Ortofon 2M Black vs. Rega Ania vs. Hanna SL

the thin end of the wedge
jlwallen
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Ortofon 2M Black vs. Rega Ania vs. Hanna SL

Post by jlwallen » 21 Jan 2019 15:09

I have a question for those who might have experience with this. I've been using an Ortofon 2M black for about a year now (and have really enjoyed it). I listen to my turntable for about 3-5 hours a day and know that styli have a finite life. In considering what cart to buy next, I'm thinking of either simply continuing with the Ortofon, moving to my first MC (with the Ania), or trying a Hana SL.

I have a modified Rega Planar 3 (subplatter, feet, arm spacers) with a Schiit Mani. If I go to the Ania, I might also purchase a Rega Fono MC.

To anyone that might have experience with these carts, which route would you go?

Thank you for any advice.

Jack

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Re: Ortofon 2M Black vs. Rega Ania vs. Hanna SL

Post by Agrippa » 21 Jan 2019 20:33

The M2 Black is a fine cartridge and the cheapest and easiest option is obviously to just stick with what you have. And if you're happy with what you're hearing, why bother changing.

For there to be much point in upgrading to an MC like the Hana SL (I'm not familiar with the Ania), you really need to ditch the Mani. While it does a reasonable job with MM cartridges, it really isn't up to presenting a good MC as it ought to be presented. I'm not out to dump the Mani by the way; but there's only so much sound quality to be had for $129....

As for what I would do in your situation, that would depend on my budget. A Rega Ania + Fono MC would come to roughly £750, or £850 for a Fono + Hana SL, so I assume that's the ballpark figure. If so, then the selection of decent MC phono stages is rather small and the Rega Fono is likely one of the best choices you can make. Another might be the Graham Slee Gram Amp 3 Fanfare available at about the same price.

While either combination will perform well and I'm sure you'll be happy with the sound you get, were it up to me I would forget about going the MC route for now and spend my money on a better phono stage. If you instead spend your money on something like the Graham Slee Reflex M you'll find out what your M2 Black actually sounds like and if or when you then decide you want an MC as well you can add on the Elevator XP. Together they'll let you hear most of what a really good MC cartridge can provide in terms of sound quality without costing two arms and a leg.

Just so it's said: I don't own, and have never owned, a Graham Slee product. I have, however, spent a great many enjoyable hours in front of a system where an Era Gold V/Elevator XP combo provides the phono amplification.

PS: I'm half assuming you're UK based here, which may of course be utterly wrong....

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Re: Ortofon 2M Black vs. Rega Ania vs. Hanna SL

Post by jlwallen » 22 Jan 2019 12:42

Agrippa wrote:
21 Jan 2019 20:33

While either combination will perform well and I'm sure you'll be happy with the sound you get, were it up to me I would forget about going the MC route for now and spend my money on a better phono stage. If you instead spend your money on something like the Graham Slee Reflex M you'll find out what your M2 Black actually sounds like and if or when you then decide you want an MC as well you can add on the Elevator XP. Together they'll let you hear most of what a really good MC cartridge can provide in terms of sound quality without costing two arms and a leg.

Just so it's said: I don't own, and have never owned, a Graham Slee product. I have, however, spent a great many enjoyable hours in front of a system where an Era Gold V/Elevator XP combo provides the phono amplification.

PS: I'm half assuming you're UK based here, which may of course be utterly wrong....
Thank you for that advice. I've been reading some reviews (post your reply) about the Slee and it seems a really impressive piece of tech. I now am inclined to stick with the Black and upgrade my preamp instead. Thank you again.

Jack

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Re: Ortofon 2M Black vs. Rega Ania vs. Hanna SL

Post by Audiodude » 22 Jan 2019 15:07

I have a 2M Blue that I have been using for a couple years now. I have had it connected to at least 3 different preamps and each preamp got more or less out of the same cartridge. I would agree with Agrippa and upgrade your preamp.

