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Upgrading from Ortofon 2M Red to Ortofon MC-1?

Posted: 11 Feb 2019 05:19
by gardners501
I've been using the Ortofon 2M Red that came with my Pro-Ject Debut TT, and have the opportunity to get a pretty good deal on an Ortofon MC-1, a high output MC cartridge. Anyone familiar with both of these cartridges? Just how much of an upgrade would this be - what kind of improvements in sound could I expect? My phono stage is the Bellari VP 530. They'll be running through an NAD T753 receiver and Chapman T5 speakers. Thanks for any opinions!

Re: Upgrading from Ortofon 2M Red to Ortofon MC-1?

Posted: 11 Feb 2019 13:47
by raphaelmabo
I've never been a fan of the 2M Red because I find it to forward sounding and lacking a bit in the bass department, the 2M Blue is more well balanced across the frequency range would be a suitable and easy upgrade - 2M Blue stylus fit the 2M Red body. :)

Now, the MC-1 Turbo, is great for jazz, easy-listening, soul, acoustic based music... It's a smooth, musical and enjoyable sound with big soundstage, good detailing and it has a real presence in the bass. But, the sound is more relaxed than the 2M serie. It doesn't have the agility nor speed of the 2M's. This can be seen as an advantage or disadvantage depending on your personal preferences and taste in music. It really has a different character than the 2M Red.

If you like your 2M Red but wants more of the same thing, you like the pace, rhythm and timing but longs for a more well balanced sound, then choose the 2M Blue stylus instead. If yo you want a smoother, easier going and bigger sound with a blooming midband, then go for the MC-1.

Re: Upgrading from Ortofon 2M Red to Ortofon MC-1?

Posted: 11 Feb 2019 18:33
by gardners501
That's really helpful, raphaelmabo - thank you!
Your description of the 2M Red is right on, in my experience.

Re: Upgrading from Ortofon 2M Red to Ortofon MC-1?

Posted: 11 Feb 2019 18:50
by patient_ot
gardners501 wrote:
11 Feb 2019 05:19
I've been using the Ortofon 2M Red that came with my Pro-Ject Debut TT, and have the opportunity to get a pretty good deal on an Ortofon MC-1, a high output MC cartridge. Anyone familiar with both of these cartridges? Just how much of an upgrade would this be - what kind of improvements in sound could I expect? My phono stage is the Bellari VP 530. They'll be running through an NAD T753 receiver and Chapman T5 speakers. Thanks for any opinions!
Is your Debut the Debut III or the Debut Carbon? The Carbon tonearm is too lightweight for the compliance of the MC-1, which is way lower compliance than the 2M Red.

Further, what type of platter does your Debut have? If is it metal, IIRC the metal platters are ferrous so that's a no go with MC carts. The strong magnets in them will be attracted to your platter which will throw off your VTF - not good. If you have an acrylic platter, not a concern, though I would still choose a different cart if you have the 6g EM carbon arm.

Re: Upgrading from Ortofon 2M Red to Ortofon MC-1?

Posted: 12 Feb 2019 01:35
by gardners501
@patient_ot: It's the Debut Carbon, and it has a metal platter, and it IS ferrous (I just checked) although I have an Audioquest Sorbothane mat on the platter that would provide somewhat of a buffer. Too, bad, because from raphaelmabo's description above, I think I would like the sound of the MC-1.

Re: Upgrading from Ortofon 2M Red to Ortofon MC-1?

Posted: 12 Feb 2019 08:15
by raphaelmabo
Then your choice is MM designs with higher compliance. The 2M Red has a dynamic compliance of 20 cu. Sumiko Rainer or Olympia, or Grado Silver or Gold if on a tight budget, would dig deeper in the bass and offer a smoother sound. They too has a compliance of around 20.

Re: Upgrading from Ortofon 2M Red to Ortofon MC-1?

Posted: 12 Feb 2019 21:57
by patient_ot
gardners501 wrote:
12 Feb 2019 01:35
@patient_ot: It's the Debut Carbon, and it has a metal platter, and it IS ferrous (I just checked) although I have an Audioquest Sorbothane mat on the platter that would provide somewhat of a buffer. Too, bad, because from raphaelmabo's description above, I think I would like the sound of the MC-1.
Stay way from MC unless you get an acrylic platter. With a 6g tonearm stick to high compliance MM cartridges.

Re: Upgrading from Ortofon 2M Red to Ortofon MC-1?

Posted: 13 Feb 2019 02:31
by gardners501
Thanks to both of you - I really appreciate your help.

Re: Upgrading from Ortofon 2M Red to Ortofon MC-1?

Posted: 13 Feb 2019 20:40
by raphaelmabo
There's also the Shure M97xE, it's a high compliance MM - suitable for low mass arms - and famous for it's smooth sound and a bit laidback delivery. But I haven't heard one. Shure ended produktion last summer of all their cartridges, but you may still be able to pick one up from stock.

