Today we are doing an Ortofon 2M Bronze Review. The Ortofon Bronze is a great entry level cartridge. If you are just getting into the world of vinyl, this is a great place to start. In this review I will cover the Ortonfon bronze MM cartidge along with providing comparisons to other popular moving magnetic cartridges and some easy modifications to get the most out of this great little cartridge.
Ortofon is a Danish audio equipment company that was founded in 1918. The company specializes in the manufacturing of phonograph cartridges and turntables. Ortofon is considered to be one of the leading providers of high-quality audio products, and their products are used by DJs and audiophiles around the world.
The company’s headquarters are located in Copenhagen, Denmark, and they have subsidiaries in Germany, Japan, and the United States. Ortofon has won numerous awards for their innovative products, and they are constantly striving to improve the quality of their products. Ortofon is a trusted name in the world of audio, and their products are sure to provide you with many years of enjoyment.
Ortofon Cartridge Lines
Ortofon offers a wide range of cartridges to suit the needs of any audiophile. The company has four main cartridge lines: the OM series, the 2M series, the Quintet MC series, and the Cadenza series.
The OM series is Ortofon’s entry-level line of cartridges. The OM series is designed for use with lower-end turntables, and they offer good sound quality at a reasonable price. Note that the higher end of the OM series, such as the OM 40 jumps from entry level and rivals many top level moving magnetic cartidges.
More than simply a lovely face, 2M is a force to be reckoned with. With Ortofon’s unwavering commitment to delivering the most precise and accurate reproduction possible, this product has been designed to the highest standards. The 2M model is named after the abbreviation for movable magnet (MM) and is formed like a diamond to match the facets.
In the same manner as 2M addresses the moving magnet industry, the Quintet line tackles the cheap moving coil market. Quintet models are an excellent entrance point into the realm of moving coils because of their low internal impedance, unique ABS bodies, and neodymium magnets.
The Cadenza family of moving coils is widely regarded as one of the best on the market today. Each model has a distinctive aluminum chassis with recessed connectors for clean tonearm attachment, following in the footsteps of Ortofon’s Kontrapunkt line. Other improvements in the winding and generator system design have brought us to greater heights, allowing more vinyl enthusiasts than ever before to enjoy true high-end playing.
Moving Magnetic (MM) vs Moving Coil (MC)
Before jumping into our review, it is important to understand the difference between a moving magnetic cartridge and a moving coil cartridge.
A moving magnetic (MM) cartridge is the most popular type of phono cartridge. MM cartridges are less expensive than MC cartridges, and they are easier to set up and maintain. MM cartridges also have a higher output, which means that they can be used with a wider range of receivers and amplifiers.
The main downside of magnet cartridges is that they tend to have a lower signal-to-noise ratio than MC cartridges. In addition, magnet cartridges often will not extract as much detail or have the frequency response of a MC cart.
Moving coil (MC) cartridges are the other major type of phono cartridge. MC cartridges are more expensive than MM cartridges, and they can be more difficult to set up and maintain. However, MC cartridges have a lower output impedance, which means that they will usually sound better than MM cartridges.
The main downside of MC cartridges is that they tend to have a lower signal-to-noise ratio than MM cartridges. This means that MC cartridges will not perform as well in very quiet listening environments.
If you are still learning about cartridges, make sure to see our How to Choose the Best Turntable Cartridge post. We cover everything you need to know about choosing the right cartridge for your turntable.
Ortofon Bronze Overview
The Ortofon 2M Bronze is a moving magnet cartridge that was released in 2009. The 2M Bronze is the second to highest model in the 2M line and offers a number of improvements over the older model.
The most notable improvement is the inclusion of a nude elliptical diamond stylus. The nude elliptical stylus is more durable than the standard spherical stylus, and it offers a more accurate reproduction of sound.
The 2M Bronze also features an improved suspension system that reduces vibration and provides a more stable platform for the stylus. The 2M Bronze is also compatible with a wider range of tonearms than the older model.
The Ortofon 2M Bronze offers good sound quality at a reasonable price. It is a great choice for those who are just getting into vinyl, and it is also a good option for those who want to upgrade from an entry-level cartridge.
The replacement stylus unit is readily available and easy to install.
Ortofon 2M Bronze Specifications
-Type: Moving magnet
-Stylus: Nude elliptical diamond
-Tracking force range: 1.8 – 2.2 grams
-Frequency response: 20 Hz – 20 kHz
-Output voltage: 5.5 mV
-Channel separation: 23 dB
-Channel balance: 2 dB
-Cartridge weight: 8.5 grams
Ortofon 2M Bronze vs Other Cartridges
The Ortofon 2M Bronze is well-built and should last for many years with proper care. The cartridge body features a solid aluminum body that is finished in black paint. The stylus is made from a durable nude elliptical diamond, and the suspension system is designed to reduce vibration.
