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4.7 out of 5 stars20
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 30 December 2012
If you were thinking about spending £120-£140 then by all means consider the very fine AT120's or Denon 110's but if you're looking for a first decent upgrade on the cheap cartridge that came with your turntable look no further.
Rega offer an upgrade package for their RP1 turntables that includes the Rega Bias 2.
The 2M Red is a much superior cartridge to the entry level Bias and appears as if it was designed with Rega tonearms in mind.
Fitting and aligning on my Rega Planar 2 took me just under 15 minutes. It fitted flush with the end of the tonearm and the captive screws meant I only needed two hands rather than the usual three.
After running in, I found the sound very suited to my Arcam system and probably wouldn't recommend it for the thrash metal fan.
The top end is slightly "rolled off" but it displays an excellent informative mid band and good controlled base. Surface noise is minimal and tracking superb which makes playing old vinyl particularly rewarding.
There's an upgrade path to the 2m blue by changing the stylus as these both have the same cartridge body.
In short, not the best cartridge money can buy, but probably the best you can get for £80
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on 18 January 2011
I have a Linn LP12 record player and I did think about paying more for a cartidge than the Ortofon 2M Red which others seems to offer more sound for your money but after a long think I went for this one and was blown away when I tested it out. I saved myself a packet and got great sound for so little. Totally happy with the product and the dealer. Top Marks all round.
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on 13 January 2010
I bought the 2M Red to replace a 23 year old Shure M95ED. The sound is very different. The Shure has a tendancy to be warm and velvety where the 2M Red is far more neutral. This is a good thing. The Shure was lovely to listen to but not entirely honest whereas the 2M Red just tells it like it is with great clarity and dynamics.

I cant say I've tried many MM cartridges but this has to be a bargain. Easy to install (as the body is threaded so you only need the mounting bolts and no fiddly nuts) although heavier and bigger than the Shure.

I wouldn't have thought you could go far wrong with this or do better at this price.
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on 31 October 2014
For my Pro-ject debut 3 deck this is realistically the top end cartridge. Anything more would be limited by the turntable so I could not resist the temptation to 'max out' my setup. I am not at all disappointed with the results. The system is sounding sweet and all my vinyl has the extra life being extracted out of it. I am not going to pipe on with superlatives regarding bass mids & top end.

All I will say is that if you can afford to do it & your set up warrants the extra sprinkling of upgrades then try one of these. I had mine fitted professionally and believe this is the right thing to do as you won't want to ruin the life & precision of this needle through bad alignment. The proper equipment used to do this alignment can run into the £10,000's, a good HIfi dealer will usually sell you the cartridge & complete the alignment for £100 all in tops. I would also recommend some good rubber Isolation pads for the speakers, and the record deck. These 'extras' do spiral the costs upwards, but if you buy vinyl (which we all know is not a cheap addiction to have) you all deserve the very best you can from that hard earned plastic.

It may seem strange to some people spending £100 on a fitted cartridge, however, there is no need to justify it verbally as the quality is in the listening.

I am not sure I personally would ever feel the need to change my setup to gain another step up in level of quality. Cost from this point on jumps drastically high (exponentially in fact) & this would make me question what increase in quality I was actually getting in return for the massive price jump. I am completely happy with the 2M & it remains my preference for 'top end'.
Few would feel the need to upgrade beyond this.
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on 23 November 2011
with what both of the previous reviewers have said. Especially regarding the difference between Ortofon and Shure cartridges. I used a Shure M75ED for many years, and always felt there was something missing. Finally, I decided that whereas the sound was initially pleasing, the frequency response was not accurate. What this meant as far as I was concerned, as a classical music listener, was that the entry of the strings - one of the great moments in an orchestral piece - was not given its proper impact. I then tried an ortofon Om10 moving coil and finally got proper orchestral sound. Now that I mainly listen to CDs, I did not want to spend a lot on a cartridge. This Red certainly seems to offer a very high level of performance at an acceptable price. I also think the fact that the screws screw directly into the body of the cartridge is a huge improvement. Whay aren't all cartridges made like this?
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on 27 August 2012
I replaced my ageing ( but still very good ) Shure VST V cartridge with the Ortofon due to not being able to get a replacement stylus for the Shure ( I've since bought the excellent Shure M97XE MM catridge as a backup ).
Its a cartridge that demands you run it in for at least 5 hours to give of its best but its not difficult to install and get tracking properly.
My first listening impressions ( using a Project RPM 5.1 turntable ) were that it has a very detailed midband but was slightly lacking in warmth and there was less bass power than I'm used to hearing. The treble was bright and dynamic but if pushed can sound brittle.
However, it markedly improved after using it intermittently for over 5 hours. The slightly brittle treble, cold midband and underpowered bass was replaced with a beautifully coherent, detailed and dynamic yet subtle presentation regardless of what music I played. Tonally it's neutral and even handed. It's not as warm and friendly as the Shure M97XE nor does it have the Shure's bass clout but it has a more accurate balance.
After several years of gathering dust I've now listenened to most of my record collection and have enjoyed rediscovering how great vinyl replay is again .
Fantastic value for money.
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on 22 March 2013
Bought this as a second choice to a blue from another company which didnt arrive. Relatively easy to set up and a very nice sound, seems to pick up all the details on the record. Sounds bright but warm, i have read other reviews which say it sounds too sharp on vocals but mine sounds very nice even at high volume. I honestly cannot see what major improvements I could get with a more expensive cartridge. The reason i didnt give five stars is it does not come with an Ortofon fitting guage which i had to buy seperately.
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on 20 May 2014
INITIAL REVIEW:

I've just started using this with a recently purchased Technics SL-1210MK2. Previously I was using an Ortofon OM5E Moving Magnet Cartridge with a Pro-Ject Essential Turntable in Black.

How does the 2M Red compare to the 5E? On the 2M Red the bass has greater extension and goes deeper, the mids are pushed forward and aid in creating a 3D soundstage, the highs sparkle just right so as to fill the room without being harsh. The 2M Red has a lower noise floor than the OM-5E but it does pick up on crackle more than the 5E. Where I'd get pops with the 5E, I get snaps with the Red.

This isn't the fairest comparison because I've changed decks as well as carts. I'm happy with the Red at the moment, straight out of the box it performed well and I look forward to hearing how the sound develops after the 50 hour break-in point.

*

UPDATE:

Well, here I am now just over 50 hours break-in (took about 2 months) and I have sold the 2m Red and upgraded to an Audio Technica AT440MLa Moving Magnet Cartridge. To be honest, I wish I had just bought the 440 in the first place! I have learnt a lot from my time with the Red so it wasn't completely wasted. I was getting along fine with the Red during the break-in period, but as soon as that was over the sound quickly worsened (it's supposed to improve). Suddenly, on new and old records, I was hearing a lot of inner groove distortion and sibilants were exaggerated beyond what I was used to hearing, even with the lowly 5E. I decided to buy the Hi-Fi News Test LP (an invaluable tool, buy one now) to check my cartridge alignment was correct. The Red needed a little extra anti-skate and it ended up passing 2/4 of the anti-skate tests on Side 1 and 3/3 anti-skate tests on Side 2 with VTF 1.9, AS 2.4, VTA 3. Despite this, it still couldn't shake some of the IGD and was spitty on harsh sibilants. Enter the 440, passing 3/4 of the anti-skate tests on Side 1 and 3/3 on Side 2 of the Test LP, IGD and sibilance are now banished from my set up and have been replaced by a clear and detailed presentation throughout. Hallelujah!

The 440 can be expensive, but if you shop around you can find a good price (I got mine for £129). Get the 2m Red if you really have to, it sounds great on the outer grooves. Maybe try a SHURE M97XE Players Cartridges if you're on a budget (I've heard it tracks better than the Red but can't confirm this). My real recommendation is to save yourself the hassle and just get the 440. In this price range it's unbeatable.
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on 8 March 2013
Bought to replace an aged Ortofon VMS20E as styluses are becoming hard to get. Also looked at the Shure M97XE but it was quite expensive at the time.
Relatively easy to set up thanks to those threaded screw holes.
The specs say it is quite high compliance (20 CUs) and it seems to work well with my set up i.e. SME 3009 Series two pickup arm (light weight) and Thorens TD160B MkII.
Noticably more bass than the VMS20E but a bit less detail - sounds great with stuff like Dark Side of the Moon. Punk does not sound as rough and edgy as with the VMS20E. I'm no expert and don't have much to compare it with, but playing other styles like classical or folk as well, it seems like a good all rounder and it is an enjoyable cartridge to listen to.
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on 20 July 2012
Bought this to replace a Nagaoka MP11 on my aged Thorens TD160 deck. I had to drill out the fixing holes on my head-shell, as they were 2mm diameter, as opposed to the 2.5mm required for the fixing screws supplied with this cartridge. Luckily, I had the requisite size drill bit. Apart from that minor inconvenience, swapping them over only took about thirty minutes, including the time to reset the balance and adjust and check the tracking force.
The first couple of albums I played were VERY toppy, with little bass, but good separation. By the time I got to the third or fourth album, an old acoustic John Martyn, it was starting to get warmed up. The sound was much more rounded, but very clean. As a bit of a first day test, I threw some Frank Zappa at it. It coped well, and I have to say, I'm impressed.
Tomorrow. Beethoven.
I will try to remember to come back and add to this review when I've had it for a while. First impressions are very good.
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