Ortofon 2M Red vs Blue - SCALEX SANREMO

Scalex Sanremo

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Ortofon 2M Red vs Blue

Musica
Ortofon è l'azienda nata nel 1918 a Copenaghen. Rappresenta una potente potenza meccanica nell'industria degli apparecchi audio di alta qualità. Sviluppa e produce, soprattutto, cartucce ed componenti di fama mondiale. Materiali, tecnologia, acustica e micromeccanica sono certamente i punti cardine della tecnologia di Ortofon. Inoltre, ricerca e sviluppo e design, permettono ai prodotti Ortofon di essere venduti in tutto il mondo.
Technical data:

2M Red features a tipped elliptical diamond.
Output voltage at 1000 Hz, 5cm/sec. 5,5 mV
Channel balance at 1 kHz 1,5 dB
Channel separation at 1 kHz 22 dB
Channel separation at 15 kHz 15 dB
Frequency range at - 3dB 20-22.000 Hz
Frequency response 20-20.000 Hz + 3 / - 1 dB
Tracking ability at 315Hz at recommended tracking force 70 um
Compliance, dynamic, lateral 20 um/mN
Stylus type Elliptical
Stylus tip radius r/R 8/18 um
Tracking force range 1,6-2,0g (16-20 mN)
Tracking force, recommended 1,8 g (18 mN)
Tracking angle 20 degrees
Internal impedance, DC resistance 1,3 kOhm
Internal inductance 700 mH
Recommended load resistance 47 kOhm
Recommended load capacitance 150-300 pF
Cartridge colour, body/stylus Black/Red
Cartridge weight 7,2 g
Replacement stylus unit 2M Red
Technical data:

2M Blue: features a nude elliptical diamond.
Output voltage at 1000 Hz, 5cm/sec. 5,5 mV
Channel balance at 1 kHz 1,5 dB
Channel separation at 1 kHz 25 dB
Channel separation at 15 kHz 15 dB
Frequency range at - 3dB 20-25.000 Hz
Frequency response 20-20.000 + 2 / - 1 dB
Tracking ability at 315Hz at recommended tracking force 80 um
Compliance, dynamic, lateral 20 um/mN
Stylus type Nude Elliptical
Stylus tip radius r/R 8/18 um
Tracking force range 1,6-2,0g (16-20 mN)
Tracking force, recommended 1,8 g (18 mN)
Tracking angle 20 degrees
Internal impedance, DC resistance 1,3 kOhm
Internal inductance 700 mH
Recommended load resistance 47 kOhm
Recommended load capacitance 150-300 pF
Cartridge colour, body/stylus Black/Blue
Cartridge weight 7,2 g
Replacement stylus unit 2M Blue
Ortofon 2M Red:
First impressions right out of the box was that the noise floor was a little louder than what I was use to with my Audio Technica set up.
In fairness, the Red was right out of the box and the AT had 6 months use on it.

What I did notice was the clearer upper range from the Red. The tist tist tist from the cymbals and other instruments in that upper range were more pronounced and enjoyable.
They were not at all bright or overbearing, but were pleasantly noticeable.

Mids seemed a little hollow/thin when playing some classical or solo piano/solo male voice.
I found that it lacked a little substance in that area, but again it could be from the recording I was using and the lack of hours on the 2M Red.

Bass is very tight and clean with the Red. It hits hard and the tom toms sound like they should as well as the other drums and bass lines.
It does very well with jazz and blues and is simply outstanding. The 2M Red really shone with jazz and blues.


The Red tracked adequately but I did notice a little inner grove distortion on some records. I am sure that once I had some hours on the cart, it would settle down and maybe have gone away.
I tried a few older records and it played through them without missing a beat. No skips or jumps.

Sum Up:
Ortofon 2M Red cart shines and comes out swinging. Bass, highs and mids sound great.
Very nice cartridge that would suit anyone with an entry to mid level system. Rock, country, oldies, disco or jazz, the Red handled them all with confidence and sureness.


2M Red Pros:
- excellent value
- defined highs
- tight bass
- clear and concise
- steady tracker
- upgrade to Blue with just stylus

2M Red Cons:
-a tad hollow sounding handling classical music or solo piano etc.
-some inner grove distortion (with break in may go away)

Ortofon 2M Blue:

The Red cartridge had about a month of use on it compared to the right out of the box Blue.

Audio shop set-up the 2M Blue on my Pro-Ject with the Ortofon recommended weight of 1.8 grams.
(If you saw my other thread, my first 2M Blue cartridge was damaged and it is replaced now.)
I am able to compare these two styluses at the same time as the Ortofon 2M series use the same cartridge for the Red/Blue stylus.

Ortofon 2m line starts at Red and goes to Black (high end).
Very nice selling feature of the 2M series; if your Red gets damaged or wears out or you just want to upgrade, you can replace it with a Red or step-up to the Blue stylus and vice versa with Bronze/Black using the original Bronze/Black cartridge.

Using the same system, records and volume I swapped the stylus back and forth to get my results.
Red is Euro 60.00 Blue is Euro 120.00


As the Ortofon 2M Blue set down on the vinyl it was apparent that noise floor was reduced over the Red. It was quite substantial.
(My copy of Brothers in Arms is in nice shape, but has some noise at the first and in between some of the tracks.)

Ride Across the River the first track on the b-side of Dire Straits "Brothers in Arms" album started playing. I did not need more than 5 seconds to realize that I made the right choice with the upgrade!
Ortofon had done their homework with their 2M line by providing us with cartridges that "actually do get better" the higher up we climb in the 2M series ladder. You can hear and notice the improvements the moment you switch the stylus.

Whatever the 2M Red did great, the 2M Blue did a better job of it. The change was not night 'n day, like Wow this sounds so much different.
It was more Wow, the Blue sounds so much better at what the Red was already doing well. More punch, quieter background sound, exacting highs with the mids fully filled out.

As for the AT-120E I really liked the quite noise floor, bass and mid sounds that it produced. With the 2M Red I liked highs and bass response.
Those strong points I heard from the Red and At-120E seemed all wrapped up in one package with the 2M Blue.
Well produced analog sound with pronounced bass, smooth mids and exacting highs.


The 2M Blue tracks well and I have not noticed any inner groove distortion. (Could have been factory setup of Red or newness)

2M Blue Pros:
-defined highs
-tight bass
-clear and concise
-steady tracker
-ups the ante over the Red

2M Blue Cons:- none when compared to 2M Red

When comparing the 2M Red and Blue, there is nothing I can knock either stylus for; they both do things right! Standing on their own against other like cartridges I would think they would shine.

Final thoughts:

Both cartridges do everything right. Bass, mids, highs, all sound great. If you are looking to step up the Red's performance or your Red cartridge needs a refresh, look no further then the Blue.

Upgrading from the 2M Red to the 2M Blue will bring you a noticeable improvement in sound that will substantiate the one hundred dollar upgrade price.
Nothing worse then spending $200.00 on a new cart and find out that it sounds okay, or not much improvement! That will not happen with this upgrade!

Are there better cartridges out there from Ortofon and other companies, of course there is.
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