The 2M Bronze also features a silver-plated copper wire for the phono cartridge coils. This helps to reduce oxidization and improves sound quality. The results are a clean detailed sound that rivals many of the nude fine line stylus phono cartridges I own.
Ease of Setup
Compared to many MC coil carts or cartridge’s equipped with a Shibata stylus, the Ortofon 2M Bronze is very easy to set-up. The cartridge comes with step-by-step instructions that are easy to follow. You will need a phono preamp to use the Ortofon 2M Bronze, but this is true of all phono cartridges.
Sound Quality – Precise and Accurate Retrieval
The Ortofon 2M Bronze is a very musical cartridge that manages to present a warm, neutral tone without sacrificing clarity and detail. The sound is well-balanced and natural, with a good sense of rhythm and timing.
The 2M Bronze has a slightly laid-back presentation, which makes it easy to listen to for long periods of time. The soundstage is wide and open, with good imaging and separation between instruments. The low and mid tones are not overstated and overall provides more nuance and clarity due to the stylus profile. A sensible upgrade to either the 2M Red or Blue.
Ortofon 2M Bronze Stylus
The Ortofon Bronze uses a nude Elliptical diamond stylus and is made in Denmark. It offers good detail and soundstage along with a very musical presentation. I find it to be slightly laid back, but not in an offensive way.
The elliptical stylus does a good job extracting most of the detail from the groves of any vinyl record. Is it as detailed as a Shibata or microridge stylus? No, but it doesn’t cost as much either. In addition, when comparing to other cartridge’s such as the 2M Black I find the trade off can be worth it as it provides a fuller, warmer sound that is a tad less clinical.
All in all, the build quality of the Ortofon 2M Bronze is excellent. The cartridge is very well made and should last for many years with proper care.
One note, to help extend the life of your stylus and avoid contently purchasing a replacement stylus unit, make sure to properly care for your vinyl.
Ortofon Bronze Replacement Stylus Unit
Over time your cartridge will degrade and will eventually need replaced. Due to this finite lifespan, it is important that you take care of your vinyl records and stylus.
When it comes time to replace the stylus on your Ortofon 2M Bronze, you can easily do so by purchasing a replacement unit. These are readily available and easy to install. You do not need to uninstall the head shell, simply remove the old stylus and insert the new one.
Alternatively, you could also replace the entire cartridge. I would recommend this only if you are not happy with the sound of your 2M Bronze or if it is severely damaged.
The Ortofon 2M Bronze is a great value for the money. It offers good sound quality and is very easy to set-up. The 2M Bronze is a great choice for those who are just getting into vinyl and looking for a full bodied listening experience. It is also a good option for those who want to upgrade from an entry-level cartridge but not ready to take the leap into the $1000 + audiophile cartridges for their turntable.
Which Turntables Pair Well With the Ortofon 2M Bronze?
The Ortofon 2M Bronze pairs well with a wide variety of common turntables. It is a great choice for a noticeable upgrade to the pre-installed cart on most tables. It should fit most low-mid mass arms with bottom mount headshells to deliver rich bass and tonal accuracy.
You can pair the Ortofon 2M Bronze with any turntable in the $500 – $1500 range and get great results. I would recommend the following turntables as they all work well with the 2M Bronze:
-Pro-Ject Debut Carbon (DC)
-Music Hall MMF 5.1
-Thorens TD 158
For me, the pro-ject turntable with Ortofon cartridge is a match made in heaven. I currently run the Bronze on a Pro-Ject 2Xperience Classic with a carbon fiber tone arm and love the pairing. This table has been discontinued but recently setup a Bronze on my fiends Pro-Ject X2 and it sounded fantastic as well.
Ortofon 2M Bronze Modification
If you are looking to extract more clarity and detail from your records, either of the stylus swaps are great 2M Bronze mod considerations.
2M Black Stylus
The cartridge body of the 2M Bronze and Black are identical. An easy modification many make to their 2M Bronze is to purchase the Ortofon 2M Black stylus and swap it out with the stock elliptical. This results in a marked increase in detail retrieval without sacrificing the wonderful musicality the Bronze is known for.
You can make the stylus swap with minimal change to your existing cartridge alignment and setup. You may need to adjust VTA (Vertical Tracking Angle) as the Black is a bit finicky to setup.
Very similar to the 2M Black Shibata stylus, the OM40 stylus will also fit the 2M Bronze body . The OM40 is a Nude FG stylus. Compared to the Black, the nude fine line stylus is missing a bit of detail but at the same time is less forgiving for imperfect vinyl.
