Ortofon 2M Red - very impressed

the thin end of the wedge
Adamo0926
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Ortofon 2M Red - very impressed

Post by Adamo0926 » 10 Sep 2019 00:56

Well my friend had a Dual 604 turntable fitted with an Ortofon 2M Red cartridge. I took it to a place up
near me to have the work done. So before carting it up to his place for a listening session this past Saturday
night, I used the Dual in my set up and was able to A/B it with my Thorens TD-145 with the Denon DL-110
cart.

Well as soon as I listened to the Dual with the Ortofon I said to myself, damn this sounds good. It was hard to
believe I was listening to a 100.00 cart. I was using the Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs half speed mastered recording
of Cat Stevens "Tea for the Tillerman". I then listened to my Thorens with the Denon DL-110, a cart that costs
3 times as much as the Ortofon. The sound was virtually indistinguishable. In fact I think I liked the low end better
with the Ortofon. The Denon was a better tracker, you could tell that especially between songs by less surface noise
with the Denon.

So now I am thinking of moving into the Ortofon camp and getting my Thorens fitted with an Ortofon 2M Bronze.

I could listen to the 2M Red and be quite happy with that so I'm thinking since that's only a 100.00 cart then the
2M Bronze must really sound sweet. I read a review of the Ortofon 2M series and the reviewer thought that even
though the 2M Black was the flagship cart, it was the Bronze he thought to be the sweet spot of the series.

justjed0001
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Re: Ortofon 2M Red - very impressed

Post by justjed0001 » 10 Sep 2019 02:38

I have the 2M Red, the Blue, and the Bronze. The Red is a decent cart for the money, but I personally don't find it to sound much better than any of a number of other carts. Still, it tracks well, is easy to set up, and doesn't cost an arm and a leg. The Blue is quieter, not just surface noise, but requires a bit more volume to match the Red. Otherwise, it's pretty much just MORE of everything you like about the Red. The Bronze, tho, is on a completely different level compared to the Red/Blue. A bit trickier to set up on some tables, but worth the time and effort, IF you are into DETAIL. It's not terribly warm, but if you've never heard the Bronze in a good system, I suggest you keep a napkin handy when you do, because you WILL drool all down the front of yourself...

Edited to add: Tho it might not sound like I am a real fan, I am actually on my SECOND Blue stylus, I really like this one!

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Re: Ortofon 2M Red - very impressed

Post by pivot » 10 Sep 2019 02:45

I admit my listening to the Red has been brief but the fact the Ortofon Red and the Denon 110 sound "virtually indistinguishable" suggests something odd. I have heard the Denon 110 is a couple systems, most time I spent was with a Jelco arm and Seduction phono pre, and found it musical and forgiving with decent tracking. A brief time spent with the Red lead me to conclude it was "okay" but inner groove distortion and sensitivity to surface noise had me concluding it was a cartridge I could not spend much time with. The 2M Blue I heard seemed much superior but I would still prefer the Denon. I have not heard the Bronze or Black for any length of time.

Interesting you draw a different conclusion. I wonder if different associated equipment might change your evaluation.

Adamo0926
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Re: Ortofon 2M Red - very impressed

Post by Adamo0926 » 10 Sep 2019 03:01

pivot wrote:
10 Sep 2019 02:45
I admit my listening to the Red has been brief but the fact the Ortofon Red and the Denon 110 sound "virtually indistinguishable" suggests something odd. I have heard the Denon 110 is a couple systems, most time I spent was with a Jelco arm and Seduction phono pre, and found it musical and forgiving with decent tracking. A brief time spent with the Red lead me to conclude it was "okay" but inner groove distortion and sensitivity to surface noise had me concluding it was a cartridge I could not spend much time with. The 2M Blue I heard seemed much superior but I would still prefer the Denon. I have not heard the Bronze or Black for any length of time.

Interesting you draw a different conclusion. I wonder if different associated equipment might change your evaluation.
On my system the setup was my Thorens TD-145 with the Denon and my buddy's Dual 604 with the Ortofon, my Pioneer SX-850 and my ADS L730 speakers. Granted, the Ortofon is brand new out of the box and my Denon DL-110 has been on my Thorens for a number of years now, although in terms of hours used I am quite certain that the stylus is not out of life. However there is obviously some wear on it.