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Re: Ortofon 2M Black vs. Rega Ania vs. Hanna SL

Post by Agrippa » 22 Jan 2019 20:26

Best of luck to you Jack!

If you end up going with the Reflex M I'm pretty sure you'll be happy with the result. At it's price point there are a number of decent or better than decent choices, but I think you'd be hard pressed to unearth a phono stage that is unequivocally better.

You'd likely be equally hard pressed to find a product line with more, or more dedicated, users than the phono products from Graham Slee, which is in itself an indication of the quality they provide.

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Re: Ortofon 2M Black vs. Rega Ania vs. Hanna SL

Post by patient_ot » 24 Jan 2019 19:38

I had a Mani (among other phono pres - sold the Mani awhile back) and recently auditioned and bought a Slee Reflex M. To say there is a night and day difference in sound quality between the two units is an understatement. The Reflex is also not susceptible to RFI/EMI in the way that the Mani is.

If you are interested in Slee stuff I highly recommend getting on their forum and contacting a loan coordinator so you can try the products yourself, in your system. There is no sales pressure because the loan coordinators aren't involved in sales and the loaner units are not for sale.

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Re: Ortofon 2M Black vs. Rega Ania vs. Hanna SL

Post by jlwallen » 24 Jan 2019 19:44

patient_ot wrote:
24 Jan 2019 19:38
I had a Mani (among other phono pres - sold the Mani awhile back) and recently auditioned and bought a Slee Reflex M. To say there is a night and day difference in sound quality between the two units is an understatement. The Reflex is also not susceptible to RFI/EMI in the way that the Mani is.

If you are interested in Slee stuff I highly recommend getting on their forum and contacting a loan coordinator so you can try the products yourself, in your system. There is no sales pressure because the loan coordinators aren't involved in sales and the loaner units are not for sale.
From every recommendation I've received, I think the Graham Slee Reflex M is a no-brainer. I'm going to pull the trigger on one very soon. Is the Graham Slee forum the one here https://www.hifisystemcomponents.com/forum/???

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Re: Ortofon 2M Black vs. Rega Ania vs. Hanna SL

Post by patient_ot » 24 Jan 2019 19:52

jlwallen wrote:
24 Jan 2019 19:44
patient_ot wrote:
24 Jan 2019 19:38
I had a Mani (among other phono pres - sold the Mani awhile back) and recently auditioned and bought a Slee Reflex M. To say there is a night and day difference in sound quality between the two units is an understatement. The Reflex is also not susceptible to RFI/EMI in the way that the Mani is.

If you are interested in Slee stuff I highly recommend getting on their forum and contacting a loan coordinator so you can try the products yourself, in your system. There is no sales pressure because the loan coordinators aren't involved in sales and the loaner units are not for sale.
From every recommendation I've received, I think the Graham Slee Reflex M is a no-brainer. I'm going to pull the trigger on one very soon. Is the Graham Slee forum the one here https://www.hifisystemcomponents.com/forum/???
Yes. I highly recommend testing out before buying. There is also a PSU upgrade for the Reflex M, but that costs more. If you want to go all out look at the top model - The Accession M. Slee holds a patent on that one, rare for any phono stage made by anyone. I nearly went for it but held back because I liked the sound of the Reflex so much and it would've been a stretch for me to get the Accession M.

If you do decide to buy after testing, note also that it's usually cheaper to buy direct than go through a dealer. Here in the U.S., Slee products are way more expensive through dealers. Also I wanted a mono/stereo switch on my Reflex and the only way to do that is to go direct.

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Re: Ortofon 2M Black vs. Rega Ania vs. Hanna SL

Post by jlwallen » 24 Jan 2019 21:03

patient_ot wrote:
24 Jan 2019 19:52

Yes. I highly recommend testing out before buying. There is also a PSU upgrade for the Reflex M, but that costs more. If you want to go all out look at the top model - The Accession M. Slee holds a patent on that one, rare for any phono stage made by anyone. I nearly went for it but held back because I liked the sound of the Reflex so much and it would've been a stretch for me to get the Accession M.