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The OM40 stylus is a bit more difficult to find than the 2M Black, but well worth the effort if you are looking for the best sound quality possible from your 2M Bronze. In addition, on my table, the stylus was a straight swap with no changes to the setup needed.
Ortofon 2M Bronze Comparisons
Luckily I have long loved the Ortofon brand of cartridges and have several on hand to compare to the Bronze.
Ortofon 2M Bronze vs Black
The first comparison is between the 2M Bronze and its big brother, the 2M Black. The biggest difference you will notice is that the Bronze is warmer and smoother sounding while the Black is more detailed and accurate. I find the trade off can be worth it as it provides a fuller, warmer sound that is a tad less clinical.
In regards to setup, the Bronze is so much easier to get dialed in. The Black can be a bit of a bear to get just right, but when you do it is well worth the effort.
The Shibata stylus of the Ortofon 2M Black provides a bit more detail than the elliptical of the Bronze, but I find the overall sound of the Bronze to be more musical. In addition, with more detail, the Black will also show you any imperfections in your vinyl you were not aware of. If you are sensitive to surface noise and have less than pristine vinyl, the Bronze may be the better choice for you.
Ortofon 2M Bronze vs Blue
The next comparison is between the 2M Bronze and the entry level 2M Blue. The biggest difference you will notice is that the Bronze has much better build quality and a more refined sound and a flat frequency response. The Blue is still a great cartridge, but the Bronze is a clear step up in terms of sound quality.
Of course, the price difference is not really an apples to apples comparison, but I find the Bronze to be a much better value. You get a cartridge that sounds much better and will last you many years.
Denon DL-103r vs Ortofon 2M Bronze
This is kind of an apples to oranges comparison and I did this on two separate tables. The Ortofon 2M has a higher compliance level. The Denon is best suited for high-mass arms with different load resistance and is low compliance.
I found the Denon to be a bit warmer with more emphasis on the bass. The Ortofon I found a bit more revealing. I ultimately preferred the sound of the Ortofon, but it really depends on your taste and setup.
Ortofon 2M Bronze vs Ortofon Quintet Blue
Comparing the MM Bronze to the MC Quintet Blue was a bit of an eye opener for me. I had always assumed the Quintet Blue was the better cartridge, but after doing this comparison I am not so sure…
What I will say is that they both have their strengths and weaknesses. The Quintet is a bit more detailed, while the Bronze is a touch warmer. I find the Quintet to be a bit more fatiguing to listen to, while the Bronze is more musical.
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I ultimately did not keep the Quintet Blue and would up going for the Bronze in the Quintet line and it is a solid upgrade to the 2M. If course the price tag also reflects that. Don’t worry, I will be doing a full review for the Ortofon Quintet Bronze shortly. The main sound quality changes I notice are a deeper, tighter bass and more clarity in the high tones.
Phono Preamp Pairing
I have always loved Musical Fidelity phono preamps and for the Bronze, I would recommend stick with this recommendation.
If it fits your budget, the Musical Fidelity – MX-VYNL phono preamps pair perfectly with the Bronze phono cartridge. You will be enjoying precise and accurate retrieval of information, with a slight bit of added warmth that compliments the Bronze nicely.
You could also try the less expensive Musical Fidelity – V90-LPS, which I also thought sounded very good with the Bronze phono cartridge.
Ortofon 2M Bronze Phono Cartridge Setup Tips
There are a few things you can do to get the most out of your Ortofon 2M Bronze phono cartridge.
-Make sure your table is level. This may seem like a no brainer, but it is important. If your table is not level, the stylus will not track evenly and you will get less than optimal sound.
-Check your tracking force. The 2M Bronze has a recommended tracking force range of 1.8-2.0 grams. I find that to be a bit high for my taste and my recommended tracking force is 1.6-1.7 grams.
-Make sure your phono preamp has plenty of gain. The 2M Bronze is not the most sensitive cartridge and you will need a phono preamp with plenty of gain to get the most out of it. I recommend a minimum of 60dB of gain. I recommend something from Musical Fidelity as I have good pairing with it and the Ortofon.
-Use a good interconnect. The 2M Bronze is a fairly revealing phono cartridge and you will want to use a quality interconnect to get the best sound.
-Give it some time to break in. Like all cartridges, the 2M Bronze will sound better after it has been broken in for a few weeks.
Conclusion Ortofon 2M Bronze Review
Thanks for reading my Ortofon 2M Bronze Review. The Ortofon 2M Bronze is a great phono cartridge for those just getting into vinyl or looking for an upgrade from an entry level cartridge. It offers good detail and musicality without breaking the bank. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review of the Ortofon 2M Bronze cartridge.