Phono Cartridges Overview
Phono cartridges are the basic components that are usually attached to the end of the tonearm and make direct contact with the record player. They are also commonly referred to as needles. However, the needle or stylus is situated within the cartridge and transfers directly the sound in the turntable which brings about the quality of sound being played from the system. There are two major types of phono cartridges, they are Moving Magnet and Moving Coil.
The moving magnet is a vibrating set of magnets that vibrate closely to coiled wires. This type of cartridge always has a higher output, a stylus that can be replaced or upgraded easily, and are usually sturdily designed. They sound great because they press down more deeply into the record and are typically heavier than moving coil cartridges.
The moving coil cartridges are a set of coils attached to the cantilever that move within a field of permanent fixed magnets. They are less heavy which as a result results in a more detailed and accurate sound but they are very delicate which causes their styli to wear down and have the need to replace the entire cartridge instead of just the individual stylus.
You can outrightly change or upgrade your cartridges to a more quality one in order to improve the sound profile of your audio setup. We have selected two phono cartridges to compare and contrast their features and specifications for you to know the best and make your choice.
Sumiko Pearl is truly a unique and great choice among other entry-level phono cartridges. It has received a series of accolades and good reviews to its name over time. Pearl cartridge is very smooth, natural and its reproduction of sound breathes life into any recording with equilibrium and transparency.
Sumiko Pearl is known to deliver the kind of gripping performance that will keep the listeners to their toes from the first note to the last drum roll. Its extended frequency response and groovy elliptical diamond stylus make it a great choice.
The cymbal splashes it produces are natural, airy, and open while the bass lines are deep, tight, and tuneful. Sumiko pearl is physically compatible with most tonearms on the market and it is a perfect fit for any moving magnet system. This model serves as a reminder that you don’t have to spend out all your budget to achieve great and quality sound.
This cartridge is evenly balanced with enticing highs, decisive deep and mids, and well-rounded bass. It contains an 0.3 x 0.7mil elliptical stylus, adding brilliance, heightening detail retrieval, and improving the stereo imaging of its sibling, Sumiko Black Pearl.
Sumiko Pearl’s Specification
- Cartridge Type: Moving Magnet
- Frequency Response: 12Hz-30kHz
- Compliance: 15mm/N
- Output Voltage: 5mV
- Channel Balance: 0.5dB
- Channel Seperation: 30dB
- Tracking Force Range: 1.5 to 2.0 grams
- Cartridge Weight: 6 grams
- Load Impedance: 47k Ohms
- Stylus Type: 0.2 x 0.8mm bonded elliptical diamond stylus
- Cantilever Type: Alloy tube
- Includes a plastic stylus guard
- 2 Nuts
- 2 Mounting screws
- A Stylus Brush
- A small screwdriver
- 2 plastic washers
- User manual.
Ortofon 2M Red
Ortofon 2M Red is greatly designed by the Danish Industrial designer who was inspired by the facets of a diamond, this made the cartridge’s contours gracefully trace the grooves on the record surface. It establishes a wonderful combination of form and functionality at the same time.
Ortofon 2M Red is a moving magnet that has been engineered to the highest of standards and is corresponding with Ortofon’s unrelenting commitment to producing the most accurate and precise reproduction possible without coloration. 2M Red adds more to the dynamics and resolution of sounds and is more open to reproducing more details.
It provides excellent compatibility with any system with a wide range of phono preamps when used in an assortment of playback. This cartridge is well extended at both frequency extremes and fits the pattern, this enables the treble to be notably clean and full of life without ever becoming harsh.
This highly upgraded cartridge is endowed with a highly polished, tipped elliptical diamond that offers excellent tracking without causing much wear to the vinyl, swapping it over is much easier than other models and it is supplied with a simple to use fitting kit. Split pole pins are used to reduce the eddy current and increase the output to an impressive 5.5mV.
Ortofon 2M Red Specification
- Cartridge Type: Moving Magnet
- Stylus Type: Elliptical Diamond
- Output Voltage: 1000Hz, 5cm/sec – 5.5mV
- Channel balance: 1kHz – 1.5dB
- Channel Separation: 15kHz – 15dB
- Frequency Response: 20-20.000 Hz + 3/ – 1dB
- Item Weight: 7.2 grams
- Compliance, Dynamic, Lateral: 20mN
- Recommended Tracking Force: 1.8g
- Internal Impedance: 13k Ohms
- Recommended Load Resistance: 47k Ohms
- Internal Inductance: 700mH
- Replacement Stylus Unit: Stylus 2M Red
- Stylus Lifetime: 1000 hours.
- Includes an improved engine that provides an increased output of 5.5 mV
- A tipped Elliptical diamond
- Split pole pins including a copper wire.
- Moving magnet design balanced
- Upgradable stylus
- Easy mounting design that fits into most turntables.
Both Sumiko Pearl and Ortofon 2M Red are a great choice of cartridges because endowed with great features, are relatively cheap, and are nicely designed to be suitable for any upgrades.