Nagaoka MP-200 vs Ortofon 2m Black - fair comparison?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Nubben, Mar 26, 2017.

  1. Nubben

    Nubben Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    London, UK
    Hi All,

    Anyone with experience with the Nagaoka MP-200 and the Ortofon 2m Black who could share their impressions?

    - Is one significantly "better" than the other?
    - In what way do they sound different?

    Many thanks!

    Nubben
     
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  2. HeavyMetalClayton

    HeavyMetalClayton New Member

    Location:
    Auburn, WA
    I would like to know this too! These are the two MM carts I have on my short list to purchase for a VPI Scout.
     
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  3. needlestein

    needlestein Forum Resident

    Location:
    New England
    Well, at least one forum member here thought that the MP-200 was pretty close to the 2M Blue, giving the Nagaoka a slight edge over the Ortofon for the boron cantilever of the former. But there are two more Ortofons in the upgrade path, so I would not expect the MP200 to be "better" than the Black. But, it also seems that the two brands have different house sounds, so that also has to be considered. The Nagaokas are described as more midrangey and warm, while the Ortofons are usually described as neutral, and by some as "cold." I have a 2M Bronze, OM30 Super, a 540MKII (supposedly the same as the 2M Black or very close) and a Quintet Black. The Quintet sounds totally different than the other three, which sound more alike than different. The best of those three to my ears is the OM30 Super--it's amazingly clear an detailed. The 540MKII doesn't sound much different. The 2M Bronze is a bit blurred in comparison to the OM30 Super, possibly due to the higher output coils since it uses the same stylus configuration.

    Not to confuse the mix, but if you were in the market for a Quintet Black, it's simply dreamy. It reaches higher and lower than just about any other cartridge I've got, and it's not cold at all. I'd like to compare that to an MP500.

    Nagaoka MP200 vs Ortofon 2M Blue

    I've had the Nagaokas on my list for a while. I almost pulled the plug on an MP-110 just to start at the bottom, but then I got distracted by other cartridges in the meantime. And then I can't decide if I should start there or just save my shekels and go straight for the MP500.

    Sorry I'm not much help with the Nagaoka end of the comparison, but I hope the Ortofon part helped.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2017
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  4. vanye

    vanye Forum Resident

    Location:
    Germany
    I used to have the 2M Black on a Rega RB 300 tonearm. Replaced it with a Nagaoka MP 150 and am happy with that choice.
     
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  5. needlestein

    needlestein Forum Resident

    Location:
    New England
    Wow!
     
  6. 33na3rd

    33na3rd Forum Resident

    Location:
    SW Washington, USA
    I'm a bit confused by Nagaoka's choice of diamond size, .4 x .7. Wouldn't this be considered rather large by todays standards, and contribute to less than ideal inner grove playback?
    Or is this another case where reality trumps theory?
     
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  7. juno6000

    juno6000 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Pembroke Pines, FL
    I was wondering about this too. The MP-15 had a .3 x .7 whereas the MP-20 and MP-30 had the now standard .4 x.7.
     
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  8. 33na3rd

    33na3rd Forum Resident

    Location:
    SW Washington, USA
    So in the past, Nagaoka's more expensive offerings got the larger elliptical. That is interesting.
     
  9. juno6000

    juno6000 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Pembroke Pines, FL
    The MP-10 had a .5 conical
    The MP100 has a .6 conical.

    The MP-11 had .3 x .7 elliptical (same as MP-15)
    The MP-110 has .4 x .7 Elliptical, as do the rest up to the MP-500 which is a line contact
     
  10. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Two totally different carts with different stylus profiles. Not sure why anyone would compare them. Does Nagaoka even offer a shibata stylus? I think the top-end MP-500 is a fine line/line contact...that would probably be a closer comparison though not quite apples to apples either.
     
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  11. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Never understood why either Nagaoka or their U.S. retailers call the 200 and 300 a "special elliptical". AFAIK there is nothing particularly "special" about a .4x.7.
     
  12. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    No, there is no way in hell that isn't going to play back with some IGD on certain albums. By that I mean albums with a hot cut and narrow deadwax.
     
  13. delmonaco

    delmonaco Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sofia, Bulgaria
    The Ortofon black is extremely VTA sensitive, the Nagaoka not so much, perhaps this is the reason why someone would prefer the Nagaoka. But if carefully set up, there's no comparison, IMO - from a good record/pressing the Ortofon extracts tons of detail and texture from the grooves, yet retaining perfectly organic natural sound, it's just another league compared to the Nagaoka, by my experience. On the other hand, if one needs more universal cartridge, in order to get passable sound even by bad noisy pressings or old beaten records, athe Nagaoka is a better option (but for such applications is better to use some Audiotechnica for less money, IMO).
     
  14. Nubben

    Nubben Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    London, UK
    Hi needlestein. On the Quintet Black, do you know if that would fit a Technics SL-1200/Pioneer PLX-1000 easily or if it is "wasted" on one of those?

