Cartridge Upgrade from Ortofon 2M Red

Hi Everyone,

Last year i bought my first turntable: Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo.

It has been a nice experience and i would like to read some about which improvements could be made in my system, maybe with main focus on the cartridge.

Actually my system is:

Turntable: Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo
Amp: Perraux Audiant 80i
Speakers: Dynaudio Excite X18
Speakers Cable: Mission Quartet Solid Core

Turntable is using original cartridge (ortofon 2M red) and the cable that comes with the turntable (Connect it E – Pro-Ject Audio Systems). I would like to know if an upgrade in any of these two pieces could make a big difference. I would like to receive opinions about cartriges till 300€.

I read about goldring. Could it be a good choice?

Regards

M
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
Cable no.
Cartridge yes.

For Cartridge the AT VM95ML is hard to beat but if you want a warmer sound then the Nagaoka MP200 or Goldring 1042 may be a better choice.

Note that the ML stylus is reported to last three times the duration of a standard elliptical (350hrs vs 1000) and also wear records less so in £/hr it is the same as the entry level VM95E if used moderate to heavy. One step up is the VM540ML but you are starting to ge into marginal gains for a MM cartridge/stylus.
 
Cartridges are a world. Because of this i like this forum, even with lots of different opinions is always different.

Please can you clarify me some points about your answer? VM95ML lasts 3x less than VM95E, right, and u say 540ML is a marginal gain compared to 95ML right?

I see there are big discussions about NG MP200 vs GLDR 1042. Can you gimme your personal opinion?
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
I had a 2M red and swapped it out for the VM95ML on a project genie and it was a significant step up, went from being sharp with limited base to really detailed and clear but with both good bass and treble.

I have not heard the Nagaoka or Goldring but reviews suggest they are a warmer sound (more bass and low mids and less treble is how I read it compared to the VM95ML).
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
Just to confirm the info below comes from AT directly in the features section -

"Every cartridge diamond stylus becomes worn after a period of play.
Around 500 hours for a conical stylus, 300 hours for an Elliptical stylus, 1000 hours for a Microlinear stylus, and 800 hours for a Shibata stylus.
"

VM95e is £50, VM95ML is £155 so if you intend on keeping the cartridge for a while or playing a lot of records then the ML is the same £/hr as the E.

 

sha66y

Active Member
Nagaoka mp110 and a Grado prestige red are about $300 all in
 
The seller from whom i bough the TT told me that Pro-Ject TTs work very ok with Ortofon 2M Black. That this cartridge would make all the difference in my system.

Do you guys have any pros or cons about Ortofon 2M Black?
 

Khankat

Well-known Member
The 2M Black is a good cartridge. It has a detailed sound, a little on the lean side, though that depends on your own personal taste. It is, however, a fair bit above your budget limit. A Goldring 1042 would get you the same amount of detail with a touch of warmth, for only a little more than your budget.
 

musicphil

Active Member
The Ortofon Black is a very good cartridge but agree very lean sounding. And retailing at £495
Both these will give you the same detail and warmer sound- Goldring 1042 at £285
Nagoaka MP200 at £339 and both much cheaper.

alternatively both these below are different sounding but will get you more out of your records than the Ortofon black.

Ortofon Quintet blue MC at £350
Goldring 2500mm at £475

But if you prefer a liver sound go down the Audio Technica route. Starting off at 95ML at £150 or 740ML at £275.
You get alot of cartridge per £££ with AT, but they are not universal ( just fixing one to your deck and off you go) capacitance can by an issue with them.
 
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camcroft

Well-known Member
Just to confirm the info below comes from AT directly in the features section -

"Every cartridge diamond stylus becomes worn after a period of play.
Around 500 hours for a conical stylus, 300 hours for an Elliptical stylus, 1000 hours for a Microlinear stylus, and 800 hours for a Shibata stylus.
"

VM95e is £50, VM95ML is £155 so if you intend on keeping the cartridge for a while or playing a lot of records then the ML is the same £/hr as the E.

I fitted one of the VM95ML last night to my Thorens TD147 turntable but I still have Nagaoka MP11 on another wand and they are both interchangeable on the arm with a bit of tracking weight adjustment. I was after other Nags but the price is ridiculous
I got the VM95ML for around the price of some of the Nags stylus prices.
 

