I thought I'd share my thought on my new phono cartridge. I picked up an Ortofon 2M Bronze on Thursday and have been playing it all weekend. After about 10 hours I have to say it's a tremendous match for my Pro-Ject Xpression II. I started with an Ortofon OM20, then switched to an Audio-Technica AT150MLX and neither of these sounded as good on my Xpression as the 2M Bronze. The OM20 was strong in the midrange with lots of dynamics but was nothing special in terms of frequency extension or tracking. The AT150MLX tracked quite well but was lean in the bass and midrange. It's top end was bright and metallic, giving a false sense of detail. It did track more detail than the OM20 but then it boosted it somewhat like Unsharpen Mask gives a false sense of detail to an image in Photoshop. It may be a very worn out cliché, but the 2M Bronze really is digging out musical details I hadn't noticed before. I'm hearing obvious edits in recordings that just didn't show up before. There are so many instances where you keep hearing little details that give you an impression of musicians moving in the recording space or the physical interactions of instruments, piano keys, guitar strings, sticks hitting drums. The bass is absolutely beautiful with deep, solid articulation without getting boomy. The midrange is smooth and accurate with a nice sense of realism. This extends into the highs, which are detailed but not at all harsh the way they were with the AT. In fact, the whole 2M presentation throughout the frequency range seems textured and almost holographic, with a great deal of honesty. You get the sense that it's giving you whatever info is in those grooves and without any embellishments or coloration. As I write, I'm listening to the Rhino reissue of Joni Mitchell's Blue that Steve mastered a couple of years ago, the end of the song "California." The percussion is stunning with sweet natural highs and a solid bottom end. On side one, the piano was rich and natural. Throughout, Joni's voice is natural and flowing. The 2M also seems to track better than the AT on sibilants. Before Joni, I tried the 30th anniversary Dark Side of the Moon and it tracks right through those tough spots on Money and Brain Damage without any harshness or break-up. I also have an old Canadian pressing of Surrealistic Pillow where the sibilants on White Rabbit were really annoying before but the Bronze pushes right through them without hiding them yet rendering them with an honesty. They're sibilants but still musical and smooth, sounding more like Grace just sang a little close to the mic. The background is also blacker then with the OM and AT. This is one aspect where I really think the 2M series matches the Project 8.6 tonearm extremely well. There's no sense of rumble or resonance at all. When the stylus sits down on a clean record, there's a quiet. almost comforting "whooosh" of diamond gliding through vinyl. Records with a noisy background seem quieter with any pops and clicks less obtrusive and seemingly more "detached" from the music. I still notice a bit of stiffness due to the cartridge being new so I can't wait to hear this thing sing once it's about 100 hours or so!