Ortofon 2M Red Review 2021

The Ortofon 2M Red is one cartridge that seems to have a lot of mixed reviews. While some people seem to swear by it, a lot of people do not like it. If you are considering spending your hard-earned cash on the Ortofon 2M Red, you probably want to be sure that it is worth your money. In this review, we’ll be giving this cartridge a full review from purchasing to how it works with records in various categories.

If you are a newbie to phono-cartridges and records, this review has you covered.

Ortofon 2M Red


When I made my first purchase from a store I’d rather not name, the Ortofon 2M Red I received was awful. It seemed to be a copy- if there are copies of phono cartridges. I had it returned and purchased from a more credible Amazon.

ADVICE: Purchase your cartridges from websites with good reputes to avoid your time being wasted. Getting it returned took a hell of a time.


After the Ortofon 2M Red is unboxed, one thing becomes clear; it is a beauty. I admired it for several minutes before actually putting it to good use. It is quite gorgeous as far as cartridges go. It is translucent and frankly, I feel more cartridges should adopt that design. It looks very modern. If records were to come back in style fully, I’m sure it’d be favorited for its looks if nothing else.

I’d rate in terms of attractiveness. One beautiful thing is how it manages to look sleek without looking fragile or cheap. I definitely give props to Ortofon 2M Red on this.

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To give a complete review, I have considered some of the most important features of the Ortofon 2M Red and broken them down. Let’s get started!


Tracking Force Range: 1.6 g -2.0 g

The Ortofon 2M Red sports a tracking force range of 1.6 g -2.0 g. If you are looking for the medium range, go for a 1.8 g. I experimented with 1.8 g and 1.9 g and found the 1.8 g more suitable for my needs.

The Ortofon 2M Red is quite the tracker. It gives off a clear and non-clouded sound. I admire how smooth it is. As someone who has had several experiences with trackers of different sorts, it was great to hear a cartridge with the right balance. Definitely not perfect but it is, without a doubt, competent and good enough.

The major reason that the Ortofon 2M Red doesn’t have a perfect rating is because of sibilance. I experimented with it quite a bit as I own several payers and records. Some cases were far from desirable. It seemed to catch out in few cases. However, in 7 out of 10, I had no issues. However, note that those were the worse cases. In the best cases, it is quite splendid.


Recommended Range: 150 pF-300 pF

Due to the recommended range, you will particularly enjoy this phono cartridge if you have a phono pre-amp with a capacity that ranges from 100 to 220 pF. If you do not consider cable capacitance, you would be better off using a phono pre-amp that ranges from 150 pF and below. If you aren’t into the techy part, you’ll be great if you stick to the manufacturer’s recommendation. If you tweak it and find that it gives out sounds that are too airy, clouded, or crisp. Try to check how everything is set and follow the recommended settings. However, if you are looking for something that sounds warm, this isn’t the pick for you.


Dynamic Compliance: 20 CU (at 10Hz)

The dynamic compliance caps at 20 CU or at 10Hz. This works very well for low-mass arms. Due to the range, it is quite safe to say that asides from low-mass arms, you’ll enjoy it with medium-mass arms.

I like the fact that it isn’t restrictive and works for more than one tonearm range. It has decent compliance and as you can imagine, that’s quite important.

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Sound tests are my favorite parts of records. It is quite amazing how the same record can sound different depending on the cartridge or player you use. I make sure to conduct sound tests each time and I can say that I genuinely enjoyed testing the Ortofon 2M Red.

In summary, sound tests simply have to do with testing the sound quality for the major parts.

Ortofon 2M Red



Now, to be fair, it is not wonderful. There are other phono cartridges from Ortofon that do it better. Don’t get me wrong; it isn’t terrible. It is quite clear and has an openness to it. The midrange is very expressive. However, it shows touches of the treble which could be a good or bad thing depending on what you want to hear. I personally like it although I have heard better.

VERDICT: It isn’t bad but it isn’t great. I’d rate it a 6.5


I absolutely loved the treble that the Ortofon 2M Red gives off. This might be because I am a sucker for great treble sounds supported by greatly textured bass (we’ll talk about the base next up). The treble is very clear. It gives off a bold sound. It even influences the midrange. While it worked great for me, I’ve heard people who use bright systems complain about it.



I believe that the bass that the Ortofon 2M Red gives is one of the reasons that a lot of people would pass it up. It isn’t so deep- if you get what I mean. However, for those who are more about the treble, it isn’t really a problem.

However, that isn’t to say that the bass is terrible. In my opinion, it is terrific for people who are looking for what I am looking for with my phono cartridges: texture. The Ortofon 2M Red gives a nice texture and gives that punch that we expect to hear from bass sounds. I love the feel it gives.



On the whole, you might have wondered how it mixes and blends it all. This has to do with the balance. I’d rate the blend a solid 7. It is a little short of amazing but it gets the job done and it does it with a great texture and sound to it.


Ortofon 2m red

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If you use records frequently, you’ll know that while the sound is the most important part of phono cartridges, other things matter. We’ll consider the pros and cons in our next segments.


  • The resolution is really great. It does the job quite nicely.
  • It is quite easy to use the Ortofon 2M Red as it doesn’t seem to wage war against you while you try to fit it in. However, I guess that it depends on your system. Personally, I used it in five different ones and didn’t have any problems. Luck? Possible, but not likely.
  • The Ortofon 2M Red is sleek without being fragile which is important to me especially. The casing is solid and large. I liked it instantly.
  • Great impact, Not clouded, and has great texture especially in the bass
  • Firm and solid sound
  • It might require that you mess around with the VTA quite a bit which is a problem for some who know little about systems past putting the cartridge in and out
  • Not a great choice if you have really straight arms. Be sure to carry out research on the sizing.
  • It doesn’t work so well with bright records. It doesn’t partner well to deliver sounds that have an edgy tone to it
  • Doesn’t adapt to systems that aren’t balanced
  • The midrange is influenced by the treble
  • The bass isn’t as strong as most would like it
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For the price, you could do so much worse than the Ortofon 2M Red. It is evenly priced and gives out good sound irrespective of the system. It isn’t the best out there but it gives a solid and clear sound. It even plays records that are really scratched. It looks good and has quite a nice balance. I really enjoy how it tracks as well.

Some people dislike it but they are possibly looking for extremely powerful bass or really warm sounds. If this is what you are out for, you will not enjoy the Ortofon 2M Red. However, if this isn’t the case, go ahead. You’ll enjoy this. If you want better, you might need to increase your budget.