Ortofon 2m red to blue upgrade

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Craig Spiegel, Sep 8, 2017.

  1. Kristofa

    Kristofa I dream of wires

    Eugene, Oregon
    I loved the Blue when I had it. I had to get a 2M Silver when the Blue wore out because of budget constraints, but I always missed the Blue as I thought it tracked better and has less sibilance. I am now on the Bronze and have told myself I will never go back to the Red or Silver (which uses a Red stylus), but I won’t rule out getting another Blue stylus for the Silver cartridge and putting it on my backup Dual table. The Blue was my first love.
  2. DrZhivago

    DrZhivago Hedonist

    Adelaide Australia
    Give it some time. Bass will tighten too. It takes around 100 hrs for Blue to come into its own.

    ssmith3046 and Clonesteak like this.
  3. Scott McBride

    Scott McBride Well-Known Member

    Yes, mine seemed to sit in NY for more than a week.
  4. thornev

    thornev Active Member

    I made this exact same swap and with the same Pro-ject turntable. I heard a difference immediately. The difference was in the improved detail of instruments and slightly punchier sound. It's important to do such a test with audio material with which you're intimately familiar. Otherwise you won't know for what to listen. I have certain recordings that I always use for such tests.

    I have to admit that sometimes it's difficult to hear differences because doing A/B tests take time to switch components during which time you lose acclimation to what you're listening. You want to be acclimated so that you're very used to the sound and can subsequently hear differences should they exist. Also it's difficult to leave out the psychological "desire" to want to hear improvements because, say, you just spent $2,000 and you'd "better" hear improvements. =:)
  5. clhboa

    clhboa Forum Resident

    I ordered the Blue today. Should be here in a few days. I wish I would have went with the blue originally like I planned. Let a salesman talk me into the Red.
  6. mike catucci

    mike catucci Forum Resident

    I know this is back from September but for anyone researching in the future, I had the exact same equipment as the OP and when I made the jump from Red to the Blue it was immediately noticeable and on my system is was a major upgrade. There was no question something had changed and for the better.
    nosliw likes this.
  7. Krankenstien

    Krankenstien Active Member

    United States
    After reading several of the posts on this thread mentioning sibilance just wanted to jump in and say that I don’t experience any with my Red. The only exception would be on an old worn record but even that is improved over my other carts.

    The best improvement in sibilance for me is making the move to my SL-1200 MK2. I don’t know what it is but as soon as I purchased and did a thorough setup on that table sibilance was all but completely gone. There was a time I thought sibilance was something that just had to be tolerated (especially on inner tracks).
    4011021 likes this.
  8. Clonesteak

    Clonesteak Forum Resident

    Kalamazoo, MI
    I never experienced very much siblance at all with my red but with the blue it is gone. The imaging I get with the blue compared to the red is the biggest improvement I notice on my system. Depth and the soundstage is amazing. This is the best my system has ever sounded.
    All I want to do is listen to my system all day!!! :pineapple:
    Heckto35 likes this.
  9. Neil Anderson

    Neil Anderson Forum Resident

    Portland, Oregon
    i didn't know there was such a thing as a silver. what's the difference between it and the red if it uses the same stylus? is it an improvement?
  10. Kristofa

    Kristofa I dream of wires

    Eugene, Oregon
    I am sure others can shed more technical light on this, but as far as I know, the Silver uses a Red stylus (in a transparent grey color) and a cartridge body structurally similar to the Red/Blue body but using silver-coated innards. It was sold exclusively on some Pro-Ject tables...the Classic perhaps? I don’t remember which ones. I hadn’t used a Red stylus before getting the Silver because I had a Blue prior to that but used the second Silver stylus on my old Blue cartridge making a “frankenRed“ but it was on a different table, so I can’t do a direct comparison on if it was an improvement. It certainly wasn’t bad.

    I got a super deal from Needle Doctor a couple years ago where they gave me a Silver body and two Silver styli for $128. I am sure it was from people upgrading their cartridges upon purchase and they had them sitting around.

    I plan on keeping the Silver body and likely using a Blue stylus for my backup table.
    Clonesteak and Neil Anderson like this.
  11. ssmith3046

    ssmith3046 Forum Resident

    I had a Blue once on a turntable that gave my son. It's a nice cartridge for the money. I really could tell the difference after at least 50 hours of use.
    Clonesteak and Kristofa like this.
  12. Mmmark

    Mmmark Forum Resident

    This comment should be posted as a disclaimer on the home page. You just convinced me to hang on to my red and put the $ I was going to spend on a blue towards more albums. And I thank you for that!
    H8SLKC likes this.
  13. Clonesteak

    Clonesteak Forum Resident

    Kalamazoo, MI
    I held onto my Red for 2 1/2 years and switched to the Blue. After two weeks with the Blue I am glad to have it. If you are happy with the Red by all means stay with what you like. The biggest thing about money and sound improvements is the diminishing returns. I am now content with my system and will spend my money on more albums now. Now that I have the Blue I will only be replacing my 2M cart with a Blue stylus.
    Is it worth it to you? Are tagless undershirts worth the extra money? Is name brand macaroni and cheese worth it? It’s what you value.
    Vinyl Fan 1973, H8SLKC and Kristofa like this.
  14. JeffTamarack

    JeffTamarack Active Member

    Couldn't agree more and I'd like to build off this point and come back to the 2M Red. I started my journey off thinking I wanted a record player and some cool gak but ended up realizing I wanted to get the most from listening to music as I could and afford.

    In a nutshell what I want is to get as close to the sound the record engineer intended and all that sound is right there on that record. The record is the most important component you can get. It needs to be a good pressing and clean. From there your table, tonearm, and cartridge need to be setup properly, and I mean properly with VTA and azimuth adjustments, and work together to get that sound out of the record and send it to your phono amp so its loud enough your amp can drive your speakers. This is obvious I know to everyone here but sibilance, tonal characteristics, dynamics, soundstage, etc are all subjective to a point but objectively related to the relationship between those components. Which largely contributes to everyones differing experiences.