Re: Upgrading from Ortofon 2M Red to Ortofon MC-1?

Posted: 13 Feb 2019 23:00
by Boltman92124
raphaelmabo wrote:
11 Feb 2019 13:47
I've never been a fan of the 2M Red because I find it to forward sounding and lacking a bit in the bass department, the 2M Blue is more well balanced across the frequency range would be a suitable and easy upgrade - 2M Blue stylus fit the 2M Red body. :)

Now, the MC-1 Turbo, is great for jazz, easy-listening, soul, acoustic based music... It's a smooth, musical and enjoyable sound with big soundstage, good detailing and it has a real presence in the bass. But, the sound is more relaxed than the 2M serie. It doesn't have the agility nor speed of the 2M's. This can be seen as an advantage or disadvantage depending on your personal preferences and taste in music. It really has a different character than the 2M Red.

If you like your 2M Red but wants more of the same thing, you like the pace, rhythm and timing but longs for a more well balanced sound, then choose the 2M Blue stylus instead. If yo you want a smoother, easier going and bigger sound with a blooming midband, then go for the MC-1.
Now you have me interested in the MC-1! (opposed to another Denon 103). Same price range. Is it made by Ortofon? It doesn't look at all like the Quintet series.

Re: Upgrading from Ortofon 2M Red to Ortofon MC-1?

Posted: 14 Feb 2019 09:50
by raphaelmabo
Boltman92124 wrote:
13 Feb 2019 23:00
Now you have me interested in the MC-1! (opposed to another Denon 103). Same price range. Is it made by Ortofon? It doesn't look at all like the Quintet series.
Yes, the MC Turbo series (MC-1 and MC-3) are made by Ortofon in Denmark. They are much older than the Quintet-serie, they have been around for years! Their sound is a bit "Old fashioned", meaning not as much energy in the treble or forwardness as Ortofons newer designs. And they are high output MC's, not low output as the Denon 103. The MC-1 Turbo competes with the Denon DL-110. In comparison with the DL-110, the MC-1 Turbo has a more lazy or laidback character, it doesn't handle complex rhythm as well. It's more for jazz, acoustics, singer/songwriter, soul etc... than techno-trance electro-beat or hard rock. :) But it goes deep in bass and with a smooth treble and overall an even balance, and it has a larger soundstage than the DL-110.

I find my DL-110 to boost bass and treble and having a little bit of a shy midband, the MC Turbos has more expressive mid's. But the DL-110 had a sweet and delicate character, very easy to like and with more speed than the MC-1, having a more agile sound without being harsh.

The MC-3 Turbo is more open sounding, more dynamics and details than the MC-1 Turbo, but then it cost more also.
The MC Turbo series are like sweeter Ortofon OM's...

But if one finds the 2M Red or 2M Blue to be too forward, the MC Turbos are a smoother and easy going alternative.

I have the Benz MC Silver on now, just slightly more expensive than the MC-1 Turbo (if bought with the simple cardboard box instead of the more exclusive wooden box). The Benz has more rhythm than the MC-1 and it has a larger soundstage than the DL-110, so for me it was like the best of the DL-110 and MC Turbo in one package. Great sense of presence. But I wouldn't call it warm...

Re: Upgrading from Ortofon 2M Red to Ortofon MC-1?

Posted: 14 Feb 2019 10:56
by raphaelmabo
Note: I understand that Benz Micro are expensive in the US, I've seen the MC Silver at around 600 USD there. But in Europe it's about 300 euros with the simple packaging and 370-400 euro with the wooden box with accessories.

Re: Upgrading from Ortofon 2M Red to Ortofon MC-1?

Posted: 14 Feb 2019 11:58
by cafe latte
raphaelmabo wrote:
13 Feb 2019 20:40
There's also the Shure M97xE, it's a high compliance MM - suitable for low mass arms - and famous for it's smooth sound and a bit laidback delivery. But I haven't heard one. Shure ended produktion last summer of all their cartridges, but you may still be able to pick one up from stock.
I have a m97xe dont go there there are way better options.

Re: Upgrading from Ortofon 2M Red to Ortofon MC-1?

Posted: 14 Feb 2019 12:21
by raphaelmabo
Well, opinions on the Shure is all over the scale. Some loves it, some not ;). But it really has a smooth sound.

Re: Upgrading from Ortofon 2M Red to Ortofon MC-1?

Posted: 14 Feb 2019 13:46
by cafe latte
raphaelmabo wrote:
14 Feb 2019 12:21
Well, opinions on the Shure is all over the scale. Some loves it, some not ;). But it really has a smooth sound.
Recessed mid ad rolled off highs much better options IMO. Good reasons why also.
Chris