The ORTOFON OM20 is another cartridge in the OM series and I’d had a very nice experience with the ORTOFON 2M RED, I decided to delve into this phono cartridge. Before purchasing the ORTOFON OM20, didn’t read any reviews on the cartridge. This was primarily because I didn’t want any foreknowledge on it to make the discovery any less exciting for me.
If you haven’t come across the ORTOFON OM20, you’re not alone. This review contains y honest opinions about the ORTOFON OM20 phono cartridge.
The standard ORTOFON OM20 was quite easy to acquire. However, I assume that this may not be the case. As always, I’d advise that you purchase your cartridges from websites that you actually trust and have a good reputation. Be sure to read reviews from the particular website. Often time, it is less about the product itself and more about the quality of goods that the website has available. Remember, if it is too cheap online, be wary. Sure, it could be a good deal but more often than not, it isn’t.
The ORTOFON OM20 didn’t give me any hints from opening it. Sure, it looked durable. If you get an original, it gives you confidence in how long it will last. However, I couldn’t assume whether or not it would be an epic phono cartridge- which I always try to do. Eagerly, I moved on to the features.
Of course, it is general knowledge that before you get to fitting a phono cartridge into your system, you must check out the specs. Knowing the tracking force, capacitive load, and dynamic compliance is extremely important.
Tracking Force Range: 1.25 g -1.75 g
The tracking force of the ORTOFON OM20 ranges from 1.25 to 1.75. The normal value is capped at 1.5 g. However, I found that this didn’t work so well for me. Be sure to tweak according to your system. I found that 1.2 g/ 1.25 g worked better. After tweaking the tracking, I found that it resulted in clean sounds. It had an accuracy I liked. It meant that sound tests would be awesome on the ORTOFON OM20.
I was pleased to find that it had great tracking. Too much force is just as bad as too little. Despite the fact that the ORTOFON OM20 isn’t really marketed on the brand’s site, you can definitely get advice on tracking ranges on it.
Recommended Range: 200 pF-400 pF
The ORTOFON OM20 has a recommended capacitive load range from 200 pF to $00 pF. The range is good enough and I found that it went along quite well with pre-amps that have lower capacitance, even as low as 100 pF.
The capacitive load setting that you use is important. You should be able to tell if your setting is working for you by the sound it gives out. If it sounds too dull, it is likely that your setting is much too low. If it sounds too bright and perhaps even the tiniest bit shrill, then you might need to take it higher a bit. While a lot of people embrace bright sounds, it contaminates the purity of the sound and sooner than later, you’ll realize that a nice balance is preferred.
Dynamic Compliance: 25 CU (at 10Hz)
The ORTOFON OM20 phono cartridge features a dynamic compliance of 25 CU. It is another high-compliance model from ORTOFON. It is best suited for low-mass arms as well as medium-mass arms. For either low-mass arms or medium-mass arms, the ORTOFON OM20 would serve you really well.
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. The ORTOFON OM20 gave me a little problem as I needed to fiddle around with the tracking before getting the balance I needed to listen to the parts.
Sound tests simply have to do with testing the sound quality for the major parts and as always (almost always), I enjoyed the sound test.
I tested the midrange first and it convinced me that the ORTOFON OM20 wasn’t a bad buy. The midrange expressed a hint of richness I liked. It had the markings of a fullness to its midrange that you’d definitely notice if you have a good ear. However, I still felt it left a little to be desired. I wondered if I could adjust my settings a little more to give the richness I wanted but that was apparently the best I could get from it.
However, if the slight thinness could be ignored, you’d appreciate what it can give. It actually can give you that liveliness and upbeat-ness- if you are looking out for that. If you are looking for deep warmth, you’ll be disappointed. You’d be better off using the SHURE M95ED for warmth.
However, the lack of warmth doesn’t rubbish it. It blends pretty well and that’s quite a nice feature for a phono cartridge to have.
VERDICT: It isn’t bad but it isn’t great. I’d rate it a 6.5
The treble testing came next. I was delighted to find it clear and somewhat airy. It had enough detail and managed that without being overbearing- which was a relief. I was worried that it would be too forceful to make up for the warmth that the midrange lacked. However, I was happily mistaken. While the treble gives that crisp elegance, it does it without sounding empty.
Rather, it has a solidness and weight to it. If you’re a fan of predominant but balanced treble sounds, go for the ORTOFON OM20. From experience, you’ll know that if the treble is actually too dominant, it thins out the melody, and of course, it makes it very easy to tire of records that way.
The treble boats of a liveliness that contained a balance that some other cartridges still have not managed to find. In conclusion, the treble is pleasantly present, clear, and solid without being too much or shrill.
The bass was the last sound I tested. Before testing, I hoped it would have a very noticeable and yet measured presence. I wanted it to have a punch that would cover up for the slight inadequacies of the treble.
I was very happy with the results. It gave out a deep and noticeable presence- just like I wanted. It was there in the background with just the right amount of force. The bass is very well defined. It packs quite a punch which makes it amazing for songs with heavy bass presence. The impact is definitely very visible. It has enough depth and icings the cake beautifully. If your record features a bass guitar or drums, you’re in for a treat.
The mix was amazing. Each sound is predominant. No sound is overshadowed. Neither is any put in the spotlight ahead of the others. It blends beautifully and is balanced. It gives a clean and neat overall sound.
The ORTOFON OM20 phono cartridge is definitely worthy of attention. When used right, it delivers beautifully.
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 ORTOFON OM20 has a lot of highlights and of course, as expected, there are some parts where one would rightly expect more. However, there are few phono cartridges that have entirely nothing wrong. A few faults do not define a cartridge as long as it is able to push forward strengths that overshadow the faults and that is exactly what the ORTOFON OM20 does.
Despite the fact that it is slightly more expensive than average especially as it is not so wildly available, it is still a great buy. I’d rate the ORTOFON OM20 an 8. I would recommend this phono cartridge. You will definitely appreciate the balance that the sounds possess. There is enough representation without any overshadowing.