Ortofon 2M Red review

This turntable cartridge is the base model in the new Ortofon 2M range

Ortofon 2M Red
A little fussy about set up, but care is rewarded with sound that's admirably balanced and full of unforced detail

TechRadar Verdict


  • +

    Clean and tidy treble

  • +

    Assured bass

  • +

    Good tracking


  • -

    A little fussy on setup

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Ortofon has publicly stated its aim to be the ‘last firm standing’ if and when cartridge production ever dries up. Luckily that sad end seems to be nowhere in sight and the firm’s range is still enormous and easily the widest on the planet.

What’s more, several of that range are all-new designs, including the 2M series, among which the Red is the base model.

Its design is striking and evidently influenced by the facetting of gemstones, appropriately enough. The body is actually made of plastic, with a metal top plate in which are tapped holes for mounting to the headshell.

This is by far the most convenient way of mounting a cartridge, but do take care not to use over-long bolts which could, if tightened carelessly, do a lot of damage!

An elliptical-profile diamond is used and the generator assembly uses split-pole pins – these are part of the magnetic circuit and the idea is to improve extreme treble response, which is typically a weak point of moving magnets.

Ortofon cartridges are very informative and well extended at both frequency extremes and this one seems to fit that pattern. In fact the treble is notably clean and tidy, full of life without ever becoming strident or harsh.

Bass is assured, not quite as full as some but that’s probably a good thing.

We found tracking very confident across the recommend downforce range, so settled on the minimum, 1.6g. VTA is unusually critical for an elliptical stylus, though the arm height was about average in the end.

It’s worth experimenting, because at best this is one of the most detailed cartridges we’ve come across at this kind of price.

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