Ortofon HiFi Cartridges – A Quick Comparison & Review

As one of the authorised retailers for Ortofon products in Singapore, we would like to start off by sharing some valuable information about the OM and 2M series cartridges. Here we present you a summary of the features for direct comparison.

 

OM 3e OM 5e 2M Red 2M Blue 2M Bronze 2M Black
 TECHNICAL DATA Ortofon OM 3E Cartridge Ortofon OM 5E Cartridge
 Output voltage  4 mV  4 mV  5.5 mV  5.5 mV  5 mV  5 mV
 Frequency range at -3 dB  20-22,000 Hz  20-25,000 Hz  20-22,000 Hz  20-25,000 Hz  20-29,000 Hz  20-31,000 Hz
 Stylus type  Elliptical  Elliptical  Elliptical  Nude Elliptical  Nude Fine Line  Nude Shibata
 Tracking force range  1.5-2.0 g  1.5-2.0 g  1.6-2.0 g  1.6-2.0 g  1.4-1.7 g  1.4-1.7 g
 Tracking force, recommended  1.75 g  1.75 g  1.8 g  1.8 g  1.5 g  1.5 g
 Stylus Interchangeability 3e, 5e & OM 10 2M Red & Blue 2M Bronze & Black
 Series  OM Series  2M Series
 Retail Price S$ 77.50 S$ 93 S$ 170 S$ 340 S$ 558 S$ 900
 Replacement Stylus Price $91.50
(for OM 10)
$91.50
(for OM 10)
S$ 120 S$ 240

 

OM 3e & OM 5e

OM 3e & OM 5e are usually fitted on entry level turntables such as Pro-Ject Primary, Elemental & Essential line, and generally European made turntables below SGD 500. These are durable general purpose cartridges with good sound.

Some reviews say they are a bit dark, heavy on the bass and/or a bit dull. At 4 mV, they are not as exciting as the Ortofon 2M series and Audio Technica cartridges. But, in return they do produce less surface noise, which is a good thing for budget turntables because budget turntables tend to have more vibration.

There’s not much between the two in terms of sonic quality. For upgrades, we highly recommend replace the styli with OM 10. OM 10 improves tracking and gives you more details.

 

2M Red & Blue

These two cartridges share the same body, ie. the only difference is the stylus. 2M Red is commonly found on turntables around SGD $800 – $1200 range. It is a big step up if you are upgrading from OM line, AT95e, AT100 etc. Very noticeable improvement in overall sound stage and layers separation.

The nude elliptical stylus on 2M Blue is lighter and track deeper. The result is better dynamics, improved clarify and depth, and music is more lively. However, don’t feel compelled to jump right to 2M Blue if you are upgrading from cartridges that are below SGD $100. 2M Red produce well-respected sound for its price point; and you can always do the upgrade in stages later by changing to 2M Blue stylus when the one on your Red worn out.

For optimum performance, we recommend using 2M Blue with turntables above SGD $1000.

 

2M Bronze & Black

These two cartridges share the same body so the stylus is inter-changeable. Main difference between these two are Nude Fine Line styli vs Nude Shibata styli.

I’ve not had the chance to test them out on my turntables. From online reviews and customers feedback, these two are top quality cartridges. 2M Black is described as “open, fast, detailed, vivid, full of vitality and sonically spectacular”. Will write more on this once I have the opportunity to test them out.