If you do decide to buy after testing, note also that it's usually cheaper to buy direct than go through a dealer. Here in the U.S., Slee products are way more expensive through dealers. Also I wanted a mono/stereo switch on my Reflex and the only way to do that is to go direct.
Signing up for the forum now. I assume buying direct is via the www.hifisystemcomponents.com? Thank you, again, for all your advice.

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Re: Ortofon 2M Black vs. Rega Ania vs. Hanna SL

Post by patient_ot » 24 Jan 2019 21:46

jlwallen wrote:
24 Jan 2019 21:03
patient_ot wrote:
24 Jan 2019 19:52

Yes. I highly recommend testing out before buying. There is also a PSU upgrade for the Reflex M, but that costs more. If you want to go all out look at the top model - The Accession M. Slee holds a patent on that one, rare for any phono stage made by anyone. I nearly went for it but held back because I liked the sound of the Reflex so much and it would've been a stretch for me to get the Accession M.

If you do decide to buy after testing, note also that it's usually cheaper to buy direct than go through a dealer. Here in the U.S., Slee products are way more expensive through dealers. Also I wanted a mono/stereo switch on my Reflex and the only way to do that is to go direct.
Signing up for the forum now. I assume buying direct is via the www.hifisystemcomponents.com? Thank you, again, for all your advice.
Yes, that is the link for buying direct. The folks on the forum are very helpful and friendly. Good luck.

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Re: Ortofon 2M Black vs. Rega Ania vs. Hanna SL

Post by bra10n » 24 Jan 2019 22:13

To the OP:

I don't know where abouts in the world you are located but don't forget to factor in the costs of shipping and any import duties payable. Here in Australia The GS Reflex M with PSU1 bought locally through a dealer works out much the same.

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Re: Ortofon 2M Black vs. Rega Ania vs. Hanna SL

Post by rwortman » 27 Jan 2019 19:41

If you like the 2m Black, buy a new stylus for it. If you want to try something different, I am really happy with my AT VM740ML for less money than the Black.

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Re: Ortofon 2M Black vs. Rega Ania vs. Hanna SL

Post by jlwallen » 01 Feb 2019 02:17

So I finally got the Graham Slee loaners (both the Reflex M and the Accession). Wow. I wasn't prepared to hear that much of a difference between the Mani and these two pre-amps. Boy was I wrong. It's like night and day. I have to admit I'm a bit partial to the Accession (which is what I'm leaning toward buying), but I'm going to give them both a few days of tryout before I make the final choice.

If you can get on the loaner program, I highly recommend giving these babies a try. Thank you for the suggestion!

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Re: Ortofon 2M Black vs. Rega Ania vs. Hanna SL

Post by Agrippa » 01 Feb 2019 10:29

Different leagues entirely. The Reflex is a very competent phono stage indeed, so the Accession (which I've not heard) should be about as good as an MM stage can currently get.

Enjoy the decision process!

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Re: Ortofon 2M Black vs. Rega Ania vs. Hanna SL

Post by patient_ot » 01 Feb 2019 16:10

jlwallen wrote:
01 Feb 2019 02:17
So I finally got the Graham Slee loaners (both the Reflex M and the Accession). Wow. I wasn't prepared to hear that much of a difference between the Mani and these two pre-amps. Boy was I wrong. It's like night and day. I have to admit I'm a bit partial to the Accession (which is what I'm leaning toward buying), but I'm going to give them both a few days of tryout before I make the final choice.

If you can get on the loaner program, I highly recommend giving these babies a try. Thank you for the suggestion!
The GS stuff is very well thought out. The Mani is like a high school electronics project (from a C+ student) stuffed in a pretty case by comparison. It's like comparing a Formula One or LeMans car to a Yugo. Not even remotely in the same ballpark.

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