Ortofon’s 2M Black

I’m sorry to say we are late to the party on this one…  Ortofon’s 2M Black has received numerous accolades from nearly every hifi magazine on the planet and with good reason – it’s a fantastic sounding cartridge.

Trying to break the price/performance barrier, there are a couple of great moving coil cartridges that immediately come to mind, and Ortofon’s own SPU at $999 is at the top of my list, but all of these cartridges need a step up device of some kind, which adds to the bottom line.  Much as I’d rather have 16/44.1 digital well implemented than budget high res, I feel the same way about cartridges.  I’d much rather listen to a great MM with a well designed phono stage, than a budget MC cartridge with a less than stellar phono stage.

Enter the 2M Black.  Reasonably priced at about $700, depending on where you purchase one, this cartridge features a shibata stylus and is very easy to set up.  With an output of 5mv and a recommended tracking force of 1.5 grams, it works equally well with your favorite vintage receiver to a modern MM phono stage.  Mounted in my Thorens TD-124/SME 3009 combination, equally good results were achieved with both a vintage Sansui 771 receiver and the Decware MM phono stage in my reference system.

Previously accustomed to the current OM40 and the vintage VMS20 cartridges, there is a definite family resemblance, yet the 2M Black displays more refinement throughout the range.  Almost exactly like the Cadenza Bronze cartridge I use in my Avid Volvere SP turntable, the 2M Black features an incredibly clean midband.  This cartridge does not enhance, embellish or color the midrange in a way some other designs can.  It proves an incredibly good mate for the Decware phonostage, which is a few drops on the warm side of neutral, making up for the slight bit of soul that the 2M Black does not posess.  Again, you might view that “soul” as coloration, so if that is your preference, ignore my choice in phono stage here.