Here is the first cartridge review on my website: Ortofon 2M Black review.
With the 2M Black, the manufacturer Ortofon is presenting a high-end cartridge that, with silver-plated copper coils and a bare diamond with a Shibata cut, wants to convince even the last sound minimalist. But it needs good arguments and, above all, a consistently convincing sound performance before a fundamentally inclined, but nevertheless critical listener succumbs to the black temptation.
- 1 Ortofon 2M Black Specifications
- 2 Ortofon 2M Black Review – Unboxing & Features
- 3 Ortofon 2M Black Review – Assembly & Adjustment
- 4 Ortofon 2M Black Review – Sound Test
- 5 Ortofon 2M Black Video Review
- 6 To Buy Or Not?
- 7 How long does Ortofon 2M Black last?
- 8 Is the 2M Black worth it?
Ortofon 2M Black Specifications
- Output voltage at 1000 Hz, 5cm/sec.: 5 mV
- Channel balance at 1 kHz: 1 dB
- Channel separation at 1 kHz: 26 dB
- Channel separation at 15 kHz: 15 dB
- Frequency response: 20-20.000 + 2 / – 0 dB
- Tracking ability at 315Hz at recommended tracking force: 80 µm
- Compliance, dynamic, lateral: 22 µm/mN
- Stylus type: Nude Shibata
- Stylus tip radius: r/R 6/50 µm
- Tracking force range: 1.4-1.7 g (14-17 mN)
- Tracking force, recommended:1.5 g (15 mN)
- Tracking angle: 20°
- Internal impedance, DC resistance: 1.2 kOhm
- Internal inductance: 630 mH
- Recommended load resistance: 47 kOhm
- Recommended load capacitance: 150-300 pF
- Cartridge color, body/stylus: Black/Black
- Cartridge weight: 7.2 g
- Expected lifetime (without audible sound degradation): 1000 hours
You can download the manual here->Ortofon 2M Black Manual
Ortofon 2M Black Review – Unboxing & Features
Ortofon’s 2M Black journeys to the end customer in a much larger white box than the other 2M representatives. Instead of a plastic blister, a styrofoam cuboid made up of two halves appears, from which I take out a mini tonearm scale and a bag with a needle brush, mini slotted screwdriver, and two M2.5 mounting screws with a length of 7 mm.
Ortofon 2M Black Maintenance Set (included in the package)
- Stylus brush, carbon fiber
- 1 x Screwdriver
- 2 x Screw M2,5 x 5
- 2 x Screw M2,5 x 7
- 1 x Stylus pressure gauge
The 2M Black cartridge nests in a clear plastic cylinder with a black lid. It is fixed in a box with a bracket and will survive any mishandling.
The spacy case of the 2M Black is identical in construction to the 2M Bronze and is made of a special, harder plastic that is supposed to prevent resonance. In contrast to the cheaper 2M representatives Red and Blue, the 2M Black and also the 2M Bronze received silver-plated copper coils. Both the 2M Black and the 2M Bronze use a bare aluminum tube as the cantilever, with a bare diamond set at the end. The diamond is a Shibata cut. According to the manufacturer, the 2M Black has a scanning capacity of 80 µm at 315 Hz with a weight of 1.5 g. Since the permissible tracking force range is between 1.4 g and 1.7 g, this could possibly be increased. Ortofon recommends a tracking force of 1.5 g. According to the website, the channel deviation (L/R) should not exceed 1 dB over the entire transmission range. The Danish manufacturer specifies the maximum output voltage at 1 kHz as 5 mV, which is enough to lure some old preamplifiers out of their reserve.
If you are interested in a more deep view of Ortofon 2M Bronze go here: Ortofon 2M Bronze Review
According to the traditional manufacturer, the crosstalk attenuation at 1 kHz is 26 dB. As with the 2M Bronze, Ortofon published two pairs of values for the notorious “frequency response”: With a maximum deviation of +/-3 dB, the Danes put the transmission range at 20 – 31,000 Hz. The 2M Bronze ended at 29,000 Hz. With a maximum deviation of +2 dB / 0 dB, like the 2M Bronze, it has an audible frequency range of 20 – 20,000 Hz. All in all, the characteristics achieve a high professional studio level.
