Upgrade Ortofon OM20

the thin end of the wedge
feldman
member
member
Posts: 112
Joined: 09 Mar 2018 00:56

Upgrade Ortofon OM20

Post by feldman » 15 Feb 2019 16:21

Currently using Ortofon OM20 on Jelco 750E 10 inch tonearm. Before OM20 I was using Denon DL103 on Rega RB300 arm. I loved Denon MC sound, but OM20 is giving me better resolution (nude elliptical stylus seems to reach deeper into the grooves).

Now I'm itching to upgrade OM20 to something more refined, but am at a loss as to which cartridge to get? Like I mentioned, I love the lively, beefy DL103 sound, and would like to retain that full bodied presentation but with more details. I found DL103 conical stylus to be lacking in resolution.

Overall, I'm quite interested now in trying moving coil cartridges, something that would be a step up from DL103. I still have my Denon AU-310 SUT which I was using with DL103 (it was a major improvement over going straight into the MC input on my phono), so maybe it could be used with a better MC cartridge as well.

Agrippa
senior member
senior member
Norway
Posts: 264
Joined: 17 Oct 2003 01:07

Re: Upgrade Ortofon OM20

Post by Agrippa » 15 Feb 2019 16:57

The number of cartridges which would represent a significant upgrade on the OM20 are for all practical purposes almost infinite.

It would help to know which phono stage you are using, but my default suggestions as far as relatively inexpensive MCs are always Audio-Technica AT-33PTG/II and Hana SL. Both are a universe away from the OM20 in terms of sound quality.

A new MM will take you a long, long way towards the top though and you should have a look at Audio-Technica's VM and 150 series, as well as the Goldring 1042.

raphaelmabo
long player
long player
Sweden
Posts: 1830
Joined: 30 Aug 2010 21:01
Location: Askersund, Sweden
Contact:

Re: Upgrade Ortofon OM20

Post by raphaelmabo » 15 Feb 2019 18:06

What about the Denon DL-304? Here you will get more resolution.

andybeau
long player
long player
England
Posts: 3761
Joined: 06 Jun 2013 20:47
Location: Coventry, UK

Re: Upgrade Ortofon OM20

Post by andybeau » 15 Feb 2019 19:45

If you like the Ortofon 'sound' why not try the Quintet series, I can give a big thumbs up for the Blue

Vinylfreak86
long player
long player
Posts: 1184
Joined: 07 Jan 2016 16:02

Re: Upgrade Ortofon OM20

Post by Vinylfreak86 » 15 Feb 2019 19:57

We have to say that Ortofon sound is very different from Audio-technika, no matter which rank you get. So it could happen that someone won`t like even more sophisticated AT cartridge comparing it to Ortofon and vice versa. if you like ortofon sound (which many describe as artificial in terms of vinyl listening) then it would be a good idea to look at more expensive orto carts.

raphaelmabo
long player
long player
Sweden
Posts: 1830
Joined: 30 Aug 2010 21:01
Location: Askersund, Sweden
Contact:

Re: Upgrade Ortofon OM20

Post by raphaelmabo » 15 Feb 2019 20:17

The Ortofon MC-3 Turbo has more warmth than the OM-series and the 2M's, it's a high output MC. A bit laidback, but nice. And it's a high resolution cartridge. There's also the Hana EH/EL, which is more expensive than the MC-3 Turbo.

I've had the OM20, I loved it for it's big soundstage. But my Denon DL-110 sounded more musical with more rhythmic and tuneful bass and vivid treble. Now I have a Benz Micro MC Silver (HOMC, also exists in a LOMC version the MC Gold). It has a smooth sound with a great sense of presence. It has the big soundstage of the OM20 but more musical flow - better timing, rhythm and sense of presence. However, it can sound a bit lean in the bass compared to the Denons. Bass is tight, tuneful and dry. Not big and warm.

cultjake
member
member
Posts: 221
Joined: 18 Jan 2006 14:22

Re: Upgrade Ortofon OM20

Post by cultjake » 15 Feb 2019 20:58

So many options. What's your budget.?

feldman
member
member
Posts: 112
Joined: 09 Mar 2018 00:56

Re: Upgrade Ortofon OM20

Post by feldman » 16 Feb 2019 05:03

Agrippa wrote:
15 Feb 2019 16:57
The number of cartridges which would represent a significant upgrade on the OM20 are for all practical purposes almost infinite.

It would help to know which phono stage you are using, but my default suggestions as far as relatively inexpensive MCs are always Audio-Technica AT-33PTG/II and Hana SL. Both are a universe away from the OM20 in terms of sound quality.