During our listening session on Saturday night on his set up, which was very close to my own....The aforementioned turntable with the Ortofon, his Pioneer SX-850 and his pair of ADS L810 speakers. We threw quite a mix of music genres at the 2M Red and it sounded excellent on every one. From Cat Stevens, to Johnny Cash, to Amy Winehouse, to Mark Knopfler/Emmy Lou Harris, to The Kinks, to The Doors.....I even hit it with some metal using Tool's latest album. It never blinked.

As I said in my original post you could tell between songs and at the beginning and end of the LP that the Denon is the
better tracker based on the surface noise. But when the song was playing that was not a big factor. Although on a few occasions it was.

I'm not saying the cart is the be all and end all......but at a price of 100.00 it was pretty close to equaling the sound coming from my 350.00 DL-110....so it represents great value.....at least to my ears.

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Re: Ortofon 2M Red - very impressed

Post by justjed0001 » 10 Sep 2019 03:07

YOUR ears are the only ones that matter!

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Re: Ortofon 2M Red - very impressed

Post by smee4 » 10 Sep 2019 06:20

Before you jump into the Ortofon camp, be aware that there are other modern cartridge manufacturers bringing out great budget cartridges. Have a listen to the AT VM95 range and you will see what I mean. You mention tracking as one area where it was not so good, maybe the VM95 might be better, and there is a even bigger range of stylus choices.

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Re: Ortofon 2M Red - very impressed

Post by Alec124c41 » 10 Sep 2019 13:30

If you want to fill out the bass a bit more with the DL-110, try adding a bit more mass to the headshell, and resetting the VTF.
Are you using the small weight that came with it?

Cheers,
Alec

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Re: Ortofon 2M Red - very impressed

Post by raphaelmabo » 10 Sep 2019 14:44

Ortofon 2M Red can sound impressive, with lots of details but - for me - a bit bright, forward and light. I'm surprise about finding that the DL110 was a bit bass light, mine wasn't. :) I actually find the DL-110 to have some loudness-effect (more prominent bass and treble, with a little shy midband). Very tuneful bass. But maybe the higher compliance 2M Red simply works better in your tonearm than the lower compliance DL-110. I don't know what tonearm you got, Thorens has had so many... :)

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Re: Ortofon 2M Red - very impressed

Post by Mr Pig » 10 Sep 2019 21:28

I like the 2M Red but to be honest, I think the previous 510 MkII was a better cart. Very similar but sweeter at the top end. Both of them are less good than the old VMS20e MkII which you can pick up used and buy a new (aftermarket) stylus for.

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Re: Ortofon 2M Red - very impressed

Post by Boltman92124 » 10 Sep 2019 22:48

Adamo0926 wrote:
10 Sep 2019 00:56
Well my friend had a Dual 604 turntable fitted with an Ortofon 2M Red cartridge. I took it to a place up
near me to have the work done. So before carting it up to his place for a listening session this past Saturday
night, I used the Dual in my set up and was able to A/B it with my Thorens TD-145 with the Denon DL-110
cart.

Well as soon as I listened to the Dual with the Ortofon I said to myself, damn this sounds good. It was hard to
believe I was listening to a 100.00 cart. I was using the Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs half speed mastered recording
of Cat Stevens "Tea for the Tillerman". I then listened to my Thorens with the Denon DL-110, a cart that costs
3 times as much as the Ortofon. The sound was virtually indistinguishable. In fact I think I liked the low end better
with the Ortofon. The Denon was a better tracker, you could tell that especially between songs by less surface noise
with the Denon.

So now I am thinking of moving into the Ortofon camp and getting my Thorens fitted with an Ortofon 2M Bronze.

I could listen to the 2M Red and be quite happy with that so I'm thinking since that's only a 100.00 cart then the
2M Bronze must really sound sweet. I read a review of the Ortofon 2M series and the reviewer thought that even
though the 2M Black was the flagship cart, it was the Bronze he thought to be the sweet spot of the series.
Off topic but both you and your friend have those vintage ADS speakers which is pretty cool. I had a pair of ADS B8's late 80's early 90's. Gave them to a friend..sorry I did that. They were sealed enclosure 2 ways with an 8 inch bass driver. I remember they had a very tight sound and were not very efficient..but good!