    Ortofon has been around for 100 years and the 2m line 10 years. These are all good cartridges, leaders or competitors in class, and the line has been designed intentionally with the same output to work with most fixed MM phono stages so you shouldn't hear volume differences (freely correct me on that if I'm wrong). The 2M blue is a good upgrade and you'll get the most from it with a well setup table, and decent phono preamp, then your amp. Speakers are important too but are directly related to the information fed them.

    I say all this because if you have a chance to try a different amp, or preamp, or power supply, or try making sure your VTA adjustment is good, or your power supply (to the phono stage esp.) you'd be surprised at how it all affects the sound you hear These things don't even have to be expensive. I upgraded from a 2m red to a 2m black on my 1Xpression III and it was amazing through my Rotel RA-12 integrated amp. But when I went to an external Simaudio 110 LP phono preamp (Used) and that was an even better change or at least as positively noticeable. I just sort of figured the Rotel phono stage was decent enough but I could have probably gotten more bang from my for less buck buying the used Simaudio 110LP over the new 2m Black.

    Anyway, I hope that helps and thanks for reading this long post.
  15. Vinyl Fan 1973

    Vinyl Fan 1973 "They're like soup, they're like....nothing bad"

    The big difference I found was going from a Herbie’s Way Excellent mat to a thinner deer hide mat. That changed things for the better in my setup.

    I’m a 2M Blue user and I have to say out of all the carts I’ve had, this is my favourite. In that price range though, as I simply don’t have the interest in spending more for something like the bronze or black. I went from the Nag 110 to the Blue and I don’t see how anybody could go from the Blue to the Nag and be happy. The Nag is nice at first, perhaps too warm in my set up, but it breaks apart in the highs and isn’t as detailed as the Blue. Also, the lifespan of the Nag is much shorter than the Blue. It wears down fast, and the little detail it gave out starts to sound a little muddy.

    I know I can do better than the Blue, but not willing to spend more, it’s as simple as that. The Blue is a fantastic performer on my Technics SL-1401 and does a better job with IGD than the Nag. One positive I will give the Nag though is it’s fantastic ability to lower surface noise on worn vinyl. That was incredible to see, it’s also a nice tracker.

    People claim the Blue sounds clinical or digital but that has to be the source because I’ve never felt that. You play a beautifully pressed all analog LP and you simply forget about everything and get lost in the music. When I play my Rumours Hoffman mastered 45RPM pressing with the Blue, wow, it’s heaven.
  16. Vinyl Fan 1973

    Vinyl Fan 1973 "They're like soup, they're like....nothing bad"

    What are you tracking at? I found the Blue responds best with more tracking weight as the stylus ages. I’m at 1.9 right now and it’s perfect.
    4011021 likes this.

    LARGERTHAN Forum Resident

    It's true that the red may be a bit player in IGD on occasion - a bronze cured some of my ills in this respect, but not all. Annoyingly, some records have IGD no matter the cartridge or set-up. Just a fact of spinning records. And more revealing equipment will lend insight into the shortcomings of your collection.
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  18. Vinyl Fan 1973

    Vinyl Fan 1973 "They're like soup, they're like....nothing bad"

    I’m still thinking of trying the Audio Technica AT440, as my Blue is getting to the point where it will need replacement.
  19. 4011021

    4011021 Forum Resident

    Couldn't that be a matter of cleaning the stylus?
  20. husafreak

    husafreak Great F'n music that's difficult to listen to!

    NorCal, Bay Area
    I found this thread and did a little off site research as well. So I ordered a Blue needle from Germany. This is a little test or teaser for my son. I bought him a Project Carbon TT with the Red cartridge for Christmas. He had expressed an interest in vinyl playback and bought a few albums last year. Note they have a beater TT and lots of old LP's in the house the band shares (Bob fossil Band). So now he will be able to see for himself if small improvements like a different needle are valuable to him. And he'll have an spare needle in the house in case someone screws up!
    He has a PS Audio Sprout and my old Celestion SL600 speakers so if there is a difference (I'm sure there is) he will hear it. Those Celestions are very revealing.
    Heckto35 likes this.
  21. Henry Phillpotts

    Henry Phillpotts Well-Known Member

    Oxford, UK
    Just made the red to blue upgrade. Enjoyed what I'd heard of the cart, particularly saying goodbye to IGD and a lot of siblance on even my toughest tracking LPs.

    Sadly, after 8 hours of play I've had to accept the stylus is a dud. Too much distortion in the midrange, particularly on piano and busy recordings. And every time I lowered the needle heard static pops, which I found very odd.

    So the old red is back on for now and I hope I can sort a replacement soon!
    4011021 likes this.
  22. Clonesteak

    Clonesteak Forum Resident

    Kalamazoo, MI
    I am tracking my Blue at 1.82 and my Red on my other system at 1.82 as well.

    Both sound great. I have read others that say tracking closer to 2 has had better results. Maybe I will experiment with 1.9
    Vinyl Fan 1973 likes this.
  23. 4011021

    4011021 Forum Resident

    I have a five years old Red, I'm gonna put a Blue in it next week to check it out for myself. Let's see.
  24. Vinyl Fan 1973

    Vinyl Fan 1973 "They're like soup, they're like....nothing bad"

    Nope, I clean it after every play.
    Heckto35 and 4011021 like this.
  25. Leonthepro

    Leonthepro Skeptically Optimistic Autodidact Debater

    Uppsala Sweden
    Break in time is largely misunderstood and mostly a myth. With that said, did your opinion change OP?

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