A new MM will take you a long, long way towards the top though and you should have a look at Audio-Technica's VM and 150 series, as well as the Goldring 1042.
I'm using iFi Micro iPhono 2. Thanks for your learned recommendations! Mucho appreciated.

feldman
member
member
Posts: 112
Joined: 09 Mar 2018 00:56

Re: Upgrade Ortofon OM20

Post by feldman » 16 Feb 2019 05:04

cultjake wrote:
15 Feb 2019 20:58
So many options. What's your budget.?
No higher than $1,000.

feldman
member
member
Posts: 112
Joined: 09 Mar 2018 00:56

Re: Upgrade Ortofon OM20

Post by feldman » 16 Feb 2019 05:06

Vinylfreak86 wrote:
15 Feb 2019 19:57
We have to say that Ortofon sound is very different from Audio-technika, no matter which rank you get. So it could happen that someone won`t like even more sophisticated AT cartridge comparing it to Ortofon and vice versa. if you like ortofon sound (which many describe as artificial in terms of vinyl listening) then it would be a good idea to look at more expensive orto carts.
Interesting description of Ortofon sound as 'artificial'. First time I've heard that. Could you please elaborate a bit?

I'm not necessarily into Ortofon sound as much as I'm into DL103 sound. But OM20 is giving me better resolution in terms of finer details.

feldman
member
member
Posts: 112
Joined: 09 Mar 2018 00:56

Re: Upgrade Ortofon OM20

Post by feldman » 16 Feb 2019 05:08

raphaelmabo wrote:
15 Feb 2019 18:06
What about the Denon DL-304? Here you will get more resolution.
There's been some complaints that Denon DL-304 lack the full body presentation. Not sure how founded these complaints are...

Agrippa
senior member
senior member
Norway
Posts: 264
Joined: 17 Oct 2003 01:07

Re: Upgrade Ortofon OM20

Post by Agrippa » 16 Feb 2019 07:37

feldman wrote:
16 Feb 2019 05:03
I'm using iFi Micro iPhono 2. Thanks for your learned recommendations! Mucho appreciated.
You're most welcome. Flattery is always appreciated. ;D
feldman wrote:
16 Feb 2019 05:06
Interesting description of Ortofon sound as 'artificial'. First time I've heard that.
Not something I've heard either. Quite frankly, Ortofon of today has something to suit pretty much any and all sonic preferences. Warm (Bronze), analytical (Black) and most things in between. Artificial is not a word which springs to mind though.
feldman wrote:
16 Feb 2019 05:08
There's been some complaints that Denon DL-304 lack the full body presentation. Not sure how founded these complaints are...
I would subscribe to that, to a large degree. I owned a 304 for a couple of years and found it very detailed and sweet, but definitely slightly on the "slim" side. Very enjoyable, but not equally so for all types of music. Eminently suited for string quartets and chamber music in general, less so for 70s guitar rock.

Also, the cantilever is incredibly fragile. Or it was at the time when I owned mine, which is why I suddenly didn't own one any more.

Vinylfreak86
long player
long player
Posts: 1184
Joined: 07 Jan 2016 16:02

Re: Upgrade Ortofon OM20

Post by Vinylfreak86 » 16 Feb 2019 10:59

feldman wrote:
16 Feb 2019 05:06


Interesting description of Ortofon sound as 'artificial'. First time I've heard that. Could you please elaborate a bit?
Maybe "artificial" is not the best word. It is sometimes hard to translate from slavic languages into english language, because we have so many words for which you cannot find counterpart in english vocabulary. People here describe modern ortofon carts as sounding too much polished and unnatural, similar to sound of a Compact disc. Especially older generations of hi-fi listeners don`t like them.
I was also using Ortofon OMB 5e and it was a fine cart on new records, but some older records sounded horrible with it, which otherwise sound very good with other carts.

KentT
long player
long player
Posts: 4420
Joined: 13 Mar 2008 19:44
Location: Athens, TN

Re: Upgrade Ortofon OM20

Post by KentT » 16 Feb 2019 13:41

Another thing to consider, most MC (Moving Coil) cartridges are low output. Meaning they need either a MC capable phono stage, step up transformer, or need a pre-preamplifier aka head amp factored in. On a Jelco, if you decide to go MC, try the Denon DL-103 (a very good match to that tonearm), and see how you get on with it.

feldman
member
member
Posts: 112
Joined: 09 Mar 2018 00:56

Re: Upgrade Ortofon OM20

Post by feldman » 16 Feb 2019 15:32

KentT wrote:
16 Feb 2019 13:41
Another thing to consider, most MC (Moving Coil) cartridges are low output. Meaning they need either a MC capable phono stage, step up transformer, or need a pre-preamplifier aka head amp factored in. On a Jelco, if you decide to go MC, try the Denon DL-103 (a very good match to that tonearm), and see how you get on with it.
I did mention in my original post that I was using Denon DL-103 before switching to OM20. But it was on Rega RB300. I've never tried DL-103 on Jelco. Maybe that'll be the ticket? DL-103 on Rega RB300 lacked in resolution. The moment I switched to OM20 I started hearing finer details that DL-103 missed. Maybe RB300 was the culprit?

Do you think DL-103 on Jelco will offer better resolution?

Thanks.

Post Reply