Adamo0926
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Re: Ortofon 2M Red - very impressed

Post by Adamo0926 » 11 Sep 2019 03:25

Alec124c41 wrote:
10 Sep 2019 13:30
If you want to fill out the bass a bit more with the DL-110, try adding a bit more mass to the headshell, and resetting the VTF.
Are you using the small weight that came with it?

Cheers,
Alec
Well Alec.....that just flew right over my head....I wouldn't know where to begin to do either of those things

Adamo0926
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Re: Ortofon 2M Red - very impressed

Post by Adamo0926 » 11 Sep 2019 03:28

raphaelmabo wrote:
10 Sep 2019 14:44
Ortofon 2M Red can sound impressive, with lots of details but - for me - a bit bright, forward and light. I'm surprise about finding that the DL110 was a bit bass light, mine wasn't. :) I actually find the DL-110 to have some loudness-effect (more prominent bass and treble, with a little shy midband). Very tuneful bass. But maybe the higher compliance 2M Red simply works better in your tonearm than the lower compliance DL-110. I don't know what tonearm you got, Thorens has had so many... :)
The 2M Red was actually mounted on a Dual 604 table.....I don't know how much different it would sound if mounted
on my Thorens TD-145.

But if I did get one of the Ortofons for my TD-145 it would likely be the 2M Bronze

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Re: Ortofon 2M Red - very impressed

Post by Alec124c41 » 11 Sep 2019 14:19

Adamo0926 wrote:
11 Sep 2019 03:25
Alec124c41 wrote:
10 Sep 2019 13:30
If you want to fill out the bass a bit more with the DL-110, try adding a bit more mass to the headshell, and resetting the VTF.
Are you using the small weight that came with it?

Cheers,
Alec
Well Alec.....that just flew right over my head....I wouldn't know where to begin to do either of those things
I am talking about increasing the effective mass of the tonearm.
The Dl-110 came with a small metal plate that could be put between the cartridge and the headshell.
Try this: with a bit of Blu-Tak, or almost anything else, stick a penny (~ 2 grams) or a nickle (~5 grams) to the top of the headshell. Reset the tracking force to 1.8 to 2 grams, and see if you hear any difference in the bass.
Cheap and easy. If you like what you hear, then you can go for a more elegant solution.

Cheers,
Alec

Adamo0926
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Re: Ortofon 2M Red - very impressed

Post by Adamo0926 » 11 Sep 2019 16:17

Alec124c41 wrote:
11 Sep 2019 14:19
Adamo0926 wrote:
11 Sep 2019 03:25
Alec124c41 wrote:
10 Sep 2019 13:30
If you want to fill out the bass a bit more with the DL-110, try adding a bit more mass to the headshell, and resetting the VTF.
Are you using the small weight that came with it?

Cheers,
Alec
Well Alec.....that just flew right over my head....I wouldn't know where to begin to do either of those things
I am talking about increasing the effective mass of the tonearm.
The Dl-110 came with a small metal plate that could be put between the cartridge and the headshell.
Try this: with a bit of Blu-Tak, or almost anything else, stick a penny (~ 2 grams) or a nickle (~5 grams) to the top of the headshell. Reset the tracking force to 1.8 to 2 grams, and see if you hear any difference in the bass.
Cheap and easy. If you like what you hear, then you can go for a more elegant solution.

Cheers,
Alec
Well Alec....I am woefully ignorant when it comes to the finesse of setting up a turntable/cartridge. I mean I know
the very basics but that's about it. Several years ago on here I got involved in some thread that talked about "impedance loading" or something like that if my memory serves me correctly. They could have been conversing
in Chinese as far as I was concerned....I had no clue what the hell they were talking about....

Anyway, I do have the original box and packing for my Denon DL-110 and I did see the small metal plate is still in
the container that was inside the box. So it obviously is not being used. The place that I bought the cartridge from
did all the calibration and set up for me and they are a pretty high end place. So they must have determined that
the extra mass was not needed for this cartridge/tonearm combination.

I have the cartridge on a Thorens TD-145 so I assume the tonearm is the TP-16.

Alec124c41
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Re: Ortofon 2M Red - very impressed

Post by Alec124c41 » 11 Sep 2019 17:13

Set-up can be accurate, but room acoustics and personal tastes do vary.
Try adding that small plate, and see how you like the sound. Stick it on top, first.

Cheers,
Alec

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