Ortofon 2M Black Review – Assembly & Adjustment
Like all 2M systems, the 2M Black also has a metal mounting plate that already has two 2.5 mm threaded holes to fix the chassis under an SME headshell without using miniature nuts. Fine-tuning is also good since the housing offers straight edges to effectively minimize the track error angle.
With a weight of 7.2 g, the Ortofon 2M Black ranks in the upper midfield of the MM systems in terms of its weight class. According to Ortofon, the needle flexibility is 22 µm/mN; 2M Black is suitable for light and medium-weight tonearms.
If you are interested in a more deep view of Ortofon 2M Red go here: Ortofon 2M Red Review.
Ortofon 2M Black Review – Sound Test
Like all other 2M representatives, the 2M Black proves to be relatively insensitive to fine dust and there is no other sign of weakness in terms of tracking, even with the recommended tracking force of 1.5 g.
The 2M Black fulfills the promise of sound given in the advertisements. Like the 2M Bronze, our test subject is an MM cartridge that masters the sound rules of all genres. In the mids and highs, it is very finely drawn and precise and plays with great presence. The bass sounds tight and tonal because the 2M Black also comes down very deep and is fast enough for an accurate reproduction of the transients. Especially with regard to the release times, the Ortofon 2M Black retains full control at all times.
Sounding transparent across the entire spectrum, it achieves great three-dimensionality. The 2M Black plays on a wide stage with a razor-sharp localization. It’s never uncomfortable as long as the records sound good. If they don’t, the 2M Black relentlessly reveals all the inconsistencies in a sound mix. Whether an LP has been heard two hundred times or it’s brand new becomes clear very quickly. The 2M Black doesn’t show the restraint in the mid-high range like the 2M Bronze, which covers some records with a cloak full of goodness. Here they simply differ fundamentally. I can certify the Ortofon 2M Black as being absolutely neutral. No tendency to beautify! Overall, the sound impression is very balanced and homogeneous with a noticeable tendency towards brilliance.
A fresh Grado DJ200i serves as a reference, and I used the Dynavox TPR-3 phono preamp for all recordings.
Ortofon 2M Black Video Review
To Buy Or Not?
With the 2M Black, Ortofon offers an outstanding cartridge for high-end enthusiasts. The MM system, with its rigid plastic chassis and metal mounting plate with threaded holes spaced half an inch apart, offers the best prerequisites for simple assembly and fine-tuning that are just as easy to implement.
In terms of sound, the 2M Black ranks right at the top of the MM systems due to its silver-plated copper coils and Shibata needle cut. The linear transmission range and the outstanding speed result in a neutral reproduction of all genres. Ortofon’s top system sounds incredibly lively and dynamic and plays on a wide stage with precise positioning and great spatiality.
Of course, the 2M Black also sets high standards in terms of the turntable and phono preamp. The test components used here were not sufficient to get the most out of the 2M Black. Also, the inclined record lover should not lose sight of the fact that the high standards do not stop at the recording material. Worn-out grooves and badly pressed records are not good in any way. But if you are aware of this, you will receive an absolute top product from the traditional Danish manufacturer, with which you will have fun for a long time. An absolute purchase recommendation despite the rather high purchase price!
Ortofon 2M Black Pro & Cons
- Very high-quality chassis
- Good channel separation
- Very high resolution in all frequency ranges
- High transparency over the entire spectrum
- Very good spatiality and very precise positioning
- Great sound presence
- The needle guard is a bit fiddly
How long does Ortofon 2M Black last?
Stylus lifetime: with proper care, we find that up to 1000 hours is possible without degradation of performance.
Is the 2M Black worth it?
After examining all options, the 2M Black cartridge is one of the best on the market. It's highly recommended, and when set up properly, it sounds like coming home. Every frequency is accounted for, and the sound is perfectly balanced across the lowest bass to the highest treble.