Oasticles

Active Member
Watching this thread with interest. I have an Ortofon Quintet Blue MC cartridge fitted to an EAT turntable running through a Moon 110 pre-amp. Curiosity is making me wonder about looking for a different sound signature to the Ortofon. Nothing wrong with what I am hearing. Perhaps I know I’m towards the lower end of the MC spectrum and so wondering if a MM cart for around £350 might give me another type of listening experience.

Rest of the system is a Lyngdorf TDAI1120 and ATC SMC11 speakers Plus SVS 1000PRO sub.

No specific music genres so would be looking for something that covers most things. Budget would be up to £350 (ish).
 

Khankat

Well-known Member
A MC with a different sound signature is the Hana El and EH, the former low output, the latter a high output. The Hana range are well thought of.

A MM I could recommend is the Goldring 1042. It's detailed and has plenty of punch with a touch of warmth.
 

Khazul

Well-known Member
I use an Ortofon 2m bronze (just under £300) in a technics SL1210M5G. This is I believe the same cartridge body as the 2M black but with a considerably cheaper (but also good) stylus.

I think it is a good neutral sounding cartridge, plenty of detail without any sense of the high end being artificially bright. I use with a Yamaha A-S2100 amp into MA Silver 300 which I guess is also fairly neutral/maybe a little on the warm side overall in the room. I have no issues with female vocal sibilance or surface noise which can often be a problem with more neutral/brighter cartridges.

One thing I do like about it - the tonality of it is such that I don't find it a massive change switching from digital streaming to listening to records. With many warmer cartridges I can find the tonal change a bit much and tend to want to reach for tone controls initially until my head gets used to the different tonal balance. Of course that may not matter or apply to you.

If you have a brighter sounding system (+room), then maybe a cartridge with a softer high end might suit better, but I find this works well with a non bright system for me and the music I tend to listen to on vinyl - house/trance, soul, acoustic a little rock/pop etc.
 
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Oasticles

Active Member
Thanks both - Not having changed a cartridge for a long while I wonder if any of the recommendations are more 'numpty friendly' than the others! I could buy a better cartridge but find, due to my lack of technical skill, that I don't get the most out of it if it's particularly sensitive to set up parameters.
 

musicphil

Active Member
Cartridge protractor needed, digital weighing scales and cartridge azimuth alignment tool all available off flea bay very reasonably priced.
Lots of knowledge via YouTube, if you are really stuck.
It actually sounds alot more difficult than it really is.
It is not difficult to set up just - don't rush setting up a cartridge, take your time.
 
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Oasticles

Active Member
Thanks - I have the scales and protractor but for reason no azimuth tool. Will pick one of those up and study YT guides.
 

Khankat

Well-known Member
In theory, a MM cartridge is easier to mount than a MC, because the stylus can be removed whilst mounting the body. I swear some MC cartridges are designed to dare those mounting them, not to damage them, such is their design. Many a buttock clenching moment when mounting cartridges.
 

Khankat

Well-known Member
Thanks - I have the scales and protractor but for reason no azimuth tool. Will pick one of those up and study YT guides.

Be careful when purchasing Azimuth tools on ebay. I noticed a while ago, some far Eastern devices stating in the small print, "allow 1- 2mm tolerance due to manufacturing methods" or words to that effect. Worryingly, many of those made in China seem to come from the same source, as their designs are exactly the same. Better to spend a bit more for an accurate device.
 

Oasticles

Active Member
Be careful when purchasing Azimuth tools on ebay. I noticed a while ago, some far Eastern devices stating in the small print, "allow 1- 2mm tolerance due to manufacturing methods" or words to that effect. Worryingly, many of those made in China seem to come from the same source, as their designs are exactly the same. Better to spend a bit more for an accurate device.
Thanks - will keep that in mind when ordering.

And take your point around the MM cartridge fitting. I am erring toward an MM cart, just need to decide which one.
 

lee711

Standard Member
I upgraded my X1 cart (2M silver) 3 or 4 months ago to a Goldring 1042 and can't rate it highly enough. A little time consuming to set up but, good fun, the sound is fantastic, great sound-stage and pulls detail out of LP's that i had never heard before, the bass is warm and controlled and the highs never shrill. Very happy with it, money well spent.
 

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