I don't have much experience with the VT500s, but rest assured you will not need new carbs, no matter what exhaust you put on. You will possibly need to re-jet your current carbs, but that's a very small price compared to new carbs!
"The best" exhaust system is a matter of conjecture, so let us know what you're looking for in your "ideal" exhaust system? Are you looking for performance, sound, looks, what? You will often be able to get 2 out of those three, but rarely all three! It can be done, but you'll have to do some research.
you'll also be limited to what's available for the vt500. Other than stock, I think you only have 3 options: (1) MAC's cross-over pipes; (2) use the stock header pipes with universal slip-on mufflers from JC Whitney or JP Cycles; (3) a full custom exhaust made for you.
With some research, you may find other options, but these are the only ones I know of. BTW, MAC claims you don't even have to rejet with their pipes.
i guess i worded that incorrectly. but you guys caught on. i guess i want a loud open sounding exhaust "for safety" haha i want people to know im there. i know a 500 probably wont sound super loud but it would be nice to have some bark. gonna see if i can find a vid of 500's with the mac's
if you're thinking of changing exhaust anyway then try drilling your baffles. The worst thing that could happen is you end up deciding to still change pipes, the best is that you like it and save cash.