    I have actually been in touch with Ortofon's customer service directly on the 2m Black and they confirmed they do not recommend anything higher than the 2m Blue for the Technics/Pioneers. No clue if that is true of course, but there comes a point in every TT's/cart's life when it is simply too much money spent on a cart to reap the real benefits.

    By the way, I would love to get a Quintet Black for my PLX-1000 so if someone has successfully "paired" them - please let me know!

    All the best,
    Nubben
     
  15. Twinsfan007

    Twinsfan007 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    I personally have a MP-200 on my Rega Planar 2 and I absolutely love it! Paired with my Musical Surroundings Phonomena ii+ it sounds like I'm actually there! I feel that it does a great job no matter what you're playing, but it definitely is stepped up a notch when it comes to Jazz, classical, etc.
     
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  16. needlestein

    needlestein Forum Resident

    Location:
    New England
    Well, my personal experience is that if you can hear a difference, then you haven't wasted your cartridge on your turntable. Ortofon's customer service is selling their products short if they feel the SL-1200 isn't worthy of anything above the 2M Blue. However, I suspect that the logic is based on the rated compliance of the 2M Bronze and 2M Black and some people are married to formulas. I don't have the 2M Black, but I do have the 2M Bronze as stated above as well as an OM30 Super. On my arm, the OM30 Super sounds fantastic. The 2M Bronze is great. If I didn't have the OM30 Super, I might say the Bronze sounds fantastic, too. But myself and plenty of others prefer the OM Super line, perhaps due to lower inductance that seems to translate to better headroom and high clarity. There are few cartridges that I've heard that offer such razor sharp high end detail, including LOMC cartridges.

    The recommendation against anything higher than the 2M Blue for the SL-1200 is odd to me, though, because the 2M line is supposed to be a bit heavier for "today's heavier arms," which would make them all a better match to the SL-1200 than the OM Super line.

    Whatever. Sometimes formulas and experience don't always seamlessly line up.

    As for the Quintet Black, it is neither light nor particularly compliant. To my knowledge, the stock Technics arm is a perfect match, particularly because the auxiliary arm weight must be employed. A very tall and rather heavy headshell is also required. Coincidentally perhaps, the Ortofon SH-4 is perfect for the job. Don't even try to mount this cartridge on your Technics with anything else unless you've got a fancier Ortofon headshell that's tall. I'll admit that I have not read the horizontal resonant frequency for the Quintet Black and my arm. It sounds so good, that I didn't even bother with it.

    Once again, there may be better arms for the Quintet series. All I've got is the Black and my bone stock SL-1200. I will say that it is one of the best sounding cartridges I've heard in my system, period. The only other ones I have that sound up to that level are exotic these days: Pickering XLZ-7500S and an Expert Stylus sapphire cantilever and Paratrace tip, Stanton Collector's Series CS-100, maybe the Shure V15-VxMR (maybe). If the Quintet Black (and these other cartridges) could possibly sound even better in a different turntable on a different arm, then that's just some plain amazing potential.

    I'm also breaking in an Expert Stylus Co. Shure M97xE with a sapphire cantilever and Paratrace tip. I won't say right now that it's up to the Ortofon Quintet Black, but at the same tracking force, it's getting close. The Quintet Black is quite nicely broken in, but the Shure still has less than fifty hours on it. If it turns out to be as good, that would be significant enough for giant killer status because the Shure is about 1/3 the retail cost of the Ortofon Quintet Black. Also, the Shure isn't quite the right match for my arm, so the horizontal resonant frequency is only 7Hz. If I can find a light enough headshell, the sound from the Shure could possibly improve.
     
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  17. Nubben

    Nubben Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    London, UK
    Thanks for your thoughts on this @needlestein - much appreciated.
     
  18. smctigue

    smctigue Forum Resident

    Somebody would compare them because they are two totally different cartridges with different stylus profiles.
     
  19. missan

    missan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Stockholm
    Personally I´m not a fan of either.
     
  20. Paul H

    Paul H Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nottingham, UK
    Well, I just scored a second hand MP-500 for less than half the price new. I've yet to fit it but I'll hopefully be able to compare that to my 2M Black when I get a moment.
     
  21. Cyclone Ranger

    Cyclone Ranger New old stock

    Location:
    Best Coast USA
    So... how did that turn out?

    .
     
  22. Jelloalien

    Jelloalien Stylus Genie

    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    I would think the 2m black and nagaoka mp500 would be a better comparison
     
  23. displayname

    displayname Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dallas
    Sorry for digging up an older thread here, stumbled on this and wanted to share something I'd read.
    HiFi Choice magazine did a cartridge shootout in their March issue which included both the 2M Black and the MP-200. The MP-200 won the shootout, regardless of price point. Certain system/arm matching might make select choices better for select systems, but I figured that was a relevant addition to this conversation.
     
  24. 4011021

    4011021 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brazil
    Is it online?
     
  25. 4011021

    4011021 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brazil
    Odd. I put a 2M Black in my PLX-1000 and it was a huge improvement over the 2M Blue.
     
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