle tips fit into smaller spaces so the needle will be moved up/down side/side more, which in turn makes the electromagnets it is attached to move to these fine grooves, giving the listener more of the recording.
Like its middle-brother the Elys 2, the Exact cartridge has a three point mount. The Exact 2 cartridge's natural home is the Rega Planar 6 turntable. You can also and logically specify an Exact 2 cartridge as an upgrade to a Planar 3, and in our opinion the Exact 2 would not be absolutely silly to put on a Planar 8 or 10 if you really needed to keep costs down. Any given cartridge has a usage life of around 1000-1200 hours, so if you spin vinyl 8 hours a day, this is indeed a consideration. The Planar 10 really does deserve better,.
The Exact is a fairly large sonic upgrade to the Elys 2, bringing a faster, more resolute and refined sound to the presentation. If you are buying a new Rega Planar 3 and are seeking a little bit of an upgrade, the swap from the Elys 2 to the Exakt is our first recommendation.
Rega Exact Specifications
Output: 6.8 - 7.2mV
Stylus: Vital. Complex fine line micro-ground from a rectangular diamond billet.