We reached out to Ortofon, one of the most well known cartridge makers. We wanted to check out something from the line up. Ortofon jumped on board and sent out a 2M Blue. This is perhaps one of the best values in vinyl playback on the market. It is not their top tier product, nor is it their entry level. The Ortofon 2M Blue is like a Goldilocks cart. It is perfect for the everyday vinyl enthusiast.
We have been giving some company history with our reviews on the past few and it is something we want to continue to do. I think it helps connect you a little more to the product we are talking about as well as the company behind it. I pulled this from the Ortofon site, as I don’t think I could word this one any better.
The history of Ortofon can be traced back to 1918 when two Danish Engineers – Axel Petersen (1887-1971) and Arnold Poulsen (1889-1952) – began their experiments to synchronise sound with pictures on film. On the 9th of October 1918, Axel Petersen and Arnold Poulsen founded the Electrical Phono Film Company with a few capable and foresighted businessmen who would support the organization financially.https://www.ortofon.com/about/development
Their aim was to explore the possibility of high-class recording and developing one of the first synchronized sound film systems in the world. Under primitive conditions, the two Danish engineers and their small staff had to solve a number of what were considered insuperable problems.
The invention of electrical recording by an Edison Phonograph and sound reproduction through earphones were the first conquests. The team had to engineer most of electrical and mechanical components itself and owing to the insufficient sensitivity of the film, the team had huge challenges in the field of optical and photographic recording.
Ortofon 2M Blue Unboxing
The 2M Blue comes with two sets of screws, of differing lengths, a small flat blade screw driver, a stylus brush and the cart it self. Once you pull the black insert out of the box, remove both a top and bottom clear plastic tray. The bottom one holds all your pieces and accessories as well as the directions.
The differing shape of the cartridge body may look as though it would be a different install process than the more typical design but it went very quick and easy. Hidden in the blue body are the two nuts that the supplied screws thread into. This is very nice, some carts have loose nuts that you have to hold in place while threading the screws in. Whether you are new or seasoned vet at installing carts, we recommend leaving the stylus cover on for now. Below we have our step by step set up guide.
Installing the 2M Blue
- remove your old cart if you have not already
- if you have not, first gently pull the 4 wires from the back of the old cart
- remove the two screws that hold the cart to the tonearm
- The 2M blue as stated come with two different length screws, determine which you need and place the cart under the head shell and thread them in
- *** make sure not to fully tighten them
- Next match up the four wires with the correct color coded pins
- Ideally you have a scale and a protractor for the next steps.
- Get out your protractor and place it on the platter and use the marks to align the cart as best as possible across the sweep of the arm.
- tighten up the screws
- now you want to set the tracking weight, Ortofon recommends 1.8 grams
- Now you are all set to spin your favorite record
Ortofon 2M Blue Sound
The 2M Blue, blue our previews cart out of the water in terms of clarity, detail and richness. (see what we did there). The detail is superb, we heard little nuances we missed with the lower end cart that was on the turntable previously. Depending on what you come from you will likely notice more filling highs and lows than many entry level carts on the market. If we had to describe the 2M Blue concisely, we would say rich, full bodied sound. It picks up so much more detail with its nude elliptical diamond than many similarly priced carts. Priced well below it’s performance at around $230, we truly do think it may be the best value in vinyl. This is the cart I would recommend for a serious hobbyist, or even Hifi enthusiast. If you have a 20,000 dollar VPI or McIntosh table, maybe not for you. Ortofon does have something for those types of listeners though. But if you want to a serious upgrade on a vintage table, or even a new Pro-Ject or similar unit, this is what you should be looking at.
We listened to all 4 sides of “Stadium Arcadium” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. It was picked up recently, unopened and waited for the review to break it out. We wanted something that had never had a needle on it before. This seemed like the best way to see what potential we could expect from the cart. Also played were a couple of my older Tchaikovsky records, even being older and having unknown mileage on the title they sounded better than ever. If you are into classical, you will really benefit the most from the the 2M. That isn’t to say the 2M doesn’t play well with other genres, but classical seemed to us, to be the most dramatic show of it’s skill set.
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 Hz + 2 / – 1 dB
Tracking ability at 315Hz at recommended tracking force – 80 µm
Compliance, dynamic, lateral – 20 µm/mN
Stylus type – Nude Elliptical
Stylus tip radius – r/R 8/18 µm
Tracking force range – 1.6-2.0 g (16-20 mN)
Tracking force, recommended – 1.8 g (18 mN)
Tracking angle – 20°
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
2M PnP MkII cartridge with integrated headshell weight – 20 g
2M PnP MkII cartridge with integrated headshell length – 52 mm
Our testing set up
Our test equipment was as follows.
Source: New, never opened Red Hot Chili Peppers: “Stadium Arcadium”
Preamp: Marantz SR7009
Power Amp: Nakamichi PA5 Stasis
Speakers: Martin Logan LX16
Speaker Cables: GearIT White, Banana Term.
Turntable: Onkyo Direct drive
tested: Ortofon 2M Blue
As always we recommend listening to one in a local audio shop before buying. Don’t just take our word or anyone one else’s for it. We provide our reviews as a baseline of what you can expect but your own ears should be the final judge.
If you are in Ohio head to Sound and Vision Inc. They carry the 2M Blue.